Wellington, FL - Week two at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center began for Para-Equestrian Dressage riders Thursday, January 26, at the 2012 Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge CPEDI3. Canada and the United States of America went head to head in the team competition resulting in an early lead for the United States. With top scores reaching the 70% mark, the United States showcased their determination and progression over the past year. In addition to the U.S.A. and Canada, other countries represented were Bermuda, Finland, Ireland, Japan, and Mexico making up a total of 29 horse and rider combinations to display their top Team Tests. Representing the ground jury was Katherine Lucheschi (ITA), Hanneke Gerritsen (NED), and Carlos Lopes (POR). The Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge CPEDI3* is an opportunity for riders to increase their world ranking and to qualify for the 2012 London Paralympic Selection Trials.
Representing the United States was Mary Jordan (Grade IV) of Wells, ME aboard Sebastian, Dale Dedrick (Grade II) from Ann Arbor, MI on Bonifatius, Rebecca Hart (Grade II) of Erie, PA aboard Lord Ludger and Jonathan Wentz (Grade Ib) on NTEC Jabriel from Richardson,TX. At the helm of United States team is Chef d'Equipe Missy Ransehousen.
During the first week of the Florida CPEDI3*, Jonathan Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale represented the U.S.A Team. During the second week NTEC Jabriel was chosen as one of the four team members. This change was a result of testing a new horse for its Team potential. In the Grade Ib competition, Jonathan earned the top score with NTEC Richter Scale of 70.530%, and the second place with team horse NTEC Jabriel 68.409%. "Richter really improved today," noted Jonathan. "However, I was extremely tired after my first horse so when I rode Gabe I became a little heavy. As a rider I have to be perfectly precise with Gabe and the smallest change in my body can affect him."
He continued, "Tomorrow our goal is to work on the turn on the haunches for the Individual Test. It is a really hard move that most able-bodied riders struggle with because it is all leg. As a para-equestrian this movement is even harder to ride and teach."
Dale Dedrick and Bonifatius represented Grade II for the U.S.A. Team Test competition scoring a 71.984%. She commented, "To be selected for the team is an incredible honor at a CPEDI3*. Everyone is doing their best and everyone is supporting each other. This is only the third CPEDI3* that my horse Erik and I have competed in so we are still working out the little kinks to polish our show ring performance. Having two shows in a row has been a wonderful opportunity to build on what was good the first week and eliminate pieces that weren't so wonderful. Today I decided to let Erik's frame out a little bit, soften him, and move forward. I really like the change I made in this horse today which made me realize my plan for tomorrow. The only detail about the test that was a challenge was walking into a halt and backing up because Erik is much better at trotting into the halt and backing up. I have really appreciated the support and training of my trainer Rosaline Kinstler who has helped me make these decisions about Erik each and every day."
Rounding out the other half of the U.S.A. Team Tests were Grade IV rider Mary Jordan and Sebastian and Grade II rider Rebecca Hart and Lord Ludger which brought the United States just a few points ahead of Canada.
Rebecca Hart noted, "I really think the team is going in the right direction. With this opportunity to have back-to-back competitions everyone is able to look at their comments from last week and work towards a goal for this week. So far that has shown in their scores.
Mary Jordan responded, "It is wonderful being able to show twice at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center, I can't think of anywhere else where we have been able to get that feed back and work on it. The team overall is doing quite well. I definitely feel the support of my teammates. We are able to encourage each other and share ideas about fine tuning our rides."
As the end of the competition approached Rebecca Hart and Lord Ludger were given their chance in the ring scoring a 71.746%. Rebecca commented, "This is our third CPEDI3* together and we are really starting to mesh. The moments of A-Ha! are becoming more frequent and I can already start to feel where our partnership is going. Lo Lu has a really big flowing trot and we now have that hammered out so in the future we will focus on accuracy and getting that same trot energy into the walk. We have been working hard on the adaptive cues and I am looking forward to when everything becomes consistent."
Mary affirmed, "I was pleased with Sebastian today. He is a new partnership since three weeks before the September horse show in Saugerties so we are just getting his program together. What I love about Sebastian is that he is much happier here at a horse show than hanging out at home. When I trot him into the ring he feels like he grows about ten feet. As Robert Dover noted he has a really flamboyant extended trot so I think that as his fitness continues to improve that he can show that brilliance in his test.
The Canadian Team members included 2008 gold and silver medal Paralympian Lauren Barwick - Four Star Parelli Professional- and Off To Paris. The pair earned the highest score of the day with a 75% in Grade II. With a last minute change for Ashley Gowanlock, Ashley showed Maile who was Lauren Barwick's partner when they won the 2008 gold and silver medal in the Hong Kong Paralympics. With just one day to learn the ride Ashley and Maile scored an impressive 67.576% in Grade Ib placing them just behind Jonathan Wentz (USA). In Grade Ia Jody Schloss and Inspector Rebus earned a score of 67.255% placing her in second behind Laureitta Oakleaf (USA) at 71.275%. In Grade IV Lynne Pool and Vasco E represented Canada earning a 63.281% behind Mary Jordan and Sebastian (USA) at 66.406% and behind, dominating Grade IV Irish rider, James Dwyer and Orlando at 69.635%.
