Friday, May. 24, 2024

Warren Wins At GMHA Dressage Days

His patience and persistence pay off with a fantastic freestyle.

Bill Warren had been riding the same freestyle with Romantic for more than a year but wasn’t quite happy with their performances—until they competed on July 25-27 at the Green Mountain Horse Association Dressage Days. The pair earned a 72.12 percent and the FEI-level championship at the show in South Woodstock, Vt.
PUBLISHED

ADVERTISEMENT

His patience and persistence pay off with a fantastic freestyle.

Bill Warren had been riding the same freestyle with Romantic for more than a year but wasn’t quite happy with their performances—until they competed on July 25-27 at the Green Mountain Horse Association Dressage Days. The pair earned a 72.12 percent and the FEI-level championship at the show in South Woodstock, Vt.

“I’m my own worst critic and was always focused on what was wrong with it,” Warren said. “But this freestyle was so right-on that I enjoyed every minute of it.

“Technically, I was able to do the flying changes without making mistakes. The lateral work had a level of suppleness that I’d never been able to achieve in the show ring with him before.

“Artistically, I always feel like I’m either struggling to catch up to the music or trying to be in perfect time with all the musical changes. But in this ride, I didn’t even have to try. Everything happened the way it was supposed to. I wouldn’t say it was a totally effortless freestyle, but at the end I felt like I had more horse left and I wasn’t used up either,” Warren said with a laugh.

“I had so many people come up to me, even the next day, to tell me how much my freestyle touched them, which of course was so touching to me,” said Warren, a trainer based at Cutler Farm in Medfield, Mass.

Romantic, by Rohdiamant, is an 11-year-old, Oldenburg owned by Team Romantic, LLC. Warren has been training and showing him for about five years, since the gelding was imported from Europe.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Romantic is a nice-moving horse, but sometimes we look at nice-moving horses and think we can go up the ladder at a speed that isn’t suitable. Some develop faster than others, and I think Romantic has been a bit slow. He’s just now acquiring the stamina and muscle necessary to become an FEI horse,” said Warren.

“I hope to be able to move him up to Grand Prix by February,” he said. “Romantic has learned pretty much everything through the Grand Prix, but he’s not strong enough yet to show at the Grand Prix, so I’ve kept him at the Intermediaire I this year.” The pair also topped an Intermediaire I test (70.75%).

Currently an R-rated dressage judge in the U.S. Equestrian Federation, Warren is busy pursuing his S license, so he’s spending a lot of time apprentice-judging. He plans to finish Romantic’s competition year at the USDF Region 8 Championships.

Warren also competed a 5-year-old Lusitano named Xanur HM, owned by Marsha Fahey, at first level, earning a first and a third.

In only her third show at fourth level, Erin Shea earned the fourth level high-score award aboard Katherine McHugh’s Danish Warmblood, Marine Bell.

“Before I showed Marine this year, I’d never shown above second level, test 1,” said Shea. “I’ve come a long way with him in a short time, but I’ve been working really hard for this. This horse has taught me so much, and it’s such a great opportunity for me to learn the upper level work.

“I did first and second level on a sale horse last year. This year I did third level twice. When I got my scores for my USDF bronze medal, I decided to move up.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Shea and Marine topped her first fourth level, test 3, class (67.56%) and rode the test again on Saturday evening “I worked a little harder and got the little bit extra I needed for the better scores, and the horse was fabulous. He was right there with me, and I was very pleased with that test—we got a 68.53 percent,” Shea said.

Her winning strategy includes videotaping all her tests so she can review them before her next ride. “My goal is moving up the levels, so I was working on getting the horse more up in front and under behind, keeping everything consistent, and finishing where I start—whatever gait I pick is the way I have to ride it,” she said. “I warmed up that way, and I had some eyes on the ground helping me. I think I accomplished it.”
Perhaps the highlight of the weekend for Shea was reading judge Lisa Schmidt’s comment, “an impressive combination, clearly ready for FEI.”

Shea, of Fitchburg, Mass., has been the barn manager at Sharon McCusker’s Souhegan Farm for two years and rides a number of horses daily in addition to running the barn. “Riding these great horses makes the long days worth it. And Sharon has really improved my riding,” she said.

Because her mom was an eventer, Shea started out in that discipline. “But I had this really nice, big Thoroughbred that just didn’t want to jump. But he was a nice mover and we always won the dressage phase at events.

“As much as I thought I would never be doing dressage, I did it with him. It was a lot more fun than I ever thought it would be!” she said with a laugh.

Marine Bell, a 12-year-old gelding, was imported two years ago and is trained through Grand Prix. Shea said, “His owner, Kathy McHugh, shows him at fourth level, as well. He’s a great teacher for both of us. He’s worth his weight in gold.

“Marine and I qualified for the Region 8 Championships in September, and we’re looking at moving up to Prix St. Georges after that. It’s been a fabulous season.”

Sarah Wynne Jackson

Categories:

ADVERTISEMENT

EXPLORE MORE

Follow us on

Sections

Copyright © 2024 The Chronicle of the Horse