New Bern, NC - There's something about Mary-Haskins Gurganus Dressage horses and Sotheby's Stakes that just seems to click. In only his fourth show ring appearance, Gurganus’s FEI Young Horse, Ramone, won the Sotheby's Stakes at Pinehurst Dressage with a 76.5% and over the October 5-6 weekend, it was Ramone's sire and Gurganus’s veteran campaigner, Richmond, who delivered his highest score yet (71.3%) in the Prix St. Georges to win the Sotheby's Stakes at NCDCTA Harvest Moon Dressage at the Senator Bob Martin Center in Williamston, NC. Gurganus stated: "Richmond was a good boy. He was small tour champion for NCDCTA with a average score of 70.6%, won the Sotheby's Stakes small tour and was high score twice. Thank you to everyone for everything you have done to help us! Best of all, Elizabeth Carr, my best gal and student, got her qualifying score for the Colonel Bengt Ljungquist Memorial (BLM) championships!”
More fully explaining the 'small tour,' Gurganus continued, “I competed in the small tour open championships, which were an average of your two scores from either of the small tour classes. We competed in the I-1 Saturday and earned a 69.868% for first place and competed in the Prix St George on Sunday, earning our highest score to date, a 71.316%, and first-place. Richmond was named Champion Open Small Tour Horse for 2013.”
And well-deserved, if you ask Gurganus, whose work with the talented stallion earned them last year's Wellington Cup and FEI High Score at Williamston Spring Dressage. A North Carolina dressage force to be reckoned with, Gurganus rode into this year's Harvest Moon Dressage Championships with an impressive record of five NCDCTA Horse of the Year titles - on five horses.
“The I-I is usually the better test for Richmond so I was very pleased with his delivery in the PSG. I was very pleased with the improvement in his canter pirouettes and becoming more electric off my leg. He keeps improving every time out and that alone makes me happy.”
Happy and busy. “In the immediate future, we plan to compete at the USDF Region 1 GAIGs in both small tour championship classes. Then possibly again at the Region 1 BLMs.
“Our future is wide open. I have plans to compete in Florida this season and just see where that leads us.” With Gurganus stride for stride will be her most earnest fans: “My mom is my biggest fan and supporter. Also Shawna Harding for her training, support and guidance.”
Gurganus is also celebrating the great showing at Harvest Moon Dressage of her student, Elizabeth Carr, who qualified for the Colonel Bengt Ljungquist Memorial Championships on her Appendix-registered Quarter Horse, Incredibly Regal: “Not only is she one of my best clients but she has also been my best friend since kindergarten and my college roommate. To say that we have fun at the shows is an understatement!
“She grew up in the Quarter Horse world and has transitioned to dressage over the past couple of years. She and her horse were AQHA Amateur Training Level Dressage National Champions last year! This year, they are competing First level and are well on their way again. On Saturday, they received their First level qualifying score for the 2013 CBLMs!”
The Colonel Bengt Ljungquist Memorial Championships were founded in 1983 to stimulate regional dressage competition at the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) levels and have served as a model for other regional championships throughout the United States. Senior and Junior/Young Riders qualify by attaining goal scores ranging (depending on level) from 58% to 65%.
Follow the progress of Mary-Haskins Gurganus Dressage and its horses and riders at www.maryhaskinsdressage.com.