Hattrick for Yvonne Losos de Muniz
Yvonne Losos de Muniz of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, riding Inatana Las Marismas won all three of her CDI classes at the Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic CDI***/Y held March 13-16, 2003, at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, Florida. Of nine CDI classes offered, de Muniz rode the Prix St. Georges, Intermediaire I, and Intermediaire I Freestyle as qualifiers for the 2003 Pan American Games to be held in her hometown in August. De Muniz, 35, has been paired with her 12-year-old, 17.2-hand, Dutch-bred mare by Lantana for a year. “She doesn’t look it, but she’s actually a very difficult mare, and we just seemed to click,” de Muniz said. “I think it shows in the ring.”
“The I-I was really the premiere class of this show,” said Axel Steiner, USA ‘O’ Judge, one of the panel of five judging the CDI classes. “It was a large class, with very good competition, especially at the top.” In the Intermediaire I, de Muniz scored 70.250%, besting a class of 29 riders. Suzanne Dansby Phelps aboard Goubergh’s Kaspar placed second (68.80%). Arlene Page on Wild One was third (68.100%). In the Prix St. Georges CDI, de Muniz scored 68.55% to best a class of 31 who competed in two groups over two days; Jacqueline Paxton and her mare Sangmelima led on Thursday, topping the class of 14 with a score of 67.550%, but on Friday de Muniz edged Paxton into second place. Joaquin Orth of Mexico on Guido placed third (67.250%).
Closing out her three-prong sweep, on Sunday in the I-I Freestyle, de Muniz outscored a class of 11 with 72.875%, riding to Latin-flavored music and choreography designed by Terri Gallo of KlassicKur. Judge Hanne Valentin placed de Muniz first in the Freestyle and remarked, “She had a very high degree of difficulty. I gave 8 for some of the extensions. I gave a 9 on one of the other days for an extension. It’s a really beautifully moving horse.”
Francis Continues String of Success
Shelly Francis, 44, of Woodstock, Vermont, aboard Gala, a 12-year-old, 16.1-hand Rhinelander gelding by Goldstrand, dominated the CDI Grand Prix classes. The duo won the Grand Prix “A” on Thursday with a score of 67.458%, topping a class of 15 riders. Patrick Burssens on Marfil was second (64.875%) and Anne Gribbons on Aureate was third (64.708%). Francis and Gala also took the blue in the Grand Prix Special on Friday, scoring 68.080% in a field of nine riders. Anne Gribbons on Aureate tied with Mirja Block on Asarhaddon for second place, both earning 63.760%. Francis has her sights set on qualifying for the USET Grand Prix Championship in June and the 2004 Athens Olympics.
She has been riding Gala, owned by Particia Stempel of Michigan, since he was three years old and points out the horse’s natural talent for the Grand Prix movements. “He makes piaffe and passage almost by himself,” said Francis. “I just sit and wait and count steps. It’s an awesome feeling.”
Patrick Burssens of Mexico won the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI on Marfil, owned by Mary Anne McPhail. Riding a difficult and technical kur, Burssens, a former Belgian citizen and former Belgian national Dressage Champion, topped a field of six riders, scoring 71.225%.
Ashley Holzer on Tess Guilder's Imperioso (by Cocktail) was second (69.700%). Holzer has been back for few months now, from an intensive training trip at Anky van Grunsven's and Sjef Janssen's training stable in Erp, The Netherlands. East coast rider Pamela Goodrich on Melville was third (69.600%) in the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI.
Young Riders Shondel and LaPorte Taking the Blue Ribbons
Michael Shondel, 20, of Kinnelon, New Jersey, proved to be the top contender of the six competitors in the Young Riders CDI/Y, winning both classes he entered – the Team Test (64.978%) and the Individual Test (69.829%) aboard his 12-year-old, 18.2-hand Hanoverian gelding Wallaby by Werther.
Shondel is a college student majoring in business and an officer candidate in the Marine Corps – he completed boot camp in July. Shondel currently trains with Dr. Cesar Parra. His goal this year is to qualify for the North American Young Riders Championships. “They were pretty good rides,” said Shondel of his wins. “They weren’t without mistakes but we’ve been riding pretty consistent and precise in our tests.”
Trae LaPorte of Wellington, Florida, won the Young Rider Freestyle CDI/Y scoring 69.1% in a class of four competitors. LaPorte, who trains with Bent Jensen, placed second to Shondel in the Individual (66.068%) and third in the Team (61.822%) on Kathryn Grove’s Fleetwood, a 16-year-old, 16.2, Dutch gelding.
Open Classes, Open for Top Scores in Wellington
In addition to the CDI classes, the Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic hosted 38 Open classes. The high score of the show went to Mary Collier of Bayshore, New York, who earned 77.917% aboard her Riverdance in Open Training Level Test 3. Riverdance is a five-year-old, 16.2-hand Dutch gelding by Hemingway.
Other highlights of the Open classes included Tina Konyot’s standout wins in the Prix St. Georges (67.917%) and Intermediaire I (68.5%) with the beautiful dapple gray Liberty, an eight-year-old, 17.3-hand Hanoverian stallion. Olympian Michelle Gibson ‘showcased’ her brilliant stallion World Of Dreams in the Intermediaire II class, his only performance at the show, taking the blue with 70.569%.
Harding and Kestrel's Thunderous ride at Wellington
In the final class of the four-day event, Shawna Harding rode Kestrel to the win in the Open Intermediaire Freestyle under distracting weather conditions – thunder, lightning and a downpour. Though the weather had been hot and dry during the four-day competition – making jackets optional for all but FEI competitors – management had to stop the show for 15 minutes after two rides in the I-I Freestyle until the weather cleared enough for the last three to go.
A former working student for the late Dr. Reiner Klimke, Shawna, 33, of Versailles, Kentucky, after an interrupted warm-up ‘took the ring by storm’ on Kestrel, an 11-year-old Dutch gelding, and earned a 71.750% for the victory.
Hanne Valentin, ‘O’ judge from Denmark and president of the Ground Jury for the Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic CDI***/Y, summed up her impression of the event after the final ride on Sunday, “The quality of the show is very professionally done. It’s just as professional as in Europe. The scribes are some of the best. They are very good, very professional, they know what they’re doing, and are very well prepared."
Visit the Exclusive Phelpsphoto Tour of the WEF Dressage Classic
Scores 2003 Zada WEF Dressage Classic
Shelly Francis, Grand Prix Diva at 2003 Palm Beach Dressage Derby
Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz Wins in Wellington
Dressage In Florida Kicks Off 2003 Season