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Wellington Show Season Wrap-Up 2015

Wellington Show Season Wrap-Up 2015

04.30.2015

The Global Dressage Festival 2015 is now a memory. It’s been one month since the Nation’s Cup ended—the final of 7 International Shows in Wellington, highlighted by 3 CDI-Ws, a 4*, 5* and the CDIO. This season exceeded all expectations for participation by both riders and spectators. The VIP Pavilion was sold out in September and word has it that there are more than 40 names on a waiting list for tables for 2016. Friday night freestyles were performed to a packed house, week after week, regardless of weather.

The Grand Prix and Small Tour classes were filled to capacity, with show management needing to move the start earlier in the week to accommodate all the rides during the last month of the Festival.  Numbers of national rides also increased, and the shows held in between the CDIs were as full as the big weeks.

The Youth Festival, held in mid-March, was a highlight as four top youth riders from Europe flew in with their horses to bring a taste of European competition to our Junior and Young Rider classes. The international classes for the youth were the biggest on record for the Festival, bringing riders from many other countries including Spain, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

In addition to having Dani in Wellington with Grandioso and Bolero, HGF sponsored three riders in the youth divisions this past winter. A quick summary of our season is below:

Daniel Martin Dockx and Bolero—Bolero traveled with Grandioso to begin his Grand Prix career in Wellington. They started out strong with a score of close to 71% in a large national class judged by international judges, but were disqualified as our rider was wearing a top hat instead of a helmet. The new rule (since 2014) requiring helmets in the national Grand Prix is unique to America, but the mistake was ours in failing to be aware of the change. They went on, however, in the CDI 3* the following week, to do a green and somewhat insecure first international Grand Prix, finishing in the middle of the class, but placing fourth in a more confident Freestyle the next day.  Bolero benefitted from the pressure of the electric Wellington environment and we are confident that with more experience, he will be the next PRE to watch.

Chelsea Reed and Faralay II—Chelsea is a longtime HGF working student who has spent most of her time working with our young horses, however she got the chance to compete at higher levels this winter with one of the United States’ most well-known PRE breeding stallions, Faralay II owned by Betsy Ketcham of Ketcham Ranch. Faralay was sent to HGF to expose him to more challenging competition venues and with Chelsea he proved that he could handle the additional distractions and pressure, bringing home scores in the mid-60s at Prix St. George and Young Riders Tests in the national classes. Faralay will return to Ketcham Ranch this Spring to fulfill his busy breeding schedule.

Ayden Uhlir—We also had the pleasure of hosting Ayden Uhlir and her wonderful Sjaepoor for the winter. Sjaepoor is a Dutch warmblood  and together they have several national youth championships under their belt. This winter they showed in both the CDI Small Tour and later in the CDI Young Riders, where they were often the highest scoring American pair. Ayden's other talents include singing, and she was a  finalist in Robert Dover’s American Equestrian’s Got Talent. Ayden’s immediate plans are to qualify for the USEF European Tour this summer. 

Kerrigan Gluch with Vaquero HGF and HGF Brio—Kerrigan and Vaquero made big strides this winter, a season of growth for both of them. Now 18, Kerrigan has moved up from Juniors to Young Riders, with the help of trainers Robert Dover and Daniel Martin. Vaquero HGF (Cuatrero x Encina/Idilio), newly returned from Spain last fall, is also new to this level. He had just begun to compete in the Small Tour with Dani in Spain, after a successful Young Horse career in that country. At 7 ½ years old, Vaquero was the youngest horse in the Young Rider classes this winter, often by 7 or 8 years. Yet the pair made a name for themselves this first season together—maintaining an international average of 66-67% and swapping places several times with Ayden and Sjaepoor. Kerrigan and Vaquero were regulars in the ribbon ceremonies and hope to continue to grow together into an even stronger team for summer competitions.

Kerrigan also received the ride on HGF Brio—a 10 year old black Spanish stallion who is new to HGF. Brio has been introduced to all the Grand Prix exercises by his first owner in Spain, and now Kerrigan is taking her time figuring out this dynamic and talented prospect for an eventual go at U25 in the next year or so. This winter they competed twice at national Prix St. George scoring close to 67%. 

The next competition in Europe for Grandioso and Bolero will be the CDI in Madrid in May, which kicks off the summer schedule that we hope will lead to the European Championships in August. Both horses have been named to the A Team long list for Spain, and we will keep you posted on their results.

Kerrigan plans to stay in Florida to train with her two horses. She hopes to qualify for the North Americans in July and the Festival of Champions in August. 

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