by Beverly Zimmer
The setting for the Gold Coast Opener CDI*** is the prestigious Palm Beach Polo Show grounds, known for its high energy atmosphere and impeccably maintained arenas. Once you “run the gauntlet” from the stabling area, through the New York style golf cart traffic, pony jumpers, junior jumpers, and jumpers jumping on juniors, you can appreciate the experience.
Showing in South Florida is unlike anywhere in the USA. The Gold Coast Dressage shows have a backbone of experienced volunteers and staff to fully cater to the competitors. Couple that with superb sponsors, and the weekend of the Gold Coast Opener CDI*** proved to be a first class show all the way!
Check your whips at the gate or forever hold your peace. As of January, 2005, CDI competitors must make the decision to whip or not to whip before leaving the stabling area. The rule also prohibits any helpers from accepting discarded whips from riders. In other words, CDI competitors are the only whip handlers from the barn to the gate.
Don't you dare carry the paraphernalia around the outside of the arena, either! Such was the lesson for Leslie Morse, a top competitor from California, Leslie Morse. In transition from travelling across the country Leslie missed the vital e-mail with the CDI rule change. Certainly, being informed about the new rule during her final preparations for her CDI class was a surprisingly inopportune moment!
Undaunted by the deviation, Leslie went on to win the Grand Prix Special with Kingston, her 14 yr. old Dutch stallion. She also accomplished a 2nd place in the Grand Prix, with Tip Top, an 11 yr. old Swedish Warmblood by Master.
"I'm very proud of my horses, they haven't shown in 6 months and flew into Wellington just 5 days before the show." said Morse."It's great just to be back in the ring. Honestly I'm just happy to be here in Wellington."
All of the competitors at the Opener would agree that there was an electricity in the air, especially all day on Sunday. As the sky darkened and wind picked up, so did the heels of otherwise well-behaved dressage horses.
Marco Bernal’s four year old superstar stallion, Maybach (by Munchhausen) insisted that “airs above the ground” were appropriate for Training Level. Whereas the creepy atmosphere spooked many competitors, others were fired up.
Once again, eyes were on Leslie Morse as she piloted her supercharged stallion, Kingston, to victory in the Grand Prix Special with a score of 69.9%. “He was so hot and high and full of himself” praised Leslie. “He got 9’s on his piaffe and gave me the best ride of my life!”
Robert Dover and FBW Kennedy capitalized on the impending weather and swept the Freestyle with a 78%. While everyone was watching him, I entered a lonely arena and guided my spooky mare to her second Dover Medal win.
The Gold Coast Opener management made a few changes this year in the entertainment category. From the V.I.P. lunches, to the special awards given at the show, there seemed to be something for everybody.
Following a “thumbs-up” from fashion policewoman, Shirley Johnson, Marco Bernal and Lisette Milner received gift certificates to her European fashion boutique, A’Dashi. Following the red carpet scrutiny, Mary Phelps hosted a wine and goodies reception at the jog.
Dazzled by the rock star treatment at a press conference prior to the competition, CDI competitors (and judges, we have photographs!) let their hair down and enjoyed partying at the competitor’s bash hosted by Janne Rumbaugh. Local and visiting businesses contributed to the silent auction held during the competitor’s party to benefit the Tsunami victims.
Horsesdaily "On the Scene" at the 2005 Gold Coast Opener
Scores of the 2005 Gold Coast Opener CDI
Stallions at Stud: Kingston - Tip Top