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CDS Board Meeting Schedule: March 9, 2015 (San Jose)  June 9, 2015 (Orange County), August 26, 2015 (San Jose) November 16, 2015 (Orange County)

Photo by Jennifer Keeler


Another Record-Setting Competition Comes to a Close at Great American/USDF Region 7 & California Dressage Society Championship Show

By Yellow Horse Marketing for the California Dressage Society

Despite triple-digit temperatures, more than 300 competitors found a way to beat the heat and celebrate a final day of outstanding championship competition at the 48th Annual California Dressage Society (CDS) Annual Championship Show and Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Region 7 Championships, being held September 17-20, 2015 in Rancho Murieta, Calif.

“We had a great turnout at this show and the quality just gets better and better,” said USEF “S” judge Brent Hicks, who judged all levels from Training to FEI over the course of the weekend. “We had a great panel of judges and saw lots of good horses who were very well-trained and ridden, and it was also fun to see so many juniors on mounts of all sizes. It’s wonderful to see that dressage continues to be so strong here on the West Coast.”

The Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 7 Championships concluded with plenty of opportunities for Juniors and Young Riders to compete across a multitude of divisions. One of those competitors was 21-year-old McKenzie Kelley of Napa, Calif. who was enjoying her final season in the JR/YR division with her five-year-old Oldenburg gelding Fuerst Hit. Their weekend got off to a flying start on Saturday with the clinching of a CDS Horse of the Year title, and today the pair also won the Great American/USDF Region 7 Junior/Young Rider First Level Championship with 72.941%. “He’s got a little bit of a lazy side despite being so young, but we woke him up a little bit and we had a great ride. Our canter work in particular is always a highlight,” said Kelley, who is a senior at Chico State when not in the saddle. “We didn’t get to go to these championships last year so I was excited to come back, and I’m already hoping to return again next year.”

At Third Level, Nila Venkat (Hayward, Calif.) rode Emily Pollard’s Trakehner gelding Skyler Ace to victory with a score of 64.103%. D’Re Murray of Petaluma, Calif. followed up yesterday’s CDS Horse of the Year title with another win aboard her Hanoverian gelding Dernier Cri in today’s JR/YR Prix St. Georges Region 7 Championship with 67.566%. The Young Rider Team Test Championship was earned by Katharine Cassidy of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. thanks to a lovely test with the Hanoverian gelding Pellegrini (69.342%), while Ariel Thomas from the East Bay chapter also finished off her weekend with a win in the JR/YR Intermediaire II division aboard her Oldenburg gelding Heraldik Star on a score of 66.250%.

In the Region 7 Open First Level Championship, Hilda Gurney of Moorpark set an early mark of 73.971% with her young Oldenburg mare Iris, which looked as if it would remain atop the leaderboard for the duration of the class. Ultimately the only person who could beat Gurney was herself, as she returned to the ring with her freshly-crowned CDS Futurity Champion Lotta Silver (five-year-old U.S.-bred Trakehner gelding) to edge out his stablemate with a winning score of 74.044%. Susan Martin’s long drive north from the Los Angeles chapter of CDS proved worthwhile as she wrapped up her weekend by winning the Region 7 Open Fourth Level Championship on a score of 71.836% with Janelle Frazer’s Oldenburg gelding Dominus, while Nancy Szakacs of Hollister, Calif. rode her charming Westfalen gelding Rudi Regali to the win in the Adult Amateur division with a score of 70.667%. Leslie Webb of Bakersfield and Harmony’s Armani (Dutch mare owned by Harmony Sporthorses) have won their share of blue ribbons at this annual championship show, and today they added the Region 7 Open Intermediaire I title to their resume on a score of 74.803%. Meanwhile in the Adult Amateur division, Adrienne Bessey of Thousand Oaks won the Intermediaire I Regional Championship for the second straight year by earning a score of 69.611% on her Danish mare Dido.

The last round of coveted CDS Horse of the Year titles were awarded and in a division where the top nine finishers all scored over 70%, the four-year-old CDS Futurity champion Dehavilland (U.S.-bred Oldenburg gelding) came through for owner/rider Sarah Lockman of Calimesa, Calif. one more time, earning a combined two-test score of 76.639% to win CDS Open Training Level Horse of the Year honors and the Peter and Bonnie Lert Perpetual Trophy. Madora Daniel of Minden, Nev. also scored a victory with her elegant Hanoverian Ronaldo in the Adult Amateur Training Level championship to earn an overall 70.350% and claim the Melissa Creswick Perpetual Trophy. Daniel and her promising five-year-old gelding qualified for the Championship Show via automatic qualification from the Equine Insurance/CDS Regional Adult Amateur Competitions (RAAC), and she encouraged other riders to take advantage of the same opportunity. “We had a tough start to the show but he settled in and we were able to put in two nice performances, so I’m really happy with how it ended up,” she explained. “Next year we hope to move up to First and Second Levels, and our ultimate long-term goal is to get into the FEI ring and present him in the Developing Horse program. I think we’re off to a great start.”

The Full Cry Perpetual Trophy for Adult Amateur First Level was awarded to Meike Petry (Portola Valley, Calif.) who bested almost 30 other competitors to finish with an overall top score of 71.252% with the young Oldenburg gelding Luigi. Another newly-crowned CDS Futurity Champion, the six-year-old Dutch gelding Empire, claimed yet another victory today with owner/rider Melissa Rogers of Sonoma in winning Second Level for Adult Amateurs and the Two-Tone Malone Trophy for CDS Horse of the Year on an overall score of 70.006%. Adult amateur Kimberly Frederick will go home to Lincoln, Calif. with the Stanford Dressage Club Trophy for Third Level thanks to a winning performance with her Dutch gelding Caribbean Veluw (67.917%), while Sarah Lockman earned her second CDS Horse of the Year title of the day, this time aboard her lovely gray Holsteiner gelding Calimero to win the CDS Open Third Level Horse of the Year division and the Judith Elias Perpetual Trophy by a comfortable margin with a combined two-test score of 71.378%.

In the CDS Horse of the Year division for Adult Amateurs at Fourth Level, Amalia Boyles of Carlsbad, Calif. rode Donna Richardson’s Hanoverian gelding Welt Erbe to take a commanding lead in the first round of competition, and a flowing mistake-free performance today in the challenging Fourth Level Test 3 cemented the overall win and the Fox Run Perpetual Trophy with a combined score of 68.833%. “This means so much to me because it’s my first championship win as an adult amateur,” said Boyles. “Welt Erbe is teaching me about Fourth Level and Prix St. Georges which I’d never done before, so it’s all very new for me. It’s not easy, and the first few months I even came off a few times! He works hard and as long as I’m working hard too, it all works out but he doesn’t give it for free. He’s quirky, but he’s a good match for me.”

In a fitting finale before his likely retirement, Whitney Harrington’s Austrian gelding Laredo 183 carried rider Lindsey Schulz to a final victory in the CDS Adult Amateur Grand Prix Horse of the Year division to win the Rubinstein Memorial Trophy on a score of 65.100%. Half Moon Bay’s Anke Herbert earned the Pelton Family Trophy for Open Intermediaire II with her Bavarian gelding Fandango R.S. (67.763%), while in the Adult Amateur division, Adrienne Bessey (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) wrapped up her weekend with one more blue ribbon aboard Hilda Gurney’s Oldenburg gelding Wintersnow on a score of 69.539%.

Juniors and young riders also competed for top honors in their CDS Horse of the Year divisions. Peyton Lesser of Concord earned the top spot in the Training Level division with a winning two-test average of 67.229% with Carol Di Maggio’s Arabian stallion Tarim TZ, while Celsiana William of Trinidad, Calif. and her German Riding Pony gelding Heart Throb SVS continued their winning ways by claiming the CDS JR/YR Second Level title with 69.072%. At Third Level, Marcy Morse of Lafayette, Calif. rode Christy Cadwallader’s Dutch gelding Sante to a winning performance and an overall two-test average score of 67.244%, while Brianna Relucio (San Ramon, Calif.) found herself leading the victory lap for the Fourth Level championship on a combined score of 66.111% with her Hanoverian gelding Wynsum. In the CDS Dressage Seat Equitation Challenge for riders 13 and under, Lily-Rose Bacon of Atherton, Calif. rode her pony gelding Turbo Diesel to win the blue ribbon with a score of 79.000%, while Isabella Macchioni of Livermore, Calif. remained undefeated in the weekend’s USDF and CDS equitation classes for the 14-18 division with her Hanoverian gelding Danatelo on an impressive score of 83.200%.

Final CDS Horse of the Year Freestyle titles were awarded for First, Second, Third and the Intermediaire levels. Dove Butler’s flashy pinto Oldenburg stallion Argentum BSH showed his lovely true colors in winning the First Level Freestyle championship thanks to a huge score of 79.233% earned with Katie Hoefs-Martin of Hollister aboard. After earning the USDF Region 7 Second Level Freestyle championship on Thursday, Anne Howard of Watsonville, Calif. also earned the CDS equivalent today with her own Bulgarian gelding Apel on a score of 76.283% for their Celtic-themed performance, while Shelby Rocereto of Livermore, Calif. won the CDS Third Level Freestyle with a mark of 80.133% aboard her Dutch mare Chapeau.

“Every year CDS strives to improve this show and put on a world-class event, and this year I think we went above and beyond,” said CDS President Kevin Reinig. “We had new and exciting sponsors come on board, the Murieta Equestrian Center continues to improve their already outstanding facility, and show management did an incredible job as always. Local chapters and volunteers stepped up to help with this huge event, and it was great having so many CDS Board members here to assist – it was a true team effort. The overall atmosphere was fantastic, everyone had fun, we saw great sportsmanship and camaraderie, and the feedback I received from competitors was amazing. We’re on a trend where this show just gets better and better each time, and this year was no exception.”



Photo by Jennifer Keeler


An Emotional “Encore” on Third Day of Great American/USDF Region 7 & California Dressage Society Championship Show

By Yellow Horse Marketing for the California Dressage Society

The Rancho Murieta Equestrian Center was teeming with riders, horses and spectators on a spectacularly sunny Saturday at the 48th Annual California Dressage Society (CDS) Annual Championship Show and Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Region 7 Championships, being held September 17-20, 2015 outside Sacramento, Calif.

The defending 2014 five-year-old CDS Futurity champion Encore returned to the CDS Championship Show this year in pursuit of another victory, and the elegant KWPN gelding (Jazz x Aloha by Sir Sinclair, bred in the U.S. by Lisa Dickman) did not disappoint. With two solid performances at Second Level to sweep both rounds of competition and earn a combined average score of 72.078%, Encore returned to the winner’s circle with owner/rider Amy Miller of Fullerton, Cal. to accept the Paquita Parker Perpetual Trophy in the CDS Open Six-Year-Old Futurity. It was an emotional victory for Miller: she purchased Encore from her friends at DG Bar Ranch three years ago, and was riding with a heavy heart after the recent death of Tony De Groot, who was honored by CDS with a moment of silence before evening festivities. Even so, Miller was thrilled with the win and said the secret to her youngster’s success is not just talent, but also his exceptional temperament. “He’s so rideable and his personality is such that he likes to come out and work every day. I just try to add small elements every day to his training, and it’s worked,” Miller explained. “Next year we look forward to coming back for Third and Fourth Level, and if he’s ready, perhaps do the Developing Horse program in the future. But for now I’m thinking of Tony and riding for him, so this was very special.”

Also sweeping both division tests to win the CDS Open Five-Year-Old Futurity was Hilda Gurney of Moorpark with Lotta Silver, a stunning Trakehner gelding (Silver Moon x Livadia by Impressionist) she bred in California and now co-owns with Adrienne Bessey. As an Olympic medalist, Gurney knows what it takes for a horse to succeed at the international level, and she thinks Lotta Silver may have the right stuff. “Well the ultimate question will be if he can make it to Grand Prix, but I certainly enjoy the journey – the breeding, the foaling, raising and starting them,” said Gurney. “He’s only five and he can be mischievous, but he’s incredibly elastic and so light to ride – he just springs off the ground like he doesn’t even need it. I definitely have high hopes for him.” In the Adult Amateur divisions of the Futurity, Ruth Shirkey from San Jose took a commanding lead in the first round of competition with her Hanoverian mare Wyleigh Princess (Weltmeyer x EM Heiress B by His Highness, bred in the U.S. by Cheryl and Eric Johnson) and held on for the win with a combined score of 71.801% to be crowned champions in the five-year-old division. In the CDS Adult Amateur Six-Year-Old Futurity, Melissa Rogers of Sonoma, Calif. rode her own Dutch gelding Empire (by Tuschinski, bred in the Netherlands) to two consistent performances at Second Level for the overall win with 67.054%.

Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 7 Championships were presented in a multitude of divisions, including several in the Junior/Young Rider ranks. At Training Level, Lucienne Bacon of Atherton, Calif. earned a narrow victory with a score of 67.727% with the Dutch mare Serenade. Celsiana William of Trinidad, Calif. rode her own German Riding Pony gelding Heart Throb SVS into the winner's circle on a score of 66.768% in the Second Level Junior/Young Rider division, while Brianna Relucio of San Ramon, Calif. and her Hanoverian gelding Wynsum claimed the JR/YR Fourth Level Championship (66.000%). At the FEI level, Shae-Bella Lovazzano (Woodside, Calif.) rode the impressive PRE stallion Tracio in the JR/YR Intermediate I Championship to a winning score of 63.421%. Talented juniors also took center stage to show off their riding skills in the USDF Dressage Seat Medal Semi-Final classes. For riders 13 and under, Celsiana William and Heart Throb SVS earned their second blue ribbon of the day with 77.000%, while Isabella Macchioni of Livermore, Calif. rode her Hanoverian gelding Danatelo to top the 14-18 division, also on a score of 77.000%.

Topping a huge field of 26 Adult Amateurs at First Level was Eric Di Benedetto representing the CDS Sonoma Chapter, who earned a winning score of 67.059% with his own Dutch gelding Apollo. In the Open Third Level Championship, Anja Pflanz of Redwood City, Calif. had to fight for the win as the top eight competitors all scored over 70%. But she was rewarded by the judges for a solid ride on her Oldenburg gelding Digby to ultimately trot away with the victory on a score of 72.756%, while the Adult Amateur division at Third Level was topped by Akiko Yamazaki (Woodside, Calif.) who took her turn in the saddle with Four Winds Farm’s stunning Dutch gelding Donavan to earn a score of 72.372% and the win.

In the FEI divisions, Olympian Jan Ebeling of Moorpark started his day off on a winning note with Ann Romney’s Bakari. This pair were unbeatable at last year’s championship show, winning both CDS and Region 7 titles at Fourth Level, and now made the step up to Prix St. Georges look easy as they captured the Great American/USDF Open Prix St. Georges Championship with 72.697%. Could the Hanoverian gelding be a new star for Ebeling on a future U.S. Team? “He was fabulous today, and we will be looking towards the Intermediaire I next year and then we’ll see,” said Ebeling. “He’s so powerful with super extensions and his changes are just awesome. Even on a bad day he’s a blast to ride.” For Adult Amateurs, Christine Ekstrand rode her eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding Braxxton to earn a top score of 68.026% and take her division’s Prix St. Georges Region 7 Championship home to Santa Monica.

After finding herself atop the leaderboard in yesterday’s Grand Prix Freestyle, Terri Rocovich (Ramona, Calif.) earned her second win in as many days with her Dutch gelding Uiver by capturing the Region 7 Grand Prix Open Championship with a score of 68.150%. Whitney Harrington’s Laredo 183 has worn his share of blue ribbons at the CDS Championship Show, and this year he carried Lindsey Schulz of Burbank to the win in the Great American/USDF Region 7 Adult Amateur Grand Prix Championship with a score of 64.700% in what may have been his final performance. “He loves it, but he’s 21 now,” said Schulz, who is taking advantage of the charismatic Austrian gelding’s experience. “He accomplished so much with Whitney, so she suggested that before he retire he teach me how to ride the Grand Prix. It was a very, very steep learning curve because I hadn’t ever shown above Third Level, but honestly it was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

In addition to Regional Championships, CDS Horse of the Year titles were awarded at First, Second and Fourth Levels, as well as Intermediaire I. In the Open First Level division, Lehua Custer piloted Wendy Sasser’s five-year-old Dutch gelding F.J. Ramzes to confidently win the second round’s First Level Test 3 for a come-from-behind overall victory, taking the McLeod Perpetual Trophy home to North Hollywood with an overall combined score of 72.429%. So far this weekend, Brian Hafner of Penngrove, Calif. and the seven-year-old Dutch gelding Dream Catcher have proven to be unbeatable at Second Level. After winning yesterday’s Great American/USDF Region 7 Open Second Level title, the pair swept the $1,000 CDS Open Second Level Horse of the Year division with an average two-test score of 71.697% to claim the Bengt Lungquist Memorial Trophy for owner Wendy Roberts.

Sandy Savage of nearby Sacramento earned the right to have her name engraved on the Pal Kemery Perpetual Trophy by riding her lovely black Hanoverian mare Releve to a combined score of 70.917% to win the $1,000 CDS Open Fourth Level Horse of the Year title. In the $1,000 Open Intermediaire I Horse of the Year division, Amy Miller scored her second win of the day, this time aboard Christine Stevens’ Swedish Warmblood gelding Tenedos with a score of 68.487%, while the Adult Amateur division and T.D.I. Systems Perpetual Trophy was won with a big score of 73.092% by Dido, a Danish Warmblood mare owned and ridden by Adrienne Bessey of Thousand Oaks.

An impressive group of juniors and young riders also sought to earn CDS Horse of the Year awards. At First Level, McKenzie Kelley of Napa topped the competitive field riding her own five-year-old Oldenburg gelding Fuerst Hit to win both rounds for an average score of 68.231%. In the CDS Junior/Young Rider Prix St. Georges Horse of the Year Championship, D’Rey Murray (Petaluma, Calif.) was first down centerline and set a score of 68.816% which could not be caught with the Hanoverian gelding Dernier Cri.

Additional CDS Championships were awarded in the Fourth Level, Intermediaire I and Grand Prix Freestyle divisions as part of afternoon and evening entertainment, and repeat winners were the name of the game in all three divisions. Claire Darnell (Moorpark, Calif.) already won the Great American/USDF Region 7 Fourth Level Freestyle Championship on Thursday, and earned another victory today in the CDS Fourth Level Freestyle Horse of the Year class with her Dutch gelding Ayokay on an impressive score of 76.133%. The 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding Winzalot once again lived up to his name by decisively winning the Lilian Van Dahn Memorial Perpetual Trophy for the CDS Intermediaire Freestyle on 75.813% with owner/rider Jamie Pestana of Livermore. In a fitting evening finale, Adrienne Bessey returned to the main arena one last time with Hilda Gurney’s Oldenburg gelding Wintersnow and brought down the house with their Les Miserables-themed performance to claim the CDS Horse of the Year Grand Prix Freestyle title and the Lt. Col Hans Moeller Trophy on a score of 67.250%.



Photo by Jennifer Keeler

Dehavilland Is Star of the Show on Second Day of Great American/USDF Region 7 & California Dressage Society Championships
By Yellow Horse Marketing for the California Dressage Society

The second day of competition at the 48th Annual California Dressage Society (CDS) Annual Championship Show and Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Region 7 Championships in Rancho Murieta shone a spotlight on some of the West Coast’s best dressage horses and riders. Among the many stars of today’s championship competition, one which was shining especially bright was a young Oldenburg named Dehavilland.

Purchased as a yearling by owner/rider Sarah Lockman of Calimesa, Calif. from a bankruptcy sale for just $2,500, the now four-year-old gelding rewarded Lockman’s leap of faith by carrying her to victory in the morning’s Great American/USDF Region 7 Open Training Level Championship with a score of 73.750%. But it wasn’t easy – every competitor in the class earned a score greater than 70%. “I knew it would be tough but I didn’t really think about it - I just went in and did my thing,” explained Lockman, a former event rider. “He’s been solid all year, so I just believed in him and had every confidence.”

Lockman’s belief in her mount comes from having raised and trained the youngster herself. “He’s incredible because he’s so easy – he’s so laidback and quiet, but has huge movement and a ‘10’ walk. He grew up working cattle, riding out in the hills and even hanging out at rodeos, so for a young horse he’s super reliable at the shows because he’s already seen so much,” said Lockman. “He’s certainly turned out so well that it feels like hitting the lottery. You only get a horse like this with the talent and the temperament together once in a lifetime, so I’m going to continue to bring him along and enjoy the journey.”

Also in the outside rings, Amanda Apesos from Half Moon Bay rode her four-year-old Rheinlander gelding Ben to lead the victory lap at Training Level for Adult Amateurs thanks to a top score of 73.523%, while in the Second Level Adult Amateur division the smallest entry earned the biggest scores as Kristine Hegglin (Danville, Calif.) and her German Riding Pony Holstein’s Harlequin rode to earn 69.329% for the win. Meanwhile, U.S. High Performance rider Brian Hafner of Penngrove, Calif. showed off an up-and-coming star in Wendy Roberts’ seven-year-old Dutch gelding Dream Catcher as they won the Great American/USDF Region 7 Open Second Level title with 70.244%.

