By Yellow Horse Marketing for the California Dressage Society
Not so long ago, Alana Andrews was living in New York City and competing in hunter/jumper competitions. But then a horse-buying trip to Europe changed her life, and this weekend she found herself leading the victory lap at the Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Region 7 and California Dressage Society (CDS) Championship Show, being held September 27-30 in Burbank.
“My mom wanted me to go to Spain to look at horses with her, and she asked me to bring my riding clothes so I could sit on a few horses to try them out,” Andrews remembered. “So I got to ride all these amazing Grand Prix-level Spanish horses, and was having the time of my life. All of a sudden I was like, ‘Uh oh, I think I love dressage.” I came home and sold my jumper, found my new horse online and imported him, and moved to Los Angeles where I had previously gone to graduate school and now work in finance.”
With her new dressage partner, a lovely Lusitano gelding named Caju, Andrews started showing in dressage competitions just last summer at First Level, and quickly progressed. This summer, the pair earned a reserve championship at the Southern Region’s CDS Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC) in Del Mar, which gave Andrews the confidence to think bigger, including attending the CDS Championship Show for the very first time. “We were doing so well and getting very good scores, so I thought, ‘Well, why not try Regionals?’ And I’m so glad I did. I’ve had so much fun here this weekend, and I just love the dressage community here on the West Coast.”
But winning any title at the CDS Championship Show, including today’s Great American/USDF Region 7 Third Level Adult Amateur Championship, is no easy feat. Andrews and Caju found themselves as the last of 12 combinations to trot down centerline and they had their work cut out for them, needing a score of more than 68% to win. But when the final points were tabulated, their mark of 68.205% was enough. “I never thought we’d be in this position,” said an elated Andrews. “As a Lusitano, Caju is very good in the collected work but he also has very good gaits, so I feel like we’re very competitive even against the fancy warmbloods as long as I ride well. Plus I feel like our partnership has really blossomed this summer. He’s so good in the connection and over the back, and that proper training and development is what I always strive for, and is what I find so addicting about dressage.”
Great American/USDF Region 7 championships were also presented in these divisions:
Sarah Pierce of Moorpark, Cal. made her experience at the CDS Championship Show a winning one by topping the leaderboard with 73.456% in the Region 7 First Level Adult Amateur Championship aboard her young Swedish Warmblood gelding Zitat.
Sarah Lockman of Aliso Viejo, Cal. is no stranger to victory lane at the CDS Championship Show, and this year she added another title to her resume by winning the Region 7 Third Level Open Championship with Gerry Ibanez’s Westfalen mare Balia on a score of 73.526%.
Suzanne Smith of Palos Verdes Estates, Cal. rode her Dutch gelding Spencer to victory over a tough field of Adult Amateurs at the Prix St. Georges level with a top score of 69.559%.
In the hotly-contested Region 7 Prix St. Georges Open Championship, Julia Mineikis of Reno, Nev. was delighted to find herself in the winner’s circle with a score of 70.147% earned aboard her KWPN gelding Ferrari M.
Competition continued in a wide variety of CDS Horse of the Year divisions from Training Level to Grand Prix, including these new 2018 champions:
Hometown girl Kristina Harrison of Burbank and Jocelyn Towne’s KWPN gelding I Felix have proven to be unbeatable at Training Level this week, running away with the $1,000 CDS Training Level Open Horse of the Year title with a whopping 81.477%.
After winning the CDS Five-Year-Old Futurity title yesterday, Sandy Savage of Sacramento and Ilario (Dutch gelding owned by Maureen Lamb) continued their winning ways in the $1,000 First Level Open Horse of the Year division, earning the McLeod Perpetual Trophy with a score of 78.603%. In impressive fashion, the pair also topped a field of 15 to claim the Bengt Lunquist Memorial Trophy for $1,000 CDS Second Level Open Horse of the Year with 75.671%.
Tiffany Mahoney of Rancho Santa Fe is on a winning streak at this year’s CDS Championship Show with her Westfalen gelding Rey del Mundo as today the pair claimed the T.D.I. Systems Perpetual Trophy in the $1,000 CDS Intermediaire I Adult Amateur Horse of the Year division with 67.647%.
