Saugerties, N.Y. – Eight members of the New England Dressage Association got a surprise when they competed at this year’s Fall Festival of Dressage – a special award for having the highest score in their categories. In past years of the Fall Festival, members of NEDA got a break on their entry fees but that went away this year after the U.S. Dressage Federation eliminated the option of charging non-member fees. With the member discount no longer available, NEDA members Fie Studnitz and David Collins decided to replace it with a special high-score award for NEDA members. Four award divisions were created – an open division, an adult amateur division, a junior/young rider division and an FEI division. “The idea was to give winners cool stuff and make this the award that you want to get,” said Fie Studnitz Andersen.
Collins, who also gave away signed copies of his book, Dressage Masters, said the hope is that the award will help encourage more people to join NEDA when they compete at the Fall Festival. “NEDA has such a long and rich history of promoting dressage in this country. It’s one of the most prolific dressage organizations in terms of providing educational opportunities for people. So, I think it’s an important organization to support and I’m happy I could offer my book as part of the awards,” he said.
The high-score awards, which also included a beautiful NEDA cooler, were given out during the Saturday evening competitors’ party that was sponsored by Pineland Farms in Maine. Winner of the high-score award for the adult amateur division was Amy Galonek, who scored a 78.103 percent with the nine-year-old Hanoverian mare Raphaela in First Level competition. The award came as a big surprise to her.
“I wasn’t aware of this and it’s very exciting,” she said. “I think this is wonderful. I was so happy with my score and realized I had won the class but didn’t know there was this award. It was a very nice surprise.”
Galonek, a mother of two, works part-time as a surgery technician at Tufts University Veterinary Hospital. She’s been a member of NEDA for two years and joined when she made the switch from riding hunter/jumpers to dressage after a Thoroughbred mare she had could no longer jump. “She was a pretty mover so I decided to try dressage.” From there, Galonek leased Raphaela, then fell in love and bought her.
“Last year was my first year out competing so I decided to join NEDA and also USDF.” In addition to their NEDA member high-score award, Galonek , who trains with Doris Carlson, and Raphaela also earned reserve championship titles at both First and Second Levels.
Other high-score winners were Jacalyn Smith with Ariella (Open Division Champion), Fie Studnitz Andersen and Rocazino (Open Division Reserve Champion), Alison Yama and Prima (Adult Amateur Division Reserve Champion), Andrew Capener and Firenze (Jr/YR Division Champion), Sarah Blatchford and Roulette (Jr/YR Division Reserve Champion), Danielle Gavriluk and Highlife K (FEI Division Champion), and Shannon Dueck and Cantaris (FEI Division Reserve Champion).