West Palm Beach – Prix St. Georges competition dominated day one of the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge II. The FEI Prix St. Georges Open competition had 42 entries causing the class to be divided into two. The FEI Prix St. Georges USEF High Performance class had another seven entries for a total of 49 Prix St. Georges rides on opening day.
"That's probably either a record or close to it," said Noreen O'Sullivan, managing partner of Wellington Classic Dressage. "There seems to be a tremendous commitment among FEI riders to bring along new horses. Because what we are seeing is that it's not just the same horses and riders, but riders bringing along new horses and also there are some new names among the riders."
Winner of one of the FEI Prix St. Georges Open classes was Silva Martin riding Prosecco to a score of 68.421 percent. It was the technical marks that gave Martin the win because tied with her in score was George Williams on Don Bailey. They were given second place. Third place in that class went to Kelley Corrigan and Robinson with a score of 67.632.
Martin has only been riding the 10-year-old gelding owned by Michael and Denise Rotko for the past two months. He was bought in Germany a few years ago. "I am very excited about Prosecco," Martin said. "He did a good test today and I'm very happy with him." At last week's Palm Beach Dressage Derby, Martin and Prosecco finished second in Prix St. Georges competition with a score of 69 percent.
Winner of the other FEI Prix St. Georges Open class was Bianca Berktold with Berktold's Marko. They took the win with a score of 71.053 percent. Second went to Mikala Gundersen and Wild Dance with a score of 70.00 and third was Lynda Alicki riding Donates to a score of 69.737 percent.
Berktold admitted that she was rather surprised by her win. It has been several months since she had Berktold's Marko, a 13-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, in the show ring. "I didn't expect him to do this well," she said. "I had backed off from showing and have been schooling the Grand Prix, but I decided I should get him back out and around the show atmosphere a little and he was definitely ready to go."
Marko is one of Berktold's sale horses and she said it will be hard to let go when he sells because "he's such a fantastic horse. I'd like to keep him, but this is what I do for a living. I import horses and then sell them. He really does have a wonderful personality. He'll give you 110 percent. He's an easy ride, very forward and has fantastic passage and piaffe." Berktold trains with Steve Kanikkeberg and she said he deserves much credit him for helping her bring her horses along.
The highest Prix St. Georges score of the day went to the winner of the FEI Prix St. Georges USEF High Performance class – Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Dea II. They had a score of 71.579. Bateson-Chandler and the nine-year-old Hanoverian mare won the CDI Prix St. Georges competition last week at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby.
The highest score earned on opening day of the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge II was earned by Jessica Jo Tate. She rode Rosentanz to a score of 74.333 in First Level Test 1.