Emma Weinert O’Rourke Earns Her First International Victory on Final Day of Dressage Festival of the Horse CDI3*

Emma Weinert O’Rourke, Velvet WD, CDI Grand Prix Special, Festival of the Horse CDI3*, Terri Miller

Emma Weinert O’Rourke & Velvet WD celebrate their win in the CDI Grand Prix Special on the final day of the Festival of the Horse CDI3*. (Photo: Terri Miller)

San Juan Capistrano, CA – The final day of competition at California Dreaming Productions' Festival of the Horse CDI 3*/Y/J/U-25 (held March 31-April 2 in San Juan Capistrano) was also a day of firsts as Australia’s Emma Weinert O’Rourke rode her former KWPN broodmare Velvet WD (Polansky x Papayja by Jazz) to their very first CDI victory by topping 10 other competitors in the Grand Prix Special sponsored by Dressage Unlimited. After making their CDI large tour debut in Del Mar just two weeks ago, the pair dramatically improved upon that performance to earn their inaugural international win with 67.294% over Mette Rosencrantz aboard her Danish Warmblood gelding Marron (Michellino x Manoela by Woernitz) on 66.039%.

Shayna Simon and her 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding Harley Davidson (His Highness x Walt Lady by Walt Disney I) earned their second consecutive CDI Intermediaire Freestyle victory with 71.450%, just ahead of Jan Ebeling presenting Ann Romney’s Hanoverian gelding Bakari (Breitling W x Come Back by Cavan Blue Hors) for 69.975%. In the Under-25 division, Anna Buffini once again found herself in the winner’s circle but this time it was aboard her long-time partner Sundayboy (KWPN gelding Kennedy x Eezelma by Zevenaar). The talented pair cruised to the unanimous victory in the U-25 Grand Prix (sponsored by Hinneman Farms) with 68.527% over Genay Vaughn and Donarweiss GGF (Hanoverian stallion De Niro x SPS Highlight by Hohenstein, owned by Starr Vaughn Equestrian, Inc.) with 65.426%.

Also finding themselves back in the familiar position of leading the victory lap was Lauren Asher and her Hanoverian gelding De Noir 3 (De Niro x Maharani by Matcho AA) as they earned top honors and 66.375% in the CDI Young Rider Freestyle, ahead of Ben Ebeling aboard Cathy Shelton’s Oldenburg stallion Descartes (De Niro x Kirudja by Quattro B) with 63.458%. Meanwhile, in the CDI Junior Freestyle, Christian Simonson earned the blue ribbon with Herzkonig (Hanoverian gelding, His Highness x Fuchs by Weltmeyer) on 66.542%.

“It’s hard to believe how quickly the time has gone, and now another amazing season of the California Dreaming Productions show series is officially in the books,” said CDP co-founder Alisa Wilson. “This year’s circuit was a huge success with four incredible competitions, and I’d like to extend a huge ‘thank you’ to every competitor, owner, sponsor, official, volunteer, staff and team member that makes these shows so successful! We can’t wait to see everyone again next year!”

Complete results for the Festival of the Horse CDI and national show are now available at www.californiadreamingproductions.com.




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