Music To Our Ears - A Spectacular Evening of Wine Tasting and Dressage Musical Freestyles

CDS and Giracci Vineyards & Farms Host a Spectacular Evening of Wine Tasting and Dressage Musical Freestyles.

Mary Kehoe and Ascension in passage with a view of the Chardonnay barn
Mary Kehoe and Ascension in passage with a view of the Chardonnay barn

Orange County was the happening place to be for both horse enthusiasts and wine lovers alike on July 22nd as the San Juan Capistrano Chapter of the California Dressage Society and Giracci Winery hosted "An Evening of Wine Tasting and Musical Freestyles.” The event was designed to be both social and educational, mingling Giracci wine club members with local equestrians. Spectators sipped award-winning wines while watching and learning about musical freestyles from visiting clinician, Cynthia Collins. Giracci’s unique octagonal tasting room and outdoor seating area were perfectly situated for the event, with a picturesque view of the dressage court nestled amongst sprawling oak trees and lush canyon landscaping. 

Chad and Linda Kearns rescued the ten acre Giracci Vineyards & Farms from disrepair five years ago, modernizing it while carefully maintaining the integrity and historical ambiance that made the property unique. The facility, which re-opened in February 2011, offers opportunities for contemporary wine tasting and special events, as well as a glimpse into an equestrian lifestyle with its fully equipped, state-of-the-art boarding and training operation.

Emily Tears and Lopaca float past the crowd in a beautiful extended trot.
Emily Tears and Lopaca float past the crowd in a beautiful extended trot.

Four talented, local dressage riders and horses demonstrated their musical freestyles:

  • Heather Neely on Enchante
  • Mary Kehoe (USDF bronze, silver, and gold medalist, trainer, clinician) on Ascension (owned by Nicole Bhathal)
  • Emily Tears (USDF bronze and silver medalist, NAJYRC team member Region 7 - 2007) on Lopaca
  • Kelli Newton (USDF bronze medalist, NAJYRC team member Region 7 - 2011) on Luciano (owned by Karen Ball)

Veteran dressage judge, trainer, and clinician Brent Hicks provided commentary for the audience. Each horse and rider combination showed varying levels of difficulty and complexity in their freestyles and garnered much applause from the crowd.

The evening continued as guests were invited to a gourmet dinner followed by a presentation from Cynthia Collins, the guest clinician for the weekend, to learn just what it takes to create the magical musical freestyle. Cynthia is a USDF gold medalist and winner of numerous freestyle championships. With over fifteen years experience making freestyles for herself and clients, Cynthia is an expert in this area. She says that she enjoys sharing her knowledge and “believes adding music to the ride is what will continue making dressage of interest to the general public.”

Riders pose with Nicole Bhathal, Kristin Young (Co-Chair, CDS San Juan Capistrano Chapter), and the Kearns Family.
Riders pose with Nicole Bhathal, Kristin Young (Co-Chair, CDS San Juan Capistrano Chapter), and the Kearns Family.

Some of the participants in the lecture also had the pleasure of riding with Cynthia over the weekend at Sycamore Stables in San Juan Capistrano. Riders worked together with her to develop the right music to match their horse’s footfalls and showcase their best movements.

Over 150 guests enjoyed this magnificent evening celebrating the sport of dressage. CDS San Juan Capistrano Chapter wishes to thank Giracci Vineyards & Farms, Cynthia, the demonstration riders and horses, and all the volunteers who made the event a huge success!

To see more photos of this wonderful venue and event go to: albrightphotos.smugmug.com/Dressage/CDS-Giracci/




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