Friday, Apr. 19, 2024

Falkland Dragonfly Takes Flight At Dressage By The Bay I & II


Falkland Dragonfly has taken Barbara Butman to new levels, and at the Zada Enterprises LLC Dressage By The Bay I & II, Aug. 2-5 in Traverse City, Mich., they went a step further by winning a class of adult amateur Prix St. Georges and the USDF freestyle test of choice.

The upper levels of dressage is new territory for Butman. She started her riding career in 4-H, then progressed through hunters and eventing before settling on dressage.
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Falkland Dragonfly has taken Barbara Butman to new levels, and at the Zada Enterprises LLC Dressage By The Bay I & II, Aug. 2-5 in Traverse City, Mich., they went a step further by winning a class of adult amateur Prix St. Georges and the USDF freestyle test of choice.

The upper levels of dressage is new territory for Butman. She started her riding career in 4-H, then progressed through hunters and eventing before settling on dressage.

“I got several Thoroughbreds off the track and reschooled them and sold them. Then I had the opportunity to get this horse, and he’s my first fancy horse. He’s the one who has launched my upper-level career. Mostly up until then, I rode anything I could,” said Butman.

Butman traveled to Germany seven years ago in search of Falkland Dragonfly. “I had gone to look at horses at the auction, but I kind of knew I was going to get outbid on the ones I wanted. This horse didn’t have much training, but he had a great presence and all the physical aspects I wanted,” she said.

Butman brought the then-3-year-old home and began to move up the levels with him, with the help of trainer Judy Kelly. But things weren’t always easy. “He’s opinionated,” Butman said with a smile. “He doesn’t like for people to make him look bad.”

But they reached fourth level last year and capped the year with the Region 2 fourth level championship and fourth level freestyle championship. Butman also earned her U.S. Dressage Federation silver medal.

Butman was thrilled with the regional championships, but then realized that they meant she’d have to venture on to new challenges. “That forced me to bump up to Prix St. Georges. It’s a big step, and he’s been good, so we’re really happy with his progress,” she said.

And this winter, Butman plans to take it a step further. She’s hoping to travel to Florida to train with Lisa Wilcox.

“Hopefully she’ll help me get some of the steps for Intermediaire I. He has the ability, if I can just figure out how to ride him,” she said.

Butman has a farm in Grass Lake, Mich., and has been in practice as a small animal veterinarian for 28 years. She’s populated her farm “with friends and a couple of boarders,” she said. “That’s my part-time job.

On Her Own
Andrea Tito, 17, came up to Traverse City on her own from Saline, Mich., with her Thoroughbred, Arkona Keegan. “I decided to come here when my trainer Julie Arkison showed me a book with all the shows in the Midwest.

“ ‘This one’s up north’ she said, and my dad has been dying to travel with this trailer we have. And so, since it was up north and it’s absolutely wonderful up here, I knew it would be fun. It’s the first time by myself really without my trainer Julie. I didn’t plan on doing so well!” Tito said.
 Tito and Arkona Keegan won three classes at junior/young rider training level, with scores between 62.00 and 68.69 percent. 

“ ‘Ark’ was doing his best,” Tito said. “We were able to sparkle just that little bit. I would say his strength is the canter. We’ve been working so hard on it. Even last year, he wouldn’t canter at all. We’ve been working with bending and being forward and really trying to listen to each other. He tells me a lot. That’s been the key, the listening.

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“I was riding in a clinic with Maryal Barnet in July. I rode tests and usually she tells us what we could do better—she gave me a huge compliment. She said the canter was his best part, and she couldn’t tell we had had trouble with it, and that just made my day.”

I have people helping me, but I do a lot of the work.”

A Real Gem

Just two weeks before the Zada Enterprises LLC Dressage By The Bay I & II, Linda Cramer had been a typical horse show mother, cheering her daughter, Bella, on. But at Dressage By The Bay, she took over the winning duties and topped three classes at third level.

Cramer rode Tamaro, a 13-year-old schoolmaster Andalusian stallion, to the blues. “I’m lucky to have him,” she said. “He is so graceful and kind. This is my first show on him. My first judge’s comments were to work on his extensions, so then I tried to improve those in our second class and we rolled a little bit out of control. But he’s so responsive, I can learn so much from riding him.”

Cramer bought Tamaro from her trainer, Tanya Grant-Barber, who had ridden the gray to Grand Prix. “ He’s a real packer, a real gem,” Grant-Barber said of Tamaro.

“We believe strongly in the Andalusian for amateurs. We promote that because of their easy temperament and the horse’s ease of movement. It’s great movement for a person who can’t ride all the time like a professional. And the horses enjoy the work.”

During the first week of the hunter/jumper show series Horse Shows By The Bay at the same showgrounds, on July 18-22, Cramer’s daughter, Bella, 12, rode four ponies in the pony hunter divisions.

