Parker, CO--A thrilling summer at The Colorado Horse Park continued last week during the 2011 Parker Adventist Hospital Dressage in the Rockies Presented by Horseware Ireland. More than 40 scores above 70% were awarded by judges Sandy Osborn, Olympic bronze medalist Hilda Gurney and Beverly Rogers. As one of the largest dressage shows in the region, Dressage in the Rockies attracted competitors not only from Colorado, but the surrounding states. The three-day event was actually three separate shows (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), allowing riders to earn qualifying scores for various championships and awards in a single weekend.
Results - Dressage in the Rockies I, II and III
"I want to congratulate all these riders on their success; these scores came from very legitimate judges," said show manager Glenda McElroy of Cornerstone Dressage. "All of the judges have been very complimentary about the quality of horses and riders." McElroy's Cornerstone Dressage, based out of Los Angeles, has managed some of the top CDI (international) shows in the country, as well as the Rolex FEI World Cup Dressage Finals in 2005, 2007 and 2009.
Among the big winners during the 2011 Parker Adventist Hospital Dressage in the Rockies Presented by Horseware Ireland was rider Shannon Dahmer. She collected six High Point and Reserve High Point awards over the course of the three shows with three different horses.
Riding Mary Allyn's Rock On, Dahmer won the Intermediaire I classes and FEI High Point during shows I and III. On Saturday, Dahmer and "Rocky" performed an Intermediaire I Freestyle to a compilation of music from the "Rocky" soundtracks, including "Eye of the Tiger". "He thinks he's very cool," Dahmer said of the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding, " so the music really suits him. Plus, everyone knows it so you can get the crowd involved." The pair received a 70% for their efforts.
With Barbara McElnea's Weltzarma, Dahmer picked up the Lower Level High Point and Reserve Lower Level High Point (shows I and III respectively) with scores in the 70s. Weltzarma was a just-broke three-year-old when she was sent to Dahmer for training last November. "She's got such a good temperament," she explained of the four-year-old Hanoverian mare by Windfall CB. "She's a special one."
Not to be left out of the tri-color ribbons was stablemate Marsel. The 19-year-old Trakehner gelding, owned by Lisa Sutila, made a dramatic comeback after a series of unfortunate events, including colic surgery, splint bone surgery and the removal of a grapefruit-sized cyst from his sinus. Dahmer said, "He's like the Energizer Bunny. He just keeps going." The handsome gray earned the Reserve FEI High Point on Friday and FEI High Point on Saturday with his scores from Prix St. Georges.
Mimi Junick, Sandia Park, NM, made her trip from the Albuquerque-area worthwhile. She picked up two Lower Level Reserve High Points with scores above 70% with her five-year-old KWPN gelding Big Idea, by Consul. Big Idea is a second generation Dressage in the Rockies champion; Junick showed his mother, Neon, many years ago. "He looks just like her," Junick said. Big Idea is quite a character and at home often lets himself out of his stall. "On the way to the show, he took off all four of his shipping boots and threw them out the window." Junick works with Ulla Hudson and plans to take Big Idea to the USDF Region V Championships in Arizona later this year.
Junick has been coming to Dressage in the Rockies since 1999 and has attended each year, with one exception. "I was so impressed with the facility and the management," she stated of why she liked it and why she keeps returning year after year. "It's the best run show that I've ever attended."
Allison Dechant, Littleton, CO, made balancing riding with family life look easy during Dressage in the Rockies. The new mother of baby boy Wyatt, who was born just nine weeks ago, took home armfuls of prizes with her horses. "It was a wonderful first horse show back; I couldn't have asked for more."
Rufus, owned by Deborah Carter and imported two months ago, simply came to the show to school, but was so good that Dechant and Carter decided to enter him. The eight-year-old Westfalen, by Rohdiamont, won the Upper Level High Point during show two and the Upper Level Reserve High Point during show three. "He was a wonderful boy," Dechant said.
Dechant also has another up and coming superstar in the four-year-old Don Caspari CSH, owned by Centaurian Sport Horses. This was the son of Dancier's first show and first time away from home. The environment at the show didn't faze the gelding and he earned a 79.6 in the FEI Young Horse Test on day one, an 86.80 on day two and a 76.4 on day three. "He did really well with the competition and the atmosphere," Allison said. "He's a really nice quality horse and we wanted to get him out and see what he would do."
Simone Ahern also rode a promising young horse, Amalia, who earned the high score of the entire show and High Point Lower Level (show two)-an 80.4 in Training Level Test 3. Amalia, bred and owned by Pat Leech, is a five-year-old Trakehner mare by Donafürst out the Martini mare, Audacity. As a young horse, Amalia has been well-decorated with championships from the American Trakehner Association (ATA), including the 2008 ATA Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Two-Year-Old Filly Horse of the Year and the 2010 4 &5 Year Old Mare Materiale Horse of the Year. "She's everything I'd been breeding for-and more!" Leech said.
Of the high scoring ride, Ahern commented, "It was like riding the horse from the inside, out. I felt like I could ask anything I wanted." The pair received 9s on all of the coefficients during the test, as well as effectiveness of the aids and harmony between horse and rider. "She gives me 100% every time I ride her," Ahern stated of the mare that she calls "delicate flower." "We're off to a good start."
Andrea Doelling is a familiar face in the winner's circle and Dressage in the Rockies was no exception. Riding Kylee Lourie's Amazing, she received the Upper Level Reserve High Point during show three. The 11-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding is a mount for Kylee, but Doelling is competing the horse "to get him more confident in the show environment. He's an incredible mover." But it's his fantastic personality that really impacts the people around him. "Amazing makes you feel like you are the only person in his life," Doelling reflected.
With Lourie's The Count Basil, Doelling won the Upper Level Reserve High Point during show one. The seven-year-old Oldenburg gelding, by Chico's Boy, is described as super smart and super willing and is quickly moving up the levels. In addition to his obvious talent for dressage, Doelling said, "he's also the class clown at home. He's always encouraging the older horses to get into trouble. His favorite hobby is to chase geese." In the show's last class, the pair performed their freestyle to tunes from The Sound of Music, earning a 72.66% from Hilda Gurney. "It was a nice way to finish!" Doelling said.
Doelling devoted herself to riding professionally four years ago, retiring from 19 years of corporate life. "Now I get to do what I love," she said. She also credited trainer Karen Perkins for her success; the pair have worked together for more than 17 years.
Amateurs and juniors didn't let the professionals get all of the glory. Danielle Culver, riding Royal Aries, claimed two Lower Level Amateur High Points, as well as a Reserve High Point. Culver had five classes where she scored above 70%, including a 79.2% in Training Level Test 3 on Sunday. Christine DeHerrera and Festivo won two Upper Level Amateur High Points and a Reserve High Point. Among the pair's scores was a 70.875% in Fourth Level Test 1 during show two. Junior riders McKynzee Wiggins, Hilary Alweis, Bethany Roof and Caroline Fernalid also all earned multiple High Point Titles
Competitors were not only awarded scores that qualified them for major championships, but they also received prizes from Horseware Ireland, Grand Meadows and Windhorse Equine Therapies. Visit www.coloradohorsepark.com for more information.