The East Coast Finals for 5-and 6-year-old horses took place May 31-June 2, with a qualifier held on Friday and the Championships on Sunday, at the Capital Classic Dressage show in Raleigh, NC. The winner of the Championship Test for six-year-olds, with 7.5, was Wincenzo, (Werther x Grazie/Graft), ridden by Romy Tota of Lahaska, PA. So far they are the only pair this year to have received the 7.5 points necessary to qualify for the World Championships in Verden, Germany this August.
In their verbal commentary following her ride, the judges commented, "[Wincenzo] has a wonderful attitude and work ethic that is apparent in his performance. He has a lot of elasticity and his canter shows more engagement than his trot. The canter is his specialty."
There are three finals in the United States, in the West, the Central US, and in the East. Earlier this year at Port Jervis, NY, Axel Steiner awarded Wincenzo with an 8.4, but it seems that judges are less lenient in the Championship class than they are at other shows.
Last year Tota won the East Coast Championship Test for 5-year-olds on Wincenzo, also at Raleigh, narrowly missing the qualifying score. "I can't believe that I'll get to represent the United States!" she said after her winning ride this year.
Trainer Silke Rembacz will travel to Germany with Tota, where they will concentrate on preparing for the Championships. Tota's parents live in Berchtesgaden, and she will take her two children, Jessica and Karl, along for a visit. Her family will also watch her and Wincenzo compete in Verden.
Tota brought the kids along to Raleigh, and they spent the weekend with a babysitter and saw the new Disney movie about a wild horse, "Spirit", two times. Both kids have ponies now and Tota said that it is a dream come true for her as a mother and a rider to have the children interested in horses.
Rembacz trains Wincenzo and rides him most days of the week, while Tota is busy helping her husband Charlie with their business, Euro-American Saddlery, and watching the children. "We have been working together for almost four years," said Rembacz. To get the horse ready for this show, she said, "We concentrated on getting him stronger and working on collection."
"I give Silke credit for his development," said Tota. They will spend the summer working on Prix St. Georges movements and then re-focus on this test for the Championships.
By Amber Heintzberger for DressageDaily.com