California Riding Magazine • July, 2013

Winner's Circle


Olympian Charlotte Bredahl accepts her winning ribbon from
Spirit Equestrian owners, Richard and Marie Knowles.

Spirit Equestrian Hosts Freestyle Event
Olympic Riders Vie for Prizes

Spirit Equestrian, located in Ventura County's Somis, hosted the Dressage Freestyle competition on Sat., June 8. Over 100 spectators watched the exciting event as 11 riders on 14 different horses vied for the top awards. It is rare for one show to host over three hours of freestyle challenges.

Olympian Charlotte Bredahl took first place honors riding Strauss, a 12 year old Dutch Warmblood at the Grand Prix Level in the FEI competition. The duo put on a stunning performance, thrilling the enthusiastic crowd. "I was very excited when I heard about the Freestyle Challenge at Spirit and decided to put a freestyle together just for this event," Bredahl said.

Amelia Child on Veto placed second.

Nicole Houghton on Violaan and Karen Cornelius on Dimer Fan Lutke placed third and fourth respectively.

Carly Taylor-Smith won first place in the USDF Freestyle competition at Third Level riding Barbarosso, a 5 year old Hanoverian. Sean Cunningham riding GBR Midnight Serenade placed second. Sean also won third and fourth place riding Greentree Ever Reddi and GBR Major Star respectively.

High Point winners for Saturday morning's competition were Olympian Hilda Gurney (FEI), April Atwell (Open), Susan Randall-Knipe (Adult Amateur) and Ruby Krull (Junior/Young Rider). The show continued on Sunday with High Point winners Christine Ekstrand (FEI), Lars Holmberg (Open), Susan Williams (Adult Amateur), Ruby Krull (Junior/Young Rider) and Sean Cunningham (Freestyle).


Freestyle Winners: Carly Taylor-Smith on Barbarosso, Sean Cunningham on GBR Midnight Serenade, Amelia Child on Veto and Charlotte Bredahl on Strauss..

Spirit Equestrian, Eurofit and Dressage Extensions of Moorpark sponsored the prizes. Patty Littmann of Barronsgate Events organized the event, and Rancho Ventavo Cellars sponsored a wine and cheese party before Saturday night's Freestyles. Equestrian vendors showcased their products and services including lectures on saddle fitting by Zsu Zsu Illes and equine nutrition by Suzie Middlebrook of Cavalor.

Spirit Equestrian is a training and boarding facility in Somis known for its exceptional arenas and features top-notch dressage and hunter/jumper trainers. Dressage competitors travelled from all over California to attend the show. Praising the facility, Gail Alterwitz, who traveled six hours from Las Vegas, said, "The footing is world class and from the moment we arrive we are treated like royalty." Sean Cunningham concurs on the subject of footing, stating his horses "consistently score several points better when riding on it than at other shows." Additionally he states "I truly can't say enough good things about this facility as a dressage show venue, and always feel as if I am a welcomed member of their family every time I pull in the driveway."

Press release provided by Spirit Equestrian.