The Future Belongs to Those Who Believe in their Dreams – Florida Youth Dressage Championships

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Posted by Betsy LaBelle for DressageDaily


At the Adequan Global Dressage Festival WEF Dressage Classic3* CDI March 14-17, 2013 presented by PanaCavallo and Dressage4Kids

Kim Boyer, Lendon Gray, Julie McKean and Michael Davis
Kim Boyer, Lendon Gray, Julie McKean and Michael Davis
Dressage riders of tomorrow have a chance to be champions today.  Youth and Young Riders across America take note that dreams are attainable.  Lendon Gray, Kim Boyer, Mike Davis of PanaCavallo and the Adequan Global Dressage Festival continue to work together to sponsor, educated and promote America’s Youth riders. Anne Gribbons, the international judge at C said, “The concept of this championship is phenomenal.  We need a great amount more of the same, like today.  Once everyone realizes what’s going on, they are going to work harder for it.” 

This first year’s competition was approved late last year by the Dressage Committee, and called for two qualifying scores of 64% or better for the Junior and Young Rider categories, and 62% or better for the Brentina Cup category (Under 25 Grand Prix) and Pony category. Nine American riders met the criteria to compete, with the foreign riders opting to do the CDI instead of the Championship national class this year. Next year, the competition will be held in the CDI classes, which will be more inclusive and competitive, organizers believe. Lendon Gray said, “It’s a great start.  It’s small this year, but the sponsorship from Kim Boyer, Mike Davis and PanaCavallo has made it really incredibly special.” She continued, “Look at what the winners are getting; a serious amount of money, a beautiful trophy, free lesson from a top professional and a free stall for next year. Wow.”

This year’s winner of the Brentina Cup class was Julie McKean of Camden, ME. She and Stelina had a total of 64.617% for the two days of score average. McKean has been riding Stelina for a year and a half, and they have had success in the Brentina Cup at the national championships, placing sixth in 2012. Fifteen-year-old Bebe Davis of Bedminster, NJ, captured two top prizes. She and her pony named Poldy 10, won the FEI Pony Division with a total of 67.763%, while she and Rotano topped the FEI Junior Division with a total of 66.009%. Bebe won the 2012 USEF National Champion with Poldy 10 and Reserve Champion Ponies with Bohdjan at Gladstone. She went on to score the Pony Champion at Devon. Davis and her horse Rotano are in their first season together in Florida.  Alexa Derr, 18 years of age, from Reinholds, PA, won the FEI Young Riders division with Just Livingston with a total of 63.991%. Alexa is part of Lendon Gray’s Winter Intensive Training (WIT) Program, and she and Just Livingston have been together only since November.

Bebe Davis in the Big International Ring
Bebe Davis in the Big International Ring
Mike Davis and his company, PanaCavallo bring a true family effort to the championships. Davis said, “For the past eight or nine years, we have supported a pizza party for all the kids at the Saugerties, NY Dressage Youth Festival.”  Davis’ daughter, Barbara (Bebe) continues to build a solid foundation from those years of dedicated work through the Dressage Youth Festival’s yearly unique competition, giving all youth a book work or written test at their youth level as part of their overall score for the competition.  Davis continued, “Our objective here is to help what’s going on.  The future of our sport is here with our youth. It takes a lot of time to develop, so we start with the children.” He continued, “It’s evident that other countries invest significantly in their youth, particularly in Europe. The number of baseball diamonds we have in this country is similar to the number of barns they have in Germany. They’re on every corner. If we want to be a great nation, we have to start with the kids.”  

Known for the exceptional chin padding and fit, the PanaCavallo bridles can be purchased at Trilogy Saddles.  The top quality Italian leather is imported directly through Debbie Witty at Trilogy. Davis said, “I started PanaCavallo three years ago. I’m always looking for quality products and decided to get into the manufacturing side of bridles and all leather goods, stirrup straps, halters, et cetera.  We are able to pass along that saving to the consumer with no sacrifice in quality.”