Raleigh, N.C.-June 5
While Arlene “Tuny” Page didn’t think Alina felt her best during the Raleigh CDI, it turned out to be good enough. The pair won the Grand Prix Special today (65.91%) over Luis Reteguiz-Denizard, riding for Puerto Rico, and his Nalando.
“This is the end of her spring season, and she’s telling me now that she’s a little tired,” Page said. “I was a little disappointed in the Grand Prix [on Friday, where Alina finished fifth with a 64.70 percent] only because she had been 100 percent on top of her game leading up to this. We did a couple of national shows that had been excellent, and I think that I may have gone a click too long trying to sustain that, plus adding travel.”
Page, based in Wellington, Fla., and Alina, a 13-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Michellino—Alberte Lindebjerg, Diamant) topped the Grand Prix and Grand Prix freestyle at the International Horse Sport Champions Cup in Florida earlier in the year.
“In Florida, we’re so spoiled because we get to go to all these shows, and they’re all 10 minutes from home, and the horses get to know the facilities,” Page said. “In this mare’s development, this is something she simply has to get used to. She has to get a little tougher about it. She showed me that I need to be a little more consciencious about making myself get out of her comfort zone as far as traveling.
“I’m thrilled that she came back today and was much more forward, much easier to ride, better in the self carriage,” Page added. “I have to pay close attention to the marks that come from judges like Charlotte Bredahl-Baker and Lois Yukins, these are really top judges, and they rewarded her well today, and that, to me, is important to pay attention to. I was satisfied with that.”
Leibler Makes A Clean Sweep Of All Three Young Rider Classes
Isabelle Leibler has a good reason for using the music she does for her freestyle with Watson 108.
“For the longest time, my favorite movie with music has been ET,” Leibler said. “I always wanted to do it for a freestyle, but it was a bit big for my ponies and a bit much. When we first bought Watson, he has these sort of dalmation spots on his coat, and he’s a little strange and out there and quirky. And were like, he’s a bit out there, but he’s cool and really friendly. I watched the movie again because it happened to be on TV and I was like, ‘Wow, this music could work for him.’ ”
And the music did work for Watson, and he and Leibler topped the Young Rider freestyle (71.79%) after winning the Team and Individual tests earlier in the weekend. Leibler, 16 and a recent graduate of the FEI Pony division, traded her two ponies for Watson in Germany about six months ago. She knew right away her dream music would work for him.
“We ended up having Marlene Whitaker put the freestyle together, and she did a wonderful job. I really just loved the music because the movie is about a bond between an animal and a child. When I first tried Watson, and even know through all of our trials and success, we have a really deep bond that you can see whether on the ground or riding. That’s what the movie spoke to me about. When I ride this freestyle, it’s an emotional thing for me because I think it represents our relationship.”
Leibler, Wellington, Fla., and Greenwich, Conn., is aiming Watson for the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (Ky.) this year.
“Hopefully we’ll make the team,” she said. “We might not be at the top of the list, but we’re learning as we go along. I hope just to get in so by Young Riders I’ll have a lot more experience under my belt and be able to do some really good work.”
Watch video of Leibler’s winning Young Rider freestyle: