Lexington, KY. – For the first time in its history, the Kentucky Dressage Association (KDA) held a CDI *** during its 26th annual competition, May 24-27, which drew riders from Canada, Spain, and throughout the nation, vying to qualify in the sport for the 2012 Olympics. “I love coming here,” said Canadian Olympic contender David Marcus. “It’s a great place, the management has been very accommodating and the (arena) footing is world class.” Saturday evening's FEI Freestyle and CDI*** FEI Grand Prix Freestyle classes wowed the crowd with great rides and entertaining music. American Pierre St Jacques, riding his horse Lucky Tiger, won the CDI*** FEI Grand Prix Freestyle with a terrific score of 71.15 percent. Canadian rider Jaimey Irwin took second with a score of 69.8 percent and Canadian David Marcus on Don Kontes took third place with a score of 68.12 percent.
Equestrian Lakes sponsored the four-day show at the Kentucky Horse Park, which drew a record number of riders from across the United States, Spain, and Canada competing for trophies, ribbons and prize money. The show was one of the final opportunities for top North American riders to qualify for the London Olympics in July. In addition to the international competition, the show included a spring warm up during the first two days. Thursday and Friday’s warm-up show featured 58 classes in five different rings, including the Rolex Arena with over 500 rides.
One of these Olympic hopefuls, Canadian David Marcus, rode Chrevi’s Capital to win Fridays CDI*** FEI Grand Prix. Marcus said he has ridden this horse for two years and is pleased with how well Chrevi’s Capital has progressed. He added that he believes the KDA win helped him qualify for the Canadian Olympic team, which will be announced in three weeks.
Throughout the four day event, spectators enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere while high-quality horses and top-level riders performed in front of Olympic-level judges. Nine dressage judges from four countries evaluated over 1000 rides.
“It is an honor to be here judging at the finest equine facility in the world, I mean in the world!” said event judge Kay Meredith, a 1983 U.S. Equestrian Federation Gold Medal Pan-Am Team Member. “I have been to a lot of places, I especially love Ireland.”
One of the highest scores on Friday went to Diane Edna Creech riding Robbie W in the CDI* FEI Prix St. Georges.
Junior rider Megan Lane, from Canada, scored a big win in the North American Young Rider Championship (NAYRC) class riding Lucky Lemon. The win qualifies Lane as a team member for the Canadian Young Rider Championships. She repeated a win on Lucky Lemon in the NAYRC Young Rider Individual Class.
“I wanted to use this competition as a prep for the championships because the Canadian team will be chosen on June 17 and I have already qualified,” said Lane. “I was coming here to compete my other horse in the Grand Prix and felt this would be a good prep for Lucky Lemon.”
Some highlights of the show included Therese Evans riding Tsjesse Fan It Beielan, one of the few Fresian horses competing. She scored well to win the Open FEI Prix St Georges, and Tina Busse-Irwin riding Winston won the CDI* FEI Intermediate I.
During Sunday's competition – a shorter day with more intense and difficult tests –Megan Lane and Lucky Lemon again won their test, the CDIY NAYRC Young Rider Freestyle, for the third day in a row, labeling them the “Triple Crown Winner” of the weekend.
Nine riders entered the CDI*** FEI Olympic Grand Prix Special, which was the main class of the day. As people gathered to watch, the intensity of each ride was evident. Spectators quietly sat in the stadium as the heat of the day began to take its toll. The crowd supported each rider and cheered for great tests. In the end, Marcus and Chrevi’s Capital once again took home the trophy. The winner smiled and patted his horse as he left the arena, rewarding his mount for a test that scored 70.578 percent. “I love coming here,” Marcus said. “It’s a great place, the management has been very accommodating and the (arena) footing is world class.”
When asked about the upcoming London Olympic games, he said, “Depending what happens tomorrow, I will either go on to one more CDI, in Blainville [Quebec], or straight on to Europe so there is time to adjust.”
“I am very lucky to have two good horses,” Marcus added. “Capital has more mileage than my other horse, who is a bit greener. They are both owned by Deborah Kinzinger and she has been wonderful. She has allowed me to do this.”
Upcoming KDA shows include a schooling show, August 25-26, at Masterson Station Park, in Lexington, and the USDF Region 2 Championships in the Rolex Arena, Oct. 11-14, and the KDA Fall Classic National Show, Oct. 11-14, also at the Kentucky Horse Park in the Dressage Complex.
The Kentucky Dressage Association, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization established in 1979 to encourage participation and education in the equine discipline of Dressage. The Kentucky Dressage Association (KDA) is comprised of members (pre-teen to senior citizen) from Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, and Tennessee who are passionate about horses and Dressage. The KDA is a group Member Organization (GMO) of the United States Dressage Federation. Additional information can be found at www.kentuckydressageassociation.org.