Burbank, CA - The inaugural day of competition for California Dreaming Productions, formed by a coalition of long-time FEI organizer Glenda McElroy in partnership with David and Alisa Wilson of W Farms, was deemed a resounding success at the Mid-Winter Dressage Fair CDI-W/Y/J/U-25 (presented by Hof Kasselmann) held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, CA. While exhibitors are competing for top honors in classes from Training Level to Grand Prix, they are also enjoying a multitude of new features and a fresh atmosphere at the show, including a beautifully-appointed competitor lounge, VIP area, and hospitality. Also debuting to rave reviews was "CDP Live", a live video-streaming feature which allows fans from around the world to watch all of the CDI action as it happens in conjunction with expert commentary by FEI 5* (ret) judge Axel Steiner.
"It's beyond awesome," said FEI rider and trainer Marie Meyers. "The footing is fantastic, and the televisions with the live feed and hospitality in the lounges are great - it makes you want to stay, relax, and enjoy the show. I'm telling everyone I know to support this - the organizers have done such a great job with everything."
Despite flu-like symptoms which sent him to the doctor on Thursday morning, Steffen Peters was back in the saddle today to be the star of the show in both large and small tour CDI classes. Aboard Four Winds Farm's Legolas 92 (12-year-old Westfalen gelding [Laomedon x Fuerstin by Florestan II]), he had a commanding ride in the Grand Prix to impress the judging panel and earn a winning score of 76.540% over fellow Olympian Guenter Seidel and Coral Reef Wylea (14-year-old Westfalen mare [Weinberg x Si Jolie by Saluut] owned by Coral Reef Ranch) with 71.960%. "His trot work, half passes, and piaffe/passage are just incredible," said FEI Foreign Judge Jean-Michel Roudier (5* FRA) of Peters and Legolas. "Also, he is so right in the riding and so good in the training, therefore that is also rewarded." President of the Ground Jury Gary Rockwell (5* USA) agreed. "I think Guenter's horse was the best I've seen her, but Legolas has also improved since I last saw him at the Festival of Champions last fall," he explained. "In some components of the test, such as the extensions, I've seen him ride a little conservatively in the past, but I think today he was asking for more and as a result he got more points from me than before for those elements."
Nineteen horse and rider combinations contested the CDI Prix St. Georges where Peters also triumphed aboard a new mount, the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Aristo (Olivi x Selina by Krack C, owned by Carla Hayes from Pleasanton, CA). Despite being first down centerline, Peters' score of 72.632% remained unchallenged for the duration of the class. Finishing in second was Elizabeth Ball riding Cadence LLC's Dutch Warmblood gelding Avanti (Tuchinski x Fleur by Naturel) on a score of 68.947%. "We saw a lot of quality horses and riders, including some 'newbies' to the CDI ring who did a great job," said FEI judge Cara Whitham (5* CAN). "But Steffen started out strong and set the standard for the rest of the class." Even though Aristo was making his international competition debut in the Equidome, Peters wasn't surprised by his mount's winning performance. "He's a really really good guy who tries very hard for you," he explained. "He's a 'steady Eddie', but the energy is there when you need it. He's so young still, and is an exciting horse to have in the barn."
In the CDI Young Rider division, Anna Buffini sizzled aboard her 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Sundayboy (Kennedy x Eezelma by Zevenaar), earning a score of 71.491% over Catherine Chamberlain with Verdicci (2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding [Krack C x Nadine's Monday by Jackson]) with 69.474%. Rounding out the CDI, Oregon's Emily Park claimed both first and second-place honors in the Junior Team Test with her two mounts: Tracy Roenick's Pretty Lady (17-year-old Dutch mare [Iglesias x Ivonne by Sit This One Out]) and her own Riva Dee (14-year-old Westphalian mare [Rheingau x Pila by Potsdam]), on scores of 64.279% and 61.847%, respectively.
Complete results are available on the California Dreaming Productions website - HERE! Live video streaming of CDI classes with expert commentary by FEI judge Axel Steiner resumes at 9:30am PST on CDP Live!
Formed by a partnership between long-time show organizer Glenda McElroy of Burbank, CA and Grand Prix riders and trainers David and Alisa Wilson of Chino Hills, CA, the goal of California Dreaming Productions is to bring a fresh face to international-level dressage competition on the West Coast. Additional show information is available on the new California Dreaming Productions website, as well as regular updates posted on Facebook. For more information, contact Glenda McElroy, firstname.lastname@example.org, or David and Alisa Wilson, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.