Sunday, Mar. 3, 2024

Webb Finds Harmony At Mid-Winter Dressage Fair



Leslie Webb and Harmony’s Sandro led the way in the High Performance Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I at the Mid-Winter Dressage Fair, held March 2-4 in Burbank, Calif., further solidifying
their preparation for this summer’s Pan American Games.
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Leslie Webb and Harmony’s Sandro led the way in the High Performance Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I at the Mid-Winter Dressage Fair, held March 2-4 in Burbank, Calif., further solidifying
their preparation for this summer’s Pan American Games.

“Sandro did really well in both tests,” said Webb. “He had great cadence and super scores on the half passes in both trot and canter. He had great scores on his flying changes and on his pirouettes too. Those are all the big double coefficients, so I was really pleased.”

Their scores of 73.08 percent and 72.08 percent, respectively, were followed closely by Leslie Reid and Orion with 72.16 percent and 71.25 percent.

“I had a couple of little mistakes [in the Prix St. Georges],” Webb continued. “It was more that he was a
little confused. He thought I meant one thing and I wanted to do something else.”

Webb, Bakersfield, Calif., rode her Prix St. Georges test at 5:15 p.m., and the setting sun outside the Los Angeles Equestrian Center blinded them each time they faced west. “When we came out of the pirouette the sun was in our eyes, so I had a hard time seeing where the letter was to do the flying changes,” she said, adding that their Intermediaire I test was better and Sandro felt more settled and confident.

“He’s very electrifying to ride,” said Webb of the leggy 17.2-hand bay. “He can be hot, and he can be cold. He’s just a little different, and he can be a little opinionated. Sometimes I know exactly what I have [with him] and sometimes I don’t.”

Harmony Ranch, Kiowa, Colo., purchased Harmony’s Sandro three years ago for Webb to ride. Webb took her time with him and spent one year at home just working with him. This is their second show season together. Last year, Webb competed with him mainly in Prix St. Georges classes at the open shows, and this is their first time out in the high-performance classes. Webb plans to try out for the Pan Am Games, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 13-29.

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“He’s very confident and very steady now,” said Webb of the 10-year-old, Oldenburg gelding by Sandro Hit. “He just keeps etting better and better with time. He’s figuring out the shows and relaxing a little bit more. He used to get really nervous with all of the clapping and the tractors and the water truck. They don’t seem to bother him anymore. He’s just a great guy.”

Stars Align For Orion

Leslie Reid, Langley, B.C., won the High Performance Intermediaire freestyle on Orion (Jazz—Havana) with 73.16 percent. It was a unanimous decision by the three judges, and they gave her 8s on her presentation. This was Orion’s first big show since last fall, and Reid was pleased with his performance.

Most of the music in Orion’s freestyle is the “Olympic Dream” theme song from the Athens Olympics. Reid rode to this music last summer at the Woodside and Pebble Beach CDIs in California and switched the choreography around since then to increase the difficulty.

“I actually cantered first instead of trotting just because I think it helps his relaxation a little bit for the trot work,” Reid explained. “His changes are probably one of his strongest suits, so I do them first so you get a good impression.”

Reid does flying changes on a bending line and then right away does pirouettes on the short side. Next are half passes and then she straightens out on the quarter line and does another pirouette. The trot work is medium trot to shoulder-in, then zigzag half passes. She finishes with flying changes up the centerline.

“There’s clapping in it, so I have to try and time the changes to some of the clapping for the beat,” said Reid, whose freestyle music is designed by Karen Robinson of Applause Dressage in Vancouver, B.C.
Reid was also impressed with Orion’s performance in the Prix St. Georges, where he was second to Harmony’s Sandro.

“I thought my Prix St. Georges ride was actually my best test,” she said. “In that [class] he was really expressive but had a lot of edge on him. But he held it together.”

Orion was more settled in his Intermediaire I test on Saturday and the test was quieter, without the edge. It was also a mistake-free test.

“I think he’s developed a lot in his maturity over the past year as far as not being such a nervous horse,” said Reid. “Everything is more solid now. I can work a little more on getting more expression rather than just being worried about mistakes. So that was a nice feeling.”

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Reid said the timing is right to try out for Canada’s Pan Am Games team with the 11-year-old, Dutch Warmblood gelding. She trusts Orion now, and that steadiness is what’s needed for a team horse.

Reid has shown Orion in a few Grand Prix tests at schooling shows at home. She said that the move up to Grand Prix will be a fairly easy transition for him this fall after their trip to Brazil this summer.

“He’s ready to move up,” said Reid. “It was a bit of a decision because I think he’s going to be quite a spectacular Grand Prix horse because of the way he moves. It’s just nice for the owners [Patty and George Hatch of Surrey, B.C.] and more realistic to achieve a team berth and possibly be successful on the Pan American team.”

Adding The Polish

Mette Rosencrantz rode her Basquewille (Woermitz—Mette Smed) to wins in the High Performance Grand Prix (65.48%) and Grand Prix Special (63.20%). She rode both her tests in the middle of the day and said that she warmed up about five minutes too long in the heat for her Grand Prix test.

“I did as good as I could, and I had a good ride and my horse was great, so I’m happy with it,” said Rosencrantz. “I had one mistake in the one [tempis], and that was the only mistake that I really had. Other than that, I felt that I did a good job.

“He was a little bit more the way I like him in the Special,” she continued. “A little bit fresher and a little bit hotter, because I cut down the warm-up. I felt that he was actually good in my hands. I like him when he’s a little bit hotter and stronger. I still haven’t done the perfect ride yet, but soon I will.”

Rosencrantz, Topanga, Calif., is comfortable with their progress. Basquewille, 16, a Danish Warmblood gelding, was a worrier when she purchased him. She said that he looks good right now and that he’s content with his life. Rosencrantz cross-trains with her horses, riding them on the hills and going on trail rides. This is their third season at Grand Prix.

“I feel that first you have to get the Grand Prix and then when you’re there then you have to get comfortable riding the Grand Prix so that you get a feel that you own the test,” Rosencrantz said. “That takes a while before you feel that it’s really yours. I think that I’m there right now. When I go into that ring I feel very comfortable. I feel that I know where my horse is under me, and I feel that I’m in charge. I can regulate him much better now than I did six months ago or a year ago.”

Rosencrantz works with Debbie McDonald as often as their schedules permit. “I really enjoy riding with Debbie,” said Rosencrantz. “She has a very good eye. I say to her that we speak the same language, that her working technique is a little bit the same as mine. I think you have to follow one training system, and you have to do that with someone that you enjoy riding with. I feel very, very fortunate to have Debbie helping me.  It’s really made a difference. She’s polished me, and she’s polished my horses.”

Sheri Scott

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