Del Mar, CA - Kicking off the 2012 Rancho Valencia Dressage Affaire Thursday morning were the Para-Equestrian Dressage Riders. Eleven horse and rider combinations entered the ring to showcase their Team Tests in front of FEI Ground Jury Hanneke Gerritsen 5* (NED), Marco Orsini 4* (FRA), and Ulf Wilken 5* (SWE). After traveling from Wellington, Florida in January, to Toronto, Canada, and then on to the Del Mar Horse Park, Canadian Lynne Poole's efforts paid off in the Grade IV competition. United States Para-Equestrians Holly Bergay, Barbara Adside, Mary Jordan and Briana Beckworth each earned their qualifying scores for the 2012 USEF London Paralympic Selection Trials.
In 2010, Grade IV rider Holly Bergay of Castle Rock, CO qualified for the United States Para-Equestrian Team for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Unfortunately Holly and her horse, Grand Ballerina, would have to withdraw eventually leading to the horse's future retirement. "It was heartbreaking," noted Bergay, "After my horse was retired I wanted to take some time off. My situation lasted one month due to my appreciation and love for riding."
Bergay graduated from high school in 2011 and her equestrian passion led her to deferring her college scholarships and acceptances to take the 2012 calendar year to focus on riding. Bergay commented, "I knew I needed to find a horse soon if I wanted to compete at the 2012 USEF London Paralympic Selection Trials. So I called Rubino Bellissimo's owner, Violet Jen of Sunnyvale, CA and found out she had a horse I could try. In the moment I saw him, I realized that if I were able to ride this horse it would be unreal. I am grateful to Violet for being so generous. I can't believe this is the horse I get to ride!"
As the third rider in the Grade IV division to enter the ring and only one month of a partnership, Bergay and Rubino Bellissio impressed the judges and earned their qualifying score for the 2012 USEF London Paralympic Selection Trials.
"Rubino was a great horse today," smiled Bergay. "We are just starting to get to know each other and I know he has wonderful potential. He is a stallion, which reminds me of the phrase: you tell a gelding, you ask a mare, and you discuss it with a stallion. If I can get Rubino in front of my leg he is amazing,"
Without the generous help from Holly Bergay's parents and Rubino Bellissimo's owner, Violet Jen, Holly would not have the opportunity to compete towards the 2012 London Paralympics. Bergay agreed, "I am so grateful to my parents for allowing me to take a year off from school to pursue this goal. I am also thankful to Violet, without this horse I would not be here in Del Mar working towards summer 2012."
Each of the Para-Equestrian riders at the Dressage Affaire know that the 2012 year is a competitive year due to the London Paralympics. Canadian, Lynne Poole from Schomberg, Ontario has traveled a triangle in obtaining international scores. In January, Lynne took both Vasco E and Frisbee to the consecutive two-week CPEDI3* events in Wellington, FL. After obtaining top results and representing the Canadian team in week two, Poole headed back to Ontario. In one month she waved her horses goodbye as they hopped on the trailer headed to Southern California.
"It was difficult saying good bye to my boys," expressed Poole. "However, I know that is part of the journey, I am lucky to be able to do this. Looking back it is really about the love of the horse. Showing is wonderful but you have to do it for the love of swinging your leg over and riding a horse. I am very blessed to have two really sweet horses that teach me humility ever day."
Poole's first mount of the day was Vasco E topping the scores of the day with a 65.365%. Poole commented, "This is only our second international show and I look forward to my future aboard Vasco."
While volunteering for the Canadian Para-Equestrian Team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Lynne had heard about Vasco E. In a short amount of time she took a flight with her trainer to Europe to try and then purchase Vasco E. Poole noted, "Vasco is a great horse: In the ring we are still not trusting each other 100% but we will get there." As the last horse and rider combination to enter the ring, Poole and Frisbee garnered a 62.865% taking the third position in Grade IV. Poole expressed, "Frisbee is 20 years old now and I have been told by my coaches that we are like an old married couple. Frisbee did everything I asked him to do and he was there for me. If there were any errors I have to take full responsibility."
