Saturday, March 22, 2014

Good Bye Adequan Global - Hello Europe!!!!

We enjoyed truly beautiful weather from March 13-16, during the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. We competed in a huge covered arena, sheltered from the sun but quite breezy at times.
Twenty- eight horses jogged for the veterinarians on Thursday.  Serious competition began on Friday with each grade riding their Team Tests, followed by the Individual Tests on Saturday and the Freestyle on Sunday.

Missy drove Rio down from Ocala on Tuesday so she would have time to feel comfortable with the chaos at the show, including the cracking flags and the loudspeaker.  We need not to have worried, as all that atmosphere just made her brilliant on Wednesday, and by Sunday she needed very loud Freestyle music to wake her up again!

Photo Credit Lindsayt McCall
She easily earned the scores necessary to be eligible to compete internationally, with 66.5% on the first day and 65.3 on the second!  Rio was lovely, and I have my work cut out for me in terms of working on accuracy and straight, square halts!

Thanks to a rush job by Marlene Whitaker of Custom Freestyles, we have a beautiful routine set to the music of "The King and I" for our Freestyle competition!  Rio really perked up to do a beautiful test, falling right in with the "March of the Siamese Children".  The judges liked it as well, rewarding us with a 69.66% average from two 70% scores and one 68%.  We were thrilled!

Missy Ransehousen has done a wonderful job with Rio and me over the past few weeks.  In Wellington, she not only coached us but also made sure that Rio was turned out beautifully!  Once again, Brian's video and moral support was invaluable!  Lauren Sara, Laura Spilhaus and Stacey Kent were also very helpful as well.   The most humorous contribution came from Babsi Neidhart-Clark and Mimi Lufkin who were determined to keep my hair hidden under my hat with a lot of "Ez Braid", hairspray, and giggles!

Rachel Gross flew down on Tuesday to care for Rio in Wellington, and today they fly to Amsterdam with Becca Hart's Schroeder's Romani.  For the first week, we will be in Emmem, NL at Paulien Alberts' stable.  Missy catches up to us on March 28, when we will travel to the first show in Deauville, FR on the following Monday.  I am very excited to be traveling and showing in Europe with good friends and such a lovely horse. This is truly "living the dream".

Thank you all so much for your good wishes and continuing support!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jessica Teaches "Fix A Test" Clinic at Second Nature Farm!

Last Sunday, Lara Osborne spent the day with Jessica scribing for her at Second Nature Farm in Oxford.  The purpose of the day was to hold a fundraising "Fix A Test" for their Junior / Young Rider team.  Thanks so much to Lara for submitting this report!

 "On Sunday, Jessica spent the day at Anecia Delduco’s Second Nature Farm in Oxford PA, helping their SNF Jr./Yr. Dressage team do some fundraising, by judging a Fix-A-Test Clinic.  She had a full day judging 10 riders ranging from Training Level up to PSG and everything in between.

Colleen Gray

Colleen and Jessica
Rebecca Cord
 All of the riders rode through their tests, and then Jessica reviewed their scores, explaining why she scored them as she did, and what they could do to improve the score in the future.  Jessica also offered suggestions on ways to improve the overall appearance of the horse and rider team, which would also help in improving scores.   Everyone was happy with the suggestions and there were visible improvements made by all the team members.

Jessica enjoyed meeting some of the riders in the community, and the Second Nature Farm Jr./Yr. Dressage team gave Jessica a lovely gift basket as a thank you for donating her time towards their cause!"

Photo credits Anecia Delduco.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dawn's Early Light!

Here we are in the "dawn's early light" at the Horse Park in Ocala last weekend. Many thanks to Missy Ransehousen and Elyse Fehr for rallying despite the initial cruelty of Daylight Saving Time this past weekend!

Despite the  dark and cold Sunday morning, I had the most fun practicing trot lengthening in a wide open field! We did a practice freestyle this weekend just so Rio would not be shocked to hear music blaring during her dressage test. (Much like the ice-skating freestyles, the horses perform a set of required movements set to music of the rider's choice.) She scored 69.5% to finish second to Canadian Ashley Gowanlock!

Rio won Saturday's class (68.9%) the Team dressage test over two veteran Para riders - Ashley Gowanlock and Laura Goldman, who with their new horses will also be competing in Wellington.
I still need to add more energy to her walk work but once again, Rio was unflappable and lovely to ride on the show grounds. I am very excited to get settled into Wellington today!

Many thanks to Lesli Cohen, not only for renting her lovely house, but for donating much of her equine paraphernalia to me! Many thanks to Leslie Hicks for setting that up!

Kim Kojima's hospitality was boundless! She provided a lovely, well run barn as well as the comforts of home, an internet connection, pair of breeches, and at the very end, a delicious dinner with poached pears for dessert!

Thanks also to David Zeigler for all his help and Steph Cauffman and Elyse Fehr for their excellence in braiding a moving target!

I am always a little sad to leave my eventing friends behind in Ocala  for the glitz in Wellington, but with Missy's help, Rio gets better every day and I can't wait to show her off!

