California Riding Magazine • April, 2012

Winner's Circle

Steffen Peters riding Ravel to victory in the Grand Prix Special at the 2012 Rancho Valencia Dressage Affaire. Photo © Terri Miller

Dressage Affaire is Another Hit!

The 2012 Rancho Valencia Dressage Affaire was bigger and better in every way. With the addition of Rancho Valencia as event sponsor, the decor and atmosphere of Dressage Affaire became more beautiful with a full-scale poolside backdrop in the International Arena and a Scoring Pavilion furnished by Archive Rentals.

The welcome party hosted by Rancho Valencia had the best turnout to date and multiple satellite parties were held throughout the weekend in the barns by Oakridge Farm and in the vendor area by Horse and Rider Boutique. Saturday night's schedule was altered to present an evening of dinner and freestyles, followed by dancing to the Steal Dawn band in the big white tent. Every part was well attended and enjoyed. 

California is the hot spot for dressage with four San Diego-based Olympians showing this year - Christine Traurig, Guenter Seidel, Steffen Peters, Sue Blinks and Hilda Gurney from Los Angeles. The weather was beautiful and the show ran like clockwork.

Canadians Shine In California

Dipping his toe in the waters of Grand Prix competition, Don Daiquiri and Canadian dressage competitor Karen Pavicic gathered two firsts in the USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix classes at the Rancho Valencia Dressage Affaire, Del Mar, CA, with scores of 68.313% and 67.313%.

"He was a star. I am very excited about our future," Pavicic says about the 10-year-old Oldenburg Don Daiquiri.

Hailing from Richmond, British Columbia, Pavicic is a Canadian NCCP Level III certified dressage coach who has represented her country at international levels for two decades. She was a member of the Canadian 2007 Silver Medal Pan American Games team and was in 2011 a long-listed athlete by Dressage Canada.

She is traveling the California winter dressage circuit with her student, Monica Houweling, who has also had some outstanding results with her horse Dutch Warmblood Rifradin (Gribaldi x Atradin by Fornateur), winning the Young Rider Prix St. Georges team and individual tests. Her past success includes a bronze medal at the 2011 FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships.

"Much of our success I credit to my coach, Dirk Glitz," she added. Dirk is based in the East Bay Area's Pleasanton.

In addition to Don Daiquiri, who she owns with Jayne Essig, she also competes 9-year-old Zangersheide London Z who she co-owns with Linda Hol.

Both Pavicic's horses have been named by the Equine Canada / Dressage Canada High Performance Committee to the Dressage Canada High Performance Long List for Training. From this list Equine Canada determines which horse/rider combinations are most qualified to assist in their development to represent Canada in international High Performance dressage competition.

Chris Pratt and Cruise soar to victory in the HITS Desert Circuit's season finale $200,000 Lamborghini Grand Prix, presented by Lamborghini of Newport Beach.
Photo © Flying Horse Photography

Pratt Dominates Thermal Finale

Canadian Chris Pratt went two for two aboard Indigo Farms LLC's Cruise to take the final two Grand Prix of the HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal. His big wins included the season finale $200,000 Lamborghini Grand Prix, presented by Lamborghini Newport Beach. In an exciting jump-off, Pratt went head to head with fellow Canadian John Pearce and managed to come out on top when he shaved six-tenths of a second off his time in a nail-biting conclusion to the season.

Mid-Winter Dressage Fair

Riders who dream of a chance to stand on the Olympic medal podium began their quests at the Mid-Winter Dressage Fair CDI-W/Y/J in Burbank, Feb. 23-26. As the first official West Coast qualifying competition for the 2012 Olympic Games Dressage Team Selection Trials, horses and riders vied for valuable qualifying scores. The competition also served as an early-season qualifier for the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions; NAJYRC; Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Program; and the USEF Developing Horse division (sponsored by Dutta & PSI).

One of the country's most exciting new horse and rider combinations is Steffen Peters and Legolas. Despite this being the pair's FEI competition debut, Peters and Four Winds Farm's 10-year-old Westfalen gelding (Laomedon x Furstin) did not disappoint, claiming wins in both the Grand Prix (71.000%) and the following day's Olympic Grand Prix Special (74.289%). "He's such a kind horse and he did everything I asked, so I couldn't ask for more," said Peters. "With every test he gets better and better." 

Winning the Grand Prix Freestyle with a score of 73.600% and placing a close second in the Grand Prix Test (70.426%) was Jan Ebeling and Rafalca, a 14-year-old Oldenburg (Argentinius x Ratine) owned by Amy Ebeling. This veteran pair displayed why they are ready for a possible return trip to next month's Reem Acra FEI World Cup Finals as Ebeling showed off the elegant mare's best movements in a technically demanding freestyle, earning high praise from the judges.  "There are others in contention to go to the World Cup for the U.S., but if we get an invitation, we'll go," said Ebeling. "If it works out, it would be great to go back, and Rafalca's ready."

In the small tour, Guenter Seidel debuted another new mount in Lara Schleining's Feodora, riding the 12-year-old bay mare to win the Prix St. Georges with a score of 69.237%.  David Blake rode the impressive 11-year-old Oldenburg stallion Royal Prinz (Royal Diamond x Mystica, owned by Willard and Teresa Simmons) to victory with 69.132% in the Intermediaire I Test, while Brandi Roenick topped senior competitors to claim the Intermediaire Freestyle win with Nobel, a 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Rohdiamant x Hestella) owned by Tracy Roenick of Scottsdale, AZ on a score of 70.417%.

In addition to her Intermediaire Freestyle victory, Brandi Roenick completed a sweep of the CDI Young Rider division with her own longtime partner, the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Pretty Lady (Iglesias x Ivonne), winning the Team Test with a score of 66.974%, the Individual Test with 68.640%, and the Freestyle with a score of 71.500%. "Since the National Championships last fall, we've come together as a team even more," noted Roenick. "We clicked so well this weekend and she tried her heart out for me like she always does."