Saugerties, N.Y. – Within two weeks of the opening day for entries, nearly every open class of the New England Dressage Association’s Fall Festival of Dressage, held this weekend at the HITS-on-the-Hudson show grounds, was full. In the end, there were nearly 1,600 rides during the show and a waitlist of hundreds still looking for an open spot. “We just couldn’t handle more,” said Beth Jenkins, show manager for NEDA. “We can’t get bigger than this because we just don’t have the manpower.” Although Jenkins said that behind the scenes there were moments of what she called “POCs – pockets of chaos” in reality even the weather was relatively smooth sailing this year. Most every day of the four-day event was sunny except for the final day of clouds. What rain did hit came through during the night on Saturday and had left by Sunday morning.
To handle a show of this size, NEDA relied on an Army of volunteers, staff from HITS-on-the-Hudson show grounds, and support staff from Centerline Events to run the dressage show portion of the event and staff from Chesapeake Equestrian Events to help run the breed show part of the event. “It was a melding of three teams that came together and worked together. It was a true working partnership and all three organizations deserve credit for the success of the show,” Jenkins said.
“Many of the same people come back every year to help and these people have really become reliable. We know we can count on them to make it happen,” said Robert Higgins, who helped manage the awards ceremonies.
The Fall Festival combines a breed show, open dressage show, the U.S. Dressage Federation Region 8 Championships, para-dressage competition and an international CDI competition. Even with seven rings running, Jenkins said the Fall Festival could not accommodate all the riders who wanted ring time. “We have to take care of the regional championship classes first and then move on from there.”
Although the Region 8 Championships draws competitors from throughout the Northeast, the CDI portion of the competition drew competitors from up and down the East Coast. It seemed there were nearly as many Canadian riders as Americans and a large number of those in the Canadian contingent rode away with the blue ribbons in CDI competition. At the top of that list was Olympic Canadian rider Ashley Holzer who grabbed wins in both the CDI Grand Prix and the CDI Grand Prix Special with the 13-year-old Swedish gelding Jewel’s Adelante. The pair scored a 71.149 in the CDI Grand Prix and a 71.563 in the CDI Grand Prix Special.
Fellow Canadian Brittany Fraser took wins in both the CDI Prix St. Georges and the CDI Intermediate I with the eight-year-old KWPN gelding All In, scoring a 73.289 in the Prix St. Georges and a 73.684 in the Intermediate I. It was American rider Kimberly Herslow, however, riding Rosmarin, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding, who took the win in the CDI Intermediate Freestyle with a score of 76.417.
Among winners in the Region 8 Championships at the FEI level were Cesar Parra, who took the 2013 Open Grand Prix Championship with the 11-year-old KWPN gelding Van the Man, and Heather Mason, who was crowned 2013 Region 8 champion in both the Intermediate II and the Grand Prix Freestyle with the 10-year-old KWPN gelding Warsteiner. Mason and Warsteiner also won the FEI Grand Prix Open class and placed second in the Region 8 Open Grand Prix competition. Winner of the Intermediate II Region 8 championship for adult amateurs was Jennifer Huber riding the 11-year-old KWPN gelding Vito.