Wrap-Up For Wellington Dressage, Qualifying Competition for the Olympic Games Selection Trials, February 5 – 8, Winter Equestrian Festival Week 2

WELLINGTON, FL – February 9, 2004 –

Wellington Dressage, the first of three dressage shows at the 2004 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, was held February 5-8 at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club. Wellington Dressage featured qualifying competitions for the Olympic Games Selection Trials, USET national championships, and the GAIG/USDF Regional Championships.

Nancy Later and Alexis-D Win USET Prix St. Georges

Kicking off the show on Thursday, February 5, Nancy Later riding her own Alexis-D won the $1,000 USET Prix St. Georges, a Qualifying Competition for the USET Intermediaire I Championship, with a score of 68.250%, topping a class of 14 entries. In second place, Patricia Becker riding Tsunami earned 66.917%. Third place went to Catherine Morelli riding BeSe with a score of 66.583%.

"I was really excited because she was concentrating on her work and focused on me through the whole test," said Later, 40, of Wellington, FL. With the Bayer/USET Gold Coast Jumper Classic CSI*** taking place at the same time as the dressage show, Later said the atmosphere was the hardest element the mare had to cope with. "The fact that she was being herself in a place like that, with the big ring that she hadn’t seen before, I was thrilled."

Alexis-D is an 11-year-old, 16.1-hand, bay Oldenburg by Archipel (also the sire of the second placed mare, Tsunami) out of a Guerdelain II mare. Later purchased the Grand Prix mare in Germany in March 2003. The two have been in training with Diederik Wigmans in Holland since June and returned to Florida in November. Photo: Phelps Photo)

Robert Dover And FBW Kennedy Win USET Grand Prix

The highlight of the classes on Friday, February 6, was the $1,500 USET Grand Prix, a Qualifying Competition for the USET Grand Prix Championship and the 2004 Olympic Selection Trials. For the first time since he returned to the show ring with his two Jane Clark-owned Grand Prix mounts, Robert Dover entered them both in the same class and produced a one-two finish – Dover placed first with FBW Kennedy, scoring 75.694% and placed second with Rainier, earning 72.431%.

Dover led off on Rainier and wrapped up the six-horse roster on FBW Kennedy. "I was a little more composed by the second ride and feeling very self-assured after my first ride that I would have the calmness and the steadiness with the second horse," said Dover. "The second horse felt so on his game as I warmed up. It was great also having our Olympic coach Klaus Balkenhol here. In the warm-up he gave me a few things to think about right as I was getting ready to go in. It just came together lovely with both of them."

Rainier is a 13-year-old, gray, 17-hand Oldenburg gelding by Rolando. FBW Kennedy is a 13-year-old, chestnut, 16-hand Wurtemburg gelding by Tiro.

Arlene ‘Tuny’ Page, 47, of Wellington, FL, riding her own Claire placed third, earning 70.417%. Page has owned and ridden Claire for five years and said her ride was, "Exactly as the score reflected – three marks better than it was two weeks ago. I was really happy. We’re going absolutely in the right direction. Things are going absolutely the right way. My game plan is to not change a thing. We just keep developing just as we are now, no more pressure. She’s still three months away from being really strong."

Claire, a former jumper in Germany, is a 12-year-old, 17-hand bay Holsteiner mare by Cassini.

Patricia Becker And Tsunami Win USET Intermediaire I

Also on Friday, February 6, Patricia Becker and Tsunami won the $1,000 USET Intermediaire I, a Qualifying Competition for the USET Intermediaire I Championship. Becker and Tsunami topped a class of 12 horses. While the judges were unanimous in their choice of the top three, their rankings varied. Officiating were Ransehousen at H, MacDonald at C, and MaCartney at B. Their marks for Becker were 281, 275, and 260 for a total of 68.00%, which placed her first. Two judges, MacDonald and MaCartney, scored Catherine Morelli on BeSe as the winner. The judges’ marks for Morelli were 270, 278, and 266, which put her in second place with 67.833%. The judges’ tallies for Kathy Priest were 274, 260, and 266, which gave her 66.667% and third place, though Ransehousen placed this pair second, and MaCartney tied them for first place with Morelli.