Thanks so much for everyone's support! Next update from the Global Dressage Festival!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Gigi and Rio Report on Their First Competitive Weekend in Florida!

Since arriving in Ocala on February 15, Rio has been stabled at Kim Kojima's lovely eventing facility, on Route 326, minutes from Longwood Farm South.  We have thoroughly enjoyed the (somewhat sporadic) Florida warmth and sunshine!  Many thanks to Kim, David Zeigler, and Steph Cauffman for tending to Rio while at her farm!

Missy, Gigi and Rio
Our first show this past weekend was outside Gainesville, about an hour from the farm in Ocala. We rode the Team dressage test on Saturday, scoring a 70, with moments of brilliance and also areas leaving room for improvement. As I was the last horse of the day, we seized the opportunity to video the movements in my freestyle test to be set to music from "The King and I".

We returned to the same venue on Sunday morning for an chilly 8 o'clock ride, and at 46 degrees, Rio had frost on the tips of her ears!  Regardless of the cold, she impressed me with her show manners and was so much fun to ride! Normally, she tends to be lazy, but on this chilly morning she was very forward and exuberant.  I could hear Bruce Davidson's voice, from the old days, telling me to use my legs to contain her and her dressage test (71.5%) was brilliant!

I have been blessed with a great support network in my preparation for this trip to Florida.  This winter in Pennsylvania, a great foundation was laid by Jessica and Rachel Gross.  Upon arriving in Floricay, Missy's coaching has made all the difference in our final preparation for the show season! As well as riding Rio and teaching me, she has enlisted her expert team consisting of Stacey Kent DVM, Saddle Fitter Bruce Close, Blacksmith Todd Meister, all of whom have pulled together to make us truly competitive! Elyse Fehr has been indispensable as a groom and Brian, my husband, has videoed every ride as well as provided all that unconditional support.

We have another practice show next weekend in Ocala before traveling to Wellington on March 11th for the Adequan Global Dressage Festival and CPEDI 3*, a qualifying competition for the World Equestrian Games in Normandy in August.

Video of this past weekend's competition is stay tuned!!  ~ Gigi

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Press Release from USPEA at Global Dressage Festival Wellington!

