October 1, 2011 (Devon, PA) – Dressage enthusiasts wait all year for Dressage at Devon where professional riders from around the world compete in the Dixon Oval and Gold Ring. Eagerly awaited, however, is the talent and experience shown in the Saturday classes – providing the standards to which dressage riders strive. Tanya Strasser-Shostak, from St. Adele Canada, and her 6-year-old Reserve Champion Oldenburg stallion, Cappuccino Tyme, teamed for a win in the FEI Pony Team Test CDN. This test, among other things, challenges rider and pony with a six-loop serpentine on a counter canter. A family affair, Tanya’s mother Evi Strasser bought Cappuccino Tyme when he was three and has worked with Tanya to help her train him.
Given his youth, Tanya was pleased with Cappucino Tyme’s performance and ability to focus despite the distractions of Devon. “He was really good considering this was his first big show,” she said.
Other juniors also had their day. Nicolas Torres Rodriguez, originally from Columbia, executed a blue-ribbon ride on Silver Label, a 14-year-old Swedish Wamblood owned by Michael Shondel. The gray gelding is by Rambo out of Nicca. “It’s fantastic to be here and to win. It’s beyond what I expected,” said Rodriguez, smiling.
After claiming the bronze at the American Junior and Young Rider Championship at the Kentucky Horse Park, Chase Hickok from Durham, North Carolina, rose to first place in the FEI Young Rider Individual Test with Palermo, by Zeoliet out of Arona. Palermo is a fourteen-year-old Dutch Warmblood gray gelding owned by Pamela Hickok who said “Palermo is brilliant. He’s a hard worker who gives 100% of himself.” Chase, who trains with Cesar Parra, first began to enjoy dressage when she evented as a youngster. After focusing in the hunter/jumper world for many years, she became serious about dressage two years ago and has quickly demonstrated her talents.
Emily Gershberg, from Hudson, New York, partnered with Zatino H, a seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood bay gelding by Sir Sinclair out of Karma, to claim first place in the USEF Fourth Level Test 2. “I’m working on developing the engagement and self-carriage that is needed for 4th level and above,” said Gershberg, showing the motivation that is displayed by a winner. “Overall I’m really pleased with the performance and I’m thrilled to have a win at Dressage at Devon. He’s the best.”
After clinching the blue ribbon for the FEI Prix St. Georges on Warsteiner yesterday, Heather Mason won first place in the FEI Intermediaire. Heather is from Lebanon, New Jersey, and Warsteiner is an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood by Riverman out of Welona. When asked about her ride, Heather commented, “he was very steady and consistent. I went for more power and he was very good about it.”
Patrick Tigchelaar from Mechanicsville, Virginia, and Supertimes, claimed first place in the competitive FEI Prix St. Georges. Supetimes by Goodtimes out of Draniki is a twelve-year-old Dutch Warmblood bay gelding. Tigchelaar bought Supertimes when the horse was four and trained him with the help of his wife who served as “his eyes on the ground.” Tigchelaar describes Supertimes as a show off who knows when it’s time to get to work. Tigchelaar says this is his first big win. “I enjoyed every minute of the ride and we’re absolutely thrilled to win. Also, I especially want to thank our sponsor Sandy Williams at Blue Sky for helping us to get here.”
Under the Stars
In the world of dressage, the musical freestyle holds a special place in the hearts of many. The partnership between horse and rider takes on a whole new dimension when the horses’ steps are choreographed to coordinate with the tempos of music medleys. When music and the motion of the horse are combined, dressage is transformed to horse ballet and, at times, a lively dance.
Grand Prix Freestyle top scores of 74.275 went to Wizard by Weltmeyer out of Pica who was ridden by Adrienne Lyle. Bred in the Netherlands, Wizard is a 12-year-old dark bay Oldernburg gelding. “It was quite a wild experience,” said Lyle. “I was told the crowd gets rowdy but I had no idea that they cheer during the ride. Although Wizard was wound up at the beginning, he tried to stay with me and he was able to stay relaxed through the ride.”
Second place with a score of 73.950 went to Catherine Hadad Staller riding Winyamaro, last year’s winning pair. Winyamaro is by Walt Disney I out of Taiga. “This year he is much more made and I was thrilled with the way he performed,” she said. Catherine wowed the crowd as she rode one-handed through tempi changes. She knew the crowd would clap and this would give Winyamaro the extra encouragement to move forward.
Third place with a score of 72.775 went to James Koford riding Pharaoh by Ferro out of Heureka VH Rampelhof. Koford has been coming to Devon for 20 years, each year hoping that it was going to be his year. Finally it happened. He said “this is by far the best success I’ve had. And the crowd was into it, the riders were into it, and the horses were into it!”
Judge Linda Zang, an FEI “O” (5*), has judged all over world and was impressed by the field tonight, in spite of the rain. “Everyone always hopes that it won’t rain for the Grand Prix – but I think it has rained for the last four years. But it is always amazing to have such a great and enthusiastic crowd. It was wonderful to see new faces coming out in the Grand Prix and giving us top performances. It gives us hope that we will have top riders going forward.”
Tomorrow is the last day of the Performance Division at Dressage at Devon. Complete results and more information are available at www.dressageatdevon.org.