This past winter, Kassandra Barteau drove 24 hours with her family to reach the Florida show circuit where she collected a mass of blue ribbons. This weekend she's only had to drive 25 minutes to add to her blue ribbon collection.
"We had a great season in Florida," Barteau said, "And now it's going really great up here at home. And the show this weekend is so convenient. I love it." The Barteau dressage clan, owners of KYB Dressage, which includes not only the 19-year-old Kassandra but also parents Yvonne and Kim, is based in Gilberts, Illinois. One of several sponsors of the weekend CDI, was Grand Prix Equestrian home of KYB Dressage, a new facility due to open in June partnered with longtime owner, Ginna Franz.
In young rider competition Barteau is finding that her most serious competition is herself. In Friday's FEI Young Rider Team Test, she took both first and second and then did the same thing in Saturday's FEI Young Rider Prix St. Georges.
Barteau took first in the Young Rider Team Test with Sheffield with a score of 67.556 percent and second with GP Raymeister and a score of 64.148. In the Prix St. Georges class, she was first with Raymeister with a score of 66.667 percent and second with Sheffield with a score of 64.750. "That was awesome," Barteau said of her first and second placings two days in a row. "They're both really challenging and on any given day, either one can be the winner.
I'm really proud of both of them. And I'm proud of my big mare, Gabi, she did really, really good in the I-1 where she was fourth today. And yesterday, she was third in the Prix St. Georges." Gabriella was Barteau's Young Rider mount at the 2007 NAJYRC.
Raymeister is a Holsteiner stallion by Rantares and owned by Ginna Frantz. Raymeister is a Holsteiner stallion by Rantares and owned by Ginna Frantz. Gabriella, "Gabi," is a 16-year-old Hanoverian mare by Grosso Z and owned by Robert Oury. And Sheffield is a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Kristin Allen. Of the two boys, Barteau said she is pleasantly surprised at how well they are doing this year.
"Ray has made a huge jump from last year. He's really green, but really willing and super sweet and a wonderful athlete. He's always willing to do the job and is super talented," she said. "Sheffield did Prix St. Georges last year, but he was weak at it. This year, he's clearly getting more comfortable with his tests and the movements."
As things look now, the young Barteau will be heading to California in June with four horses for the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Dressage. She is aiming for the Brentina Cup with her mother's stallion, Liberty. "I have one qualifying score with him already and will show him again next weekend. If that goes well, we'll be off to California." Also going to California will be Raymeister, Sheffield and Gabriella.
Sheffield is a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Kristin Allen.
After California, Barteau has her sights set on the North American Junior/Young Rider Championships in Colorado, but she's not yet sure if she'll compete with Raymeister or Sheffield. "They are head to head and whichever is doing better at the time, I'll take to Colorado."
Clearly, through the support of her family Barteau has been provided with opportunities of which many other young riders can only dream. But she is aware of how fortunate she is. "I feel really lucky. It's totally wonderful and I feel very blessed. And I have to thank all of my sponsors and, of course, my mom. She's the reason for my passion anyway. And she sticks with me and helps me out, even when I get a little bit of an attitude and we have that bit of mother-daughter tension. It's really nice to have wonderful help at my hands all the time."