By Charlene Strickland
Five Olympic riders took the top three places in the first CDI classes of the Festival of the Horse. With a large contingent of Canadians competing at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, two Olympians placed first and third in the CDI Grand Prix.
Leslie Reid and Mark won the Grand Prix (68.667). First to go in the class of six horses, Mark showed his suppleness and power.
About the Dutch gelding's continued improvement at this level, Reid said she was working on “Just strengthening him. Basically he knows how to do the test, so it's making everything stronger and more expressive.”
Their test was marred with a single transition error, which Reid termed as a “miscommunication.” She'd been working on the walk to passage transition, to make it less flat. “I didn't think he was as fresh as he was. I went to prepare him for that one walk-passage transition at H, and he jumped in the air and scared himself.” Two of the judges scored Mark at 70, giving him good marks for his lightness and willingness.
Earning second place was Steffen Peters on Lombardi II (66.75). And in third was Evi Strasser, on Quantum Tyme, with 64.50. Both Peters and Strasser are German-born, with Peters based in San Diego, California, and Strasser in Quebec.
Olympians Place 1-2-3 in Prix St. Georges
Riding Marlando, Peters won the CDI Prix St. Georges, scoring 70.55. The Dutch gelding was the clear winner over the 10 other contenders, showing superior trot and walk movements. Judges scored him with 8's in the three tempis and four tempis.
Marlando continues to excel in the small tour. In 2004, Peters showed him to the USEF Intermediare I Championship, held with the Olympic Trials.
Second place went to Charlotte Bredahl-Baker, riding her Dutch gelding, Eskada (67.9). “He's been doing great,” said Bredahl-Baker of her seven-year-old. “One month ago he started at Prix St. Georges, and it was his first I-1 also.
“I was absolutely thrilled with him. Today he stayed with me the whole time.” She added that Eskada is “very timid, but today he was total business.”
She started Eskada about two years ago. He was 2004 Horse of the Year for the California Dressage Society, Third and Fourth Level. “I didn't expcet to be up there,” she said about her placing at this show. “I could not be happier.”
Another youngster, eight-year-old Felix, won third place for Debbie McDonald (66.95). McDonald rode him in his first victory gallop, laughing about introducing him to the experience.