Wednesday, May. 22, 2024

Creswick Scores A Homebred Win At Warm-Up, Cool-Down Dressage

This international judge enjoys her turn in the arena.

Melissa Creswick usually spends her time at dressage shows in the judge’s box, but at the Warm-Up 1 and Warm-Up, Cool-Down dressage shows in Elk Grove, Calif., Aug. 1-3, she took her chances in the ring, and that decision paid off with two Prix St. Georges wins.

Creswick keeps a busy schedule as a Fédération Equestre Internationale I-rated dressage judge, but she still finds time to ride her 9-year-old Friesian-Thoroughbred mare, Graceful Times.
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This international judge enjoys her turn in the arena.

Melissa Creswick usually spends her time at dressage shows in the judge’s box, but at the Warm-Up 1 and Warm-Up, Cool-Down dressage shows in Elk Grove, Calif., Aug. 1-3, she took her chances in the ring, and that decision paid off with two Prix St. Georges wins.

Creswick keeps a busy schedule as a Fédération Equestre Internationale I-rated dressage judge, but she still finds time to ride her 9-year-old Friesian-Thoroughbred mare, Graceful Times.

This is the pair’s first year competing at Prix St. Georges, and “Gracie” performed clean tests on Friday and Saturday, but anticipated some movements on Sunday, dropping out of one canter pirouette.

“I’m just having a lot of fun with her,” said Creswick. “I’ve never ridden better since I got my new hip six years ago.

“I’m really thrilled with her because she’s been trained exclusively by me,” continued Creswick. “Gracie’s a very attentive mare to her environment when she first gets to a show, and then she settles in to work. She has a very good work ethic, and she never quits on you. She just keeps on trying to figure out what you want.”

Creswick takes clinics with Francis Verbeek Von-Rooy and Conrad Schumacher when they’re in California and her judging schedule permits. This year Creswick received her U.S. Dressage Federation Masters Challenge awards (for riders over 60) at third level, fourth level and Prix St. Georges with Gracie.

Creswick bred Gracie and has done all of her training except her early riding when Creswick was recovering from her hip surgery. Craig Stanley, Madera, Calif., broke Gracie and showed her in the California Dressage Society futurity as a 5-year-old. Creswick also has a full sister, Bravara, at home, who will be shown by Stanley in the CDS futurity this year.

An Overachiever

Although Stacy Zwergel didn’t train Santé from the very start, she’s been riding him since he was 4 years old and brought him through the levels to Intermediaire I.

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Zwergel was only riding second level when she started working as assistant trainer for Christine Rivlin-Henke four years ago. But her drive and determination quickly pushed her to achieve more.

Overachievement is a way of life for Zwergel, as demonstrated by her seven wins at Warm-Up, Cool-Down aboard three different horses. She rises at 4:15 four mornings a week, drives an hour to the barn in Petaluma, Calif., rides six to seven horses by 10 a.m. and drives an hour back to Concord, Calif., to work a full day at her tech job. On Wednesdays and Fridays she likes to run the 5 miles from her home to work and back as well as squeezing in gym time after work and training to run a half marathon next year.

Rivlin-Henke and Michele Martin purchased Santé, a 16.2-hand, 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Farmer—Colimbria), from DG Bar Ranch in Hanford, Calif., as a 3-year-old. Amateur rider Christy Cadwallader purchased Santé 2 1⁄2 years ago with the intention of riding him herself. But he’s proved to be so talented that she’s turned the reins over to Zwergel for now and plans for Santé to be her FEI schoolmaster.

Santé won the Intermediaire I classes on Saturday and Sunday with scores of 71.75 percent and 70.62 percent, respectively. Zwergel started the season showing Santé at Prix St. Georges and in the Developing Horse Classes, but she moved him up to Intermediaire I two months ago and discovered that he actually prefers the new test.

“His flying changes are really expressive, and the twos are really easy for him,” said Zwergel. “He’s very steady in the half-passes, and the full pirouettes are easier for him than the half pirouettes. Yesterday’s test was probably the best test that I’ve done all year. It was just really solid. It just felt like we were finally steady and ‘there.’ There was a lot of power, but he was contained. Today, he just got tired and faded out near the end of the test.

“He’s a hoot to ride,” she continued. “He’s the strongest, most wonderfully powerful horse I’ve ever ridden. He’s just great! I look forward to every day that I get to ride him.”

Zwergel also took home blue at training level with Zinedine and second level with Cooper. She credited Rivlin-Henke for many of her accomplishments.

“Chris’ clients mean so much to me, and the opportunities that I’ve been given by Chris and her clients blow me away sometimes,” said Zwergel. “Dressage is my passion, and I haven’t been able to do this alone.”

A Banner Breed Show

Jennifer Lind, El Dorado, Calif., carried home an armload of championships and reserves in the sport horse breeding portion of the Warm-Up, Cool-Down shows.

Her elite Hanoverian mare EM Donatasha (De Niro–Wiene Dame/Wanderbush II) was the reserve champion mare both days. She took home blue in the broodmares, 4 years and older, classes with scores of 74.50 percent and 70.00 percent, respectively.

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Friday judge Peggy Klump scored Donatasha with a 7.4 on conformation, 7.6 on her walk and 7.4 on her trot and general impression. On Saturday, judge Dinah Babcock scored her 7.0 on all.

Lind imported EM Donatasha, now 7, as a 4-month-old from Germany. This year’s filly, Saaliyah, by Stedinger, is her fourth foal and was filly champion on Saturday and reserve champion on Friday. On Saturday, Saaliyah received scores of 7.5 on her conformation, 7.0 on her walk, 7.5 on her trot and 7.6 for general impression for a 73.50 percent. Friday she received 7.7 on conformation, 7.9 on her walk, 7.4 on trot and 7.7 on general impression for a 76.70 percent.

“This filly is really special because she’s going to continue the foundation mare line for me,” said Lind.
Lind’s horses have Hanoverian jumper bloodlines, and she competes in show jumping and has started eventing.

“It’s good to see that they can compete against dressage-bred horses and stand on their own,” said Lind. “I want to breed horses that have good minds, good rideability and have enough movement to do dressage but can also go to the jumper ring and show over the fences as well.”

A Worthwhile Journey

Jo Ann Thomas made the long trip from Gold Beach, Ore., to win the filly championship on Friday and reserve championship on Saturday with her 2-year-old, Hanoverian filly Luccette (Liberty Gold–Aluette, Argentan, Donnerhall).

She scored 75.30 percent on Friday with 7.3 on conformation, 7.8 on her walk, 7.5 on her trot and 7.5 on general impression. On Saturday she received a 74.40 percent, with 7.4, 7.3, 7.6 and 7.5 individual scores.
Luccette grew up in the pasture at Thomas’ Vista Ridge Farm, and she was shipped to Ericka and Kevin Reinig in Elk Grove, Calif., three weeks before the show to prepare.

Thomas purchased Luccette’s dam, SPS Aluette, from Glenwood Farms of Wilton, Calif., as a 4-year-old. Aluette was imported from Germany for one of the Glenwood auctions but broke her hip in quarantine and couldn’t be sold as a performance horse, so Thomas purchased her as a broodmare prospect.

“We’ve had six or seven wonderful foals from her,” said Thomas.

She plans to keep Luccette as her replacement broodmare for her dam. She’s the first filly from Aluette that Thomas has kept. All the others sold in utero or before they were weaned. Thomas plans to present Luccette to the American Hanoverian Society next year and have her do the mare performance test at that time. She would also like to compete her in dressage before breeding her.

Sheri Scott

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