Katie Riley, 32, of Whitehouse Station, NJ, and Jupiter, FL, topped nine entries to win the Intermediaire Freestyle, CDI, scoring 71.475% with Adonis owned by Horses Unlimited. Michael Shondel of Kinnelon, NJ, earned 71.00% with his Wallaby for second place. Patricia Becker of Lake Forest, IL, scored 70.375% for third aboard Tsunami owned by Leslie Richmann.
“It was a lot of fun. Everything just seemed to come together. It felt fantastic,” said Riley who has had the ride on the 11-year-old stallion by Aalborg for 18 months. Riley is the assistant trainer at Cesar Parra’s stable, Piaffe Performance, and has been in training with Parra for four years. Parra formerly rode Adonis and showed him successfully through 2002. Riley’s freestyle music was entitled Miracles, a kur Parra performed with Adonis. “He was kind enough to let me have it,” said Riley. “I love the music. It’s mainly Spanish guitar.”
Riley noted that she was most proud of the tempi changes. “I got 8s on my changes, which have sometimes been a problem, so it was nice to have it all work today,” she said. “The best part was that I was able to have a lot of fun. I love this horse so much. He’s a pleasure and can be so expressive. To have him so there – I could just sit and smile and relax and have a great time.”
As far as her riding goals, Riley said, “I want to be the very, very best that I can. I work very hard. Cesar has been so wonderful. He’s taught me so much. We just keep on working every day. I’m a firm believer in that the day you stop learning, you should just quit.”