Dover Notches Lifetime High Score In USET Grand Prix Special Aboard FBW Kennedy

On Saturday, February 7, Robert Dover riding FBW Kennedy won the $1,250 USET Grand Prix Special, a Qualifying Competition for the USET Grand Prix Championship and the 2004 Olympic Selection Trials with a score of 77%.

"Seventy-seven is the highest I’ve ever gotten in a Grand Prix," said Dover, noting that he has earned higher scores in the Freestyle. "There aren’t horses that do much higher than a 77 in a Grand Prix. That is the score of an Olympic medal winner. If that happens in an Olympics, you would be fairly certain that you would be standing on a podium."

Dover left no question how the score made him feel. "I’m elated, elated, elated. The horse is totally marvelous. You’re riding on the edge between brilliance and electricity that could go the other way, but he is so clever that even when something sets him off for a second, I can say in my mind, "Kennedy," and he comes back to me."

Dover gave much of the credit for Kennedy’s responsiveness to his former rider and trainer, Lone Jorgenssen, who owned the 13-year-old Wurtemberg gelding from age four until Jane Clark acquired him approximately four months ago.

Arlene Page riding Claire earned 73.80% for second place. "Today things are starting to feel easy – even the hard things are starting to feel easy," said Page. "She’s very happy to have me support her in the work versus me saying, now you must do this and you must do that. That’s good for me too because I’m inclined to ride a little bit that way. When I’m at the place when I can start to ride in a more harmonious way, then I know that I’m on the right track."

Shelly Francis aboard Gala for owner Patricia Stempel scored 65.60 % for third. James Armstrong riding GustaaF for owner Patsy Ward received 64.20% for fourth place.

Jensen And Kursinski Win $25,000 Windsome Dressage/Show Jumping Spectacular

Also on Saturday, February 7, Olympians Bent Jensen and Anne Kursinski won the $25,000 Windsome Dressage/Show Jumping Spectacular for the sixth year. A popular crowd-pleaser, this event features teams of two competing in two phases – show jumpers ride a Third Level Test 3 and dressage riders jump a Hit ‘N’ Hurry course with fences up to 3’6". Kursinski and Jensen topped the roster of 11 teams.

Kursinski riding Mitchell, a 10-year-old Fourth Level Dutch warmblood gelding owned by John Zopatti, scored 65.33% in the dressage phase for third place and 9 points. Jensen riding Splendid, a 13-year-old Thoroughbred owned by Stephanie McCarron, put in a stellar jumping performance scoring 20 points in 56.144 seconds to win the phase, adding 12 points to his team’s score. The total for the duo was 21 points overall, giving them the win.

"I didn’t feel just right in the dressage," said Kursinski. "The horse was a little spooky and maybe I could have ridden him better, so Bent made a wonderful comeback."

Jensen was just as supportive of his partner. "Her dressage was good enough," Jensen said. "He was a little more difficult horse this year. She did very well."

Jensen and Kursinski both noted that they enjoyed the enthusiastic fans’ participation. "We get such a great crowd every year," said Kursinksi. "It’s really, really terrific."

The two chimed in that they have a standing date to compete again next year.

Robert Dover And Rainier Win USET Grand Prix Freestyle

Freestyles wrapped up the Wellington Dressage show on Sunday, February 8. Starting off with a brassy "If My Friends Could See Me Now," Robert Dover and Rainier wowed a standing room only crowd as they danced their way to victory in the $2,000 USET Grand Prix Freestyle, a Qualifying Competition for the USET Grand Prix Championship and the 2004 Olympic Selection Trials. The duo scored 77.917%.

The 13-year-old gray Oldenburg gelding showed powerful transitions including piaffe to extended trot directly back to piaffe on the centerline to start off the test. Dover noted, "The work in the canter is also quite difficult because the way the rules are now you can’t just develop a pirouette out of a half-pass, so I had to go half-pass in canter to two straight strides directly into double pirouettes, directly into flying change at every other stride or every stride. I did one of each. The final pirouette in piaffe on the centerline is also a difficult movement."

