Ingred Lin wasn’t going to let anything stand in her way as she battled fatigue from her chemotherapy and stiff competition to win the Great American/USDF Region 3 Championships in the adult amateur divisions of Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I.
“Riding is part of my therapy; it gives me a purpose and a reason to keep going,” said Lin, who was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Que Ba, her steel gray, Lusitano stallion, certainly performed his best for her, despite unusually chilly temperatures and a hectic warm-up area at the Oct. 14-15 event in Conyers, Ga. “On Saturday, everyone was bouncing around and lots of horses were getting loose; it was pretty crazy,” said Lin, whose own mount completed his tests sensibly and without incident.
Que Ba performed beautifully in both tests, scoring 64.00 percent in the Intermediaire I and a 65.25 percent in the Prix St. Georges. “He was super well-mannered and such a gentleman, even in the warm-up,” said Lin.
Lin, a U.S. Dressage Federation gold, silver and bronze medalist, imports Lusi-tanos from Brazil. She bought the 10-year-old stallion two years ago, though she’d had her eye on the horse since the first time she saw him, a few years before. “I’ve been waiting my whole life for [Que Ba]. He’s just breathtaking. I’ve always believed in him,” said Lin, who’s been showing Lusitanos for eight years.
When Lin began competing the horses, most people didn’t know what breed they were. “A lot of people thought they were Andalusians. Lusitanos typically have a stronger hind end and more push. They’re very good-natured horses, and if you pick a good one, they can be super competitive,” said Lin.
Bred to be bull-fighting mounts in Portugal, the Lusitano tends to be agile and reliant on its rider. “If they’re not focused on their rider, they die. So they definitely learn to pay attention,” said Lin.
Because the breed isn’t popular in the dressage world, Lin was thrilled that Que Ba performed so well, beating out many warmbloods. “It’s so exciting to be competitive with the top warmbloods and to place so well with four different judges,” said Lin.
Lin owns the former White Fences showgrounds in Loxahatchee, Fla., and organized two events there this year. She plans to host three more next year.
Lin, who’s been training with Lisa Wilcox, plans to take a break from competition with Que Ba for a while and work on more movements until he’s ready for Grand Prix. The level-headed stallion already has foals on the ground in Brazil, and his first U.S.-born foal is due this spring.
Coming On Strong
Shawna Harding and Come On III won more than their fair share of ribbons, walking away with championships in open Prix St. Georges, open fourth level, and the fourth level freestyle.
Due to the nippy temperatures, the 7-year-old gelding felt quite “fresh” on Saturday. “It was really cold; there was lots of spooking and bucking going on. But we ended up getting a 65.32 [percent] even with a few mistakes. At times he felt like he was going to explode, but he held it together. He was very focused for the Prix St. Georges but had a few mistakes during the kur,” said Harding. “He tried his best and was more focused than he has been.”
Obviously, his best was good enough to win, as Come On III scored 71.12 percent in his Prix St. Georges test.
“He has a lot of presence; he’s my little orangutan. He just has so much character, and he’s quite sensitive for his size,” said Harding, who’s had the gelding for two years. He qualified for the Danish 6-Year-Old Cham-pionships, but she brought him back to United States before they could compete.
Harding, 37, spent years in Germany working directly under Reiner Klimke, Jurgen Koschel, and Irish Olympian Anna Merveldt. While in Germany, Harding won the South German Young Horse Championships for 6-year-olds with the stallion Welt Adel. She qualified three different horses for the National Young Horse Championships, competed at the Intermediaire I level, and was invited to participate as a member of the Southern German Regional Dressage Team.
In the late ’90s, Harding moved back to the United States and settled in Kentucky, where she began training several young horses. Harding went back to Europe in 2004 to train and compete at Grand Prix and returned home in 2005 and set up her business at the Black Forest Equestrian Center in Aiken, S.C. Harding plans to head back to Denmark and search for young prospects this winter, in addition to competing in Wellington, Fla.
Working To The Top
The juniors and young riders performed at the top of their game at the show, raking in scores in the high 60s and into the 70th percentile. Young rider Kayce Redmond and her Danish Warmblood Lipton trotted off with the Prix St. Georges tricolor after scoring a 69.87 percent.
Redmond received the 10-year-old, imported gelding on Christmas four years ago, and her trainer Karen Lipp competed him through Intermediaire. While Lipton (Lobsterï¿½Chaga) gained experience, Redmond showed his half-sister Lupin and was on the North American Junior and Young Riders Championships bronze medal team in August. They also participated on the gold medal team at the 2002 Junior Dressage Championships.
Naturally a hot horse, Lipton tensed up on Saturday because of the frigid weather and bustling warm-up arena. “He was horrible, just a ball of tension; he did a little bucking too,” said Redmond with a laugh.
On Sunday, the gelding had quieted down and began to concentrate. “He did a great job and got much better; he’s such a sensitive guy,” she said.
Redmond, 20, recently relocated to Alpharetta, Ga., to be nearer to Lipp’s Collecting Gaits Farm. Redmond has been training with Lipp for seven years, and she’s been able to compete many clients’ horses.
“Two and a half years ago I started working for Karen full-time. I’ve been starting my own clientele; I’ll usually work for Karen in the mornings and then travel around to teach lessons in the afternoons,” said Redmond.
With only one year left as a young rider, Redmond plans to qualify for the NAJYRC again on Lipton and possibly the Brentina Cup in 2008, all the while keeping her sights on getting to Grand Prix.
Plenty Of Energy
Young rider Kristine Lundblad was ecstatic to win the junior/young rider training level championships on Cindy Hall’s Plenty Of Dutch. “I’ve been qualified three or four times for regionals, but due to distance, lamenesses, and a hurricane I’ve been unable to go. This was my first regional championships, my last year as a young rider and Plenty’s first year showing so the win is something I’ll hold close to my heart for a long time,” said Lundblad, 21.
After admiring the Dutch Warmblood mare for many years, Lundblad, who trains with Jodie Kelly, finally got her chance to be partners with Plenty Of Dutch (Juventus– Ivette) in February. “Unfortunately, Jodie never really felt that we were the right match for each other, because of her hotness and sensitivity. So I had to watch probably three other people have the chance to ride her, and although it was really difficult I totally understand Jodie’s decision,” said Lundblad.
At the beginning of last year the 8-year-old mare came up lame and had surgery on her hind suspensory at the end of July. Lundblad saw her opportunity to work with Plenty and began rehabilitating her. She began bringing her back into work slowly in February, and the two didn’t have much time to get to know each other before the season began.
“The Region 3 Championships was actu-ally our third show together, her third show ever. I did two shows during the summer to get my qualifying scores, and at our second show she was high-point both days for junior/young rider with two 70 [percent] rides in training level, test 3 and test 4,” said Lundblad.
The mare expressed her greenness at the show on Friday, as the chilly wind ruffled her concentration. “As soon as I sat on her back I knew I was in for a wild ride. We weren’t in the [warm-up] ring longer than 2 minutes before she was completely off the ground, bucking and leaping all around. Lucky for me she eventually came to a stop, because had she taken one more step I was totally on my way to the dirt,” said Lundblad.
Plenty settled down in time for her test, winning the championships (70.19%) and also winning training level, test 3 (66.25%).
“As I picked her back up before she went into the ring she felt amazing, and before I knew it Jodie was telling me it was my turn and to trot straight into the ring. Plenty was a little frightened by the people and the cameras, but she kept her cool,” said Lundblad, a junior at the University of West Florida.