By Yellow Horse Marketing for the California Dressage Society
Kelly Prayter’s 11-year-old American Warmblood gelding Hemingway may be the most colorful horse in his Third Level class at the Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Region 7 and California Dressage Society (CDS) Championship Show, being held September 19-22 in Rancho Murieta. But on Saturday he proved to be much more than just a pretty face as he carried Prayter of Elk Grove, Cal. (Valley Oaks Chapter) to earn top marks under both judges for the unanimous win in the Great American/USDF Region 7 Third Level Adult Amateur Championship with a score of 67.875%.
Besides winning championship ribbons, Hemingway is close to Prayter’s heart for other reasons. “I’m recently widowed, so I took a long break from showing and this was my first season back,” she explained. “It was a great feeling to get back out there and have it go so well. My horse has been a huge part of my healing so he’s very, very special to me.”
Prayter found Hemingway when he was just five years old, and admitted she fell in love with him right away. “He’s actually a quarter Friesian, a quarter Dutch Warmblood and half Hanoverian. The color comes from his sire LSH Cadence in Color, who was a Friesian Sport Horse by Art Deco,” Prayter noted. “My trainer Heidi Chote trained Cadence to Grand Prix, so all of us at the barn fell in love with him and became acquainted with some of his babies, including Hemingway, who as a youngster was with his breeder Michele Dodge. He was always my favorite – he has this spark and presence about him. Hemi’s half-brother also by Cadence [named Tennyson M] won a Second Level title yesterday, so it’s this really cool family affair here this weekend.”
Prayter, who works in human resources for Sacramento County when not in the saddle, came to the Murieta Equestrian Center to enjoy the experience, but not with any expectations in mind of winning a championship. “I knew my Third Level division was big with a lot of nice horses, so I was going to be thrilled just to end up in the top five,” she noted. “Hemi can be a little tense away from home so it’s always a little bit of a question mark if he’s going to be on my aids in the ring, but he felt so great today – it was awesome from the moment I got on. Hemi is a powerhouse so he loves to be big and fancy in the extensions, but oddly enough my favorite part of our test today was our halt and rein back. One of the judges even commented on it as I was walking out, which is kind of ironic because it’s the one movement I always forget to do. It’s in such a random spot during the test so I forget about it, and then receive an error. I was so happy just to remember it today and nail it.”
Additional Great American/USDF Region 7 championships were presented in these divisions:
Catherine Reynolds of North Hills, Cal. (Los Angeles Chapter) topped the leaderboard with 74.097% over 18 rivals in the Region 7 First Level Adult Amateur Championship aboard her young Oldenburg mare Hotness.
After winning the CDS Young Horse Futurity for six-year-olds, Kristina Harrison of Burbank (Los Angeles Chapter) and Jocelyn Towne’s KWPN gelding I Felix added another title to their resume by winning the Region 7 Third Level Open Championship with an impressive performance, earning a top score of 77.000%.
Michele Moon of Rancho Santa Fe, Cal. (San Diego Chapter) rode her Westfalen mare Indira to victory over a tough field of 20 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, Brian Hafner of Penngrove, Cal. (Sonoma Chapter) rode his KWPN mare Enjoy Point J straight to the winner’s circle over more than 20 other competitors with a score of 72.353%.
Competition continued in a wide variety of CDS Horse of the Year divisions from Training Level to Grand Prix, including these new 2019 champions:
After winning Friday’s Great American/USDF Region 7 Training Level Open Championship, Rachel Wade of West Sacramento (Sacramento Valley Chapter) and Sara Bartholomew’s Oldenburg mare Top Hit continued their winning ways by easily claiming the $1,000 CDS Training Level Open Horse of the Year title with 75.690%.
As the only combination to break the 70% mark, Ashlyn Dodge of Hanford, Cal. (Fresno Chapter) and DG Bar Ranch’s KWPN gelding Jagger DG claimed the Bengt Lungquist Memorial Trophy in the $1,000 CDS Second Level Open Horse of the Year division with 71.429%.
