As the third day of championship dressage competition concluded at the Murieta Equestrian Center in Rancho Murieta, CA, a multitude of horses and riders sported new tricolor sashes, trophies, and proud smiles at the CDS Championship Show, annual host of the CDS Horse of the Year awards, the CDS Young Horse Futurity, the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 7 Dressage Championships, and the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Breeders Championships West Coast Series Final.
Future superstars of dressage sport were on display as the five and six-year-old divisions of the CDS Young Horse Futurity concluded today. The five-year-old Dutch Warmblood "Dancing Queen" (Jazz x Junior, bred by CFM Van Der Linden) lived up to her name as she made both First Level tests look easy and impressed the judges from start to finish for an average combined score of 77.541%. As one of the top-ranked young horses in the country, the elegant mare was expertly ridden by Ashlyn DeGroot of Hanford, CA for DG Bar Ranch, a combination which earned their second Futurity title in two days after claiming yesterday's four-year-old title with "DG Edorijke". "Dancing Queen was really good for me this weekend, she does everything I ask and every time I ride her she gives me more," said DeGroot. "Young horses are so fun to work with because you get to see how they grow. It's been an amazing year for us, and I'm so thankful."
The judges also fell in love with "Casanova", Jocelyn Hamann's flashy Dutch Warmblood gelding (by Lauwersmeer), awarding him the highest marks of the day in the six-year-old division to overtake the first-round leader and claim the overall Futurity title with a combined score of 72.449%. In the Adult Amateur divisions of the Futurity, the second test of the multi-stage competition was cancelled due to weather, leaving Thursday's first-round winners Ivetta Harte of Dublin, CA and her Oldenburg gelding "Days Go By" (by Danone) as champions in the five-year-old division, and Melissa Mulchahey of Livermore to take home the six-year-old Futurity trophy for her Westfalen pony gelding "Outrageous" (by Out-Break).
CDS Horse of the Year titles were awarded at First, Second and Fourth Levels, as well as Intermediaire I. In the Open First Level division, Riana Porter once again partnered with Kathy Van Camp's Oldenburg "Dax" to top a large field of competitors t take the McLeod Perpetual Trophy home to Santa Rosa, CA with an overall combined score of 75.842%. In Open Second Level Horse of the Year, an average score of 73.379% earned the Bengt Lungquist Memorial Trophy for "Releve", a Hanoverian mare ridden and owned by Sandy Savage of Sacramento. Meanwhile, Leslie Webb of Bakersfield, CA guided 2011 CDS Second Level champion "Harmony's Armani" (Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Harmony Sporthorses) to another Horse of the Year title, this time at Fourth Level with an overall score of 73.015% to claim the Pal Kemery Perpetual Trophy. Sean Cunningham of Northridge, CA and "Luminence" (Trakehner gelding owned by Hilda Gurney) won the CDS Open Intermediaire I Horse of the Year Trophy with a score of 70.263%, while the Adult Amateur division and T.D.I. Systems Perpetual Trophy was won with a score of 66.382% by "Lancaster", a Danish Warmblood gelding ridden and owned by Sheryl Ross of Menlo Park, CA.
This year, junior riders enjoyed expanded opportunities to earn CDS Horse of the Year awards, and the performances did not disappoint. At First Level, Quinn Lancaster of Coto de Caza, CA topped the field riding her own Holsteiner mare "Uganda" to a combined two-test average score of 69.495%. FEI Young Rider veteran Jaclyn Pepper (Santa Rosa, CA) and her Dutch Warmblood gelding "Taboo" showed how they helped the Region 7 Young Rider Team win a Gold Medal at this year's NAYRC in Kentucky by claiming the Junior/Young Rider Prix St. Georges championship (65.658%). Talented juniors also showed off their riding skills in two divisions of the HorseShow.com/CDS Dressage Seat Equitation Challenge. For riders 13 and under, Paris Richman of Monte Nido, CA partnered with her own Appendix Quarter Horse gelding "Maverick Ever So Clever" for the win (64.000%). Jaclyn Pepper rode to her second win of the day, this time with Jeannette Bell's Hanoverian gelding "Polestar" to top the 14 - 21 division on a score of 76.000%.