Freestyles once again took center stage in the main ring on Friday afternoon, where Terri Rocovich of Ramona, Calif. rode her Dutch gelding Uiver to win the Great American/USDF Grand Prix Freestyle with 68.063% for their performance featuring music from the Imagine Dragons track, “It’s Time”. “I wanted my horse’s freestyle to use popular music because I think it suits him, and the minute I heard that song I knew it would be for him,” said Rocovich. “I’m really pleased, especially since he’s only been at this level for a little over a year and it’s only about the fifth time we’ve done this freestyle. He seems to love the music too - as soon as he hears it, he’s ready to go!”

Ari Lopez of Pleasant Hill, Calif. and her longtime partner Corlander II have competed in the FEI Under-25 division all season, and they put that international experience to good use in winning the Open Intermediaire II Championship with a score of 66.711%. In the Intermediaire II Adult Amateur division, Hilda Gurney’s Grand Prix veteran Wintersnow carried Adrienne Bessey of Thousand Oaks to victory with 63.289%. “He’s teaching me so much because even though I’d schooled the Grand Prix movements before, I’d never shown at this level,” said Bessey. “Hilda is so generous to have offered me the ride on this horse, and of course I jumped at the chance. I’m so thankful.”

Thousands of dollars in prize money and awards were on the line as the first group of hotly-contested CDS Horse of the Year classes got underway. Brian Hafner has successfully competed around the world with his longtime partner Lombardo LHF, but the talented pair stayed closer to home this weekend to claim the Sherry de Leon Memorial Trophy and $1,000 CDS Horse of the Year Open Grand Prix title on a score of 69.050%. In the $1,000 Adult Amateur Prix St. Georges division, Adrienne Bessey returned to the ring for the second time today to successfully defend her 2014 title and hang on to the Imaging Perpetual Trophy for another year. This time aboard her own Danish mare Dido, Bessey was the only competitor in the class to break the 70% barrier, finishing with a final score of 70.789%. “She’s just great, everything in the test has gotten to be easy for her and she was right there for me at every movement, so that makes it really fun,” said Bessey.

But in the $1,000 CDS Horse of the Year Open Prix St. Georges class, the possibility of a winning test almost disappeared with the simple flip of a switch. As Tracey Hill (Concord, Calif.) and Victoria Von Arx’s Hanoverian mare Celina entered the main arena as the first horse/rider combination following a tractor drag, they discovered that the huge overhead fans had been turned on due to rising temperatures. Celina freaked. “Since the fans weren’t on for the first half of the class, the judge halted everything while we waited for them to be turned off,” said Hill. “I just kept reassuring Celina, and once they stopped, she surprisingly let it all go and came right back to me.” Overcoming their rocky start, the pair prevailed over a competitive field to claim the Bent Roswall Memorial Trophy on a winning score of 71.842%. “Without question, it ended up being the best test we’ve ever had,” Hill added. “She’s super talented and I love her to pieces, and that moment today was a real highlight of my career.”

In the CDS Four-Year-Old Futurity, a tough field of talented youngsters battled back and forth for scores in two different Training Level tests over two days to ultimately determine a victor. Once again it was Sarah Lockman’s Oldenburg gelding Dehavilland (Diamond Hit x Haverfords Redhawk by Hohenstein, bred in California by Redhawk Ranch) who attracted the judges’ attention to decisively win the second day’s Training Level Test 3 and claim a come-from-behind victory and the CDS Futurity Perpetual Trophy for an overall combined score of 75.498%. “I got a little greedy and made a mistake the first day,” Lockman explained. “My horse always puts in a lovely solid test and makes zero mistakes, so it was totally rider error. I came out today and said, ‘we’re going for it’, and he stepped up for me and put in an even better test.” In the Adult Amateur division, the lovely Hanoverian mare D’Hot Toddy (Domrio x Diliah) carried owner/rider Lindsay-Elisabeth Bridges of Reno, Nev. to sweep the division with an overall two-test average of 68.536% and take home the INXS Perpetual Trophy.

Championship competition continues Saturday, including the five- and six-year-old divisions of the CDS Young Horse Futurity, a multitude of Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships and CDS Horse of the Year classes, and special evening entertainment including musical freestyles and quadrilles.

For complete Day Two results, click here. For more information about the California Dressage Society Championship Show, including news, schedules, ride times, and results, visit the CDS website and follow along with behind-the-scenes updates and photos on the CDS Facebook page.




Photo by Jennifer Keeler


Landers Wins Big on First Day of Great American/USDF Region 7 & California Dressage Society Championship Show

By Yellow Horse Marketing for the California Dressage Society

The Murieta Equestrian Center was buzzing long before the first judge’s bell rang at 8am to welcome competitors down centerline on Day One of the 48th Annual California Dressage Society (CDS) Annual Championship Show, being held September 17-20, 2015 in Rancho Murieta. Once again featuring the Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Region 7 Championships as well as the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Breeders Championships West Coast Series Final, the show is off to a fast start as more than 300 exhibitors from 27 different CDS Chapters began their quests for top scores from 11 judges across six non-stop competition arenas.

After morning warm-up classes, music filled the air as a full afternoon of championship freestyles got underway. The very first Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 7 Championship sash of the year was presented to Elizabeth Landers from Agoura Hills who earned top honors in the First Level Freestyle aboard her Oldenburg mare and former show jumping partner Liberty. Despite the dramatic change in discipline, the pair earned a score of 71.750% for their winning performance. “I had to help her understand what this new sport was about, but something clicked when we started working on a freestyle,” Landers said of her mount. “Now she has learned her music and it seemed to help her learn what’s expected.”

But Landers didn’t have much time to rest on her laurels as she was due to return to the ring with her handsome Hanoverian gelding His Highness Crusador. Her efforts, and her eight-hour drive north to attend her first CDS Championship Show, were both rewarded with her second victory of the day, this time with a score of 70.250% for the pair’s Third Level Freestyle performance. “I’m waiting for someone to pinch me, I’m so amazingly grateful. It’s a dream come true and coming here has been such a terrific experience so far,” said Landers, who added that her sights are now set on an even bigger goal: the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan in Kentucky. “Each horse is different and special in their own way, and I couldn’t be prouder. It’s such a joy for me to be able to compete the two of them.”

At Second Level, Anne Howard (Watsonville, Calif.) rode her Bulgarian gelding Apel to the unanimous win under both judges with 69.000%, while Moorpark’s Claire Darnell led the victory lap for the Fourth Level Freestyle with her own Dutch gelding Ayokay thanks to a score of 72.417%. Wrapping up the day, Jamie Pestana of Livermore rode her long-time partner Winzalot to the win in the Great American/USDF Region 7 Intermediaire Freestyle. The Hanoverian gelding is no stranger to the winner’s circle at the CDS Championships, and earned yet another title with a top score of 73.875% as he now looks to move up to the Grand Prix level. “This year we really came to just have fun,” said Pestana, whose freestyle included music from Taylor Swift’s popular song “Blank Space”. “We revamped our freestyle and wanted to finish out his I-1 career with a bang, so we made a harder pattern for him and changed up his choreography to include new canter work, and it paid off.”

In addition to freestyles, Adult Amateur riders had the opportunity to show off their skills in the CDS Dressage Seat Equitation Challenge, where Amalia Boyles drove all the way from the San Diego Chapter to kick off her weekend with a victory aboard Donna Richardson’s Hanoverian gelding Welt Erbe on a score of 80.000%. Meanwhile, in-hand sport horse breeding competition was also featured with the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Breeders Championships-West Coast Final. Hanoverian mare Domenikova (by Donnerschlag) owned by Marsha Anderson claimed the Mare Championship by earning a score of 80.800% from judges Kristi Wysocki and Melissa Creswick. Craig Stanley presented Margaret Young's two-year-old Oldenburg filly Cremona (by Franziskus) to win the Filly Championship with a score of 79.738%, while in the Colt/Gelding Championship Anita Nardine’s two-year-old Oldenburg gelding Sibelius (by Sir Donnerhall) impressed the judges to win the division title with a score of 80.825%.





The California Dressage Society, formed in 1967, is a non-profit organization devoted to furthering interest in dressage. It is one of the largest dressage organizations in the nation with more than 3,500 individual members in its 32 Chapters and a rich history of equestrian sport on the West Coast.

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