American dressage rider Lisette Milner has made a big impression in Europe by ranking among Germany's greatest dressage riders at the CDN in Meppen, Germany. Aboard her 9-year old Dutch warmblood stallion Eminence, Milner scored 65.08% in the Grand Prix and 63.08% in the Grand Prix Special and left distinguished riders such as Michael Klimke, Holga Finken, Françoise Cantamessa and Bianca Kasselmann far behind her.
In the Grand Prix, Milner placed 14th in a field of 45 international competitors. "I had a really good ride and I'm very happy with it," Milner said. "My trainer Ernst Hoyos was also thrilled." This great score enabled them to ride the Special the following day. "In Europe, you celebrate if you make the list for the Special," Milner joked.
In the Grand Prix Special, Milner lost her concentration and went off course in the flying changes, but still managed to produce a 63.08% mark. "I hadn't ridden the Special in such a long time, and personally made some mistakes. It's all part of the learning stage," Milner explained. "We did get lots of 8's for the piaffe," she added.
Eminence, Ablaze with Talent
The competition in Meppen was Eminence' third Grand Prix in his life and Lisette's third official outing at a CDI show in Europe. "Had I been more known with the judges, I think I would have gotten a better score," Milner said. Her KWPN licensed stallion Eminence (by Burggraaf x Santa Luigi) is only 9-years old and very green at that level, but is an international caliber horse ablaze with talent and potential.
In November 2003, Milner made her Grand Prix debut with Eminence at the CDI Oldenburg, where the duo got 65.46% from the panel of judges. The pair continued its European conquest at the CDI in Olfen, Germany, riding a conservative but clean Grand Prix test. "Eminence just recuperated from a minor injury and I wanted to play it safe at that show," Milner said.
Their third Euro-show was at their home base Gestut Hoftehof in Meppen, Germany, where they gained respect from judges, riders and trainers with their two promising rides.
Milner's "Euro Summer Camp"
In the spring of 2003, Milner packed her three horses and relocated from Wellington, Florida, to Meppen, Germany, for an intense summer training session with world renowned dressage trainer Ernst Hoyos. What started out as "summer camp" has now turned into a one-year sabbatical from teaching and training in the U.S. But, it's not really a year "off."
"I work very hard there and ride 6 horses a day. Training with Hoyos is very inspiring, I learn so much each day. It will not only make me a better rider, but it also makes me a better teacher," Lisette confessed.
Her husband Michael Milner, who is a wine dealer in Knoxville, TN, regularly commutes to Europe to see his wife. "I went back to Florida round Christmas, because Michael doesn't like cold European weather. In the spring he comes over more often," Lisette said. Michael and Lisette have explored Hamburg, Meppen and Munster in depth and recently broadened their European horizons by having a romantic getaway in the medieval city of Brughes, Belgium.
Milner will return to the U.S. in the fall, ready for the 2005 Dressage in Florida show season.
by Astrid Appels of eurodressage.com
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