The West Coast CDI season comes to a dramatic close with big scores and tough decisions. The Pebble Beach Dressage Show, July 7th-10th was the last big show for west coast Pan American hopefuls like Brian Hafner, David Blake, Rebecca Ridgon and Mette Rosencrantz to get the scores they need to qualify for Gladstone. The show got off to a rocky start as competitors started arriving to brand new, uneven footing which eventually caused all but one of the Grand Prix competitors to scratch the show. "It was just too risky take our Grand Prix horses in that arena" says Shannon Peters. The same arena was used for the Small Tour CDI, Prix St Georges and I-I horses and left all those riders with the difficult choice of scratching their Gladstone dreams all together or going for it.
Many of the riders, including David Blake and Rebecca Rigdon, already had to scratch their horses and sacrifice scores at the Flintridge CDI back in May because of the EHV-1 outbreak that swept across the west coast. "I desperately needed to do the Flintridge show for scores and to compete one of my two horses in the I-I Freestyle but just wasn't willing to take that risk. Even though the footing was not ideal at Pebble Beach, I knew if I rode Lord Albert and Falsterbo ‘safely’ and took extra caution, they would get through it. I had to scratch Catapult from the Grand Prix classes though, there was no need to put him at risk.” says David Blake. This proved to be a very good decision for David considering he and Lord Albert, the Hanoverian gelding he owns, received 2nd place in their Prix St Georges class won both the I-I with a 72.4% and the I-I Freestyle with a 74.05%. “Lord Albert gave me everything he had at Pebble Beach, that was the best we’ve ever shown together. I really hope to be able to take him to Gladstone with those scores, we shall see.” David also had a great show with Falsterbo, a Hanoverian breeding stallion owned by Sharon Garner of Ranger, Texas. Falsterbo ended up placing 4th is all of his CDI classes that weekend.
The Pebble Beach Dressage CDI Show proved to be fantastic competition for the Hanoverian Society with Brian Hafner and his Hanoverian gelding Lombardo LHF coming in 2nd in the I-I class with a 69.36% and 2nd in the I-I Freestyle with a 72.72%. Mette Rosencrantz and the Hanoverian gelding Finally, owned by Finally Partners, LLC, also had a terrific show placing 1st in the Prix St Georges class with a 70.52% and 3rd in both the I-I with a 69.21% and the I-I Freestyle with a 72.57%. “It was really too bad how the show started off, with the whole Grand Prix class scratching. The show organizers, in my opinion, did the best they could to try and fix the footing issue. Sure, it wasn’t the best I had ever ridden in but we got through it. I am very pleased with Finally and our rides. Our biggest challenge together is his ride-ability, it improves more and more with each show and it was a great way to end the year for us” says Mette when asked about her feelings on the Pebble Beach Show.
Rebecca Rigdon and the Holsteiner mare she owns, Solei, have had an impressive year, this being the first year they have entered the CDI arena together. The pair came in 4th place with a 69.8% at Prix St Georges at the Del Mar National CDI behind Steffen Peters and Guenter Siedel and took home 3rd place with a 70% at the Mid-Winter Dressage CDI in Burbank CA back in February. Rebecca and Solei decided to show, despite the footing, at Pebble Beach but the pressure of riding with such caution and improvisation proved to be too much for her talent but hot mare and Rebecca excused herself from her first Prix St Georges ride. “It was unfortunate that Solei had an “off” day at such an important qualifier. She is such a talented, yet sensitive, mare that must develop more confidence to accept all changes, for better or worse, in her environment. I have no doubt when it all comes together for her, she will be amazing.” Rebecca was allowed to continue her show in the Open Ring and went on the win the Open I-I Freestyle with a 69.9%.
Despite the mixed reviews on the Pebble Beach Show, it seems as if it was a great way to wrap up the west coast CDI circuit for the small tour teams. With fingers crossed, a few of the riders, including David Blake, hope the scores were just the boost they will need to jump back into the top 15 horse/rider combinations and make it to Gladstone, NJ for the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions.