Dr. Lisa Teske of Solvang, Cal. wasn’t looking for a horse quite so young when shopping for a new mount in 2014, but little did she know that taking a chance on importing a three-year-old named Safari would eventually result in her winning a regional title at the 50th Anniversary California Dressage Society (CDS) Championship Show, being held September 21-24, 2017 in Rancho Murieta.
“He was a bit of an emotional purchase,” said Teske, who works as a veterinarian with Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center in Los Olivos, Cal. “I was looking for a new horse and a friend in Germany had this nice Westfalen gelding, but at just three years old he was younger than I was looking for. But I just had a feeling. I kept trying to talk myself out of it, that I should find something a little older, but Safari was the one I kept circling back to. I couldn’t put my finger on it. So three years later here we are.”
Dr. Teske’s leap of faith in her now six-year-old partner ultimately paid off on Saturday as the elegant pair cruised to victory in the Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Adult Amateur First Level Championship with 73.824%. “We’ve taken our time bringing Safari along, so this is only his first year of showing and his just fourth show ever,” she noted. “He can still get a little distracted by the whole show environment, but today was the first time he’s really felt with me the whole time in the ring. I’m very proud of him.”
In CDS Horse of the Year awards, Ari Lopez of Pleasant Hill, Cal. rode Christiane Noelting’s six-year-old Hanoverian gelding Fabio to victory in the $1,000 First Level Open division, sweeping both rounds of competition for an overall two-test average of 75.014% to earn the McLeod Perpetual Trophy. Meanwhile, Kristen Lee Aggers of Windsor, Cal. and her Oldenburg mare Donnabella followed up on their Great American/USDF Region 7 win on Friday by claiming the Bengt Lungquist Memorial Trophy for $1,000 CDS Second Level Open Horse of the Year with 69.012%.
At Third Level, Adult Amateur Veronica Nemmer of San Jose rode her KWPN gelding Andreo to claim the Great American/USDF Region 7 title on the strength of a score of 72.436%. But it was Wendy Sasser’s KWPN gelding F.J. Ramzes who really impressed the judges in the Region 7 Third Level Open Championship. After top honors at First and Second Level in both 2015 and 2016, F.J. Ramzes continued his winning tradition by effortlessly moving up to Third and earning a dominant victory over 20 competitors with an impressive score of 76.282%.
“I’ve never been on a horse where everything comes so easy for him,” said rider Lehua Custer of North Hollywood, Cal., whose eight-hour trek north to attend the Championship Show proved worthwhile. “I have to tell you that Hilda Gurney is the reason that both of us are here. She raised this horse and trained me as a rider, and still coaches me with him to this day. She’s taught me everything I know, and I definitely would not be here if it weren’t for her. She’s very positive about this horse’s future and that’s so exciting, and it’s such a special journey for all of us to share in.”
For more information about the 50th Anniversary California Dressage Society Championship Show, including news, schedules, ride times, and results, visit the CDS website and follow along with behind-the-scenes updates and photos on the CDS Facebook page.