This year’s Eastern States Dressage and Combined Training Association’s Memorial Day weekend show served as a CDI fill-in after cancellation of the Raleigh CDI and it didn’t disappoint. Managed by Centerline Events and held at the New Jersey Horse Park in Allentown May 28-30, it drew a crowd of leading CDI competitors aiming for a dwindling chance to qualify for the USEF/Collecting Gaits Farm Dressage Festival of Champions and World Equestrian Games Selection Trials, scheduled for August 6-15 at the U.S. Equestrian Team headquarters in Gladstone, New Jersey.
Cesar Parra and Liz Austin were clear leaders in CDI competition. Parra took wins in the CDI Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I with Olympia, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Lori Washton. And Austin took wins in both the CDI Grand Prix and the CDI Grand Prix Special with the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion Olivier, owned by her mother, Madeleine Austin.
With a Prix St. Georges score of 71.789 and an Intermediaire I score of 71.000 percent, Parra and Olympia continued a record. “He’s done 13 classes and in all of them he scored over 70 percent,” Parra said of the gelding. “He’s won 12 of those and came in second once.” That consistency is what Parra said could make Olympia an ideal horse for next year’s Pan American Games. “He’s consistent and that’s important.”
Parra also had a win in the FEI Intermediaire II with Grandioso, but as happy as he was with his own victories during the weekend, he was more pleased with those of his young riders. “They did really well,” he said, referring particularly to junior rider Dominique Cassavetis and young rider Chase Hickok. Dominique is only 13 and took the win in both the CDI Junior Team competition and in the CDI Junior Individual competition with Charming Princess. “She’s a very talented young rider,” Parra said.
Hickok, who has been riding with Parra since last fall, took second in both the CDI Young Rider Team and Individual competition with Palermo. The clear leader in young rider competition was New Yorker Meagan Davis riding Bentley, a 17-year-old Danish Warmblood owned by Kelly Roetto. Davis and Bentley won the CDI Young Rider Team competition with a score of 68.474 and the Young Rider Individual with a score of 64.895 percent. The pair also won the CDI Young Rider Freestyle with a 65.450.
Austin was pleased with both her CDI Grand Prix wins, but confessed to a number of errors, particularly in the Special. Austin said the stallion has been “awesome” since his return home to Vermont from Florida but said her two weaknesses were the canter zig-zags and the right pirouette. Some time spent riding through fields in a snaffle helped settle Olivier and resolved one of those problems. “I put him back in the double two weeks ago and suddenly, the canter zig-zag was there,” Austin said. “There is still no real right pirouette but I wonder if because it comes near the end of the test, that we’re both tired out and lean on each other.” Austin is aiming for Gladstone and is right near the cut-off mark. “I’d just like to get there and I’m sure that if we do, we’ll put in some very good tests.”
Winning the CDI Grand Prix Freestyle was Canadian Diane Creech riding Leatherdale Farm’s Hanoverian gelding Devon L to a score of 70.000 percent. Coming in second was fellow Canadian Chris von Martels riding Naomi and with a score of 68.800. Third place went to Jane Hannigan and Maksymillian with a score of 68.750. Winner of the CDI Intermediaire Freestyle was Heather Mason with Glen Emeril and a score of 68.650. Creech’s winning freestyle ride won the admiration of many, including Austin. “It was an absolutely lovely freestyle. Diane is such a lovely rider,” Austin said. Creech also scored an impressive 78.800 percent in the FEI Young Horse Test of Choice with Hallmark.
Results can be fount at centerlineevents.com