Watching the Intermediaire Freestyle, one would never suspect that this was the very first CDI experience for Washington State natives Garyn Heidemann and Sigrid Wolff's Westfalen gelding French Kiss (Florestan I x Fabel by Fruhling). Their three-day journey to Burbank for the California Dreaming Productions' Mid-Winter Dressage Fair CDI-W/Y/J/U-25 paid off as the the pair's dramatic yet harmonious performance featuring music from "The Dark Knight Rises" earned them their first international and unanimous victory under all five FEI judges with a final score of 68.325% over Canada's Roanne Tyson and Seiltanz (Sunny Boy x Valderia by Royal Dance) with 66.325%. "Up until this point I've only competed locally in Region 6, but we ended last season really well with regional and Northwest championships for both Intermediaire I and the freestyle, so I decided it was time to step it up and ride in a bigger pond," explained Heidemann. "French Kiss and I have only been together since last May when his owner offered me the ride in order for me to gain experience in the international arena, and I'm so grateful to her. He can be complicated because he's so intelligent and a little bit cocky, but he loves to show off and we feel like he's finally coming into who he is. It's a learning process, and I was very happy with him this weekend.
"This has been a wonderful experience coming here in California," Heidemann continued. "The show was so well organized and the quality of horses down here is amazing. It was a big eye-opening experience. Now that we've done this and I realize what we need to do to have further success, we're going to go home and train and then look to returning next year even better."
Complete results from Mid-Winter Dressage are available on the California Dreaming Productions website. The next competitions will be the Capistrano Dressage International CDI-W/Y/J/U-25 on March 20 - 22 and the Festival of the Horse CDI 3*/Y/J/U-25 on March 26 - 28, both to be held at the beautiful Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano, CA.
Formed by a partnership between long-time show organizer Glenda McElroy of Burbank, CA and Grand Prix riders and trainers David and Alisa Wilson of Chino Hills, CA, the goal of California Dreaming Productions is to bring a fresh face to international-level dressage competition on the West Coast. Additional show information is available on the new California Dreaming Productions website, as well as regular updates posted on California Dreaming Productions Facebook page. For more information, contact Glenda McElroy, email@example.com, or David and Alisa Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.