DEL MAR, CA – “It’s all coming together now,” said Olympian Guenter Seidel after his winning ride in the Grand Prix Special on the final day of California Dreaming Productions’ Dressage Affaire CDI3*/Y/J/U-25, held March 10-13 in Del Mar. Next-to-last to go in the class order, he and his mount Zero Gravity easily cruised to the top of the leaderboard and earned the unanimous win under all five judges with a score of 73.471%.
Finishing in second with 68.176% was Leona Pollack’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Zuperman (Sir Sinclair x Rosella by Inspekteur), whose CDI debut proved to be a successful one under the guidance of former FEI World Equestrian Games bronze medalist Kathleen Raine.
Seidel and Zero Gravity (KWPN gelding [Royal Hit x Naica by Contango] owned by James and Charlotte Mashburn) proved they are on a roll. Prior to Sunday’s Grand Prix Special win, they came off of a solid performance and second-place ribbon in Friday’s Grand Prix test.
This was preceded by a big win in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the Mid-Winter Dressage CDI-W in Burbank two weeks ago – a victory which also punched the pair’s ticket as one of only two North American representatives to the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final, coming up on March 23-27, 2016 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
“I’m thrilled. He’s starting to mature now and everything’s starting to fall into place,” Seidel explained. “The Grand Prix was a good start on Friday, and then he came back today in the Special very relaxed and seemed to go through it with ease. I think we’re also figuring out how to work together even better at the shows. For example, he can be a hot horse and a little fresh the first day and then be better the second, so I made some adjustments at this show to take him out for a short morning work before the afternoon’s test, and it worked out well so we’ll continue with that strategy for the future.”
Now Seidel shifts his sights to making final preparations for the upcoming World Cup in Gothenburg, for which he departs on Wednesday. “My goal for this show in Del Mar was to use it as one more outing to further develop Zero Gravity’s confidence and consistency in the ring, and it worked out perfectly. I’m super happy because today’s ride was a great last test to have before we leave,” said Seidel.
“Of course the World Cup will be a whole new ball game - there are very few venues where you can simulate that type of electric environment. But it will be a great experience for Zero Gravity to get under his belt for the future.”
In the Intermediaire Freestyle, Shayna Simon and her 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding Harley Davidson (His Highness x Walt Lady by Walt Disney I) powered to another CDI victory with a big score of 74.425%. Former USEF Young Rider National Champion and NAYRC Team Gold Medalist Anna Buffini and her KWPN gelding Wilton 11 (Jazz x Olympia-W by Contango) continue their winning streak in the CDI Under-25 division by topping today’s U-25 Grand Prix test with 65.426%.
Finishing in second with 62.209% was fellow NAYRC Gold Medalist and Buffini’s Region 7 team mate Cassidy Gallman with her Hanoverian gelding Grand Makana (by Goodman).
This year’s Dressage Affaire CDI marked the successful return of the international portion of the show after a two-year absence, and also provided an additional opportunity for USEF Dressage Technical Advisor/Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover to observe talented prospects in California.
“There is a wealth of great riding out here on the West Coast,” said Dover during an on-air interview with CDP Live commentator Axel Steiner. “There have been so many super riders here for years that have not only achieved greatness themselves but have mentored other great up-and-coming riders, so I was happy to be able to be here.”
The next California Dreaming Productions international dressage showcase will be the Festival of the Horse CDI 3*/Y/J/U-25, to be held March 30-April 2, 2016 at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park (The Oaks) in San Juan Capistrano. Enjoy the show from the best seats in the house in the VIP pavilion, with upgraded packages that include full breakfast and lunch service. Limited tables are still available – for more information, contact Alisa Wilson at email@example.com.
In addition, the Festival of the Horse CDI will once again be live-streamed and available for viewers around the world via subscription to CDP Live, featuring the wildly-popular expert commentary by FEI 5* judge Axel Steiner. Don’t miss a minute of the excitement – order your season pass for complete video access plus archives of all featured rides. Sign up today at this link.
Complete results for The Dressage Affaire CDI and national show are now available at www.californiadreamingproductions.com.