Where there’s a will there’s a way, and for adult amateur competitor Lindsey Schulz, hard work and dedication paid off in spades on the first day of the Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Region 7 and California Dressage Society (CDS) Championship Show, being held September 19-22, 2019 at the Murieta Equestrian Center in Rancho Murieta.
Aboard Nora Capers’ Lippizaner mare Delia 87, Schulz (representing the Los Angeles Chapter) topped a tough field of 11 predominantly open competitors in the Region 7 Intermediaire Freestyle Championship, earning the unanimous win under both judges with a top score of 74.300% (watch her winning ride HERE).
“Delia is such a cool mare who is so sweet and just goes in and does her job,” said Schulz, who hails from Sebastopol, Cal., where she has a career training and rehabilitating dogs, and endures a seven-hour commute each way just to have a chance to ride. “I half-lease her from her owner, and I actually only get to ride her about one week out of the month because I live here in Northern California, but she’s stabled in the southern part of the state. So it’s a very special horse that allows me to hop on and do this.
“This is our first Championship Show together, and of course it can be intimidating to go in there with this type of competition, but I think the most important thing is to focus on your own ride and keep doing the best that you can personally,” Schulz continued. “Her changes are just wonderful – every time we go in there it’s like she says ‘I’ve got this,’ and that’s always a great boost of confidence.”
Off to a promising start, Schulz have now earned an invitation to the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, and will continue to compete across both the USDF and CDS divisions at the Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I level this weekend. “I was really curious to see how we’d stack up here, and we’ll see how the rest of the weekend goes but the Finals are definitely something we’ll be thinking about now,” Schulz explained. “I’d love to make it to Kentucky. Who wouldn’t want to go, right?”
Another big winner was Paula Paglia (Temecula Valley Chapter) who earned the Great American/USDF Region 7 Fourth Level Freestyle Championship on a score of 67.183% aboard Kate Earl’s Belgian Warmblood gelding In D’Aire, a horse she’s known since he was an award-winning yearling. “He warmed up so nice and relaxed, and I’ve been trying to ride him with a little more power while still being correct. Today he was right on my aids and we got both of our lines of three’s which I was really proud of, and he’s really starting to sit down and turn in his pirouettes,” Paglia explained. “I love it here at the Murieta Equestrian Center – the renovations are beautiful and this competition is always so well managed and everyone’s so friendly. We actually live in Scottsdale, Arizona but choose to compete here in Region 7 because we really enjoy showing in California.”
Elena Flaherty of Clayton, Cal. (East Bay Chapter) was a little worried in the warmup before her ride, but faith in her German Sport Horse gelding Royal Chrome paid off as the pair earned the Great American/USDF Region 7 Third Level Freestyle title with a score of 71.700%. “Things started out a little tense in the warmup so I wasn’t sure what I was going to have in there, but once we went in the ring he was really with me and was just fabulous,” said Flaherty of her partner. “As soon as he heard the music he knew what his job was. As the ride went on I was able to make adjustments without tension, and it felt really smooth and flowing. We’ve been working recently to add some additional difficulty to the freestyle and it paid off – we were really able to show off our changes. And yes we are also thinking about the US Dressage Finals, and possibly going with [Reserve Champion] Ericka Reinig because she made the trip last year and can show me the ropes. We’re really excited about it!”
A forward, flowing performance earned Megan McQueeney (Topanga, CA, Ventura Chapter) and Denise Griffith’s KWPN mare Ilima a score of 74.333% and the victory in the Great American/USDF Region 7 First Level Freestyle. “She’s only six years old and had about a year and a half off to have a baby, so this is her first season back after being a mom,” McQueeney noted. “She’s an energetic horse and can be a little hot at first, but once she settles in she gets to work. She moves really nicely off your leg so we can show off those leg yields and zig zags. As for Kentucky, it’s a possibility – this has been a great way to start and we’ll see how the rest of the show goes.”
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.