Shelley Francis blazed a trail at the International Horse Sport Blue Hors Dressage Premier at Equestrian Estates last weekend scoring a 68.438% aboard Doktor (Diamond Hit x Renoir I), a 10-year-old gelding owned by Pat Stempel, to win the Grand Prix Special on Sunday. A six year resident of Loxahatchee, Florida and a power house in the dressage competition arena, Francis shares her motivation for success during the early season with Doktor. “He enjoys the Grand Prix this year more than the Prix St Georges last year. He’s really coming into himself. He really likes it. I’m trying to keep it reasonably smooth so he can be confident as he strengthens and I ask for more power. He has a lot more power in there.” Shelley plans on trying for a spot, for the only two American rider qualification positions, to get a chance to go to the World Cup in Europe in April in Gothenburg (SWE) April 24 – 28, 2013. She will show Doktor in his first big CDI this winter at the Masters CDI 3*, then she will ride in three CDI-W competitions this winter, in pursuit of qualification. “Even though it’s his first year, it’s worth going out and just doing it. He really wants to be good. I am really excited about him.”
Winning both of his tests, Francis second horse, 14-year-old Firlefanz (Farragamo x Pik Bube) also owned by long-time supporter and leading dressage owner Pat Stempel scored 71.842% on Saturday in the Prix St. Georges and 67.368% in Intermediare-I on Sunday.
Francis said, “He’s been on the back burner, but a real pleasure. We decided to take him out (to the show) and compete in the Prix St. Georges and I-I level and see how he does. He’s learning more, almost Grand Prix level. We’ll be showing him a little bit this season. I would like to find a really talented young rider to lease him in house here who maybe hopes to do the Brentina Cup. He’s a really good horse.”
Francis has three other promising horses she is bringing along this season that she hasn’t yet shown, two 9-year-olds and a 7-year-old, all at the Prix St. Georges Level, but should be coming out late February or March. She has a great string coming out this season, as well as her qualifying push for one of those coveted World Cup spots. 54-year-old Francis has worked hard to lose 30 lbs and get back into fighting weight.
Francis has taken her time training her string of horses, and is proud to show them this season. She trains with Cherri Reiber in exchange for eyes on the ground and training tips. “Cherri has taught them all Piaffe and Passage on the ling lines. They are all ready to go, relaxed and easy. We are excited for a full season.”
Other top competitors, Tina Konyot scored 71.383% riding Colecto V on Saturday in the Grand Prix and Heather Blitz succeeded in the Test of Choice (Grand Prix) scoring 75%.
The International Horse Sport (IHS) Blue Hors Dressage Premier Florida Dressage Show Series is gearing up for another exciting season at the IHS Champions Park in the Equestrian Estates community at Equestrian Estates in Loxahatchee, Florida. Equestrian Estates, home of The Palm Beach Dressage Derby will celebrate a 30-Year Anniversary of the Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDIW at IHS Champions Park in White Fences Equestrian Estates, Feb. 28-March 3, 2013.
With a unique country atmosphere that horses really like, the International Horse Sport Palm Beach facility offers a wonderfully laid back ambiance that’s very natural. Horses like to work away from the hustle and bustle in the natural setting. With Last year’s improvements to the show grounds, combined with an exciting championship awards program, the 2013 winter Dressage season will be exciting.
Long time supporters of Dressage, Walter and Maryanne McPhail, the talents of the high performance riders Lars Petersen and Ed Borresson and the management skills of Noreen O’Sullivan and John Flanagan have three CDI competitions planned for 2013.
2013 Equestrian Estates Show Schedule:
February 16, 2013 - The International Horse Sport FEI Derby
February 28 - March 3 Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDIW
March 21-24 - International Horse Sport Champions Cup CDIW
March 28 - 31 Dressage at Equestrian Estates CDIW3*
For more information: www.ihspb.com