The Heidelberg Cup - 2003
Wednesday, March 26, 2003
Posted by Contractor
The trophy started with show manager Klaus Fraessdorf and wife Maria, originally from the city of Heidelberg, Germany. Klaus has managed 163 shows in the United States in the past 27 years. In cooperation with the Heidelberg Tourist Board, the trophy was begun to promote the historical University city and create an awareness and opportunity for winning dressage riders. Originally the trophy came with a ten-day paid vacation to Germany including hotel, car, airfare, meals and sightseeing, but Klaus Fraessdorf said that several winners created so many problems by trying to change the agenda, hotel, and so on once they were there that the tourist board withdrew from the deal. Now winners receive a large trophy, beautiful blankets donated by the Dutta Corporation, and prize money donated by an anonymous sponsor known as “A Friend of Dressage”.
Carol Lavell and Much Ado Take Home the Heidelberg Cup
“This was his second I-1 and he doesn’t feel strong enough yet,” said Lavell. “You learn a hard lesson when they have that much time off: it takes a long time for them to come back. After five months off it takes a year to get back their strength. He gets very tired now.”
Lavell said that Much Ado, who is over 18 hands, takes very little strength for her to ride. “I’m only 5’4” but he’s very quick to the leg and very sensitive,” she said. “A slight shift of weight and he responds. I have to be very careful what I do.”
Lavell’s focus now is on the Grand Prix, though she plans to take her time to get there. “I suspect it’ll take another year before we can start, barring problems along the way,” she said.
Regarding this year’s Pan American Games, Lavell said, “He’s my pet and he knows it. I like him a lot and I try to train him as he likes. Since he likes to work, I don’t want to run him all over the country competing him,” which is what she would have to do to qualify at this point. Lavell already has a Pan-Am team silver medal to her name along with an individual fourth place, which she earned riding In the Black. “It was easy because he was such a solid team horse,” she said. “We have a lot of solid second-year horses now.
Still, Lavell likes to show in the qualifying classes because of the opportunity to show in front of top judges, giving Much Ado a solid competitive foundation. As a member of the USET dressage committee and the USA Equestrian dressage committee, Lavell also likes to keep herself in front of those judges “Trying with a first year horse to see how they measure up is a good deal,” she said. “I know what it’s like to be on an unconfirmed horse and it’s not fun. The Grand Prix is where you know if you have a top horse,” she went on, describing the development of the dressage horse. “A lot of questions aren’t answered until you get in the ring and you’ve got to keep putting pieces into the puzzle and hope that at the end nothing’s missing.”
Reserve Goes to Pierre St. Jacques and Lucky Tiger
St. Jacques, who is married to Grand Prix rider Pam Goodrich, has himself competed at the Grand Prix level previously on the horse Semper Bene, but said that usually he rides the more difficult horses at home because of his long legs and lack of fear. “He’s always honest in the ring,” St. Jacques said of Lucky Tiger. “There’s a lot to be said about that; it’s fun when you’re on a horse you can trust.”
He said that “Team Tiger” came to the show to support him this weekend. Goodrich helps him from the ground, and groom Nancy Hinz keeps everyone in order. “Tiger likes her and he likes for her to take him for walk and take care of him,” he said.
Having never ridden through the test, St. Jacques said that we wasn’t sure about the spacing between some of the movements, but that it worked out okay for the most part. “After the first pirouette on the flying change at B my timing wasn’t so good, but he did it,” he said. “His trot work was very good.”
“I had planned to go to Europe to train for the first time this year, but I figure this would be a good experience to get the jitters of International competition out and get used to competing under pressure,” he said. “Tiger is honest, so it doesn’t matter to him if it’s a big show. I get pumped up when I get in the arena, but not nervous. I handle pressure well.”
Alison Faso and Benno’s Dream Have Pony Power
Alison’s mother Liz Faso, who with her husband Don organizes numerous dressage shows in Georgia, was thrilled with her daughter’s success. “That’s a twenty thousand dollar ribbon,” she grinned. “If you count everything spent on Alison’s riding since she was a little girl. This is the most wonderful thing she’s ever won. And it was worth it.”
Alison said that that the pony’s temperament makes him easy to work with, and she enjoys riding him because he is small but moves like a warmblood. “The German Riding Ponies are very willing and have an excellent work ethic,” she said. The great thing about them is that they don’t have a quick little pony trot and no back; you can get throughness on them and kids can feel what that’s like. They’re miniature warmbloods ad they ride like it. They’re bred for rideability for sure.”