In an incredibly close contest across two rounds of competition, Keeva Fox of Saratoga, Cal. (East Bay Chapter) squeaked out the overall victory in the $1,000 CDS Fourth Level Adult Amateur Horse of the Year division to earn the Fox Run Perpetual Trophy with her British Warmblood mare Lady Lara (68.182%).
Brian Hafner and Enjoy Point J celebrated their second straight victory of the day in another hard-fought division: the $1,000 CDS Fourth Level Open Horse of the Year class, earning a winning score of 72.778%.
Elinor Armstrong Kennedy of Corte Madera, Cal. (San Francisco Chapter) and her KWPN mare Bakara KS performed a lovely test to earn top marks from both judges and take home the T.D.I. Systems Perpetual Trophy in the $1,000 CDS Intermediaire I Adult Amateur Horse of the Year division with 69.779%.
An impressive field of 22 competitors cantered down centerline in the $1,000 CDS Intermediaire I Open Horse of the Year division, but ultimately emerging victorious with a top score of 74.338% was David Blake of Encinitas, Cal. (San Diego Chapter) aboard Pippa Bird’s Oldenburg mare Heide Spirit.
In the $1,000 CDS Intermediaire II Adult Amateur Horse of the Year division, Adrienne Bessey of Thousand Oaks (Los Angeles Chapter) was all smiles as she accepted top honors with a score of 64.191% aboard her Oldenburg gelding Wintersnow.
Brian Hafner returned to the winner’s circle for the third time in one day, this time aboard Wendy Roberts’ KWPN gelding Dream Catcher as the pair topped the $1,000 CDS Intermediaire II Open Horse of the Year honors and the Pelton Family Trophy with a score of 69.926%.
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, Shannon Doyle of Claremont, Cal. (Pomona Chapter) earned 65.259% to win top honors with her Arabian gelding Moun Dalay Bey.
Caroline Mader of Woodside, Cal. (San Francisco Peninsula Chapter) and her Oldenburg gelding Fireking cruised to victory in the CDS First Level JR/YR Horse of the Year division, winning both rounds of competition for an overall average of 70.716%.
At Second Level, top honors in the Great American/USDF Region 7 Championship went to Delaney Vaden of Grass Valley, Cal. (Carmel Valley Chapter) aboard her American Warmblood gelding Redrox Jazzman with 67.619%, while Regan Cutshall of Yorba Linda (Pomona Chapter) rode her KWPN mare Panenka to claim top honors in the CDS Horse of the Year division with a two-day score of 67.557%.
After winning their CDS Dressage Seat Equitation Challenge class on Friday, Alyssa Buenting of Reno, Nev. (Sierra Nevada Chapter) and her Hanoverian gelding Del Mar further demonstrated their dressage skills by claiming the Region 7 Fourth Level JR/YR Championship with 61.667%.
In the CDS JR/YR Prix St. Georges division, Dallas McCullough of Murrieta, Cal. (Temecula Valley Chapter) continued her successful weekend with her Danish Warmblood gelding Fritz, earning a top score of 64.412%.
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:
Six competitors rode for bragging rights in the USDF Adult Amateur Dressage Seat Equitation Regional Final, where Kelly Prayter and Hemingway earned their second championship title of the day with a score of 92.000%.
In the 14-18 Semi-Final division, Erin Nichols of Yorba Linda, Cal. (Pomona Chapter) and her Dutch gelding Handsome Rob AR successfully defended their 2018 title, fending off five rivals to earn top honors with an impressive score of 94.000%.
After winning their CDS Dressage Seat Equitation Challenge class on Friday, Josephine Hinnemann of Murrieta, Cal. (Temecula Valley Chapter) and her gelding Tom earned their second straight equitation victory of the weekend, this time in the USDF Dressage Seat Medal Semi-Final for riders 13 & under with a score of 88.000%.
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.