Emotional Victory for Amy Miller and Encore In California

Monday, September 21, 2015
Posted by Jennifer Keeler

Amy Miller & U.S.-bred Encore won the CDS Young Horse Futurity for Six-Year-Olds. Photo: Jennifer M. Keeler

Amy Miller & U.S.-bred Encore won the CDS Young Horse Futurity for Six-Year-Olds. Photo: Jennifer M. Keeler

The defending 2014 five-year-old CDS Futurity champion Encore returned to the CDS Championship Show this year in pursuit of another victory, and the elegant KWPN gelding (Jazz x Aloha by Sir Sinclair, bred in the U.S. by Lisa Dickman) did not disappoint. With two solid performances at Second Level to sweep both rounds of competition and earn a combined average score of 72.078%, Encore returned to the winner’s circle with owner/rider Amy Miller of Fullerton, Cal. to accept the Paquita Parker Perpetual Trophy in the CDS Open Six-Year-Old Futurity. It was an emotional victory for Miller: she purchased Encore from her friends at DG Bar Ranch three years ago, and was riding with a heavy heart after the recent death of Tony De Groot, who was honored by CDS with a moment of silence before evening festivities. Even so, Miller was thrilled with the win and said the secret to her youngster’s success is not just talent, but also his exceptional temperament. “He’s so rideable and his personality is such that he likes to come out and work every day. I just try to add small elements every day to his training, and it’s worked,” Miller explained. “Next year we look forward to coming back for Third and Fourth Level, and if he’s ready, perhaps do the Developing Horse program in the future. But for now I’m thinking of Tony and riding for him, so this was very special.”

The Rancho Murieta Equestrian Center was teeming with riders, horses and spectators on a spectacularly sunny Saturday at the 48th Annual California Dressage Society (CDS) Annual Championship Show being held September 17-20, 2015 outside Sacramento, Calififornia.

Also sweeping both division tests to win the CDS Open Five-Year-Old Futurity was Hilda Gurney of Moorpark with Lotta Silver, a stunning Trakehner gelding (Silver Moon x Livadia by Impressionist) she bred in California and now co-owns with Adrienne Bessey.  As an Olympic medalist, Gurney knows what it takes for a horse to succeed at the international level, and she thinks Lotta Silver may have the right stuff. “Well the ultimate question will be if he can make it to Grand Prix, but I certainly enjoy the journey – the breeding, the foaling, raising and starting them,” said Gurney. “He’s only five and he can be mischievous, but he’s incredibly elastic and so light to ride – he just springs off the ground like he doesn’t even need it. I definitely have high hopes for him.”

In the Adult Amateur divisions of the Futurity, Ruth Shirkey from San Jose took a commanding lead in the first round of competition with her Hanoverian mare Wyleigh Princess (Weltmeyer x EM Heiress B by His Highness, bred in the U.S. by Cheryl and Eric Johnson) and held on for the win with a combined score of 71.801% to be crowned champions in the five-year-old division. In the CDS Adult Amateur Six-Year-Old Futurity, Melissa Rogers of Sonoma, Calif. rode her own Dutch gelding Empire (by Tuschinski, bred in the Netherlands) to two consistent performances at Second Level for the overall win with 67.054%.

CDS Horse of the Year titles were awarded at First, Second and Fourth Levels, as well as Intermediaire I.  In the Open First Level division, Lehua Custer piloted Wendy Sasser’s five-year-old Dutch gelding F.J. Ramzes to confidently win the second round’s First Level Test 3 for a come-from-behind overall victory, taking the McLeod Perpetual Trophy home to North Hollywood with an overall combined score of 72.429%.  So far this weekend, Brian Hafner of Penngrove, Calif. and the seven-year-old Dutch gelding Dream Catcher have proven to be unbeatable at Second Level. After winning yesterday’s Great American/USDF Region 7 Open Second Level title, the pair swept the $1,000 CDS Open Second Level Horse of the Year division with an average two-test score of 71.697% to claim the Bengt Lungquist Memorial Trophy for owner Wendy Roberts.   
Sandy Savage of nearby Sacramento earned the right to have her name engraved on the Pal Kemery Perpetual Trophy by riding her lovely black Hanoverian mare Releve to a combined score of 70.917% to win the $1,000 CDS Open Fourth Level Horse of the Year title.  In the $1,000 Open Intermediaire I Horse of the Year division, Amy Miller scored her second win of the day, this time aboard Christine Stevens’ Swedish Warmblood gelding Tenedos with a score of 68.487%, while the Adult Amateur division and T.D.I. Systems Perpetual Trophy was won with a big score of 73.092% by Dido, a Danish Warmblood mare owned and ridden by Adrienne Bessey of Thousand Oaks.
An impressive group of juniors and young riders also sought to earn CDS Horse of the Year awards.  At First Level, McKenzie Kelley of Napa topped the competitive field riding her own five-year-old Oldenburg gelding Fuerst Hit to win both rounds for an average score of 68.231%. In the CDS Junior/Young Rider Prix St. Georges Horse of the Year Championship, D’Rey Murray (Petaluma, Calif.) was first down centerline and set a score of 68.816% which could not be caught with the Hanoverian gelding Dernier Cri.
Additional CDS Championships were awarded in the Fourth Level, Intermediaire I and Grand Prix Freestyle divisions as part of afternoon and evening entertainment, and repeat winners were the name of the game in all three divisions.  Claire Darnell (Moorpark, Calif.) already won the Great American/USDF Region 7 Fourth Level Freestyle Championship on Thursday, and earned another victory today in the CDS Fourth Level Freestyle Horse of the Year class with her Dutch gelding Ayokay on an impressive score of 76.133%. The 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding Winzalot once again lived up to his name by decisively winning the Lilian Van Dahn Memorial Perpetual Trophy for the CDS Intermediaire Freestyle on 75.813% with owner/rider Jamie Pestana of Livermore.  In a fitting evening finale, Adrienne Bessey returned to the main arena one last time with Hilda Gurney’s Oldenburg gelding Wintersnow and brought down the house with their Les Miserables-themed performance to claim the CDS Horse of the Year Grand Prix Freestyle title and the Lt. Col Hans Moeller Trophy on a score of 67.250%.
Championship competition concludes on Sunday with final divisions of Regional and CDS Championships.  For complete Day Three results, click here .  For more information about the California Dressage Society Championship Show, including news, schedules, ride times, and results, visit the CDS website and follow along with behind-the-scenes updates and photos on the CDS Facebook page.