Dominique Cassavetis and Chase Hickok, students at Cesar Parra’s Piaffe-Performance Farm, mounted the medal podium at the 2011 USDF/Platinum Performance North American Junior and Young Rider Dressage Championships in Lexington, Kentucky, following an intense competition that included not only brilliant performances but severe storms as well. Despite the weather, the staff, friends and family at Piaffe-Performance were all smiles as Cassavetis rode away as part of the Junior Gold Medal winning team from Region 1 and Hickok won the Individual Silver medal in the Young Rider Freestyle and the Individual Bronze in the Young Rider Team test. While his students were winning in North America, Dr. Parra was wrapping up a successful European tour. Parra and Grandioso, owned by Sara and Michael Davis, racked up impressive wins overseas and proving that they are formidable competition at the international level.
Katie Riley, Senior Trainer at Piaffe-Performance, was thrilled with the young rider’s results. “We are all so proud of Dominique and Chase. They really rose to their fullest potential and showed that they have very bright futures ahead of them,” Riley said. “Dominique was part of the NAJYRC Junior team aboard Charming Princess, and they won the Gold Medal which was absolutely fantastic.”
Hickok piloted Palermo, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood, to Individual Bronze in the Young Rider Team test and to Individual Silver medal in the Young Rider Freestyle, earning at 70.725%. “This was our first time to do this freestyle in competition and we rode to Latin-themed music,” Hickok said. “The music is really great because it matches Palermo by having a lot of energy and personality. It also really showed off his gaits. He has the most heart of any horse I've known and really does his best for me everyday. I also have to thank Katie Riley, for coaching me at the show, as well as Kevin Kohmann and Laura Pradels for their work on my freestyle. But mostly, my parents for their support and encouragement.”
Riley said that Hickok really dug in deep during the competition, earning great scores by trying extremely hard. “Chase and Dominique both have great competitive spirits and they really proved that this week,” she added.
International dressage rider and trainer Parra was equally thrilled with the girls’ wins. “I have always said that everyone at Piaffe-Performance is one big family, so if someone does well we all feel like we have won. Dominique and Chase did fantastic and I couldn’t be prouder. I am also very lucky to have Katie Riley supporting the team while I am away,” he said. “She is a lovely person and a fantastic coach, rider, and trainer.”
For more information on Parra or Piaffe-Performance visit their website at www.piaffe-performance.com.