Coming up this weekend is the big West Coast CDI3* at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank. The Festival of the Horse, by Cornerstone Dressage, kicks off on Wednesday and most of the West Coast's top dressage riders will be there, including last year's Dressage World Cup champion Steffen Peters. There will be two other shows going on in California this weekend, one in Santa Barbara and one in Livermore. Elsewhere in the U.S., dressage competitions will be going on in Florida (including Dressage at Equestrian Estates where Mary Phelps and the Dressagedaily team will be on the scene), North Carolina and Arizona. See the list at usef.org.
The FEI Dressage World Cup took place this weekend in the Netherlands and the new world champions are Edward Gal and the stunning black stallion Moorlands Totilas. The pair finished with a score of 89.80 percent. Coming in second was fellow Dutch rider Adelinde Cornelissen riding Jerich Parzival to a score of 82.85 and third went to Imke Schellekens-Bartels and Hunter Douglas Sunrise with a score of 82.15. With three Dutch riders taking the top three placings, the Netherlands clearly showed its power at this year's World Cup.
Fourth place went to Germany's Isabell Werth riding Warum Nicht. There were no Americans in this year's World Cup, even though as last year's World Cup champions, Steffen Peters and Ravel had an open invitation. But with the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games coming up in the U.S. this fall, Peters, like many top American riders, is intently focused on earning a spot on the U.S. team and a qualifying CDI is coming up this weekend in California, Peters' home turf.
The International Dressage Trainers Club, with the help of modern technology, has come up with a way for people to practice their judge's eye. IDTC has developed an app for the iPhone and Blackbery that lets people watch a dressage test, score it and then see how their scores match up to those actually given by judges. There is currently one for Grand Prix and the way it works is that each movement appears on screen with scores of one to 10 underneath. Users score the movements and then at the end compare their scores to that of the judges. You can check it out at www.idtc-online.com/grandprix.
A British woman is suing that country's Ministry of Defense for the death of her dressage horse last fall. Laura Head said her dressage horse, Alfie, panicked because Britain's Red Arrows, a military flight team similar to U.S. Blue Angels, were flying too low over the stable where Alfie lived. Head said many horses in the stable panicked from the low-flying aircraft and that in his panic, Alfie slammed his head into a stable wall or ceiling, which killed him. She had only owned the horse for 10 days and said he was meant to be her future dressage star. A complaint filed with the Ministry of Defense got no response so Head has now resorted to the courts. Read more at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1261858/Woman-sues-MoD-low-flying-Red-Arrows-scared-horse-death.html?ITO=1490.
Americans have spent many years battling to oust the Europeans from their spot as world dressage leaders and now New Zealand is hoping that it might also break into the big leagues of dressage. A recent feature article in the New Zealand press notes the country is pinning much hope on rider Jody Hartstone and her new mount Whisper, a black Warmblood stallion imported from Germany just a few months ago. Hartstone and Whisper have already become New Zealand's national champions and have qualified to represent their country in the 2010 Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games. After the WEG, they are setting their sights on putting New Zealand dressage on the international map by qualifying to compete in the 2012 Olympics in London. Read more about this pair at http://www.3news.co.nz/Kiwi-horse-could-see-NZ-win-big-in-dressage/tabid/415/articleID/148348/Default.aspx?ArticleID=148348.
This isn't about dressage, but it's nice to see any equestrian sport get a feature article in a major newspaper like the New York Times. The Times recently ran a story about the growing popularity of vaulting in the Northeastern U.S. The article profiles some area vaulters who are aiming to earn a spot on the upcoming season of "America's Got Talent." The Times' story even gives the upcoming WEG a plug. Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/26/travel/escapes/26horsevault.html?src=me&ref=travel.