Before Ferebee imported Benno’s Dream, she said, he was awarded the highest score ever at his 30-day stallion testing with 8.95. He is approved with the pony section of the Oldenburg Verband and is also approved in Mecklenburg. The stallion has both jumping and dressage bloodlines, but with his excellent movement she plans to campaign him mostly in the dressage ring.
The Edgar Hotz Perpetual Trophy
“I wanted to make something nice that people will keep in a nice place in their house so that he will be remembered,” said Fraessdorf. “His name will be remembered at my shows, and riders come here from all over the country. When those riders win the trophy and take it home, and they talk about the Edgar Hotz trophy, his name will be spread around the country.”
Fraessdorf continued, “To me he could have lived a lot longer, but he had a real health problem and couldn’t cope with it. I’m in constant contact with his wife Irma; she was the largest contributor when I told her what I was doing.”
While he is still looking for donations in order to add prize money to the award, Fraessdorf said that he has already covered the cost of the take-home trophies for next year, thus it is assured that the award will continue and the memory of his friend will live on.
Awards for the four trophies are as follows:
Open: Katie Poulin-Neff, riding Brilliant Too, 71.296%
Freestyle: Trae LaPorte, riding Fleetwood, 71.875%
Adult Amateur: Janne Rumbough, riding Wallony, 66.905%
Junior/Young Rider: Kassandra Barteau, riding Redson, 67.692
Young Rider Jodie Kelly On Track for NAYRC
Kelly agreed, “As big as he is, Weltkaar is not really a man’s horse. He’s massive but sensitive.”
She competed the 18.2hh gelding at fourth level last fall and he was super. He has won all three NAYRC qualifiers that she has entered this year, so is now qualified to go to Bromont, Canada this summer.
Kelly has been training recently with Betsy Steiner in Wellington, FL. A petite rider who has been successfully campaigning Robert Dover’s former mount Rainier, Steiner has a quiet but effective teaching style that appeals to Kelly, who said that she was on a good track with her riding before but that Steiner has helped her put all the pieces together. “She’s demanding but in a kind way,” Kelly said. “I always try as hard as I can. She expects a lot but is also kind and encouraging and supportive of me and of the horses. She uses more of a reward than a punishment system.”
Steiner is the author of a book on riding that is due to be released in May. In the book she includes Pilates exercises for riders, and Kelly said that while spending the month of January in Wellington training with Steiner she also went to Pilates classes twice a week. “I loved it and could really tell a difference in my fitness,” she said.
Kelly also rode Manhattan, a nine-year-old Dutch horse by Unicorn; Leiden, a 10-year-old that she raised from a foal and trained herself; and On Broadway, by Juventus, who was at his first show. Leiden, 18.1hh, is still developing the strength needed for the upper levels, but she hopes that he will be her Young Riders horse next year.
Anne Gribbons and Aureate Win Grand Prix Special
So on Saturday, before the Grand Prix Special, Gribbons made sure that Aureate knew she meant business. She carried a whip in the warm-up, which she doesn’t usually do, and gave him a few strong half-halts to make sure that he was paying attention.
“Today he was very intelligent,” she said after their winning ride. “He’s a very talented, intelligent horse. There’s nothing he can’t do. He’s a little on the crazy side, so I console myself that most top horses are a little insane. The border between insanity and genius is a little thin,” she smiled. On Sunday the pair scored 69.208 for the second-highest scoring freestyle ride.
Gribbons is also riding Leoliet, who is a 10-year-old Dutch horse by Zeoliet, owned by Judy Bernier and ridden until now by Canadian Shannon Dueck. While Dueck has taken her Grand Prix horse to Europe to train, Leoliet is being ridden by Gribbons. Mrs. Bernier also owns Metallic, Robert Dover’s 1998 Olympic mount that Gribbons now rides, and sent Leoliet to Gribbons originally to find another rider for him.
Gribbons’ student Lesley Eden, who was the NAYRC individual gold medal winner on Picasso in 2001, rode a young horse called Ferdonia 2 to win Training Level test 3 with 70.833%. Having recently recovered from a broken leg, Eden is now riding for Highlife Farm in Orlando. Picasso has also recovered from a small injury and Eden is hoping to move him up to Grand Prix.
Michael Poulin and Chelan
Chelan, called ‘Casper’ in the barn, is a 9-year-old Canadian Thoroughbred belonging to Maureen Fitzpatrick of Spruce Creek, FL. Eventually she will take over the ride from Poulin, who has been riding him for the past two years.
