Leslie Reid had more than just the ribbons at stake at the Golden State Dressage Festival
CDI in Rancho Murieta, Calif., April 8-11. Reid won the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix freestyle on Mark, as well as the Prix St. Georges on Lanzar. But that wasn’t all she wanted to accomplish.
She was trying to achieve a second score of 70 percent in a CDI Grand Prix so that she would not have to travel from Vancouver, B.C., to Quebec at the end of June to complete in the Canadian Olympic selection trials.
Reid had earned her first score (70.25%) with Mark, Darryl Andrews’ 10-year-old, Dutch Warmblood gelding, at the Mid-Winter Dressage CDI (Calif.) at the end of February. But the pair only scored a 67 percent at the Burbank CDI the week before. When her Golden State score was announced”69.91 percent”you could hear the groans from the audience. More than high enough to win the class, but not the magic 70 percent needed.
“Maybe it could have had more expression in the beginning, but it was quite mistake free,” said Reid.
Judge Cara Whitham of Canada double-checked the Canadian selection criteria after the class. Reid only needed an average of 70 percent from two CDI grand prix tests. She was in!
Reid was thrilled that she wouldn’t be making the long trip across Canada for the trials. “It’s really wonderful for the horse,” she said. “It would have been two months for me in travel and staying in Quebec for four tests. Basically I would have taken him away from home where we’re training in the middle of June, and I wouldn’t be home until the end of August. It’s hard on the horse.”
In her Grand Prix freestyle (7l.45%), Reid rode to “Hernando’s Hideaway” and pieces from “Blue Tango,” the same music that she used for Mark’s Intermediaire freestyle when they won the gold medal at last year’s Pan Am Games. Karen Robinson of Applause Dressage in Vancouver, B.C., put together the music.
“He was good for what he knew of what was going on,” said Reid with a laugh. “It was made last fall, and I rode it through once. Then I left it alone because I was concentrating on the Grand Prix because that counts for our criteria for the Olympic selection trials.
So I absolutely shelved the feestyle. I had to do it once for our criteria for the Olympics, so now I’ve done it,” she added with a laugh, “and I’ll probably shelve it again because I just like to keep his mind really clear about the Grand Prix test.”
Reid trains with Christilot Boylen and Udo Lange, who are based in Germany. She will decide in the next few weeks whether to continue with monthly clinics with Boylen and Lange, or if she should leave in June to train in Germany.
“Mark’s a very good horse in the ring. He lights up, and I can depend on him. So I think that my effort should be now in the training, not really in the showing. Going to Germany wouldn’t be so tough on Mark,” she said. “I’d have him in one place training, and then I’d just go to Frankfurt to meet up with the rest of the team for the flight to Athens.”
Lanzar, Reid’s second CDI mount, is getting his feet wet in the small tour this year. The 17.2-hand, Dutch gelding has only been doing dressage for two years and in training with Reid for a year. Previous to that he was a jumper in the 3’6″ division.
“He’s getting better,” said Reid. “He felt a little tired at this show. He certainly wasn’t as nervous as last week. He’s going the best he knows how at the moment. He just gets confused sometimes with his flying changes.”
A few bobbles in the flying changes dropped Lanzar to fourth place in the Intermediaire I class after winning the Prix St. Georges. Because he is already 11, Reid is moving him along quickly.
“His pirouettes are getting consistent,” she said. “He’s a big horse, so he’s not easy for me to balance. But we’re getting there. He basically goes out there fully intending to do the job. He’s just not absolutely fit enough for the FEI levels yet.”
Lanzar, owned by Sherrie McDowell of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Vancouver, B.C, competed in three shows last year, then had a break over the summer when Reid made Canada’s Pan Am team.
Stronger And Bolder
Jennifer Hoffman of Carlsbad, Calif., won the Intermediaire I class and placed second in the Prix St. Georges on Georgia Griffiths’ Petit Danseur.
The work she did over the winter to strengthen the 9-year-old gelding has paid off. “It’s a big difference from last year,” said Hoffman. “He’s really strong now. Now I can risk more on him. His movements have gotten bigger, just from his getting stronger.”
This was Petit Danseur’s first CDI, and Hoffman was careful with him in the Prix St. Georges. At home he’s one of her hottest and spookiest horses, but at the show he was right on.
“In the Intermediaire I, I risked more, and I had him up with more go. It was the best ride I’ve had on him yet. Everything worked
perfectly, and the judges rewarded me for that,” she said.
Hoffman also showed her 8-year-old, Oldenburg stallion, Pik’s Pride, to wins in all of his fourth level classes. This was only his second show after taking an 18-month break to recover from a tooth abscess and the resulting surgery. Pik’s Pride was Hoffman’s Christmas present six years ago. She picked him out of a herd of 30 2-year-old stallions in Germany.
Change Of Plan
Jeremy Steinberg of Seattle, Wash., and Eloge II won the CDI Grand Prix Special in the 13-year-old, Swedish Warmblood gelding’s first time out at that level.
“I think the open Grand Prix test on Thursday caught him off guard a little bit,” said Steinberg. “Then on Friday in the CDI Grand Prix he kind of knew the drill. He went in there and saw all the judges and all the flowers, and he came even more to life than I thought he was. He was great in the Special”completely settled and totally rideable. Everything was just right on. I was really happy with him.”
Nicki Grandia, Steinberg’s assistant trainer, purchased Eloge as her young rider prospect about five years ago. At that time he was just starting his changes. The pair represented Region 6 at the 2002 North American Young Rider Championships, working with trainer Roxanne Christiansen. When Grandia started working with Steinberg about a year ago her plan was to sell him immediately. Steinberg encouraged her to hold on to the 16.2-hand chestnut for another year, get him to Grand Prix, and get some experience at that level before selling him.
“It’s so hard to come by Grand Prix horses that I just thought regardless what she sold him for it would be hard to replace him at
this stage of the game where she knows him and loves him and he’s sound,” said Steinberg.
Originally Steinberg and Grandia were going to trade off riding him. Then Steinberg thought he could have Eloge II ready for the spring shows if he took over the riding.
“I was amazed how quickly a lot of the stuff started clicking with him,” said Steinberg. “Nicki always thought he was a bit of a lazy horse. When I got him going a little bit I actually found him to be quite hot. After a few weeks he started getting really hot in a good way. I wouldn’t need the whip with him in the piaffe/passage work. In the pirouettes he actually had a good kind of coil in his body. Once he started getting super collected, he actually started getting sensitive enough to do the Grand Prix work pretty easily.”
Steinberg will ride him this spring in his first few shows at Grand Prix, and then Grandia will show him this summer beforeselling him.
“He is such a trooper,” said Steinberg. “He’s one of the most enjoyable horses I’ve ever shown. You can trust that he’s going to be there for you. He’s never a quitter. He’s like riding a big sweet pony. You can put anybody on him,” added Steinberg. “Nicki’s done a great job with him.”