Dover choreographed the ride. "Marlene Whitaker had done the music for it," said Dover. "It is a re-make basically off of music that I’ve had for 25 years."

The sole competitor in the USET Grand Prix Freestyle was Ruth Hogan-Poulsen of Plainfield, VT, riding her own Armando. The duo scored 63.958% for second place.

Catherine Morelli And BeSe Win USET Intermediaire I Freestyle

In the $1,500 USET Intermediaire Freestyle, a Qualifying Competition for the USET Intermediaire I Championship, Catherine Morelli riding BeSe for owner Diane Rosenberg took the victory with 68.167%. BeSe is an 11-year-old Dutch gelding by Flemmingh that Morelli has been partnered with for three years. Morelli, 60, of Bedminster, NJ, said. "Overall I was very happy that he stayed with me and kept his attention on me, despite the crowd. A year or two ago that would have really sent him."

Morelli and BeSe scored well throughout the qualifiers for the USET I-I Championship. In Friday’s I-I, they placed second on 67.833% due to ‘pilot error’. "I was so mad at myself because it felt like it was one of the best tests he’s ever done and then I put the Prix St. Georges test on the end. I had to go back and do it right," explained Morelli. "It wasn’t that good. I was thrilled that he still got such a good score, which means the judges thought it was as good as I felt it was."

The win in the Freestyle and the good ribbons in the other two qualifiers are a tribute to Morelli’s work with a horse that was a challenge for her in the beginning. "When I first got him he bucked me off. I had to start from scratch getting him to trust me. He’s very much a one-person horse," said Morelli.

Also competing in the USET I-I Freestyle was Hokan Thorn riding Karaat who placed second with 66.292%. Ruth Hogan-Poulsen aboard Mon Cheri earned third place on a score of 64.183%. Angel Ozer riding Loki scored 61.625% for fourth place.

NEXT DRESSAGE SHOW: February 19-22, Zada Enterprises, LLC Florida Dressage Classic

2004 WINTER EQUESTRIAN FESTIVAL TICKET INFORMATION
Show days for the 2004 Winter Equestrian Festival are Wednesday through Sunday. Gates open at 8:00 am. Ticket Prices: Wednesdays are free to everyone; Children 12 and under are admitted free every day; Young Adults 13 to 18 and Seniors are $5 on Thursday through Sunday; Adults are $5 on Thursday and Friday, $10 on Saturday, and $15 on Sunday. The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club is located on Pierson Road off South Shore Boulevard. For additional information, visit www.stadiumjumping.com or call 561-793-5867.

2004 WEF SCHEDULE OF COMPETITIONS
February 11 - 15 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale CSI***
February 18 - 22 Florida Classic/WCHR Spectacular CSI-W/Y CSI-Ch
February 19 - 22 Zada Enterprises, LLC Florida Dressage Classic
February 25 - 29 PDP Capital Wellington Masters CSI***
March 3 - 7 CN Wellington Open CSI-W
March 10 - 14 CSIO United States Cosequin Finale CSIO***
March 18 - 21 Zada Enterprises WEF Dressage Classic CDI***/Y
(Qualifier for Olympic Selection Trials)
March 24 - 28 Tampa Bay Classic CSI-W (Bob Thomas Equestrian Center)
March 30 - April 3 Tournament of Champions CSI-W (Bob Thomas Equestrian Center)
April 3 Budweiser American Invitational (Raymond James Stadium)
WEF 2004 MILLION DOLLAR GRAND PRIX SERIES
February 15 $50,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup, CSI***
February 22 $60,000 Idle Dice Classic, presented by Palm Beach Post, CSI-W
February 29 $75,000 PDP Capital Masters Cup, CSI***
March 7 $75,000 CN Wellington Open presented by Estates of Wellington Green, CDI-W
March 12 $50,000 Samsung Nations’ Cup, presented by CN, CSIO****
March 14 $100,000 Cosequin U.S. Open Jumper Championship, CSIO****
March 28 $75,000 Grand Prix of Tampa, presented by Kilkenny/ICH, CSI-W
April 3 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, presented by The Tampa Tribune

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