Gladstone, N.J. – June 14
Caroline Roffman got it right when she said, “Pie had the best ride we’ve ever had. Luckily, it was in the ring.”
The ride earned them the Prix St. Georges win at the U.S. Equestrian Federation Dresssage Festival of Champions.
Pie’s score of 73.97 percent took the lead early in the day, and no one could quite catch them. Steffen Peters and Sundance 8 came the closest with a 72.23 percent, good enough for second.
“All season I’ve been building, trying to get here,” said Roffman, 23. “Now that I’m here, I thought I’d be a little braver and try to put the pedal to the metal. He really answered.”
Pie, a 10-year-old Hanoverian (Otto Rudolf Fuchs—Worldly, World Lady), will canter down centerline again on Saturday for the Intermediaire I test and for the Intermediaire I freestyle on Sunday.
“Hopefully we can do it again in the next couple of days,” said Roffman, Wellington, Fla. “I really visualize a good ride, and I’m not thinking about the possibility of having a mistake. Today it worked out.”
Roffman was also sporting a custom patriotic helmet from Charles Owen. The company made the helmet specifically for this championship, and they also created a British one for Charlotte Dujardin. However, the helmets will soon be available for sale to the general public.
Peters and Sundance 8’s performance made for a happy team as it was only the fourth Prix St. Georges test together for the team from San Diego.
“It’s all very early for him,” said Peters, 47, noting both a tense walk and a mistake in the three-tempis put road bumps to their score. “The trot work felt great; he did wonderful pirouettes. I’m very happy.”
Looking forward, he said the gelding, an 8-year-old Hanoverian (Shakespeare In Love—Daylight, De Niro) owned by Margaret Koster, has progressed slowly with the flying changes.
“At this point, the one-tempis are a bit of a question mark,” he said. “It’s something we can’t really play with yet because it will most likely interfere with the twos. It could be a Grand Prix Horse. We’ll see.”
Christopher Hickey and Witness Hilltop took third (71.15%) after showing sparingly. “I was away last fall training, and he didn’t show,” explained Hickey, Colora, Md.
Despite their sparse show schedule, the gelding, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Hamlet—Francis, Burggraaf) owned by Hilltop Farm Inc., managed a smooth test.
“It was a clean test with small things that need to be improved upon. It was a major-mistake-free test, and that was good,” he said, adding that on Saturday he plans to push a little harder to try to beat Roffman and Pie.
To help get the best test possible, Hickey, 43, said he uses visualization techniques.
“Qualifiers like this where I don’t do a lot of other things allow us as riders to take our time with the horse. I visualize my test and sit somewhere quiet and go through the test from start to finish in a calm, quiet way,” he said. “Give yourself that kind of time to really focus and think about riding the test well and visualizing the best it can be. I think it’s tremendously helpful.”
Thirteen Grand Prix horses jogged on Thursday afternoon, and they all passed the veterinary inspection. Cesar Parra withdrew Van The Man after last weekend’s competition, and Katherine Bateson-Chandler also withdrew Nartan.
For full results, go to Fox Village Dressage.
Need to catch up from last weekend? See the Chronicle’s coverage of the USEF Dressage Festival of Champions.