Michelle Gibson and World of Dreams

Two 10s and the Diamond Stud Award

"It’s about time a man gave me a diamond!" quipped Michelle Gibson. Gibson won the Diamond Stud Award at the WEF Dressage Classic CDI*** in Wellington, Florida, after four days of competition, March 14-17. She was the highest-point-scoring rider of the entire show in Open CDI competition. Gibson and World of Dreams earned 73.100% in the Intermediaire I class.

In a special ceremony, Gibson was presented with the Diamond Stud Award, which included a .65 carat diamond stud set in a black onyx lapel pin with gold trim and a breeding to the stallion ‘Diamond’. The award is appraised at $4,000 and is sponsored by Diamond Legacy Breeding.

"I was pleased with my St. Georges," said Gibson, who also earned the second highest score in the Open CDI classes with her 70.950% in the Prix St. Georges on World of Dreams. "I had a few little bobbles in there that I knew we could clean up – it’s just a matter of me doing the right thing and him responding to it. Then we went in for the I-1 and he was fabulous. He went in and he was right there. I was very pleased with it. It’s the cleanest test that I’ve ridden this winter season with him. I felt really good about it."

Richard Cannon and his wife Meryl Cannon own the stallion ‘Diamond’ and operate Diamond Legacy Breeding. The couple presented the award to Gibson. Mr. Cannon explained the concept of the award. "We’ve been looking for a way to reward the riders and give them an opportunity to keep an award. So often the awards are given to the owners and to the people that are financing the horse’s career. It’s nice to see the rider, who sometimes is not the owner, actually get an award they get to keep. We believe that the Diamond Stud Award will be a source of pride for the winners of the award. When they go into the arena, you can see that they’ve achieved the very best score in the highest level of competition in the past and you should be looking for additional great performances from that particular rider."

The Cannons presented the award for the first time in 2001 at the Paxton Farms CDI in Batavia, Ohio, and presented it twice more last year. "This year we did it the first time in Burbank at the National Freestyle Championships CDI," said Mr. Cannon. "We’re giving out the award at virtually every CDI competition this year, so other CDI riders will have an opportunity to compete for the award."

So far, the Diamond Stud Award has been presented to Sue Blinks, Shannon Dueck, Gina Smith, and now, Michelle Gibson. The diamond stud itself is removable from the pin so the rider can also wear it as an earring.

Not only do the Cannons want to reward riders, but they are also smart marketers for their breeding operation. "We believe that CDI competition is the best of the best in competition and we wanted people to learn to associate the best of the best with our stallion Diamond, who happens to be a stud, and hence the Diamond Stud Award," explained Mr. Cannon.

Gibson received two 10s in her award-winning I-I test, both for extended trot. "I mean the horse can trot, I’ll tell ya!" said a very happy Gibson. "And he has fun with it. That’s really where he shines the most."

Goetz Weber-Stefan, an ‘O’ judge from Germany, was the official who awarded Gibson the two 10s. "It was perfect," said Weber-Stefan. "It was excellent and excellent is 10, easily explained. Yes, I think her stallion is a high performance horse and it could be in the future, hopefully, a good team horse for your country. There’s a lot of potential. I think we saw a few good horses, but from my point of view this horse was absolutely outstanding."

Wojciech Markowski, an ‘O’ judge from Poland agreed. "I think all the horses here made a good impression. I’ve judged in America many times and what I found here in Florida was good, though some horses were excellent, like this horse from Michelle Gibson. He is really an outstanding horse."