Horses Unlimited’s Hanoverian stallion Pik L continued his winning streak at Dressage at Devon, this time under junior rider Emily Wagner of LaCygne, Kansas. The pair won all three junior classes at the show with scores as high as 73.571%. With these three wins, Pik L has now won 11 of 12 classes during the last four years at Devon. His only second place came back in 2004 in the Intermediaire I, where he still scored a 70%.
“Dressage at Devon is definitely his show,” said Horses Unlimited’s CEO Anne Sparks Whitten. “He obviously loves it here.”
Wagner has only been riding the bay stallion for approximately two months. “I’m so grateful to be able ride this fabulous horse,” Wagner explained. “When I ride him correctly, he’s so reliable. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to count on a horse like this.”
Wagner rides Pik L under the watchful eye of Dr. Cesar Parra, who rode the Pik Bube II son to the small tour wins in 2003 and 2004. Wagner first met Dr. Parra at a clinic in Kansas and began training with him during the 2006 Florida season. She says that Dr. Parra’s systematic training results in success. “We focus first always on the horse being relaxed. Then on the quality of the gaits. When you have those things in place, the movements are not only easy, but expressive and powerful.”
Dr. Parra’s system resulted not only in Wagner’s wins, but also top ribbons for several other students. Michael Shondel and Silver Label won the Fourth Level Test 2 with a 70%. Shondel credited Dr. Parra’s system and his generosity for the impressive victory. “It’s not just that Dr. Parra is very critical of rider position and the importance of the horse’s relaxation, but he also tries very hard to keep learning. And he is more than willing to share what he learns to make you a better rider.”
Dr. Parra attributes much of his recent success to working with Olympic Gold Medalist Hubertus Schmidt for the past several years. Dr. Parra also recently began to be mentored by ‘O’ judge Dr. Volker Moritz. Shondel explains, “What we do at home is exactly how we warm up at the horse shows. It’s exactly the same, which helps the horses and riders stay relaxed.”
The magic formula of relaxation and correct riding seems to work. Melissa Jackson rode her own Wellington to three third places in the small tour classes with Dr. Parra’s coaching. Kendra Menzies earned second place with 73.80% in the FEI 5 Year Olds Class with Kosmisch. “I’m very pleased with my students,” Dr. Parra said. “They all work very hard so it’s nice when they do well.”
To keep the learning spirit goring, Dr. Parra’s Performance Farm team will host the ESDCTA 2006 Forum with Hubertus Schmidt and Mariette Withages on October 14, 2006 in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey.