Dressage at the Winter Equestrian Festival

By Amber Heintzberger

The Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, February 1-4, 2001 offered four days of dressage in the midst of the Showjumping action. With the generous sponsorship of Zada Enterprises LLC and Windsome Farms, there was $21,000 in prize money that was offered at the FEI levels and $25,000 in prizes for the dressage-showjumping spectacular. The show was as rewarding to its competitors as it was for spectators who filled the stands for the Freestyle classes on Sunday.

Beginning Thursday with lower level rides, the show culminated with the crowd-pleasing Grand Prix Musical Freestyle, won by German rider Hubertus Schmidt, riding for Windsome Farms on the 11-year-old Danish Gelding, Extream, (by Midt West Ibi Light) who is pictured right . Schmidt was in the sixth place slot for the German Dressage Team selected for the 2001 Sydney Olympic Games last year.

Winner of the Grand Prix Special was Israeli rider Oded Shimoni, riding his Dutch gelding Glenstern (by Kaisterstern, out of a Saluut mare.) Their test showed consistency and fluidity combined with the precision necessary for a score of 68.667%. Shimoni, who owns Glenstern, said that "This is the beginning of the season and he feels stronger and more confirmed in the movements than last year." The pair also won the Grand Prix at the Gold Coast Classic, January 19-21.

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Dressage at the Winter Equestrian Festival - Burssens wins Grand Prix Special

By Amber Heintzberger

The Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, February 1-4, 2001, was again the scene for Patrick Burssens' continual string of success. Patrick Burssens riding Marianne McPhail's Marfil, a 14-year-old Argentinian-bred gelding, won the Grand Prix Special.

Burssens originally owned the horse, and sold him to McPhail seven years ago. She rode him Friday in the Grand Prix Special, but gave Saturday's ride to Burssens, who said, "Each chance I get to ride this horse, I gladly accept it."

Their score of 69.767% reflects their partnership. "He is getting older;" said Burssens. "He knows his stuff, we just have to keep him happy and healthy and tuned up. I enjoy giving him a different ride sometimes." A native of Belgium, Burssens spent 16 years in Mexico and has been based in Wellington for the past three winters.

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[#29347 override="Burssens sets his sights on Pan Am Games" title="Burssens sets his sights on Pan Am Games"]

Dressage at the Winter Equestrian Festival - Mountain Horse High Point Award for Smith

By Amber Heintzberger

The Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, February 1-4, 2001, enjoyed the benefit of having a large list of sponsors including Mountain Horse.

Linda Smith won the Mountain Horse high-point award for second level test 4, riding Helena and Howard Klukofsky's Westphalian gelding Fare Well, a six-year-old Westphalian gelding by Florestan, out of Fiorina.

Fare Well also won the regional first level finals and was second-level horse of the year in 2000. He is now beginning third level.

Canadian Tom Dvorak took the Mountain Horse third-level high score riding Domingo, a six-year old Hanoverian gelding owned by the DGI Syndicate. High scores were awarded with a Mountain Horse jacket from Miller's Harness Company and Cosequin.

Dressage at the Winter Equestrian Festival - Paxton leads in Young Riders' Field

By Amber Heintzberger

Young Riders got their chance to show their progress made since the summer circuit at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, February 1-4, 2001.

Young Rider Jacqueline Paxton had a successful weekend with both her horses, Flyover (Fruehlingsrausch x Pia/Tollux) and Cinbad (Celbrio x Duellinde/Seinschnitt 2). In the Intermediaire I test she won on Cinbad with 69.5% and was second on Flyover with 64%.

Paxton competed with Cinbad at the 2000 North American Young Riders Championships and with Flyover at the 1999 NAYRC. Also with Cinbad she won the Young Riders Team, Individual, and Freestyle tests at Dressage at Devon last year.

Pictured Right is Paxton on Cinbad at the 2000 North American Young Riders Championships

Dressage at the Winter Equestrian Festival - Splashing Debut for Sabine Schut

By Amber Heintzberger

A most splashing debut at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, February 1-4, 2001, was made by Sabine Schut on the Friesian Tinus.

Thursday's Prix Saint Georges at the WEF in Wellington, FL was won by Sabine Schut, of Texas, and Tinus, (by Jillis), a 10-year-old Friesian imported from the Netherlands. Even more unusual than his breed is the fact that this was Tinus' first time competing at this level; they scored an impressive 69.125%.

If his background is any indication of his ability, greater things may be expected still: Tinus was USDF horse of the year at second level in 1999 and at third level in 2000. He started fourth level last year and moved up with flying colors on Thursday.

"It was 30-40 degrees in Texas, and I notice a difference in the horses in the heat," said Schut. "The Friesians are big, heavy horses and their coats are black, and they are really affected by the heat. I don't like cold weather, but it's good for these horses. They perform better when it's cold."

Schut moved to the US from Germany three years ago with her horse Jorrit, who was PSG horse of the year last year. He was purchased from her by Jim Mosebrook and Lany Riggs of Proud Meadows Farm in Cedar Hill, Texas. They also offered Sabine a job as head trainer at the farm.

Schut said that Friesians need good solid training in order to achieve good extensions, and that the Friesians' canter starts out very big-strided compared to Warmbloods, but they have very good temperaments and are easy to work with. While the horses are imported from the Netherlands, they are registered with the German registry, which requires a 50-day testing for stallions and a two-week testing for mares. It is recognized by the German FN (National Federation).

"We do lots of exhibitions with them, and they know how to bow, sit, rear, and do the Spanish walk. Our next exhibition is at the Equine Affaire in Ohio, and then we're doing a Pas des Deux at Equitana. We've also been to Madison Square Garden and Devon with them." She said that they have turned down some invitations because the traveling is too hard on the horses, though Tinus' winning performance was only three hours after getting off the trailer.

Related Links:
Proud Meadows Friesians
Winter Equestrian Festival Scores

Friday, February 9, 2001

Dressage at the Winter Equestrian Festival - Kursinski and Jensen Entertained the Crowds

By Amber Heintzberger

Saturday Night at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, February 1-4, 2001, was the $25,000 Windsome Farms Dressage/Showjumping spectacular, in which dressage and showjumping riders paired up in teams of two and switched horses, then rode in each other's respective sport.

The jumpers rode third-level test three and the dressage riders did a "hit-and-hurry" jumping round. This provided great excitement for spectators and a lot of laughs for everyone.

The winners were Anne Kursinski, who ride for a very respectable 69%, and Bent Jenssen, who was equally talented in the jumping, though Colombian rider Marco Bernal put in a blazing jumping round, with the fastest time, that made the crowd go wild.