Northern Californians were wondering what happened to spring this year, because only two weeks before the Golden State Classic started there was yet another winter storm and once again chain control on Interstate 80 over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. And California dressage shows that weren’t cancelled in the past month because of the EHV quarantine, had torrents of rain and some managers cancelled their shows after the first day. For the June 16-19 weekend at Rancho Murieta (just southeast of Sacramento, Calif.), mother nature jumped right into summer, giving us temperatures in the upper 90’s. We weren’t ready for the heat. For one rider who travelled ten hours from Eagle, Idaho the trip was well worth it. Heather Oleson made the ten hour drive from Eagle, ID to compete in the CDI small tour with her 13 year old Westphalen gelding Escorial (Ehrentusch x SPS Funerailles). Oleson wound Escorial up a little too much in the warm up on Friday for the Prix St. Georges, and he was very fired up in the ring. “He’s not a hot horse in general but he was hot on Friday,” explained Oleson. “Every time he went on a diagonal he kind of tucked his tail up underneath himself and kind of scooted around a little bit. And then he threw in his one tempi’s again, which plagues us in the St. Georges.”
Even with the extra zing, Escorial earned a 66.228% to place fourth in the Prix St. Georges. Oleson backed off the pressure on Saturday for the Int. I, warming him up a little looser and gradually upped the pressure levels without making Escorial too tense. This resulted in first place with a 67.939% from judges Jeanne McDonald, Gary Rockwell and Brenda Minor.
“He was much better,” said Oleson on Saturday. “The test had a nice flow to it, but it had a sufficient amount of up and power to it. In general it was a clean test.”
Oleson placed second in the Int. 1 freestyle on Sunday with a 71.208%. Her canter work was to a piece from one of the James Bond movies. Her trot work was to a techno version of a Vivaldi violin concerto performed by Vanessa May.
“I like this piece because it’s a nice mix between classical and modern,” said Oleson.
Oleson purchased Escorial as a four year old in the Westphalen elite auction. He was bred by Josef Ulmker in Germany.
Mette Rosencrantz and Finally won the Prix St. Georges with a 67.325%, their first time back in the ring since the Golden State Dressage Festival CDI*** in April. They spent the EHV-caused break working to get the 17.2 hand Finally stronger so Rosencrantz could ride him with more power and for her to be able to regulate all of that power. Finally (De Niro / Capri Sonne) also won his first Int. 1 freestyle on Sunday with a 72.083%. performing to music that Rosencrantz put together for her grand prix mount Taison when he was in the small tour. Taison, her massive black Dutch Warmblood gelding, did his first grand prix tests here, winning both open classes with 66.383% and 64.149%.
Last Chance to Qualify for Region 7 Juniors and Young Riders
For the Region 7 juniors and young riders this was the second to last qualifying show for the NAJYRC. (The Dressage Derby in Vacaville on June 25-26 is their last qualifier.) Many of the riders had planned to compete at shows that were cancelled or rained out, so it was a full house in the junior and young rider classes. Last year’s Junior champion at the NAJYRC, Jaime Pestana and her 7 year old Hanoverian gelding Winzalot swept the young rider classes. They are currently in the top four of the standings for the 2011 Region 7 young rider team.
Stephanie Early of Watsonville, Calif. won the Junior team test and junior individual test on her 10 year old Hanoverian mare Panash. They were members of the silver medal winning 2010 junior team and are currently in the top four for Region 7’s junior team for 2011. Early, who is 16 and will be a high school senior in the fall, bought Panash (Pablito out of La Boheme by Lortzing) three years ago from breeder Lilli-Anne Price. Early keeps Panash at home and she spends her days in the pasture with their other horses. They go trail riding at least once a week. In May Early took Panash on a weekend camping trip and trail ride at Lake San Antonio (near Paso Robles, Calif.). Panash was tied to the trailer overnight and she was perfect. How many NAJRYC dressage horses can put that on their resume?
Friday’s Junior team test went well and Panash won with a 67.613%, and was placed first by all three judges. Saturday’s junior individual test started out with a surprise. Due to the heat the judges asked for the big overhead fans to be turned on along one long side of the arena. Panash came around by C and saw those fans and just stopped. So no fans, and the judges gave Panash some time to compose herself. They still won the class with a 64.605%.
“She’s very sensitive and every day is different,” said Early of Panash. “I can go into the warm up with a plan on what to work on. Then she’ll feel different so I’ll need to do some more trot or some more canter or different things. But she gives me 150%. She’s an awesome mare.”
“She really trusts me now and I trust her too,” continued Early. “It’s hard because she’s so sensitive to her surroundings and to my aids. I have to be very careful of what I ask. She’s a mare, so she’s touchy like that.”
Early won the Dressage Seat Equitation Championship, 13 and under in Chicago in 2008. The equitation work has given her a wonderful foundation to work with her hot mare. “You need to have a good seat and effective aids to be successful,” said Early. Early trains with Jennifer Roth of Carmel Valley, Calif.
CDI/FEI Riders in Helmets Have Their Own Award
Kate Emmett-Wilder and her husband Chris Wilder of the Valley Medical Center Foundation sponsored the "Brain Bucket" awards at the show. CDI/FEI riders that wore their helmet during each day of competition were entered in the daily drawing for a water bucket and a Evaporative Cooling Crown Cooler that is worn under your helmet. (They are made of the same material as the evaporative vests that riders wear.) Winners were Tracey Lert, Sandy Howard and Nailia Abdoukadyrov.