Canadian dressage riders were a frequent sight on the leaderboard at the CDI-W Adequan Global Dressage Festival (GDF) III, held from Jan. 23-26 in Wellington, FL, USA.
Diane Creech of Caistor Centre, ON was the top Canadian contender in the competition’s most revered class, the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, which took place on Jan. 24. Riding Devon L, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Louise and Doug Leatherdale, Creech took second place on a score of 73.175%.
“He was super. I was really proud of him,” said Creech who has been bringing Devon L along throughout his entire career and has been his sole trainer. “It’s a great atmosphere here and he handled it really well. So I’m really happy.”
Creech’s high placing was especially rewarding, since it was achieved with a brand new freestyle routine, created by Canada’s Karen Robinson of Applause Dressage.
“I’ve just ridden it for the second time now, so we are just getting into the routine. But he seems to like the routine and he seems to like the music,” Creech said of the new freestyle routine, explaining that it features one of her favourite songs, “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities. “It’s not that easy to find the right music for your horse. It needs to suit the temperament and the movement, I need to like it, and he needs to like it. So there are a lot of things that mix into it.”
Also placing in the freestyle were Jill Irving of Moncton, NB and Jacqueline Brooks of Cedar Valley, ON, who tied for fifth place after receiving identical scores of 70.950%. Irving was paired with Pop Art, a veteran international mount owned by Moreen Nicoll and Rusty Holzer and ridden by four-time Canadian Olympian Ashley Holzer. The 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding was Holzer’s partner for the 2008 Olympics, 2009 World Cup Final, and 2010 World Equestrian Games. He was semi-retired from competition in the fall of 2012. However, last winter Holzer began leasing him to Irving, her long-time friend who had decided to make the transition from hunter to dressage.
Brooks, a veteran CET member, was paired with her 2012 Olympic mount, D Niro, a 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding owned by Brookhaven Dressage Inc. Following the two tied Canadians was Megan Lane of Loretto, ON, who scored 70.500% for seventh place aboard her 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, Caravella. Rounding out the top 10 on a score of 68.825% was Karen Pavicic of Richmond, BC and Don Daiquiri, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding she co-owns with Jayne Essig.
Canadians also had success in the FEI Grand Prix on Jan. 23, with three riders making the top 10. Lane and Caravella took fourth place after scoring 71.020%. This marked the second week of solid results for the duo, who won the FEI Grand Prix Special during opening week of the GDF earlier in the month.
Taking sixth place with a score of 69.340% was 2012 Olympic partners David Marcus of Campbellville, ON and Chrevi’s Capital, a 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding owned by 2013 Dressage Canada Owner of the Year, Deborah Kinzinger-Miculinic. This proved to be the first of two top 10 finishes for the pair, who were also earned fourth place later in the week in the FEI Grand Prix Special for their score of 68.804%.
Belinda Trussell of Stouffville, ON rounded out the Canadian results in the Grand Prix,placing seventh with 68.400% aboard Anton, a 14-year-old German-bred gelding owned by Robyn Eames. Like Marcus, they moved on to the FEI Grand Prix Special, finishing fifth on a score of 68.510%. They were followed by Tom Dvorak of Hillsburgh, ON, a staple of the Canadian Dressage Team who has both Pan American Games and World Equestrian Games experiences under his belt. His partner was Viva’s Salieri W, a 13-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Augustin and Christine Walch.
Canadian riders were also strong contenders in the small tour classes. In the Intermediaire I on Jan. 25, Brittany Fraser of New Glasgow, NS rode to a score of 71.053% for second place aboard All In, her nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.
“I entered last minute and I’m really proud of him for going in here to his first show back since Devon. It was at the end of September, so it’s been a while. But he was very focused in there and stayed right with me.” said Fraser about All In. “He’s getting stronger and stronger and will be ready to go grand prix soon, so I’m really happy with that.”
Ridgetown, ON native, Chris Von Martels finished just behind Fraser in third position, after receiving a score of 70.868% with his 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Zilverstar. Fifth place went to Dvorak, this time partnered with Ribot, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Carla Bahr.
Dvorak also rode Ribot to a score of 70.400% for a third place finish in the FEI Intermediare I Freestyle on Jan. 26. Plus, the duo earned sixth place for their score of 68.289% in the FEI Prix St. Georges, held Jan. 24. However it was Fraser and All In who were the top-placed Canadians in the class, adding another second place finish to their roster after scoring 70.684%. Von Martels and Zilverstar finished fourth on a score of 70.368%, while Evi Strasser of Ste-Adele, QC took seventh aboard her 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding Rigaudon Tyme. Eighth place went to Mara Markowski of St. Clements, ON, and her 11-year-old Canadian Warmblood gelding, Lumiere.
Up-and-coming riders Tanya Strasser-Shostak of Ste. Adele, QC and David Ziegler of Beiseker, AB also held their own throughout the week. Strasser-Shostak made a clean sweep of the FEI Young Rider division, winning the Team, Individual, and Freestyle classes with Action Tyme, a 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Evi Strasser. Ziegler earned second place in the Team class before going on to take third in the Individual and Freestyle classes aboard his 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Peninsula Top Man.
The esteemed judging panel for the four days of CDI-level competition was made up of Charlotte Bredahl from the United States (FEI 4*), Eduard De Wolff Van Westerrode from the Netherlands (FEI 5*), Janet Lee Foy from the United States (FEI 4*), Hans-Christian Matthiesen from Denmark (FEI 4*), Michael Osinski from the United States (FEI 3*), Raphael Saleh from France (FEI 4*) and Christof Umbach of Luxembourg (FEI 4*).
Canadians will continue to have a strong presence during the 2014 GDF series, which offers 12 consecutive weeks of international competition in Wellington, FL, USA.
For more information on the GDF, and complete results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.net.