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Anna Buffini Frh Davinia La Douce's On a Mission
Monday, May 8, 2023
Posted by Kim F Miller
DRESSAGE IN CALIFORNIA | DRESSAGE ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SPRING BENEFIT CDI AND DRESSAGE SHOW
Temecula, California. The atmosphere was a little looser than at Anna Buffini and Frh Davinia La Douce's last outing -- the FEI World Cup Finals in Omaha, where they finished 7th. Yet Anna still had a mission to accomplish on the opening day of the Dressage Association of Southern California's Spring Benefit CDI, held at Galway Downs Equestrian in Temecula.
Photo ©Terri Miller
Trying New Things
"We were trying a few new things to get ready for the rest of the year," said Anna after earning a 72.609% to top the CDI3* Grand Prix, sponsored by Beverly Gepfer and Kirk R Martens Foundation. "I think her piaffes were the best they've ever been since I've had her. We are working on a little bit of a different frame, more relaxation and to make sure we are getting all the points we can.
"Often at the bigger shows, you have to be a bit conservative to have a clean test," Anna continued. "Here, I wanted to be able to ride her more uphill, to push to make her movements a little bigger. Instead of trying to keep it safe for a 7, we want to make it bigger and go for a 7.5 or an 8."
There's a flip side to that with the high-spirited Hanoverian mare by Don Frederico. "When we tried to go a little more uphill in the two-tempis, she missed one of them, so it goes both ways!"
Overall, pushing for more paid off. "To get that high of a score -- even with the mistake -- is very encouraging." It was the pair's second highest score, and Anna guessed they could have topped it without the bobble.
California Girl All the Way
The native Californian is a longtime supporter of California dressage -- long before she hit the international stage at the 2022 World Cup in Leipzig, Germany. "I love having these CDIs on the West Coast. We need them and I'm going to continue supporting them as much as I can."
Competing on both coasts enabled Anna to fulfill another mission -- "I know it's a bit of a dicey subject, but some people seem to think that scoring is easier out here than it is in Florida. I'm really happy I can show on both coasts and show that scores are actually the same. This year, I've competed twice in California and once in Florida and my scores in Florida were actually a little higher. I'm not saying one coast is higher than another -- I'm saying that both coasts are scored equally. I want to take that bias and opinion away from the sport and demonstrate that judging-wise, it's an equal playing field on both coasts."
Not one to rest on her laurels -- ever -- Anna plans to keep upping her and "Diva's" game. The goal is to stay on the radar for Pan Am Games and/or Nations Cup team selection.
Sunday's Grand Prix Special
Anna Buffini and Frh Davinia La Douce came to Temecula to find out what edges of excellence can be pushed after their top 10 finish in the FEI World Cup Finals in Omaha. In the Grand Prix Special today, their winning 70.872% established some new highs in their trot work -- "probably the best we've ever done" -- and some new training tasks to maximize their canter work.
"We are really experimenting here and some things paid off and some things didn't," said Anna. "I love it because now I know how much to push and I have things to take home and train and know what to ask for in the next text." Scoring over 70 today, following their 72.609% in Friday's CDI3* Grand Prix, gave Anna what she thinks may be her first Grand Prix win in her California home turf.
Pressing for extra uphill and scope on the flying changes led to errors involving costly co-efficient movements. "I'm actually really happy to get such a good score, even with those mistakes."
Still Basking in the World Cup Glow
Throughout the weekend, Anna enjoyed her status as an "overnight sensation 20 years in the making" -- as she described it with her bright, trademark smile. As happened at the World Cup Finals in Omaha, she was approached by fans through the weekend at the Galway Downs Equestrian Center.
"I think that having a positive impact on people is just as important as getting a CDI win," she shared. "I've been working at this since I was 11 and I'm so glad that the message I'm putting out there about hard work and being a genuinely kind, caring person is inspiring so many."
Fine Tuning Time
Summer plans are up in the air, with hopes to be tagged for a Nations Cup or Pan American Games team. Meantime, they'll keep fine-tuning their performance from their San Diego base and working with coach Guenter Seidel.
Amelia Newcomb and Harvard, an 11-year-old KWPN by Charmeur, were 2nd on a 66.404%, followed by Daniela Groenke and Bardolina, a 12-year-old Oldenburg by Bordeaux, on a 64.979%.
The Grand Prix Special was sponsored by Bailiwick House and judged by Stephen Clarke, Sarah Geikie, Maria Schwennesen, Jane Weatherwax and Brenda MinorAmy Miller and Encore, a 14-year-old KWPN by Jazz, earned a 67.739% for second, followed by Daniela Groenke and Bardolino on a 63.565%. Bardolino is a 12-year-old Oldenburg by Bordeaux.