After completing her winning test aboard Rosevelt in the Dressage At Devon Grand Prix Special Sept. 28, Allison Brock breathed a sigh of contentment. She had been looking forward to this moment since she was a kid—the moment she found her place amongst top competitors at one of the most prestigious dressage shows in the nation.
“It’s such an old show, and it’s one of those shows that you heard about all the time when you’re a little kid, and you go, ‘Maybe one day I’ll get to ride Dressage At Devon.’ “ said Brock. “When I entered the show, I just felt like, ‘I can’t believe I’m entering Dressage At Devon to ride the Grand Prix. What kind of dream is this?’ Then to have ‘Rosie’ do so well—it hasn’t even hit me yet.
“I was super emotional after my test; I started crying when I pulled him up and halted,” she continued. “I’m just happy with and for him.”
Brock and Rosie impressed the judges with their performance in the Grand Prix for the Special Sept. 26, and took home their first blue ribbon of the weekend.
And on the fourth and final day of competition, Sept. 28, Rosie was anxious to passage his way into the top spot yet again.
“I didn’t take him out this morning to school him because I didn’t want to burn him out,” said Brock. “He went for a hand-walk and he was pretty spicy! He came out [of his stall] and he was a bit puffy and a bit silly and sassy. I was actually relived that he felt that good on Day 4 of being here.”
But once the stallion, a 12-year-old Hanoverian (Rotspon—Lore), owned by Fritz and Claudine Kundrun, was under saddle and warming up for the Special, he settled down and concentrated on Brock.
“He can be really goofy in-hand,” said Brock. “He’s horrible to jog! But you put tack on him and he’s very compartmentalized. He knows when we’re going to work.”
The pair earned a score of 72.96 percent to claim the win, while her trainer Michael Barisone rode Lauren Sprieser’s Ellegria to second place on 69.80 percent.
“[Rosie] was pulling his weight for me big time,” said Brock. “He felt really settled and he was like, ‘Hang on mom, we got this.’
“That’s his third Special he’s ever done, and the Special is really like a marathon!” she added. “I mean, they have to trot and extend and passage and passage and passage again. It’s just a really long test! I thought he did really well out there. I’m so proud of him.”
Making Improvements And Looking Forward
Brock, of Kewick, Va., had a similar strategy for Rosie going into the Special as in their previous test.
“Honestly, I had a bit of the same plan from the first day,” said Brock. “There were just some details that I knew that happened in the Grand Prix [for the Special] that I wanted to see if I could improve on. I wanted to really sit him down and do crisp passage transitions, which I think he did. Mostly, I just wanted to ride as accurately as I could with control and by the end of that final centerline, I would still have enough power so that [the judges] had the feeling that I could keep going by the time he gets to the end of the test.
“I was really proud of his changes and some of his transitions to passage, and I felt like he piaffed well,” said Brock. “Where I had little problems, like in the last pirouette, he was tired, but he was willing to do it. He just needs more Grand Prixs under his belt and to get stronger, but man he’s reliable. I mean, he’s going to piaffe at the end of that test no matter what!”
For now, the stallion will travel back home to Virginia and enjoy a well-earned break before heading down to Wellington, Fla., for the winter CDI circuit, where he and Brock will debut their freestyle.
“I have [a freestyle] built, and I actually took him out to a little show a few weeks ago and ran him through it just to see how he would do and check the tempo, so you’ll see that at Florida,” said Brock.
“Then the long-term plan is [the 2016 Rio Olympic Games], but I try not to make super long-term plans anymore,” she continued. “It really depends on how [Rosie] handles the atmosphere in Wellington; we have to do those freestyles under the lights and with the music. He needs experience, and it may be too much for him right now, so we’ll just have to see. I’ll kind of just do what I think is right by him.”
Want more Dressage At Devon? Check out the all of the Chronicle’s online coverage of the event here.
Also look for in-depth coverage of both the breed and performance divisions in the Oct. 13 issue of the print magazine The Chronicle of the Horse.