High Score of the Day Earns Paragon and Heather Blitz a Win at Gold Coast Opener CDI-W
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Loxahatchee, Florida – Paragon and Heather Blitz beat out a field of more than three dozen competitors to take the win in Friday’s Prix St. Georges CDI at the Gold Coast Opener CDI-W. They won with a score of 75.746, which was also the high score of the day. Second place went to Shawna Harding and Rigo with a score of 71.316 and in third was Marco Bernal and Maybach with a score of 68.202. The Opener, which kicked off on Friday and runs through Sunday, is taking place at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center. In Grand Prix competition, the World Equestrian Games pair of Calecto V and Tina Konyot took the win in the CDI Grand Prix for the Freestyle with a score of 71.745. Second place went to Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Favourit with a score of 71.404 and in third was another World Equestrian Games pair, Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Nartan with a score of 69.477 percent. The CDI Grand Prix for the Special was won by Elisabeth Austin and Olivier with a score of 66.809.
Blitz and the 8-year-old Danish gelding are a true example of a perfect equine/human team. They’ve been partnered since the day Paragon was born. “I rode his mother and I loved her so much that I sort of designed him. I was there the day he was born so I’ve had him since day one,” Blitz said. “He’s really turned out to be much more than I ever thought he would.”
Blitz has raised Paragon from the start and is the only one who has ridden him. Not only are they a perfect match mentally, but also physically. “His 18 hands fits my six-foot frame perfectly,” Blitz said. “I feel like he’s part of my own flesh. I’ve always had good relationships with my horses but this one is really special. It’s like we’re made from the same mold.”
Blitz is Paragon’s sole owner and she said she’d have it no other way despite the challenges of maintaining a top-level horse. She controls all decisions on his career and says that’s extremely important to her. That’s made it easy for her to move Paragon along at the pace she believes is best and to control the pathway to what is her ultimate goal with the gelding – international competition.
“I didn’t start him with the idea that he would be an international horse. He’s just developed that way and my strategy is that I just keep re-evaluating as we go,” Blitz said. “I don’t plan too far into the future with him. I just wait and see where he’s at and decide then what’s best for him.”
That said, Blitz said that while a spot on the U.S. Dressage Team for the 2011 Pan American Games is on her mind, it’s not her most important goal. Her immediate focus is qualifying for the National Dressage Championships. Three scores are needed to qualify for the Championships. Blitz and Paragon got one last fall at Dressage at Devon. The Gold Coast Opener win is their second score giving them plenty of time this winter season to get their third score. But, if they are successful in qualifying, Blitz said they’ll compete in the National Championships but it’s not certain that she will then move forward and pursue a spot on the Pan Am team.
“The Pan Am Games are still months away and perhaps at that time he’ll be strong enough to handle the Games and then make a run for the Olympics a year later, but I have to wait and see,” Blitz said. “Paragon is a super horse and what is most important is that he becomes a sound and healthy grand prix horse. He is super in the piaffe and passage. I really believe in him as an international grand prix horse. He loves to work and right now is in a fantastic learning phase. I want to keep it that way.”
Blitz said there is no doubt in her mind that Paragon is a serious contender for a U.S. team this year but noted that he’s very young and she plans to be extremely careful with him this year. “The Pan American Games are a big deal and it would be a lot of pressure for a young horse to do that and then follow it up with an Olympics a year later.”
Blitz was not surprised that Paragon took the win in CDI Prix St. Georges competition on Friday. Still, she was thrilled. “I thought he was really at his best and the effort he put out was 100 percent. I was happy with the test but I thought the pirouettes could have been more solid. But he’s a young horse and that movement is still developing. His extensions in the test were completely wonderful and full of power. I was amazed.”
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