Saugerties, NY – The New England Dressage Association’s Fall Festival of Dressage hosted a record number of rides this year under four days of brilliant sunshine and warm temperatures. “There was not one drop of rain during the show this year,” said show manager Beth Jenkins. “Last year it rained but only once and that was during the night.” Competitors at this year’s show saw nothing but blue skies, sunshine and warm temperatures in the 80s.
This year’s Fall Festival, held at the HITS-on-the-Hudson show grounds, had a record 1,745 rides, up 30 from last year. More than 700 horses competed and at times there were as many as 10 show rings running. Jenkins said there are certain to be glitches at a show that size but “every year things run more smoothly and things went very well this year. It takes an army to run a show like this and we had an army of volunteers.” It seemed that everyone pitched in. Many trainers sent their students off to be volunteers, even if only for a few hours.”
Jenkins said it’s possible that the Fall Festival, which features the U.S. Dressage Federation’s Region 8 championships, an international CDI, a breed show and dressage open show, could be the largest dressage-only show in the world. “There are larger shows but they are multi-discipline. Some of the judges were talking about this and none of them could think of a larger single-discipline show.”
With so many horses and riders competing, amateur rider Linda Currie’s high score award in performance competition had real meaning. Currie, of Holliston, Mass., rode her five-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Frost T to victory in both Training Level Test 3 and First Level Test 2 competition. Her score of 80.455 in the Training Level Sweepstakes class earned her the high score award during the Fall Festival’s Saturday evening competitor’s party.
Currie has owned Frost T for 18 months and NEDA was only his third show. “I wasn’t even planning to go to NEDA,” Currie said. “But he needs more mileage to get his confidence so we came.” She competed him in August at the Centerline Events dressage show and CDI, also held at HITS, and Currie said that gave Frost T an opportunity to see the show grounds and get used to the environment. The first day of that show, the gelding was tense. He was better the second day and super on the third day. Hence, Currie said she knew then that if Frost T settled at NEDA, they could do well.
“I was expecting that it would go well at NEDA since Training and First levels are well within his abilities, but I never expected it would be this well,” Currie said. “I’ve never had an experience like this. You read about people who get these high score results and you think, ‘wow, how lucky for them’. And now that is me. I know he is a capable horse but I never expected this. He was just so relaxed and focused.”
At the Grand Prix level, the adult amateur champion for the year is Alice Tarian of Frenchtown, New Jersey who rode her own eight-year-old Oldenburg mare Elfenfeuer to victory.
The open Grand Prix Regional Champion was Heather Mason, of Lebanon, New Jersey, with her 11-year-old KWPN gelding Zar. That pair also took regional championship in both the open Grand Prix Freestyle and Intermediate II, all of their wins coming with scores in the 70s. With Romantico SF, a nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Mason earned regional championships in the open Intermediate I and Intermediate Freestyle.
In the CDI competition, the big winners were Mikala Munter Gundersen and Heather Blitz. Gundersen, who rides for Denmark, rode Janne Rumbough’s 15-year-old Danish mare My Lady to victory in both the CDI Grand Prix and the CDI Grand Prix Freestyle with scores of 75.160 and 79.90 respectively.
Blitz, of Medfield, Mass., earned blue in Thursday’s USEF/FEI Test of Choice with a score of 78.421. On Friday she took the Open Prix St. Georges Region 8 championship with a score of 76.184 and on Sunday, she earned another win in the USEF/FEI Open Test of Choice riding an Intermediate I with a score of 74.211.
Her wins were with the seven-year-old Danish stallion Ripline, which was bred and is owned by Oak Hill Ranch.
In breed competition, the NEDA Grand Championship award went to MW Dallas, owned and shown by Jennifer Vanover of Maplewood Warmbloods in Middletown, New York. The three-year-old Oldenburg mare, sired by Sir Gregory and out of St. Pr. St. DeLovely, went home with no less than six blue ribbons and earning several scores in the 80s.
In USEF Para-Equestrian competition, Angela Peavy of Avon, Conn. and Sydney Collier of Ann Arbor, Mich. shared wins. Peavy took blue in the FEI Para-Freestyle competition and Collier earned blue in the Para-Equestrian Team and Individual competitions. Peavy’s win came with the help of Rebecca Reno’s nine-year-old Trakehner gelding Ozzy Cooper. Collier’s partner was her own 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding Wentworth.
Complete results for NEDA’s Fall Festival can be found at Fox Village Dressage