Her duties as a horse-show mother put her own saddle time on hold. “I hadn’t been able to ride Tamaro much for several weeks,” said Cramer. “But I still wanted to show and because he knows it all, he just takes me around the ring.

“We’re pretty new to this world of horses. We bought the ponies from Northwinds Farm in Canada. She breeds nice movers and good minds. And we bought another gelding at auction at the Pony Finals last
year,” added Cramer, who boards and trains with Carol Grant and Grant-Barber at their Equistride International in Fenton, Mich.

Jaimie Kruithoff, another Equistride student, was first and second in all three classes of first level, test 4, with Pocket Change and the Lusitano Marjan de Destinado. Kruithoff also rode the two to ribbons at second level, with Marjan de Destinado winning a class of second level, test 4.

Triple Duty

Carrie Van Cise took full advantage of the combination of hunter/jumper and dressage shows on the same grounds by showing in all three disciplines with young horses. She was particularly successful at Dressage By The Bay with the stallion Voyager, who won a class of first level, test 4 (67.10%), first level, test 2 (68.88%) and first level, test 3 (67.14%).

Voyager also topped the FEI 5-Year-Old test (72.00%), and won all three materiale 4- and 5-year-old stallions and geldings classes. “Voyager is maturing; he’s beginning to carry himself a lot better,” said Van Cise. “He’s also getting some elasticity and cadence in his gaits. [One of the judges for] his young horse test said that she appreciated his three good gaits and his willingness to collect.”

Van Cise also rode Saline to win all three classes of 4- and 5-year-old materiale, mares. Both Voyager (Consul—Nolinde) and Saline were bred by Claybrook Farms.

On the hunter/jumper side, at  Horse Shows By The Bay III, Van Cise rode two 4-year-olds in the baby green hunters, and showed a horse in the 5- and 6-year-old young jumper classes.

Van Cise breaks and trains the young horses at Claybrook Farm Dutch Warmbloods of Ithaca, Mich. Van Cise started seven horses this year. She usually rides 10 a day.

“I work to produce three equally good gaits. And I go with the natural talent of the horse when I choose the discipline,” she said.

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“My dressage background has given me strength in my jumping. And having such a strong flatwork foundation on the young horses makes the jumping a lot easier. I’ve ridden with Roz Kinstler since I was 15—that’s 13 years. Roz is most useful for reminding me of exercises and a lot of little things to get a better overall picture. When you’re always riding by yourself you can let a lot of little things slip by. So I was really glad I could catch a couple of lessons from her while we were at Waterloo Dressage [Mich.] in July—it was a really good refresher.

“As far as the jumping success goes, I haven’t had a whole lot of structured training myself. I’ve worked with Kelly Koehler here and there in the last year or so. I cliniced with Greg Best a few times and with George Morris this spring. I came out of the George Morris clinic with a lot of confidence.

He pushed me to be out of my comfort zone, and it made a big difference in my riding.”

Sure, I’ll Ride Him
Last fall, Kelly Burke-Hayner got a welcome request. Her cousin, Darcey Nicklaus, asked her to take over the reins on Rantaro, and Burke-Hayner was more than happy to say yes.

The Zada Enterprises Dressage By The Bay was her showring debut on Rantaro, and they won three classes of open Prix St. Georges with scores ranging from 64.50 percent to 69.00 percent. “He’s just a lovely horse. He’s one of those horses who make you smile every time you ride them,” said Burke-Hayner.

“With a new partnership, it’s always a gamble when you go down the centerline the first time, but he was very honest and relaxed,” she continued. They also won an open Intermediaire I class (66.25%) and placed second in another Intermediaire I class (66.50%).

“I like everything about Rantaro,” Burke-Hayner said. “We went through a few months when I was trying to teach him to carry himself differently, and he was so generous about it. And then, two months ago, he really started to click with me, and every single ride was that much better.”

Burke-Hayner had found Rantaro, by Rantares, as a 3-year-old for Niklaus. Rantaro is an American-bred Holsteiner, bred by Michigan Sport Horses in Laingsburg, Mich. Gina Maki-Clark had competed him through Prix St. Georges for Nicklaus.

“[Nicklaus] asked me if I minded finishing him to Grand Prix, and of course I was pleased to do it,” said Burke-Hayner.

Burke-Hayner hopes to show Rantaro at Dressage at Devon (Pa.) in October and then buckle down at her farm near Ann Arbor, Mich., to solidify the Grand Prix movements. “I don’t go to Florida, though I used to,” she said. “I have three small children, and the last time I did it, it seemed like it took three months to get ready and three months to recover! I miss it—I don’t much like the winters here—but the horses don’t seem to mind.” She hopes to start showing Grand Prix next spring.

A professional rider and trainer, Burke-Hayner also rode the talented 5-year-old Sonata Grace to win training level, test 1 (77.85%), training level, test 4 (78.00%) and two classes of first level, test 1 (70.33% and 75.33%).


Tania Evans

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