The last Dressage CDI of the spring season in Florida at the Horse Park at Equestrian Estates in Loxahatchee the International Horse Sport Champions Cup CDI*/3*, was a beautiful weekend where it all came together for Arlene (Tuny) Page and her rising star Alina by Michellino out of a Diamond mare Alberte Lindeberg. The "lovely" pair collected the beautiful crystal IHS Champions Cup Trophy presented by the IHS Team Ed Borresson, Melissa Taylor, and Noreen O'Sullivan. “It was great that IHS was able to do this CDI at the end of the season and we all certainly appreciate their efforts to care for the grounds so beautifully.” said Page in an interview with DressageDaily. Winning the CDI3* Grand Prix for Freestyle with a score of 67.532% and their first Grand Prix Freestyle outing, scoring 72.650% continues the story of how Alina found her way to Page’s Stillpoint Farm is one of “the stars aligning” for both the “lovely mare”, commented by judge Lilo Fore, and “lovely rider” commented Judge Christophe Hess.
DressageDaily: What is Alina's breeding (SHB?), and how did you come about acquiring her?
Tuny Page: Alina is by Michellino and out of a Diamond mare called Alberte Lindeberg. The acquisition of Alina was truly a situation where all the stars lined up to make having her in our stable a reality. Oded (Shimoni) found out about her thru a contact in Denmark and called me in Seattle, I was able to get on a flight to Denmark the next day. I liked her and wanted to proceed but I doubted that I could get my vet over there in a timely way to do the pre-purchase exam and, to be totally honest; I did not have enough money to pay for her! On the off chance that I could pull funds together I decided to call Tim Ober to see if there was any chance of him fitting in a trip to Denmark. Not only was he available he was sitting in Amsterdam with the US Team horses going to Hong Kong and had 2 days to wait so he got on the next flight to Copenhagen. Alina passed the vet exam with Flying Colors. The owner of the mare gave me a week to come up with the cash and the day before I had to tell them that I just couldn't put the financing together I received a call from the realtor in Germany who had been trying for 3 years to sell my little house next door to Klaus Balkenhol. He had a buyer with a super offer who wanted to close quickly so it was a "done deal" and Alina came home shortly afterwards.
DressageDaily: With Stillpoint Farm now established and settled into a routine where you are surrounded with fellow HP riders, Lisa Wilcox, Robert Dover, Susie Dutta, how have you benefitted this year especially in making progress in your training?
Tuny Page: Stillpoint is truly the optimal environment for competitive riders because the standard of riding there is quite high. Generally we are all so focused on what we are doing that we don't pay a lot of attention to each other but, that said, when you are riding with top riders and hearing comments and ideas from top trainers it trickles into your consciousness and keeps you striving to be better. Oded is normally helping me several days a week and Robert (Dover) is very generous with his observations and advice which all conspires to be a great support system for me. Oded is quite gifted in his ability to "read" a horse and his sense of what to prioritize with Alina has proven out time and again so I know I can trust his judgment. He is respectful still of what I feel so is open to little adjustments in our strategy and that seems to go very well for us. I am very grateful to the rest of the team of people that are endlessly patient, work incredibly hard and are amazingly caring. Their work shows in my horse's fitness and comfort... and I really hope they are proud of their work.
DressageDaily: What were some of the highpoints of your test this weekend?
Tuny Page: There are several things that have come together nicely in especially the last month and this past weekend Alina was confident enough in them to do them reliably in the ring. Her trot tour has developed in its scope and expression so her trot extensions went to 8’s and naturally that helped to increase her expression in the passage and made the transitions into piaffe smoother. She has been fairly confident in her canter tour through the season but on this show that confidence took on greater elasticity and flow because I am trusting her more. Her tempi changes went to 8's from half of the judges as well as her zig zag.
DressageDaily: What was your favorite judge’s comment?
Tuny Page: Christoph Hess said that I was a lovely rider and Lilo Fore said that Alina was a lovely horse....two "lovelies" in one weekend!
DressageDaily: What are your challenges with your mare, and mention something you have been working on which helped you this week?
Tuny Page: Alina is just now finishing her first year in Grand Prix so there are things yet to be fully developed such as the absolute collection needed for true harmony in the piaffe and pirouettes. The terrific thing about this mare is that she never gives up so I know she will achieve this in the future. Right now, with plenty of good help, I am focusing on encouraging her in the things she finds challenging and letting her enjoy herself in the things that she now finds easy.