Saugerties, New York – CDI competition is intense at this year's New England Dressage Association Fall Festival CDI. It is perhaps the largest CDI competition ever for the annual NEDA show with CDI entries so large it resulted in an overflow into tent stabling at the FEI barn located on the HITS-on-the-Hudson show grounds where the event is being held. And in CDI Grand Prix competition, Lauren Sammis and Sagacious HF continued their winning ways. The pair took another Grand Prix win earning a score of 70.085 in a large class of 25. "You see other people fighting to put a blue ribbon on their horses but Sagacious lines up for them. He doesn't want those other colors. He likes those blue ones," said Hyperion Farms' Al Guden, owner of Sagacious. "This is only his seventh CDI class and he's won six. He lost one to Michael Barisone at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby. He was second but he came back the next day and won the Grand Prix Special so he figures he got even."
Kemmet Photo: NEDA's Paul Cormier Directing CDI Traffic
Guden said he still pinches himself worried that he'll wake up from a dream. "I'm so excited. I've had the horse since he was four months old. It's just a once-in-a-lifetime horse." Guden is quick to note that the success of Sammis and Sagacious results from a team effort that includes veterinarian Rick Mitchell, blacksmith Don Later and groom Katie Patton. "I just get to pay the bills," he joked. Barron has been the main groom for Sagacious since January and calls him a "humble horse, but one that does look at you as 'just a human.' I'm really just his human pet."
Guden also gives much credit to Sammis. "She just does such a good job taking care of him. He doesn't get beat to death like some do. I've seen people piaffe and passage a horse for hours on end. If Lauren does it once a week, that's enough. She really cares for him and takes it easy and you can see it. Sagacious is so relaxed and easy to be around."
Sammis agreed saying that Sagacious has become quite settled and confident in the Grand Prix and knows his job and enjoys it. "My horse is great. He feels good and solid and is having a good time in there. He feels like he knows what's coming and isn't surprised by it. I can ask for a little more or a little less and he can handle it. He's confident and I'm able to push a bit more," she said.
Taking second in the CDI Grand Prix was birthday girl Tina Konyot who celebrated with a score of 68.596 and a red ribbon with Calecto V. Konyot left the ring after her ride to a rendition of "Happy Birthday" sung by fans and friends in the stands. "Since it's Tina's birthday, she asked Lauren if she could win today," joked Guden about the request to unseat his horse from first place. Coming in third was Lars Petersen riding Naomi, a competitor in last year's Olympic Selection Trials with Lisa Wilcox, to a score of 68.00.
Kemmet Photo: Top Three finishers in the NEDA Grand Prix - Lauren Sammis, Lars Petersen, and Tina Konyot
In other CDI competition, Cesar Parra and Olympia are on the path toward three wins after winning Friday's CDI Prix St. Georges with a score of 68.421 and Saturday's Intermediaire I with a score of 69.105. They'll be competing in Sunday's CDI Intermediaire Freestyle. Coming in second in the Prix St. Georges was Tom Dvorak riding Viva's Salieri to a score of 68.368. Second in the I-1 was Cheryl Meisner riding Lucky Strike to a score of 67.737.
The final day of competition at the Fall Festival is Sunday with the bulk of the day consisting of freestyle competitions. Full show results can be found at www.neda.org.