Renee Johnson and Kamuela have been a team for a very long time. In fact, she purchased him over 19 years ago as a foal, and they have been together ever since. All that bonding time seems to have paid off for Renee and Kamuela, because judge Louise Koch awarded them with the ever-elusive 10 on their piaffe at Woodside Autumn Dressage (Sep 14-16). "I was quite surprised and very pleased that Louise was brave enough to do that," Renee remarked. "The comment was a big smiley face and 'unreal.' It's wonderful to show for judges who ride. This was my first 10 and will probably be my one and only, but I'll take a 10 for a piaffe any day! My goal for that test was to ride better than I had the day before, so I was happy that most of it went well. It was quite a pleasant way to end the weekend."
Renee purchased the Dutch Warmblood stallion from his breeder, Deborah Harrison of Lio Lomas Warmbloods. The pair have had a long and successful career, and it doesn't look to be ending any time soon. "I've been lucky to have a long career with him, although I do have to say the 10 was a highlight," Renee added. "Not bad for a 20-year-old. How long I keep him showing depends on him. He still looks like a young man."
Renee and Kamuela's score in that test, 71.17%, was enough to earn them the titles of Markel/Cornerstone FEI High Point Champion and FEI High Percentage Champion, plus Renee was reserve champion with Kamuela's cousin, Kai. Renee has owned 19-year-old Kai since he was a yearling. "It's really special to win FEI High Percentage Champion and Reserve Champion with my horses," she commented. "We have some wonderful supporters. It's good to have those awards available, and I appreciate the show's management and sponsors for providing them. I've been showing these two horses for a long time, and it's nice to see that even though they're getting up there in age, they're still competitive. I'm happy to be able to ride them well enough to do so well, and that the judges are generous enough to reward us."
Katie Hoefs-Martin also earned dual championships when she and St. Louis won the Open Lower Level High Percentage Champions for their 76.25% in Training Level, and she and SC Island Jubilee were Open Upper Level High Percentage Champions for their 65.571% in Fourth Level.
While Renee has had years to build partnerships with her horses, Jennifer Shearer (Shannon Peters, trainer) and her Arento are still getting to know each other. Despite this, they were Upper Level Amateur High Percentage Champions when they earned 67.927% in Third Level. "I just purchased this horse last year, and this weekend was our first show together," Jennifer explained. "My goal was just to see how it would go, and it went pretty well. He had been imported about a month before I bought him, and my trainer, Shannon, found him through some of her connections. She recommended I take a look at him, so I flew to Kentucky, rode him for a couple days, and bought him. I'm really enjoying riding him, but the first year is definitely a learning process. We're still getting to know each other and developing the partnership. He's super talented; I just have to learn to ride better."
Any new partnership means there is a lot of work to do to get to know each other. Jennifer is learning that Arento might have some quirky show day habits. "About three minutes before we went into the ring, he let out a pretty impressive buck," she recounted. "If he'd let out another one, I would have been on the ground; as it was, I was on his neck. But, then we went in and he did his job like a total gentleman, and it was one of our highest scoring rides. We got an 8 on our final halt. I thought that was pretty funny; it was like he was saying, 'I'll do anything if it means we're finished.' I guess I need to just let him be a dork in the warm up and it will go fine in the arena."
Jennifer is a long-time supporter of Woodside Dressage. "The shows are very professionally run," she said. "The staff is great; I like working with Glenda and Jennifer. I always know what I'm getting when I go to a Cornerstone show. The facility is great, too. I liked the new footing; the horses seemed to handle it really well. It keeps the spring in their step throughout the show. It's also nice that it was in the warm up and show ring, so the horses aren't going back and forth between different kinds of footing."
While the elder statesmen ruled the FEI ring, young horses had the chance for some show ring exposure at the Woodside Dressage Breed Show. Kevin and Ericka Reinig of Lucchetti Ranch are regular attendees of these shows, making the 130-mile trip from Wilton. "The Woodside show facility has improved so much in the last few years," Kevin stated. "The arenas have great footing, and the horses show well there. Cornerstone Event Management always puts on an efficient, well organized show, so it makes it worthwhile to make the trip."
For the Reinigs, attending breed shows is an important part of their program. "Participating in breed shows is a valuable part of a young sport horse's development and education," Kevin explained. "The experience of attending the show gives them an advantage as future competition horses over those who did not participate in breed shows as young horses. It gets them in the arena in a competition environment. It also gives us a way to showcase our young horses and allows people to see what is coming along."
Kevin often has the highest scoring horses at the show, and this time was no exception. He showed Wyliegh Princess (Ruth Shirkey, owner) to a 78.9%. "Ruth purchased her to come along and be her next competition horse," Kevin said. "She purchased her in utero based on her pedigree and the performance and produce of her parents. Wyliegh has not let her lineage down. She has developed into an elegant young filly and an excellent mover. We are hopeful she will win her division again this year."
Woodside Autumn Dressage offered a beautiful setting for some highly talented horses--from old to young. For more information, including complete results, visit the Cornerstone Event Management website.
The Cornerstone Event Management show season concludes with the Dressage Holiday Special (Dec 8-9) at LAEC.
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