For Grade II United States Para-Equestrian and stuntwoman, Barbara Adside, the entire international experience was brand new. She noted, "Six years ago I had never even touched a horse. Then I ended up at this place, fell in love with a horse named Black Beauty, and never looked back. That horse had never been ridden before I met him and within one year I had him lying down so I could get up on him. That is where my journey began."
Adside's riding abilities impressed USEF 'R' rated judge Cauleen Glass beginning a long-time friendship in and out of the equestrian world. Adside acknowledged, "Without Cauleen I would not be here. She is the reason I have made it this far and she is the reason that I was riding Jazzman this weekend. Through Cauleen Adside met Jazzman's owner Donna Richardson. In 1999, Donna Richardson and Jazzman won Team Gold at the Pan American Games. "I am quite thankful to Donna for not only allowing me to use her horse this weekend but for training and working with me over the last two weeks," expressed Adside. "Jazzman is a spectacular horse: Since he knows many of the technical details, these last two weeks have been a lot about the horse teaching the rider. He is a phenomenal horse: Before I got on his back he had never had a rider without legs ride him. He had to learn brand new cues in a short amount of time and he has made that transition smoothly."
Adside continued, "Without Donna, Cauleen, and my vaulting coach Blue Sill, I would not be showing at this international show. In the future, I would love to continue showing at the international level and hopefully one day represent the United States as a Para-Equestrian Dressage Team rider."
This was United States Para-Equestrian Team veteran and Grade IV rider Mary Jordan's first time at the Del Mar Horse Park. Mary recently competed at the consecutive CPEDI3* horse shows with Sebastian and P Sparrow Socks in Wellington, FL. With 3,000 miles between her home in Wells, Maine, traveling across the United States can be difficult. Jordan noted, "I have been trying to come out to California for two years but I could never find a horse to borrow. I have to thank Keenan Productions, the managers, the organizers, the FEI veterinarians, the judging panel, and all of the show officials because they were really willing to step-up to the plate and connect the Para-Equestrian riders with horse owners. After my original horse dropped out from underneath me I could tell that everyone really wanted to include me in this event. It has been a great show experience."
The organizers connected Mary Jordan with Alis Carbone and her horse Navarro. Alis Carbone and Navarro competed in 2009 at the North American Young Rider Championships representing Region 6. Over the last three years Alis and Navarro are now up to schooling Grand Prix Level. "I knew I had a horse coming in at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night but I did not know anything about it," laughed Jordan. "So late Wednesday evening I began working with Navarro. We were working on a canter extension and the automatic lights in the indoor went out. I knew with Navarro's relaxed reaction we were good as gold for Thursday. I enjoyed riding Navarro in the Team Test and with only 45 minutes of a warm-up I feel that we did very well. I definitely had to figure out his buttons and ride him a certain way but that is expected on a catch-ride."
Jordan continued, "I am very grateful to Alis Carbone to allow me to borrow Navarro in such a short amount of time. I feel like I have a port for every storm in my Para-Equestrian career. I have had the opportunity of meeting great horses and great owners at different times in my career and that is the part of this journey that I love."
Friday the 2012 Rancho Valencia Dressage Affaire CPEDI3* continues with the Individual Test competition. Grade II rider Briana Beckworth will head back to the arena aboard Mette Rosencrantz's Basquewille. The duo looks forward to the Individual Test competition. Para-Equestrians from Australia, Canada, and the United States will compete under FEI Ground Jury Hanneke Gerritsen 5* (NED), Marco Orsini 4* (FRA), and Ulf Wilken 5* (SWE). With a break on Saturday, Para-Equestrian Dressage riders finish the weekend with the Freestyle competition followed by an awards ceremony.