Though he didn’t have him at this show, Poulin has also been campaigning Bora 75, a Lipizzan owned by Gary Levinski of Florida, at third and fourth levels. “He’s a super talented horse and can walk for 9 and do his 3- and 2-tempis already,” he said. Next year Poulin plans to move Bora up to Prix St. George and I-1. “The judges complain a little about him, but once they see the quality they can’t complain,” he said. “His character is so much better than a lot of horses I’ve had. He scores 68% most of the time. I don’t want to push him because he’s not strong enough yet but he’ll be a fabulous Grand Prix horse someday.”
Poulin’s daughter Katherine married Matt Neff six months ago and Poulin is a proud father who said that his new son-in-law is “a great guy”. He is also proud of both of his daughters’ riding achievements, and rightly so: Katherine and her sister Gwen are three-time NAYRC Champions on three different horses.
Katherine won the Edgar Hotz Trophy for the Open divisions on Brilliant Too, half-brother to a Dutch stallion called Brilliant that Michael bought as a three-year-old many years ago. His wife trained Brilliant to Grand Prix and they sold him to put the kids through college, but he still holds a special place in the Poulins’ hearts. They bred five mares to him and have several of his offspring, all stallions, which the two girls have broken and trained themselves.
Susan Jaccoma Is Getting The Hang of Grand Prix
“Without her sponsorship I couldn’t be doing this,” said Jaccoma. “I’m very indebted to her. She makes me feel like he’s my horse, and I can call her and tell her when things are going right and when they aren’t. She wants what’s best for the horses, so if we have to scratch for some reason that’s okay with her.”
All of Jaccoma’s horses except for Coolio won blue ribbons this weekend; he scored two 65 percents in his first Pan-Am Games Qualifier. Having done the Pan-Am selection trials in 1999 with her own Jellowa, she would like to try again for the team going to the Dominican Republic this summer.
“Jellowa was a really good PSG/I-1 horse,” said Jaccoma. “He could do no wrong. We graduated to Grand Prix and everything comes so quick. They have to be so on your aids it’s like a new sport. He’s only my second Grand Prix horse; with what I’ve learned, Coolio will be a better Grand Prix horse because I’ve learned from the other two. Poor ‘Joe’ is my guinea pig!”
The Famous Heidelberg Cup Competitors Party
The low key atmosphere at the Clarcona Horse Park encourages competitors and spectators to relax and enjoy the four-day show, and the party serves to bring everyone together so they can enjoy the weekend to the fullest. Everyone who has been to the show before fondly reminisces about previous great parties, and those who come for the first time are fantastically surprised.
Kathy Groves on the Road to Belgium
When she was severely burned in an auto accident in 1995, Groves had to undergo numerous surgeries and months of rehabilitation. Doctors gave her a mere 6% chance of survival, never suspecting that she would ever sit on horse again.
Refusing to let their prediction demoralize her, Groves finished therapy in October of 1997 and started riding dressage for the first time in that same year. She had ridden before, but this was her first time in the dressage saddle.
Through trial and error she has worked out a prosthetic arm that allows her to hold the reins through a test. She started out with a myoelectric arm, then later tried a custom affair with a wooden hand that kept breaking. Over the years she has had a few mishaps, such as her arm coming off in the ring and once, while waiting in the start box at a horse trials, noticing that a silicone finger had become torn – she pulled it off and put it in her pocket, much to the shock of the man counting down her ride!
“The new arm is great,” she said of her latest development, which has a latex covering over the hand to cushion it against the reins, and was constructed at such an angle that she can have a better connection with the horse, and can even flex by contracting her shoulder muscles. “I thought I’d never get past first level. You have to have patience to do this; to survive what I did, you’ve got to have something.”
Groves’ positive outlook is contagious. At the competitor’s party that she sponsors, everyone has a fantastic time. Though her face is scarred from burns and her arm ends at the elbow, it is not her disfigurement that you notice, but her energy and enthusiasm, her strength and determination. Her sense of purpose is tangible, and evident in the numerous clinics and seminars she has hosted for riders and judges alike. Most recently she hosted a weekend seminar for judges at her Quiet Oaks Farm to educated them on how to judge riders with disabilities.
A member of the USDF Adult Amateur Committee, she noted, “I think the disabled riders’ community is where my energies are better served. I’m always asking organizers to add the IPEC (International Paralympic Equestrian Committee) classes to their shows. Some hesitate because they don’t know what it is, but there’s no liability; we’re all USDF members.”
Groves owns several horses and had two two of them, Frëëk and Faleen, at the Heidelberg Cup. Faleen is a Trakehner (Rhombus x Fabian), that she has scored 72% with in the past; Freek is a KWPN (The Natural x Ornasolly). If she qualifies, she will take her own horse to Belgium.
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