Southern California is known for its star-studded attractions and entertainment, and the 45th Anniversary California Dressage Society (CDS) Championship Show Presented By HorseShow.com  buzzed with this same excitement today as five arenas of non-stop competition got underway at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank. Offering more than $30,000 in prize money and awards, this show features the popular CDS Young Horse Futurity (including the Cal-Bred Futurity), the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 7 Dressage Championships, as well as the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Breeders Championships West Coast Series Final. With almost 340 horses and riders vying for a myriad of trophies and titles for Open and Adult Amateur competitors of all levels ranging from Training to Grand Prix, an esteemed roster of judges from across the country is on hand to officiate, including FEI officials Gary Rockwell ("O" USA), Joan Macartney ("I" CAN), Sarah Geikie ("I" USA), Jane Weatherwax ("I" USA), and Lorraine Macdonald ("I" CAN), in addition to Sandra Hotz ("S" Colorado); Michael Osinski ("S" Washington); Sandy Osborn ("S" Georgia); Marilyn Payne ("S" New Jersey), William Warren ("S" Massachusetts); Melissa Creswick ("S" California); and Gail Hoff Carmona ("S" California).
In the inaugural CDS Dressage Seat Equitation Challenge for Adult Amateurs, the large field of competitors warranted two go-rounds of performances in order to determine the top ten ribbon winners. Ultimately emerging victorious with a score of 87% was Elma Garcia of La Quinta, CA, riding her own Hanoverian mare "Wenesa". "We were very happy to see the popularity of this new division as well as the quality of the riders," said judge Jane Weatherwax, who officiated with Mike Osinski for the new championship.
Lesley Grove from Gardnerville, NV was presented with the first of the week's many Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championship titles as she rode her own Dutch gelding "Boticelli's Colors" to win the First Level Freestyle with a score of 70.583%. Kerstin Laudemann of Camarillo, CA partnered with Karen Schumaker's Hanoverian "Wild Dancer" to waltz their way to a victorious score of 72.750% in the Second Level Freestyle Championship. In the Third Level Freestyle class, 15-year-old Kalynn Harrington of Agoura Hills, CA topped a field of adults with a score of 71.333% on "Raison d'Etre", an American Warmblood gelding owned by Elly Schobel, while Polly Limond from El Cajon, CA and her Westfalen mare "Indira" danced to a decisive win at Fourth Level with 71.667%.
The CDS Futurity for four, five, and six-year-olds also got underway as an astonishing 63 horses competed in the first of two tests which will be compiled to determine overall champions in each age division. In the Amateur divisions, Melissa Rogers (Sonoma, CA) rode her own Dutch Warmblood gelding "De Lovely" to an impressive score of 71.250% in Training Level Test 2 to claim the first test of the four-year-old futurity, while Sarah Rowntree and her five-year-old Oldenburg mare "San Otto" earned 62.328% at First Level Test 1, and Nancy Szakacs of Hollister, CA and her 2006 Westfalen gelding "Rudi Regali" rode Second Level Test 1 to 71.500% to take the lead in their respective divisions. In the Open Futurity, the classes were full of talent which was rewarded with more than half the competitors earning scores of more than 70%. Moorpark's Kim Elsner rode the California-bred Oldenburg mare "Love Potion" (owned by Barbara Parkening) to a high score of 74.554% in the four-year-old class, while Donna Phillips' Hanoverian gelding "Barbarossa" and Carly Taylor-Smith took the lead in the five-year-old field with a score of 77.672%. Six-year-olds finished the day's activities on a high note as two-time defending CDS Futurity Champion "Sanceo" (Hanoverian stallion owned by Alice Womble) was ridden by Sabine Schut-Kery to a winning score of 76.929% in the first of two days of young horse competition.
Daily results and complete information about the 45th Anniversary California Dressage Society Championship Show Presented By HorseShow.com  is available on the CDS website, www.california-dressage.org .
The California Dressage Society, formed in 1967, is a non-profit organization devoted to furthering interest in dressage. It is one of the largest dressage organizations in the nation with more than 4,000 individual members in its 36 Chapters and a rich history of equestrian sport on the West Coast.