Five rings of championship dressage competition continued Friday at the Rancho Murieta Equestrian Center in Murieta, CA for the 46th Annual California Dressage Society Championship Show, held in conjunction with the CDS Young Horse Futurity (including the Cal-Bred Futurity), the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 7 Dressage Championships, and the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Breeders Championships West Coast Series Final. Thousands of dollars in prize money and awards were on the line for several hotly-contested CDS Horse of the Year divisions. Emerging the hard-fought victor from a competitive field in the $1,000 CDS Horse of the Year Open Prix St. Georges class to claim the Bent Roswall Memorial Trophy was Brian Hafner of Penngrove, CA, riding Julie Young's buckskin Oldenburg stallion "California Chablis" to a final score of 69.342%. In the $1,000 Adult Amateur division, Skagen Holdings' Dutch Warmblood gelding "Adventure" showed why he was recently crowned as the National Reserve Champion for Developing Horses as he won the Global Imaging Perpetual Trophy for rider Charlotte Jorst of Reno, NV on a strong score of 71.776%. At the Grand Prix level, David Blake of Encinitas, CA rode "Ikaros" (Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Melanie Pai) to earn a score of 68.936% and claim the Sherry de Leon Memorial Trophy and Horse of the Year title in their first competition since returning from a USEF High Performance European tour.
During afternoon freestyles, former national champion FEI junior rider Riana Porter (Santa Rosa, CA) was triumphant at First Level aboard Kathy Van Camp's five-year-old Oldenburg "Dax", earning a score of 74.667% for her crowd-pleasing performance to a Michael Bublé medley. Alison Knickerbocker of Walnut Grove, CA and her buckskin Lusitano gelding "Acafrao Comando SN" claimed their second freestyle title in as many days as they won the CDS Second Level Freestyle Championship (69.467%), while Donna Richardson (San Marcos, CA) won the De Medici Perpetual Trophy for Third Level Freestyle with her Lusitano gelding "Venturoso" on a score of 68.183%.
The CDS Four-Year-Old Futurity was a battle to the finish as the top 13 finishers in the Open division earned overall scores of more than 70%. "It was a very close competition, and the things that ended up making the differences in placings were so small," said judge Sandy Osborn. "It was wonderful to see one lovely horse after another, any one of which I would love to take home. And they were so well ridden! It was a treat for me to judge a group like that." Ultimately Ashlyn DeGroot of Hanford, CA rode DG Bar Ranch's Dutch Warmblood gelding "DG Edorijke" (Spielberg x Jazz, bred by P.W.T.J. Pansier) to victory with an overall combined winning score of 77.188% after two Training Level tests. This elegant pair placed fourth in the country in August at the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships. In the Adult Amateur division, yesterday's Equitation Challenge champion Kate Mullen racked up another victory with Kelly Casey's lovely Dutch Warmblood mare "Elnieta" (Dayano x Silvano, bred by A. Mazza) earning an overall average of 74.936% to take the trophy home to Livermore.
Competition was intense and scores needed to be impressive in order to claim a champion's sash as Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championship action continued throughout the day. Christian Hartung of Vacaville, CA rode his own Oldenburg gelding "Dream Catcher" to top twenty other competitors in the Open Training Level Regional Championship with a score of 81.900%, the highest test score awarded so far in the competition. Meanwhile, for Adult Amateurs, Kate Mullen followed up her earlier Futurity win with another big victory on a score of 79.100% with "Elnieta". In the Open Second Level championship, the top five combinations earned very close scores all over 70%, but ultimately Triana Pangreic from Carlsbad, CA emerged victorious on her own Hanoverian gelding "River Dance" with 72.917%. Jennifer Dainer (Pleasanton, CA) rode her own Dutch Warmblood gelding "Zeneth" to a strong win at Second Level for Adult Amateurs with a score of 70.595%. Rebecca Rigdon (Encinitas, CA) and her fiery Holsteiner mare "Solei" are no strangers to the winner's circle, and today they added another victory to their resume in the Open Intermediaire II (68.487%), while the Hanoverian gelding "Donnato" carried owner Tami Carter of Santa Rosa to a winning score of 64.145% in the Intermediaire II Adult Amateur division. Rounding out the day's Regional Championship classes were the Grand Prix Freestyles, where Tracey Lert (Soquel, CA) and her Dutch Warmblood "Udo" topped Olympians Hilda Gurney and Charlotte Bredahl to claim the last championship of the day with a score of 70.250%.
Championship competition continues Saturday, including the five- and six-year-old divisions of the CDS Young Horse Futurity, the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Breeders Championships West Coast Series Final, and a full roster of evening entertainment. Complete daily results, schedules, and additional competition information about the California Dressage Society Championship Show is available on the CDS website, www.california-dressage.org.