Saugerties, N.Y.-Sept. 16
Catherine Haddad Staller had one major mantra in mind with both of her horses for today’s Grand Prix test at the Saugerties CDI-W: Go for it.
And Haddad Staller pulled that off, riding her Winyamaro to first on 68.66 percent and Cadillac 35 to second with a 68.55 percent. Cadillac, a 14-year-old Danish Warmblood (Solos Carex—Miss Ragtimes Minuett, Ragtime), has competed at the Grand Prix level for several years but was off for most of 2010. Winyamaro, an 11-year-old Hanoverian (Walt Disney—Taiga, Trapper) is only in his second full year of international Grand Prix competition.
“I finally have both of my horses in a position where I can really go for it in the test,” said Haddad Staller. “I did make some errors on both horses today because I have really upped the tempo, but I have to get used to that, and it’s no holds barred from now on because this is an Olympic year. I know when I can ride those horses at that power and tempo and not make mistakes, my scores are really going to pop up. I was really happy with both horses today.”
While Winyamaro and Cadillac’s scores were quite similar, Haddad Staller said they excel at different parts of the Grand Prix test.
“Cadillac has his high points in the piaffe and passage,” she said. “There are very few horses in the world who can piaffe and passage like that. He also turns a really good pirouette, so I picked up some points there.
“Winyamaro just comes down the centerline with power and charm. He’s a smaller, more compact horse, not as long-legged, but he really lays the test out there. He’s always in a beautiful rhythm, and he’s really good in the flying changes and really thrusts over in the half-passes,” she added.
Haddad Staller remarked on the difference between her scores, especially between the judges at B and E. Cadillac scored a 65.95 percent from FEI O-level judge Linda Zang at E and a 69.46 percent from FEI O-level judge Maribel Alonso de Quinzanos at B, while Winyamaro scored a 65.95 percent at E and a 70.42 percent at B.
“My only disappointment today was that the judging was so variable, particularly on the long sides of the arena,” said Haddad Staller. “The judges and B and E really didn’t agree, and that is unusual. I had my greatest point variation [with Winyamaro] between B and E. You can understand if the judges on the short side disagree with the judges on the long side, but not if the two judges on the short sides disagree with each other.”
Haddad Staller rides for the United States but is based in Vechta, Germany, most of the time. She brought her two top horses over for the fall competitions. She’s aiming for Dressage At Devon (Pa.) next and then will head back to Europe for the winter season there.
“I came over specifically to show these two horses for three shows,” Haddad Staller said. “Unfortunately I had to sit out the first one because the horses had some health problems after they came through quarantine. They had skin problems. I couldn’t go to the first Saugerties, which was very disappointing for me because this is a really expensive trip. But I’m happy to be here this weekend.”
During her time in the United States, Haddad is also seeking a sponsor to help her make a bid for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
“If I don’t find a sponsor, it’s going to be difficult to hold onto them,” she said. “But that was another reason to come home was to make an appearance in America and see if I could drum up some financial support. With two horses, it’s financially intimidating. I do think both horses have a good chance. I really believe in both horses.”
Adrienne Lyle and Wizard were third in the Grand Prix with 67.68 percent. Sharon McCusker and Wrigley topped the CDI Prix St. Georges on 70.15 percent over Evi Strasser and Renaissance Tyme (67.92%).
The USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship also kicked off today, with all riders performing their Team tests. Donna Ponessa and Otto led the Para-Equestrian Grade IA Team division (66.76%), Jonathan Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale topped the Para-Equestrian Grade IB Team test (71.51%), Dale Dedrick and Bonifatius won the Grade II Team test (70.07%), Wendy Fryke and Lateran won the Grade III Team test (66.72%) and James Dwyer and Orlando led the Grade IV Team test with a 69.27 percent. Mary Jordan, on Sebastian, was the highest-placed U.S. rider in the Grade IV Team test, and she was third with a 64.21 percent.
Results available at Fox Village.