Chef d'Equipe Elizabeth Quigg-Robinson explained what the Canadian team has gone through within the last 24 hours, "We had to make a few changes today because we had a couple little problems with the horses. Ashley's ride developed an abscess just before the trot up so we had to switch her onto a reserve horse. Lauren's Maile was just coming back into work and training but because Lauren was down in Florida she brought Maile with her. We are very proud of Ashley earning a great score for the team on a new horse. We are also very proud of Lauren who had fabulous ride today. She has really put together all the things the judges have said over the last couple of weeks."
She continued, "We are so proud of the entire team. They had a great week last week and so far they have remained consistent this week. Having two weeks back-to-back has really taught our team how to manage a small interruption in the regular routine like the one we had today. We are trying to use every tool including a sports psychologist who is working with our team to discuss interruptions like bringing in a new horse."
After the Florida CPEDI3* the Canadian team will travel to multiple locations including Eleonore Elstone who will compete in Europe this winter at the CPEDI events. "We have some wonderful funding partners like Own the Podium who are very supportive of us," noted Elizabeth Quigg-Robinson. "Our funding cycle is a four-year cycle which continues as long as we keep performing well. As we approach London we will have to check our funding to decide which shows to do next."
It takes lots of support for every para-equestrian to reach their goals including companies like People on Horses. The brow bands seen on the Team U.S.A horses were donated to the United States Para-Equestrian Team members from People On Horses and President Lisa Woodcock-Zella. Since 1998 Lisa and her company have supplied top riders with her crystal, diamond, and jeweled brow bands. "We truly enjoy donating to the Para-Equestrian Team," smiled Lisa. "We have been donating brow bands since the 2004 Olympic Team, and we have continued with donating them to each team at many international events. We enjoy donating the brow bands because we feel it gives the team a feeling of camaraderie and unity."
On Saturday, the Individual Team Test competition will occur followed by Sunday's Freestyle Test and awards ceremony. In addition to the CPEDI3*, the World Dressage Masters presented by Axel Johnson Group and the top dressage horses in the world will compete for $130,000. A total of 17 horses and riders from six countries will participate in the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach, which is the only World Dressage Masters event to take place outside of Europe.
January 26, 2012 Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge CPEDI3*
Name, Horse, Score, Country
1. Laurietta Oakleaf, Niekele fan Busenitz, 71.275 (USA)
2. Jody Schloss, Inspector Rebus (CAN), 67.255 (USA)
3. Robyn Andrews, Fancianna, 63.431 (CAN)
4. Alexander Mitchell, Guiness Maskell, 63.137 (BER)
5. Kim Decker, Dasher's Destiny, 62.941, (USA)
6. NTEC Manchada, Mina Chinju, 61.275 (JPN)
1. Jonathan Wentz, NTEC Richter Scale, 70.530 (USA)
2. Jonathan Wentz, NTEC Jabriel (USA), 68.409 (USA)
3. Ashley Gowanlock, Maile, 67.576 (CAN)
4. Katja Karjalainen, Hidden Creek Jones, 65.076 (FIN)
5. Jaana Kivimaki, Sarona, 65.076 (FIN)
6. Margaret McIntosh, Idalgo, 61.818
1. Lauren Barwick, Off To Paris, 75.000 (CAN)
2. Dale Dedrick, MD Bonifatius, 71.984 (USA)
3. Rebecca Hart, Lord Ludger, 71.746 (USA)
4. Fernanda Otheguy, It's Mr. Merlot, 67.460 (MEX)
5. Elizabeth Pigott, Whitney's Willow, 66.190 (USA)
6. Rebecca Hart, Hugh Knows, 64.841 (USA)
7. Charlotte Bathlon, Sportsfield Twist, 62.302 (USA)
8. Sydney Collier, Quimerico KF, 58.968 (USA)
1. Eleanor Brimmer, Carino H, 58.951 (USA)
1. James Dwyer, Orlando, 69.635(IRE)
2. Mary Jordan, Sebastian, 66.406(USA)
3. Lynne Poole, Vasco E, 63.281 (CAN)
4. Lynne Pool, Fisbee, 62.656 (CAN)
5. Lise Yervasi, Brendan Braveheart 62.031 (USA)
6. Mary Jordan, P.Sparrow Socks 61.875 (USA)
7. Robin Brueckmann, Radetzky, 61.458 (USA)
8. Madison Lawson, McGuire, 61.354 (CAN)
For more information about the Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge CPEDI3* please visit www.wellingtonclassicdressage.com or contact Noreen O'Sullivan (561) 714-9026.
Photo Credit: 2012 Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge CPEDI3* in Wellington, FL at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center. Photo © Lindsay Y McCall for the United States Para-Equestrian Association.