Additional CDS Championships were awarded in the Fourth Level and Grand Prix Freestyle divisions as part of afternoon and evening entertainment. Donna Richardson (San Marcos, CA) and her white Lusitano gelding "Venturoso" are on a musical winning streak as today they earned victory in the CDS Fourth Level Freestyle with 69.250%. Tracey Lert of Soquel, CA repeated her previous day's success in the Grand Prix Freestyle with her Dutch Warmblood gelding "Udo" to win the Lt. Col Hans Moeller Trophy on a score of 69.438%.
Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 7 Championships were also presented in a multitude of divisions, including several in the Junior/Young Rider ranks. At Training Level, Quinn Lancaster earned 74.700% for her second championship sash of the day on "Uganda". Jaclyn Pepper once again guided "Polestar" to the winner's circle on a score of 66.548% in the Second Level Junior/Young Rider division, while Jessica Pierce of Ramona, CA rode her Oldenburg gelding "Sterling" to claim the JR/YR Fourth Level Championship (59.125%). Olivia Zeilinger from Danville, CA, and her Dutch Warmblood partner "Stentano" were members of the Silver Medal-winning Region 7 NAJC Team this summer, and today added yet another honor to their resume by winning the Junior Team Test Championship on a score of 68.243%. Another veteran of FEI Young Rider competition, Genay Vaughn rode Starr Vaughn Equestrian's eye-catching black Hanoverian stallion "Donarweiss GGF" to victory in the JR/YR Intermediaire II Region 7 Championship on a score of 62.368%.
Topping a large field of Adult Amateurs at First Level was Cynthia Makishima of Mountain View, CA, who earned a winning score of 70.887% with her own Oldenburg gelding "Solino". In the Open Third Level Championship, Leslie Webb earned her second championship of the day, this time riding Sherry Tourino's Trakehner stallion "Eisenherz" to the title (67.115%), while the Adult Amateur division at this level was topped by Moraga, CA's Victoria Von Arx with her own Hanoverian mare "Celina" on a score of 70.192%. In the FEI divisions, topping the leader board in the Open Prix St. Georges Championship was Ericka Reinig, who piloted Joan Cinquini's Hanoverian mare "Fraktura" to a winning score of 69.211%. Charlotte Jorst (Reno, NV) piloted Skagen Holdings' "Adventure" to earn the Adult Amateur Prix St. Georges Regional Championship (72.632%), the Dutch Warmblood gelding's second championship of the weekend. In 2011, Jorst partnered with the Dutch gelding "Tristan" to win Region 7 Championships at the Intermediaire I level; this year they returned to the same arena at Murieta Equestrian Center to once again claim top honors, this time at the Adult Amateur Grand Prix level with a score of 64.362%. David Blake (Encinitas, CA) and his international High Performance partner "Ikaros" (owned by Melanie Pai) added another Grand Prix championship to their trophy case by winning the Region 7 Grand Prix Open Championship with a score of 69.521%.
In addition to a full day of championship rides, in-hand sport horse breeding competition was also featured with the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Breeders Championships - West Coast Final. Jackie Ahl-Eckhaus of Sanger, CA presented "Si Donna MVS" (Sir Donnerhall x Lumara by Flemmingh), a three-year-old Oldenburg filly which she owns and bred, to claim the Filly Championship by earning a score of 78.800% from judges Jayne Ayers and Peggy Klump. In the Colt/Gelding Championship, owner Laura Blanton presented her two-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding "Guinness" (Idocus x La Raya by Rampal, bred by Con Brio Farms LLC) to win the division title with a score of 79.650%. Kevin Reinig presented Carol Webb's eight-year-old Hanoverian mare "Devra" (Domiro x Dililah by Diamant, bred by Lucchetti Ranch) to win the Mare Championship with a score of 78.275%. In the Current Year Foal Championship, owner/breeder Mellanie Burkhart of Bakersfield, CA won with her own flashy Appaloosa filly "Confetti's Cottontail" (Butterwap Confetti x Grace by Goldluck) on a score of 78.750%, while color was also the hit of the day in the Stallion Championship where Katie Hoefs-Martin presented the pinto four-year-old Oldenburg "Argentum BSH" (Art Deco x Sasia by Slewvescent) for owner and breeder Dove Butler for a winning score of 76.325%.
Championship competition concludes on Sunday with final divisions of Regional and CDS Championships. Complete daily results, schedules, and additional competition information about the California Dressage Society Championship Show is available on the CDS website, www.california-dressage.org .