High Performance veteran Kathleen Raine of Murrieta, Cal. rode Susan Adams’ Dutch gelding Don Johnson to win this year’s $1,000 CDS Intermediaire I Open Horse of the Year title with 69.559%.
In the $1,000 CDS Intermediaire II Adult Amateur Horse of the Year division, orthopedic surgeon Christine Ekstrand of Santa Monica was pleased with her winning performance aboard her Oldenburg gelding Dark Berry with a top score of 65.735%.
Also returning to the winner’s circle was Dirk Glitz of Danville, Cal. with Kimberly Noon-Fishel’s KWPN gelding Elian Royale. The pair won their Great American/USDF Region 7 division yesterday, and further improved upon that winning performance to score 72.721% and claim the $1,000 CDS Intermediaire II Open Horse of the Year honors and the Pelton Family Trophy.
Hilda Gurney of Moorpark brought two talented home-breds to this year’s CDS Championship Show, and after winning Fourth Level Freestyle honors with Lotta Silver on the first day of competition, it was time for her Oldenburg mare Iris to shine, this time in the $1,000 CDS Intermediaire I Freestyle with 73.750% to earn the Lilian Van Dahn Memorial Perpetual Trophy for their “The Greatest Showman” movie-themed performance.
Wrapping up the day’s competition was the exciting $1,000 CDS Grand Prix Freestyle division, with seven riders hoping to win the Lt. Col. Hans Moeller Perpetual Trophy. Last to go down centerline in the Equidome, Jodie Cressman of Camarillo, Cal. and Gina Atton-Thomas’ KWPN gelding Upendo scored the come-from-behind victory by posting what would be the winning score of 72.725%.
The CDS Championship Show is more than just about adult competitors – juniors and young riders also have a chance to shine:
In the Great American/USDF Region 7 Training Level JR/YR Championship, Cayla Divodi of Santa Rosa earned an impressive score of 72.614% to win top honors with her Andalusian gelding Bodi.
Celsiana William of Trinidad, Cal. rode her young Oldenburg mare Prima Ballerina to victory in the CDS First Level JR/YR Horse of the Year division, winning both rounds of competition for an overall average of 70.193%.
At Second Level, top honors in the Great American/USDF Region 7 Championship went to Katrina Ragsdale of Sloughhouse, Cal. aboard Natalie Jensen’s Thoroughbred gelding Wrigley with 65.305%, while Sophia Kohlmann of Walnut Creek rode Marlis Erdell’s KWPN gelding Florian to claim top honors in the CDS Horse of the Year division with a two-day score of 68.421%.
The CDS Fourth Level JR/YR title was awarded to Anica Holt of Fresno with Pam Nelson’s Rheinlander gelding Lord Leopold for their average score of 61.708%.
Santa Monica’s Sophia Ekstrand claimed the Region 7 FEI Junior Team Test Championship with a score of 65.000% aboard the Hanoverian mare Concetta.
In the CDS JR/YR Prix St. Georges division, Christian Simonson of Ventura, Cal. cruised to an easy victory with 73.456% earned with Christina Morgan’s Hanoverian stallion FRH Rassolini.
Following on the heels of yesterday’s CDS Dressage Seat Equitation Challenge classes, regional titles and a chance to compete on the national level were now on the line with the USDF Dressage Seat Equitation divisions:
First to enter the Equidome were six competitors vying for bragging rights in the USDF Adult Amateur Dressage Seat Equitation Regional Final, where Laurel Kerner of Ramona and her KWPN gelding Saturnes to ride off with top honors on a score of 85.000%.
In the USDF Dressage Seat Medal Semi-Final for riders 13 & under, Chelsea Christensen of Burbank confidently rode her Quarter horse mare Poca Peppy Chex IN to victory with a score of 75.000%.
In the 14-18 Semi-Final division, nine competitors also faced off for the chance to qualify for next year’s national Finals at Lamplight in Illinois. Ultimately emerging victorious with an impressive score of 88.000% was Erin Nichols of Yorba Linda, Cal. with the six-year-old Dutch gelding Handsome Rob AR.
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.