Para-Equestrian Team Test March 8, 2012:
Name, Horse, Country, Total Score
Morgan Webb Liddle, Vallos Romeo, AUS 59.118%
Laura Goldman, VPRH Pegasus vom Niehaus-HOF, USA, 57,451%
Laura Goldman, R H Just Le Doux It, USA 51.667%
Barbara Aside, Jazzman, USA, 62.937%
Sydney Collier, VPRH Pegasus vom Niehaus-HOF, USA, 57.302%
Briana Beckworth, Basquewille, USA, 61.111%
Lynne Poole, Vasco E, CAN, 65.365%
Holly Bergay, Rubino Bellissimo, USA, 63.594%
Lynne Poole, Frisbee, CAN, 62.865%
Mary Jordan, Navarro, USA, 61.771%
Susan Treabess, Fugitivo XII, USA, 59.531%
Fast Facts: 2012 Rancho Valencia Dressage Affaire CPEDI3*
WHEN: March 8-11, 2012
WHERE: Del Mar Horse Park in Del Mar, CA
The 2012 Rancho Valencia Dressage Affaire is recognized by FEI, USEF, USDF, California Dressage Society (CDS), and DASC. The March 8-11 horse show is a USEF High Performance Qualifier for:
* 2012 Olympic Games
* 2012 Paralympic Games
* 2012 Reem Acra FEI World CupTM Dressage Finals
* 2012 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF National Grand Prix and Intermediare Championships and Festival of Champions
* 2012 FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships
FEI CDI ground jury will consist of Gustav Svalling 5* (SWE), Bo Jena 4*(SWE), Lilo Fore 4* (USA), Jeannie McDonald 4*(USA), and Joan MaCartney 4*(CAN).
The FEI CPEDI3* ground jury is Hanneke Gerritsen 5* (NED), Marco Orsini 4* (FRA), and Ulf Wilken 5* (SWE). Lastly, the Open classes judges are Dolly Hannon 'S', Kem Barbosa 'S', and Beverly Rogers 'S'.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
Friday March 9. 2012:
1.) Individual Test Competition begins for CPEDI3* riders
2.) FEI Prix St. Georges Test, FEI Grand Prix Test (2009) for Freestyle, FEI Young Rider Team Test (2009), FEI Junior Rider Team Test (2009)
Saturday, March 10th, 2012:
1. FEI Intermediare I Test, $5,000.00 FEI Rancho Valencia Grand Prix Freestyle Test, FEI Grand Prix Test (2009) for Special, FEI Young Rider Individual Test (2009), Junior Rider Individual Test (2009)
2. Dinner, Freestyles, and Dancing
*Dinner after the Grand Prix (for Special), then head right into the Grand Prix Freestyles, and finish with dancing in the Hospitality Tent with our friends in the Steal Dawn band. All are welcome for the dance party. Sponsors and VIP Box Seat patrons will have a wonderful dinner at their box/table prepared by Pony Expresso catering. Grand Stand admission patrons can purchase dinner at the on-site Pony Expresso restaurant. In addition to the Grand Prix for Special and the Grand Prix Freestyle, we will have other Musical competition AND Steffen Peters will perform his winning Pan Am Games Intermediare I Freestyle just for you! Dinner should start around 5:30 pm or directly after Grand Prix. 20% of Silent Auction and Grandstand admission each will benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the United States Para-Equestrian Association.
*We have opened up the limited seats still available for purchase to the Saturday night dinner only for $50.00/person and $300 per box.
*Parking is free and access to the USEF National Show is also free!
Sunday March 11th, 2012
1. $2,500.00 FEI Intermediare I Freestyle Test, $2,500.00 FEI Rancho Valencia Olympic Grand Prix Special Test (2012), $1,500.00 FEI Young Rider Freestyle Test, and$1,500.00 FEI Junior Rider Freestyle Test
2. Freestyle competition begins for CPEDI3* riders: Adding to the excitement this year for the CPEDI3* will be $5,000 divided among the top five riders in the freestyle competition in each of the five Grade divisions.
3. Join us on Sunday for the $5,000 Rancho Valencia Olympic Grand Prix Special, the $5,000 CPEDI Para Equestrian Freestyle Classes, followed by the $1,500 Pegasus Training and Equine Rehabilitation Center JR Freestyle Class, the $1,500 Wilson Cunningham West Insurance YR Freestyle Class, and finally the $5,000 Custom Saddlery Intermediare I Freestyle Class. Champagne and pastries will be served for VIP/Sponsor patrons.
Photo Credit: All Photographs taken at the 2012 Rancho Valencia Dressage Affaire CPEDI3* in Del Mar, CA at Del Mar Horse Park. Photo © 2012 Lindsay Y McCall