Wellington, FL — Adult amateur dressage rider Ellen Lazarus of New York, New York, was named as the final winner of the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award during the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Each week at the festival, Piaffe Performance chose an exceptional amateur rider who showed great sportsmanship and horsemanship skills. Lazarus and her 16.2-hand chestnut gelding, Rhett, were the last in this year’s series of adult amateurs to be honored as the backbone of the sport of dressage.
Lazarus and her Dutch Warmblood, Rhett (Krack C x Idallisto, by Casanova), also took home a blue ribbon in their Thursday afternoon class after performing Fourth Level Test 2. Lazarus and Rhett have shown together in Wellington since 2011. Lazarus has owned Rhett for the past five years after purchasing him from the barn of Anky van Grunsven.
Rhett has improved greatly during his time with Lazarus and her trainers, Ashley Holzer and Lindsay Kellock. “He was the world’s spookiest horse. We could not get him around the ring,” said Lazarus as she described what challenges she has overcome with him in the past five years. “I just did a spook-free test. I’m very proud of that. He’s got these gorgeous changes in the canter, and trying to get those in the ring is amazing. If he gets them, he gets 8. But it’s hard to get them.”
Lazarus was thrilled to just be competing after fracturing her back in May 2014. She said it’s been a long road back into the saddle. When she isn’t working full time, Lazarus laughingly said she competes to “relax,” and loves to show in the adult amateur division. “We put so much effort in to everything at home, so you want to check it out and see what other people think in the show ring,” she said. “And it’s fun to have your friends cheering you on, even if you mess up.”
Lazarus boards Rhett with Ashley Holzer, and splits her time between Wellington, FL, and her facility at the Riverdale Equestrian Center in New York, NY. Lazarus takes lessons with Holzer’s Assistant Trainer, Lindsay Kellock. “I’m from Manhattan, so I ride in the mornings before work when they’re up north and on the weekends in Florida I compete. I come down for three or four day weekends,” said Lazarus, who is dedicated to her riding. She also owns a young horse that she hopes to show in a few years.
Kellock said she was impressed with Lazarus’ ride. “Like Ellen said, the horse definitely has a spooky history. Ellen has been through a few things with him,” said Kellock. “But to come out and do this, especially after literally just getting off the plane from New York, is great. She hasn’t ridden him in three days. She had a clean ride. I’m so pleased.”
Lazarus said she would like to thank Dr. Cesar Parra, founder of Piaffe Performance, whom she has known through dressage for more than 20 years. “It’s so nice for the amateurs to get awards like this,” Lazarus said as Parra presented her with the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Award. “And to finally have the CDI adult amateur Prix St. George, which is my next goal,” she added in reference to a change at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival this year for adult amateur riders over age 25 competing at the Small or Medium Tour level. The change made it possible for these riders to be able to compete in a new CDI Amateur International division during every CDI week.
Piaffe Performance is honored to recognize exceptional adult amateurs like Lazarus this year at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. The award supports Parra’s belief that adult amateurs are the backbone of the sport of dressage. Dr. Cesar Para is a Pan American Games Gold medal winner who now provides top-notch training for both riders and horses in Jupiter, Florida, and Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Piaffe Performance was an active sponsor of the festival, and also enjoyed many show ring victories throughout the season amongst Piaffe Performance students, trainers, and Parra himself. Piaffe Performance specializes in selecting, training, and showing, and also facilitates the sale of top dressage prospects for riders at every level. For more information on Piaffe Performance, visit www.piaffe-performance.com.