USEF Festival of Champions 2006
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Posted by Contractor
Bethany Peslar, 24, of Wellington, Florida, riding More Magic (Maraschino x Radetta) owned by Everglades Dressage, LLC, claimed second with a score of 69.171%. Lauren Sprieser, 21, of Oak Brook, Illinois, riding her own Bellinger placed third, earning 64.927%.
Debbie McDonald, who rode Brentina to a 2004 Olympic Team Bronze Medal, 2003 World Cup Championship, and 2002 Team Silver Medal at the World Equestrian Games, made the award presentation to Austin.
The purpose of the USEF Brentina Cup Championship Program is to assist and encourage U.S. Young Riders aged 18-26 in making the transition to Senior Grand Prix competitor. The eight horse/rider combinations with the highest overall average scores according to USEF rankings from qualifying competitions held nationally January through June 2006 were invited to Gladstone to compete.
Austin noted that for her, one of the most important parts of the program is that the riders did not have to qualify through CDIs. “For me, that made it financially possible,” Austin explained, who qualified through local shows. Austin also pointed out that for horses that are 9,10, and 11 years old, “it’s the perfect stepping stone” to Grand Prix.
Austin has literally known her winning mount all his life. “I was there when he was born and I remember when he came out my mom said ‘oh, look he has expensive markings!’ He has four white feet,” she explained. Olivier, known as “Fizzy,” has only competed at nine horse shows, and the Brentina Cup is only his third recognized FEI competition. Because she has been exhibiting another stallion, Austin explained that financially she couldn’t show both simultaneously. “I didn’t feel we needed to campaign him a lot. He’s very happy in his job. He loves to show, but for me I don’t think it’s important to show a lot. I really like training,” Austin said, and added that her horses like that schedule as well. “They love it – they’re excited to be away from home.”
Austin, a student at the University of Vermont, took time off to compete in Florida this year and to work as an assistant trainer for Lendon Gray at Gleneden Dressage in Bedford, New York. She plans to return to college in the fall.
Bethany Peslar and More Magic Make US Debut at the Inaugural Brentina Cup at Gladstone
Peslar is based in Pennsylvania for the summer and is in training with Robert Dover at his New Jersey stable. She is a professional rider concentrating on her show career and training her own horses. More Magic is a 14-year-old bay Westphalian gelding imported from Germany that Peslar has owned since April 2006. Christine Traurig previously showed him in Europe in the Grand Prix.
“I’m still getting to know him but I feel like we are becoming a combination now,” Peslar said, and acknowledged that she believes the horse could make a U.S. team. “Our next step is to do the Grand Prix and try to qualify for Devon and see where we go,” Peslar said.
Inaugural Brentina Cup at Gladstone
Lauren Spreiser and Bellinger Move Up From Young Rider Ranks
Sprieser is a professional rider who graduated from Sarah Lawrence University this year with a degree in public policy and urban planning. She is based in Wauconda, Illinois, and trains with Ken McGrath. Her mount, Bellinger, a 14-year-old bay Trakehner gelding is known as “Billy” and is a special horse for Sprieser who bought him at a sales barn in Germany in January 2003. They are in their fourth season together. “He came to me about 300 pounds underweight and terrified of everything,” Sprieser said, “but when the going gets tough, he listens to me. I will never sell him. He’s a little difficult and has been passed around a lot. He doesn’t trust people right away but has the most tremendous heart. He would do anything for me and it would be wildly unfair for me not to give everything to him.” The challenge for Sprieser is to adjust to her horse every ride, as she explained, “He’s a funny horse because no matter what horse I have in the warm-up, he’s going to be completely different when I come down centerline. So it’s just a matter of riding the horse I have in the ring.”
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