Traverse City, MI - September 10, 2010 - The 2010 Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 2 Dressage Championships began competition today at Flintfields Horse Park in Traverse City, Michigan. The championship classes are being held in conjunction with the Dressage by the Bay Fall Classic which offers a full schedule of competition through the grand prix level and continues through Sunday, September 12.
Beginning the day's competition in the Grand Prix Ring, the Second Level Open Championship was held with judges Sue Malone-Casey at 'E' and Gary Rockwell at 'C'. Vanessa Voltman of Fenton, MI displayed a beautiful test with her six-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Ziezo. The pair earned a 65.357% to receive the championship honors for the region's 2010 season. Reserve honors were awarded to Maria Lithander and Idolo Americano with their score of 65.238%. The seven-year-old P.R.E. stallion is owned by Kimberly Vankampen-Boyer & Hampton Green Farm.
This was Vanessa Voltman's first time showing at Dressage by the Bay and she had a fantastic day of competition. "I really like it here; it is so nice and everything is very well organized," Voltman said. "The footing is awesome and I had a lot of fun today."
Voltman trains and has a business called European Connection with her husband Albert Gesierich. She moved to the United States from the Netherlands five years ago.
Ziezo is a horse that Voltman and her husband imported from Holland as a four-year-old. "He is a really nice, good horse," she stated. "He has a good brain, he is always willing to work and he is just fun. He has a great personality and we got here because of him."
Commenting on her ride, Voltman noted, "I thought my test was good. I made some mistakes but it was really my fault, it was not him. He was paying attention and being really good. He is always paying attention in the ring; he is very focused, which is the nicest thing about him. I am very lucky to have him; I truly think he is special."
Second place finisher Maria Lithander also commented on her ride, stating, "I always feel that my test could have been better, but I was very happy and the horse felt happy, which I think is very important. He felt comfortable and I think we both had a good time in there."
Lithander has been training at Hampton Green Farm for two and a half years and shows many of their talented horses. Idolo Americano is the son of one of her mounts Idilio, who is also a Hampton Green stallion that Lithander is showing this weekend. "I am very happy to be showing both father and son," Lithander smiled. "Idolo is a fantastic horse and I think he has a great future ahead of him."
Lithander has shown at Flintfields Horse Park several times since Horse Sports by the Bay began hosting dressage shows a few years ago. She complimented the hard work put in by all of the staff and crew, stating, "I love this show. I think it is a place that is going to grow a lot and I am just very happy that we have been able to come. It is a wonderful place, they work really hard to make it perfect, and it gets better every time we come here. I know that the hunters and jumpers also enjoy it a lot, so congratulations to everyone that works here because it is an amazing, beautiful place."
Later in the day several other division championships were presented for the regional competition. Nicole Chiapetti and Oxford earned the FEI Junior Rider Championship and Emily Wright and Florestano won the FEI Young Rider Championship.
The Training Level Open Championship was presented to Paula Kubicki and Mojito RH with Amanda Johnson and Foley finishing in reserve. The Training Level Adult Amateur Championship awarded top honors to Cari Saloch and Poukha with Kristy Hume and Feisty Star in reserve. The Training Level Junior/Young Rider Championship was won by Amy Schlerbeek and Romance GP with Lauren Prince and Weltliebchen in reserve.
Also awarding championship honors were the Second Level Junior/Young Rider and Adult Amateur divisions. Sarah Shanahan and Rapidash won the Second Level Juinor/Young Rider Championship with Mattie Kay Nelson and Sam finishing in reserve. The Second Level Adult Amateur Championship awarded the top prize to Ann Libert and Gusto with Martina Minor and D'Artagnan placing in reserve.
Horse Sports by the Bay would like to thank the title sponsor Great American Insurance Group as well as the United States Dressage Federation for choosing Flintfields Horse Park to host this special event. Tuff Rider is the official supplier of championship jackets and coolers. Dressage by the Bay sponsors include series title sponsor Hampton Green Farm and morning hospitality sponsor Linda Wanstreet's Lost World Farms LLC, and LWF Sporthorses. The 2010 Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 2 Dressage Championships and Dressage by the Bay Fall Classic will continue with a full schedule of events tomorrow. For more information, please visit www.horseshowsbythebay.com.