By Beverly Zimmer
After the usual seasonal bedlam at Stadium Jumping, the Grand Finale I & II was a relaxing and peaceful outing held April 16-17, at the Wellington showgrounds. No longer were the wonder horses doing wheelies to avoid golf carts, mopeds, and flapping tents. With the chaos and drama absent, the Gold Coast Dressage Association staff was able to relish in the success of one of the final shows in the season. In fact, they were able to enjoy the reason the reason they work so hard for the competitors. A familiar face in the office, Ann Hart, scurried off to ride a Training Level test with her 5 year old Oldenburg mare, Kashmir. The pair scored a 65% both days. Although the season is coming to an end, the Grand Finale I & II was a full show, with four rings running all day.
Judge Thomas Poulin awarded the High Score of the Grand Finale I to Ruth Hogan Poulsen on Dream Lady in First Level test 4. Dream Lady is a 6 year old striking black Hanoverian mare by Dream of Glory. Ruth’s other mount had heads turning as well. The knockout 18hh. Rheinlander stallion, Finnegan, wowed the judges and earned two blues for owner Sally Dininny. Jan Brons dominated the young horse classes with Tornado and Fino. Of course, all season, Jan Brons was dominating every other class as well. Tornado is a 5 year old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Elizabeth Schaffner. Fino is Jolie Burrell’s 6 year old Rheinlander by Fidemark. To us competitors, he’s that big beautiful chestnut you don’t want to have your ride time right behind.
Button Lee and her sister, Honey Rubin, brought Jilt S.F., all the way from Georgia, just for this show! It proved to be an exciting trip as they won two blues in Training Level. Jilt is a 10 year old Friesian breeding stallion by Remmelt.
The Grand Finale II was a repeat of Saturday's perfect weather and pleasing rides. Once again, judge Thomas Poulin had the high point horse on his watch. This time, it was Eiren Crawford and Waverley, a 5 year old Oldenburg mare, earning a coveted 73% in First Level test 1.
Adult Amateurs Rule
The Grand Finale I marked the closing of the Markel Adult Amateur Championships. After many of the Gold Coast members had put in their time throughout the season helping with all the major shows, it was now their turn to shine. Competitors were collecting their final scores to be submitted for Circuit Champion honors, and the Adashi/Markel 2005 Winter Dressage Adult Amateur Championships.
From Training Level to Grand Prix, the Adult Amateurs proved equally as competitive in Open and A/A classes. In the Grand Finale I, Adult Amateurs Lily Zilo on “Edil 1” (Training Level 2), Elizabeth Marco on “Asterix” (First Level 1), Laine W. Hills on “Hertog”(I1), Jennifer Aurillio on “Wizzard” (I1 Freestyle) took home blue ribbons in Open divisions.
In the Grand Finale II, the Training Level Open class was won by Adult Amateur, Marcella Sperenza on her 13 year old Friesian, “Commander Ca-Lynn”.
In fact, adult amateurs took home every ribbon in that class! Debbie Schoder won the Open Third Level test 3 on “Ilona”, a 15 year old super-chromed Dutch Warmblood mare. With an exceptionally obedient partner, I was able to finish the season with the Open Second Level test 4 win with “Eurythmic”.
The Gold Coast Dressage Association will host their final show May 21-22, 2005.