Tonico Do Top Rises To The Top At BLM Championships

Oct 29, 2009 - 10:00 PM

With Felicitas von Neumann-Cosel, the Lusitano stallion wins at Prix St. Georges. 

Felicitas von Neumann-Cosel has been competing in the Col. Bengt Ljungquist Memorial Championships since they began in 1983.

“Last year I would have won the Grand Prix freestyle on Roulette, but due to a breakdown of the speaker system we missed the awards ceremony,” said von Neumann-Cosel, of Lisbon, Md. “I was saddened that the horse did not get the recognition he deserved. He also had won the fourth level and Prix St. Georges championship in years prior.”

She got her award this year in a section of the Prix St. Georges, senior rider, with Tonico Do Top at the Horse Park of New Jersey in Allentown, Oct. 9-11, during the Garden State Classic.

Von Neumann-Cosel has won BLM championships on many different horses. This year it was with a Lusitano stallion, scoring 69.73 percent.

“Tonico’s win thrilled me,” she said. “It was a good competition, and the horse has been steadily improving in his general work. Most of all I wanted the success for Linda and Joe, who have been incredibly supportive on all levels and are close friends.”

Linda and Joe Denniston purchased the 10-year-old Tonico Do Top (Emitico—Jandaya Do Top) in Brazil more than two years ago.

“Linda and Joe love the breed and wanted to give me the opportunity to take a horse they own to Grand Prix. So we found Tonico, who has a lot of charisma. I loved his rideability and temperament,” von Neuman-Cosel said. “He excelled in his training faster than I had hoped, and last year, in his first season, he won fourth level and Prix St. Georges.”

She plans to show him Intermediaire II next year and eventually to Grand Prix. “He has talent for piaffe and passage and already does one tempis,” she said. “Most of the emphasis is on developing his strength and always on improving his natural movement.”

Chumley Doubles Up

Lauren Chumley won championship titles with two horses who are embarking on second careers.
Harkon, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Heraldik—Tibris) owned by Steven Tarshis, formerly competed as a jumper. He started dressage training last year and came out this year to win a section of second level, senior rider (69.53%).

“In the last two months he has won three out of the four third level tests he has been entered in,” said Chumley. “He has also been successfully shown by his owner, Steven Tarshis, at training and first levels.”

Chumley is hoping to take Harkon to fourth level next year and on to Prix St. Georges after that.

Chumley also won a section of fourth level, senior rider, with Nyewyn, a 16-year-old Welsh-Morgan cross (65.45%). Jill Sackman originally purchased the gelding (Menai Crwys—Wyndamere Desiree) as a potential combined driving pony.

Did You Know?
Col. Bengt Ljungquist competed for the Swedish dressage team in the 1964 Olympic Games, finishing fifth individually. But his Olympic medals were earned in another sport—fencing. He won a bronze in 1948 and a silver in 1952.

“But he made it very clear he had strong negative feelings toward driving,” said Chumley. “Jill opted to give dressage a try, and in addition to showing him herself, she loaned him to a young rider who competed him through third level. Since then, he has competed at fourth level, including placing in the 2008 and 2009 Dressage at Devon [Pa.].”

The plans for Nyewyn are to move him up to Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I next year, and Chumley is optimistic he’ll be a Grand Prix horse one day.

“He is currently schooling all of the Grand Prix movements,” said Chumley, who is an assistant trainer at Silke Rembacz Dressage in Flemington, N.J.

She has been working with Harkon since April 2008 and with Nyewyn since November 2007.

“I was thrilled to win. The BLM Championships are the last show of the year for us so it was a wonderful end to a fantastic show season. The win on Harkon was special because we had an unfortunate trip at the Region 8 Championships, which led to a break in gait that kept his score down. I was happy to come back and redeem us both,” Chumley said. “The win on Nyewyn was also special as he was the only pony in the class! It’s always fun when the little guys take on the big horses.”

Chumley competed at the BLM Championships last year with Harkon and took a third place in training level. She also won the open beginner novice at the 2007 American Eventing Championships (Ill.) on a Norwegian Fjord.

“The BLM Championships are great fun for me because in addition to being well-run, the staff is extra friendly, the show runs like clockwork, and, of course, the prizes are great,” she said.

Wolfe And Wisteria Are Wonderful

Ashley Wolfe, with Iron Spring Farm in Coatesville, Pa., took a win in a section of first level, senior rider, (69.71%) with Wisteria ISF, a 6-year-old KWPN mare owned by Iron Spring Farm.

Wolfe and Wisteria (Juventus—Jypsy) have been partnered since 2007, and that year they won the BLM training level championship. The following year, they were reserve champions in the BLM first level competition.

“This year, we managed to qualify for both the first and second level championships,” Wolfe said. “I had a great ride on Friday, and she was the champion at first level. At second level on Saturday, she was a little bit nervous but tried very hard and ended up sixth overall. I am really proud of her, and I am very grateful to Iron Spring Farm for giving me the opportunity to ride such an amazing mare. We have definitely grown together over the past couple of years. She has been a great show partner and has taught me a lot.”

Wisteria is for sale, but until she sells, Wolfe will take her to Florida this winter to continue training and competing. Wolfe, who started riding while growing up in Hawaii, currently trains with Scott Hassler.

Hitting It Off

Olav Drehn took the win in another section of first level, senior rider. He and Valencia, a 7-year-old KWPN mare (Florett As—Manou), scored a 73.85 percent.

Drehn, of Millbrook, N.Y., is a native of Germany who spent many years in Europe training with Olympian Lis Hartel and Gunnar Andersen.

He bought Valencia as a 3-year-old. “I saw her when she was 2 and said, ‘I’d like to buy that one.’ So, I did,” he said.

The mare started with a trainer in Louisiana but had to be moved after Hurricane Katrina hit and her barn flooded. The mare also spent some time with Courtney King-Dye and was in Florida for training last winter. Drehn brought her back to New York last spring and began competing her at first level.

“She was a little bit tense with me so I put my girlfriend on, and she was happier. Maybe it was the weight,” he said.

Drehn began to develop his own relationship with the mare over the summer, and things began to click. “We’re now doing rather well together, and she’s progressing a lot. She seems to like me,” he said. “She has a good mind, and she’s a quick learner. I’ve started working the changes. She hasn’t quite gotten them yet, but hopefully, by spring she will.”

Drehn’s competed in BLM competition several times before and in 2007 was a fourth level champion with Primadonna. “It’s a prestigious competition, and it’s a trophy that’s nice to have,” he said.

Category: Dressage
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