Wellington, FL – March 2, 2014- With only a few weeks left before the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 10 CPEDI3* scheduled March 12-16, 2014, para-dressage athletes have been working hard preparing their mounts for competition. Over two weekends February 20-23 and February 28- March 2, multiple para-equestrian riders showcased their new partnerships at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) 7 and 8 in Wellington and at the Welcome Back to White Fences Show in Loxahatchee, FL February 20-23. U.S. riders included Rebecca Hart, Ellie Brimmer, Elle Woolley, Deborah Stanitski, Angela Peavy and Canadians Jody Schloss and Robyn Andrews. For many of those riders the weekend shows were the first time riders debuted their new horse/ rider combinations. There are only two U.S. CPEDI3* events left in the United States to qualify for the U.S. Para-Dressage Selection Trials for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG.) in Normandy, France. Those events include the AGDF 10 CPEDI3* in Wellington, FL, March 12-16, and the Golden State Dressage CPEDI3* in Rancho Murieta, CA, taking place April 3-6, 2014.
Ellie Brimmer and London Swing Photo by Lindsay Y McCall
Ellie Brimmer and London Swing at AGDF in Wellington, FL. Photo by Lindsay Y McCall
The first horse and rider combination in the ring under judge Lilo Fore at The Stadium at AGDF 7 was Grade III rider Ellie Brimmer (USA) of Wayzata, MN, and her brand new horse London Swing. The duo had a well-executed test and Brimmer was excited about how beautifully the partnership came together. She noted, “I was really pleased with my test today. London Swing was just imported from Germany only one month ago. He handled the big atmosphere at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival really well, I give my trainer Rosalind Kinstler credit for getting us ready to show on such a short timeline and setting us up for success as we work towards my goal of qualifying to compete on the U.S. Team at the WEG. It was great to see other new horse rider combinations competing in the para-equestrian division as well and I know we all appreciate how welcoming the whole show management team at Global is to para-dressage competitors.  I think the CPEDI3* this year will be very exciting as we do have a lot of new horse rider combinations working hard to qualify for WEG selection trials.
Elle Wooley and P. Sparrow Socks at AGDF Photo by Lindsay Y McCall
Elle Woolley and P. Sparrow Socks at AGDF in Wellington, FL. Photo by Lindsay Y McCall
Following Ellie Brimmer was Grade III rider Elle Woolley (USA) and her own P. Sparrow Socks. In 2013, Woolley attended the U.S. Para-Dressage Symposium held in Maine. During the symposium Woolley borrowed Grade IV Para-Dressage athlete Mary Jordan’s horse P. Sparrow Socks. For Jordan, P. Sparrow Socks was her project that she produced from her 2010 World Equestrian Games horse Paxton Abbey. Jordan saw the connection that Woolley and P. Sparrow Socks had and Woolley was excited to move forward within the Para-Dressage discipline and purchased the mare for competition. The AGDF 7 was the first big Para-Dressage show for duo Woolley and P. Sparrow Socks. “I couldn’t be more thrilled with my first day out there,” smiled Woolley. “I had no idea what to expect and my horse really stepped up for me. She knew she was performing and our scores reflected it. I’m very proud of her. The second day, I was just spent and so was my horse and our scores reflected that. I’m still so pleased with the overall weekend. I know now exactly what our homework is, where we need work, and I’m going to have to bring that extra energy. I know what to expect at the coming CPEDI3* and I am very confident about it.”
Deborah Stanitski and Tiramisu Photo by Lindsay Y McCall
Deborah Stanitski and Tiramisu at AGDF in Wellington, FL. Photo by Lindsay Y McCall
Former eventer and pediatric orthopedic surgeon, Deborah Stanitski, MD of Charleston, South Carolina and her horse Tiramisu were also experiencing one of their first big para-dressage shows over the weekend. Stanitski commented, “I was happy with my Grade II (team?) test but there was also room for improvement. I am looking forward to my first international Para-Dressage show at Global in the middle of March.”
Paralympian Jody Schloss and her veteran mount Inspector Rebus had two consist days at the Wellington horse show. Jody was happy with the weekend’s outcome and looks forward to showing at the AGDF 10 CPEDI3* alongside her Canadian teammates.
Jody Schloss and Inspector Rebus at the AGDF in Wellington, FL. Photo by Lindsay Y McCall
Jody Schloss and Inspector Rebus at the AGDF in Wellington, FL. Photo by Lindsay Y McCall
During the same weekend, Welcome Back to White Fences in Loxahatchee, Florida, hosted a full Dressage and Para-Dressage show. Two-Time Paralympian Rebecca Hart (USA) and Canadian Robyn Andrews participated in the Para-Dressage Test of Choice. This show was the first debut of Grade II Rebecca Hart’s new horse Schroeters Romani. The duo had an outstanding individual test scoring a 77.571% on their first day.
Hart purchased Romani, an 11-year-old Danish Warmblood mare, with the help of Margaret Duprey, Cherry Knoll Farm, Hart’s family, William and Sally Kimmel and Sycamore Station Equine Division.
Rebecca Hart noted, “I am super excited about Romani. I am honored and humbled to be able to get to ride this horse. We have the best support team behind us and I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity. It wouldn’t have been possible with out them. It was fantastic to go out and be as successful as we were on our first competition together.  I am really looking forward to the future and continuing to grow as a team.”
Para-Dressage riders continued to compete in AGDF 8 Palm Beach Derby February 28 – March 1, including Robyn Andrews (CAN) aboard Fancianna; Deborah Stanitski (USA) and Tiramisu; Angela Peavy (USA) with her three horses Ozzy Cooper, Stuart Little, and Lancelot Warrior; and Ellie Brimmer competed with London Swing earning a 71.875% in their Freestyle.
Scheduled March 12-16, 2014, Para-Dressage riders from Grade Ia, Ib, II, III, and IV will be participating in the AGDF 10 CPEDI3* held at The Stadium in Wellington, FL. This FEI qualifier for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games is one of the last two U.S. qualifiers before the WEG selection trials. To learn more about the Adequan Global Dressage Festival please visit
AGDF Week 7 Day One
Jody Schloss and Inspector Rebus KWPN Grade 1a Team Test 70.652
Elle Woolley and P. Sparrow Socks grade III Individual Test 68.659
Ellie Brimmer and London Swing Grade III Team Test 64.868
Deborah Stanitski and Tiramisu Grade II Team Test 64.853
AGDF Week 7 Day Two
Jody Schloss and Inspector Rebus KWPN Grade 1a Individual Test 70.217
Ellie Brimmer and London Swing Grade III Individual Test 67.927
Deborah Stanitski and Tiramisu Grade II Team Test 67.353
Elle Woolley and P. Sparrow Socks grade III Team Test 62.895
AGDF Week 7 Day Three
Deborah Stanitski and Tiramisu Grade II Individual Test 63.857
Welcome Back to White Fences I February 21
Robyn Andrews Fancianna Team Grade 1a Test 70.217
Welcome Back to White Fences I February 22
Rebecca Hart Schroeters Romani Grade II Indiviudal 77.571
Robyn Andrews Fancianna Individual Grade 1a Test 69.348
Welcome Back to White Fences I February 23
Rebecca Hart Schroeters Romani Grade II Team 70.882
Robyn Andrews Fancianna Freestyle Grade 1a Test 71 %
About the United States Para-Equestrian Association:  The USPEA is a network of riders, judges, national federation members, and equestrian enthusiasts.  The association gives athletes the ability to get involved and expand their knowledge and experience in the Para-Equestrian sport. The USPEA encourages Para-athletes to participate in all disciplines under the Para-Equestrian umbrella.