On the Scene at Dressage at Flintridge 2006

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Photos and Text By Charlene Strickland

Brentina Returns!

La Canada-Flintridge, California, May 26, 2006: The 2005 World Cup was the last time Brentina competed. Not to worry—her fans can celebrate her return to the dressage arena.

At the Dressage at Flintridge show, Debbie McDonald showed the 15-year-old mare is fit and ready to represent the U.S. this summer. About her Grand Prix test, she said, “She's just solid. I know there could be so much more. I can barely touch her, and have to be conservative, especially in the extended trot.”

In the year since the World Cup, Brentina had six months off. “There was nothing clinically lame, but there was a spot showing on the ultrasound,” said McDonald about the mare's leg. After treatment and rest , she brought Brentina back into show-ring fitness.

“I wanted the fitness to be enough. And she's been telling me for month that she's ready.”

Brentina earned 75.83 in the test, from judges Jessica Rasenhousen, Jayne Ayres, and Natalie Lamping. McDonald aimed this show to support her request for a bye for the team selection for the August World Equestrian Games. “I'm letting everybody know that she's fine and feels great.”

She added, “After one year, you wonder if you can still do the test. Now I have one test under my belt.”

McDonald won't know if her bye is awarded until after the Gladstone selection trials next month. That decision also determines if she'll take Brentina to Europe to earn additional scores, or skip WEG for neck surgery. “Either way, I totally accept whatever decision they make.”

On the Scene at Dressage at Flintridge 2006
Photos and Text By Charlene Strickland

Ashley Schempp Wins Young Rider Team Test

College student Ashley Schempp proved her partnership with Mowgli, earning praise from trainer, Steffen Peters: “In the warmup, it seemed like she really did her homework.”

“We have both learned together,” said Schempp, of Encinitas, California. Her 12-year-old Dutch gelding had been at third level when she first worked with Peters at a clinic. She moved to the Peters barn in October 2005, and started college at nearby Mira Costa Community College.

“For the Prix St. Georges, we've worked mainly on the pirouettes, and his left half pass,” said Schempp. She appreciates her horse's attitude, saying he is “a very sweet, generous horse.”

That temperament has been why “Mo” progressed to Prix St. Georges. Peters noted, It's neat to get a horse to that level, because he has a good attitude. He wasn't the most supple, yet she made the horse extremely ridable.”

Schempp added, “His conformation isnt the greatest. He has a short neck, and his croup is high. But he is a good guy. Not a lot fazes him, and you can really trust him.”

She moved south from northern California, to train with Peters. “His teaching is great.” Majoring in kinesiology, she's able to combine her college career with dressage. She also has support from her parents, who after the Team Test took over Mo's coolout. And she'll celebrate her 19th birthday at the show on Sunday.

On the Scene at Dressage at Flintridge 2006
Photos and Text By Charlene Strickland for DressageDaily

Two Wins for Adventure Farms

La Canada-Flintridge, California, May 27, 2006: Kathleen Raine and David Wightman took honors for two winners at the Flintridge show—Kathleen riding Breanna and Young Rider Jaclyn Meinen on Rivaal.

In the USEF/Markel Young Horse Championship Selection Trials 6 Year Old Preliminary Test, Raine and Breanna were last to go of six entries. The elegant mare (Brentano II—Weltmeyer) earned 8.5, and was the only horse in the class to score a 9 (walk score).

“I am thrilled,” said Raine about her test. “She felt great, and she was relaxed.” She's owned the mare for two years, with the first year focused on training. Flintridge was the mare's third show.

“She started out the weekend tense,” said Raine, recalling the day before's Third Level Test 1. “I had that ride in my mind—but I am thrilled with each day, how she's settled in. She just needs the experience.”

Wightman found the mare in Germany, at the Verden Elite Auction. “It was love at first sight,” he said. “She was the only horse there I was interested in bringing home. “She had the right temperament, combined with hotness.”

Raine was in competing in California when Wightman called her from Verden. “He said, 'I found your horse. She's a cross between Avontuur and Fidelia.'” (Two top horses Raine competed.) She cites Breanna's walk and trot as “super,” and canter as “really good. We'll develop it to be as good as the walk and trot, for three equally great gaits. She is very light on her feet and elegant in her way of going.”

And how does this bay mare compare to her half-sister, Brentina? Raine names their willing attitudes and trot as the biggest similarities. “Both are sweet, and not mareish at all. Both have that airiness in their trot. With the miles, Breanna will get really reliable, like Brentina.”

Big Tyme Tops Western Selection Trial at the the USEF/Markel Insurance Young Horse Western Dressage Selection Trial
Photos and Text by Charlene Strickland

Breanna Scores Straight Nines at the USEF/Markel Insurance Young Horse Western Dressage Selection Trial

Kathleen Raine rode Breanna to the win in the 6-year-old Final Test, and also the USEF/Markel Insurance Young Horse Western Dressage Selection Trial. Judges Jayne Ayres, Jessica Ransenhousen, and Natalie Lamping agreed that she earned scores of 9 in all five criteria.

“Today I had a little more energy, and could push for more trot,” said Raine. “She felt relaxed and energetic.”

Photo: Kathlene Raine, Jayne Ayers, Natalie Lamping,Lisa and John Seger of Markel, and Jessica Ransehousen.

Jennifer Mason, who is partners in Breanna with Raine and David Wightman, defined riding Breanna as “You feel like you're on a cloud, and you're floating. She is a dream. The bigger her trot gets, the more it's like you're floating.” She praised Raine's riding, saying “It warms my heart. The relationship they have is so special.”

She admitted that she cries “every time” watching Raine show the mare. About Sunday, she said, “I was crying at the beginning, the trot work—sobbing by the walk, and I felt I had to lie down by the time of the canter work!” Wightman placed second to his wife in both tests, on Brigadier. Raine said, “He picked the horse, so he has a big part of it.”

Wightman said, “We have been focusing on this show all year for Breanna, Brigadier, and Wellcome S [finished second to Big Tyme in the 5-Year-Old Selection Trial].”

Of those three young horses, he picked Breanna and Wellcome S at the Verden Elite Auction. “I like the October auction. It's a good time of year.”

With their successes in Flintridge, the three young horses may compete in the finals. Wightman said, “Kentucky is a possibility. And we are looking at Verden [World Championships] for Breanna.”

HorsesDaily "On the Scene" at Dressage at Flintridge