Young Horses Earn Top Scores at Mid-Winter Dressage Fair

By Charlene Strickland

Across the national levels, young equine stars secured high marks at the Mid-Winter Dressage Fair, Los Angeles Equestrian Center. Horses of the ages five, six, and seven excelled at First and Third Levels—all three ridden by their owners.

Typhoon won three First Level classes Friday and Saturday, for owner/rider David Wightman of Murrieta, California: Test 4 (73.056), Test 3 (72.857), and in his second Test 3, 66.857.

“He is by Havidoff,” said Wightman. “He has tremendous talent.”

When he first saw the youngster as a three-year-old in Holland, “He was probably the best-moving three-year-old I've ever seen,” recalled Wightman. But I thought he was too small—not big enough for me or Kathleen [Raine, his wife].”

Typhoon stands 16 hands as a five-year-old. At his first California show in January 2005, he earned the high score. Wightman added, “Last year we were in Germany five months, and I looked at horses every day. This horse is a rare find.”

Luminence Tops Six-Year-Old Test

Hilda Gurney rode her homebred Luminence to the best score in the FEI Young Horse, 6-Year-Old Test. The gray gelding scored 72.20 in a solid test, expertly ridden by this legendary dressage trainer.

Registered as an Oldenburg, Luminence is a second generation champion bred by Gurney and Mary Contakos, Moorpark, California. They also bred his sire, the Trakehner, Leonidas.

“He's very willing, like his dad,” said Gurney about Luminence, after the Young Horse test. About listening to post-test comments from judge Jane Weatherwax, she reported, “Very educational!”

Luminence also won two Third Level tests: 2 (66.905) and 3 (63.778). In 2003, he was California Dressage Society champion First Level and won the CDS Futurity. Gurney has also trained Leonidas, showing him to championships at Grand Prix.

Bocelli Pleases Amateur Owner

Bocelli earned a 66.89 in Third Level, Test 3, Amateur for owner and rider Kathy Pavlich, Highland, California. The seven-year-old is sired by Brentano II, out of a Palisander mare.

“He reminds me of his sister, Brentina,” said Pavlich. “Everything comes easy to him. The changes were so easy for him.” She added, “He is so comfortable, you can't believe it.”

In color a brighter chestnut than Brentina, Bocelli has a steady character like his famous sibling. He also attracts attention with his exemplary gaits.

Pavlich trains with Carol Plough, and the two of them also train with Debbie McDonald. McDonald found Bocelli in Germany, and Pavlich bought the Hanoverian from her when he was a three year old.

Carol Plough celebrated when her student Kathy Pavlich won the amateur high score award with Bocelli. The pair earned 72.444 in Third Level, Test 3.

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By Charlene Strickland

Since last year’s Olympic Trials, Steffen Peters has developed his young horse, Floriano. Sunday the chestnut performed his more difficult 2005 freestyle, to earn a score of 72.042.

“He seems to get more comfortable with the piaffe,” said Peters, San Diego, California. “Sometimes we get 12 or 14 steps. Today we got 15 consistent steps.”

He added, “Since last year, we have increased the degree of difficulty quite a bit.” And what pleased him was a comment from judge Joan Macartney, who wrote, “It’s amazing how easy you make this look.”

On Friday, Floriano won the Grand Prix. Saturday, Peters also took the Grand Prix Special with Lombardi II.

Not to be outdone, Shannon Peters (Steffen’s wife) won a high score award with Sweet Revenge. Riding in First Level, Test 2, the pair earned 75.882 from Axel Steiner.

She praised her six-year-old for “his rideability and his canter.” This show was his first at First Level.

“He has a lot of uphill balance and a lot of activity for a young horse,and a lot of self-carriage,” said Peters. Shannon and Steffen picked Sweet Revenge, sired by Now or Never, as a three year old in Holland.

Ebeling Surfs with Westcoast

Jan Ebeling, another Californian who’s represented the US, earned top scores on several young horses he’s trained. On Westcoast, he won three Third Level classes—including a 69.556 in Third Level, Test 3.

The chestnut Hanoverian, sired by Wolkenglanz, actually belongs to Ebeling’s wife, Amy. “She showed him up to Second Level,” said Ebeling.

He’s brought the horse along slowly, saying, “He’s a late bloomer. He’s leggy and tall, and it’s taken time for him to develop mentally, too.”

Ebeling also showed Super Hit, a son of Sandro Hit owned by Anne Romney (a rider and the wife of governor Matt Romney.) “Supi” moved up to Prix St. Georges at this show.

“He’s easy to ride and so stunning looking—he’s a nice amateur’s horse,” said Ebeling of the Oldenburg.

Both Westcoast and Super Hit are eight year olds. Ebeling imported both from Germany as youngsters.

Komo Debuts 2005 Freestyle

Carol Plough showed her Komo in their new freestyle, created for them by Karen Robinson of Applause. “It’s the freestyle for this year,” said Plough of the Irish-themed music and lively choreography.

“I think he likes it. He’s a redhead, and it’s Celtic music!” joked Plough.

Comparing this freestyle to last year’s, she said, “There’s not a lot of breathing room. It’s just bam, bam, bam.” At its first public performance, the freestyle earned Plough 68.667.

“It’s happy music,” she explained about the energetic tempo. “I like my freestyle music to be happy.”

Plough also celebrated when her student Kathy Pavlich won the amateur high score award with Bocelli. The pair earned 72.444 in Third Level, Test 3.

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Young Horses Earn Top Scores at Mid-Winter Dressage Fair
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Who's Who: Carol Plough