Mill Spring, N.C. – June 18
Para-dressage was front and center in Tryon Stadium Friday night as part of the Perrigo Tryon Summer Dressage CPEDI3* competition and the final U.S. Olympic observation event before Tokyo. Individual tests were performed Friday evening starting at 8:15 p.m., with team tests taking place Saturday evening and freestyle performances closing out the weekend Sunday, June 20, starting at 10:00 a.m. CPEDI competition is being livestreamed for free at Tryon.com/streaming.
Grade I competition kicked off with a win for Adequan® U.S. Para-Dressage Team member Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton, a 2012 Hanoverian gelding (Danone I—Lady, Londonderry) owned by Karin Flint and Flintewood Farms LLC, after the duo collected a total score of 82.500 percent. In second place with a score of 70.059 percent was Sydney Collier and All In One, the 2009 Hanoverian gelding (Abanos—Dauphina, Dauphin) owned by Going for Gold LLC and Katie Robicheaux. Deborah Stanitski and Skovlunds de Nice, her own 2006 Danish Warmblood mare (De Noir 3—Miss Kiki, Diamond), received third place with a score of 67.143 percent.
“It was [such a good test!] He was a good boy,” Trunnell said. “He felt really relaxed, but forward, too. I’ve competed [under the lights] in Wellington, and it’s a lot colder out this time!”
The weekend that is also serving as a final observation event for the U.S. Olympic Team selection trials is giving high performance athletes and their horses a practice outing, and Trunnell said that she hopes to continue her momentum from her win at TIEC into future rides both in North Carolina and beyond. “Hopefully, [the plan is] keeping the good scores going, and making it to Tokyo!”
Rebecca Hart piloted two mounts through Grade III competition, earning first place aboard Fortune 500 on a score of 72.500 percent and claiming second place with El Corona Texel, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Wynton—Urieta Texel, Goodtimes) owned by Rowan O’Riley, on a score of 70.245 percent. Charlotte Merle-Smith took third place honors aboard her own Guata, a 2011 Dutch Warmblood mare (Vivaldi—Zuata, Haarlem) with a score of 69.461 percent. Ignacio Trevino Fuerte and Delegada X, a 2002 mare (Airoso XXVI—Lusitana, Farruco XIII) owned by Beatrice De Lavalette, claimed fourth place with a score of 60.441 percent.
Hart and the 2010 Oldenburg gelding (Fidertanz 2—Weinrose, Don Romantic) owned by Rowan O’Riley have only danced together under the lights twice now, but her young horse took to the atmosphere with ease, Hart said. “He is just such a cool horse. He’s really starting to come into his own, which is nice, and he’s just a fun, happy soul. He’s such a pleasure to ride and show because he’s just a happy dude!”
After piloting two horses around the Grade III tests, Hart reflected that she’s grateful that she’s been focusing on fitness lately: “You know, I think it’s amazing that we’re doing this at night to, sort of, simulate Tokyo, [but] I’m really glad I’ve been working on my fitness because these are long days, and with two [horses], it kind of doubles!” Hart went first and last in the Grade III competition, without a spare minute between rides. “But,” Hart emphasized, “It’s an absolute privilege to have two horses at an event like this, so I cannot ask for more than that.”
Para-dressage has been featured at TIEC numerous times throughout the years, but the CPEDI competition is scheduled at evening hours to simulate conditions that will be expected in Tokyo. After her first tour of Tryon Stadium under the lights, Hart was thrilled with the results she achieved. “I love showing under the lights. Para is really starting to come into its own as an international discipline, so I think any time that we can highlight it and bring it to an event like this, in a venue like this, under the lights and now that we’re able to bring back some spectators, it’s great for growing the sport of para-dressage.”
Going forward throughout the weekend, Hart will work on achieving increased energy in the ring while maintaining El Corona Texel’s relaxation, but is excited to give “Moolah” more miles under the lights Saturday night. “That was a really good test for him and this is his second time under the lights, so to have him come out and really want to play is a really special feeling,” she concluded. “Huge thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors that are putting on this event and staying into the late hours for us. We couldn’t do it without them, so huge thank you to everyone that’s putting on this event!”
Kate Shoemaker, DVM, and Solitaer 40, a 2007 Hanoverian stallion (Sandro Hit—Dynastie, De Niro) owned by Kate, Craig and Deena Shoemaker, were the solo competitors in Grade IV individual competition, producing a score of 73.049 percent.
One of the last rides in Tryon Stadium for the night, Shoemaker raved about the evening’s atmosphere. “It’s so amazing in this venue under the lights,” she shared. “I don’t know what it is, but just the way the lights bounce off all the different wood, and the rocks, and the colors, it just makes this amazing atmosphere. The horses are loving it!”
She’s starting to see her homework pay off with “Sully” in the sandbox, she said. “We’ve really been working on bringing a lot more power and cadence into our riding. Everything is always behind, [between] what you’re getting at home, and what you’re getting in the arena, and it’s just so exciting right now because I’m starting to get that work in the arena. I think it showed today!”
The only thing Shoemaker will tweak going forward is her warm-up routine, she said. “We’re trying to figure out what the ideal amount of warm-up time is, just to make sure he’s as through as possible. I think today was a little bit short, so tomorrow we’ll do just a touch more and see if we can get a bit more. I’m just so happy to be here, and that Perrigo is sponsoring, [and for] everyone here at Tryon, the USEF staff, and everybody’s personal support staff. It’s amazing what goes into putting this on, and I’m super thankful,” Shoemaker concluded.
View full Perrigo Tryon Summer Dressage CPEDI 3* and Para-Dressage Team Observation Event results here.
Replay Friday night’s action on-demand here.