Saugerties, N.Y. – America’s largest dressage show is in full gear. The New England Dressage Association’s Fall Festival of Dressage kicked off on Thursday September 21 and runs through Sunday.
This year’s show is on par with that of previous years with nearly 700 horses competing in an event that requires eight competition rings to accommodate them all. Wait lists for classes often have a dozen or more riders hoping for the chance at an entry and many championship classes are already packed with several dozen competitors.
“But so far things are running smooth,” said show manager Beth Jenkins. Even the weather has been cooperating with sunny skies and warm temperatures. “With a show this size you have 10,000 moving parts that are constantly in motion and changing. It’s a lot of work keeping all the parts working together. We feel like we are dodging bullets every day.”
Jenkins credits the army of volunteers and NEDA staff for making the Fall Festival, which combines a breed show, an open dressage show, the U.S. Dressage Federation Region 8 Championships and an international CDI, a successful operation.
“We have a great staff. I have found that if you have good people, they eventually fall into doing things at which they excel. All you have to do is give them the freedom to do what they do best,” said Jenkins as she pointed to Kate O’Connor, who is officially in charge of presentations but who Jenkins called “the keeper of the stuff.”
“I am a master packer,” O’Connor said. “I made sure everything we need arrived and in one piece.” The breed show has been one of the highlights of the first two days of competition and it wrapped up on Friday. One of the big winners of the show was a mare with a long history of NEDA breed show championships – MW Dallas, a five-year- old Oldenburg (Sir Gregory/St.Pr.St. Delovely Dormello) owned by Jen Vanover of Middletown, New York. Vanover had a number of breed show wins during the first two days of competition.
Another successful breed competitor was Eliza Rutherford, owner of Foxwood Hanoverians in Charlotte, Vermont. One of her biggest wins of the show was the Great American/USDF New England Breeder’s Championship for Fillies with Fantine’s Aria FH with a score of 77.512. Rutherford bred the filly but sold it in utero to Terri Feldman-Hoertdoerfer of Woburn, Mass.
“We were stabled next to each other at the (USDF) Nationals. Terri was looking for a youngster by the stallion (Floriscount) and I mentioned that I had a mare (EM Dallara DaCaprio) in foal by that stallion,” Rutherford said. The mare had once been the number one yearling in the U.S. so it was an easy sale for Rutherford.
“When you buy in utero it’s a leap of faith so it’s nice to see that the filly did so well,” Rutherford said. “She certainly has it in her to do well and she’s been scoring over 80 at other breed shows this season. She’s a good mover and very harmonious for a yearling. She has two half siblings that have also been very successful, including an older brother that was the number one 2-year- old in the country when he was that age.”