Kelly Burke Hayner and Rantaro Triumph in FEI Grand Prix de Dressage
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Debbie Riehl-Rodriguez judged today's classes, which were generously sponsored by Hampton Green Farm. The FEI Intermediaire I class was first to show, and Colleen Haveman and Warello continued their success, again taking the top score in the open division with a 69.737%.
The FEI Grand Prix de Dressage followed, and Kelly Burke Hayner of Hamburg, MI, rode Rantaro to the high score in the open division with a 64.681%. Rantaro is a 13-year-old bay Holsteiner gelding (Rantaras x High Voltage MMP) that Hayner and a partner have owned for two years. When Hayner first got Rantaro he was at Fourth Level and this is now his first year showing Grand Prix.
Hayner spoke about today's Grand Prix test, stating, "Today was good. Today was day three, so he was a little bit tired, but I still loved the way it felt. It was forward and rhythmical. It was supple and it felt very through. Overall I am so thrilled. I expected the first year to just be about getting in and doing the test, and I really didn't expect him to be as reliable and successful as he has been."
Hayner owns Rantaro with a partner, and she explained that the agreement was that they would sell him after two years. "He has turned out to be a spectacular Grand Prix horse, so it is going to be really hard for me to let him go," she acknowledged. "My goal is to find a sponsor that will buy out the half that my partner has so that I can still be in control. I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't want him. He has no holes; there is nothing in the Grand Prix that is hard for him. He is totally sound, he is totally healthy, and he is supple and soft and light. You can ride him in a snaffle, I have never taken him down the centerline with a whip, and he does the Grand Prix in a small spur. I don't know too many horses like that."
Hayner has been coming to Dressage by the Bay since its start several years ago, and expressed how much she loves riding at the show. "I come every year and I absolutely adore it here," she smiled. "The footing is amazing, the staff is amazing, and the show grounds are very sophisticated, which is a really good experience for the horses. I will continue to come. I think it is a wonderful show facility and the staff are so accommodating; you just don't find that everywhere you go."
One of the most exciting aspects of today's test for Hayner was getting to show in the spacious Grand Prix Ring overlooking Traverse City. "It is amazing," she grinned. "It is a little intimidating because you don't know how the horse is going to feel down there by himself, but so far all of my horses have been very relaxed and very secure, and I think a lot of that has to do with the footing. The footing is so far superior here and the horses know it, so their backs can stay loose, they can stay supple, and they don't have to worry about themselves."
Dressage by the Bay Series II will continue tomorrow at Flintfields Horse Park with more exciting dressage competition including musical freestyles. The 2009 Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival will continue through Sunday, August 2. For more information, please visit www.horseshowsbythebay.com.