Kilcock-based rider Sorrel Klatzko had a weekend to remember at the first ever combined Winter Finals, winning a total of eight classes with her team of four horses. In what was a trial format in order to make competition more cost effective for riders, the event was held over three days at Cavan Equestrian Centre, incorporating both the 2011 Irish Winter Championships and the Cavan Dressage Festival.
Close to 200 competitors took part, indicating a resounding endorsement by Dressage Ireland members of the move to run both competitions together. Indeed, the country’s top riders were well represented at the northern show-ground, most taking multiple rides to take advantage of the extended competition.
With three sunny days, 10 top judges and 180 quality horses, the event represented a real showcase of the talent on display in Irish dressage and highlighted the continued, phenomenal growth of the sport in this country. This was no clearer in evidence than in the sponsors’ list, with three high profile UK backers generously supporting the event.
Trudi Parsons’ Ladytown Sports Horses, iQuip gloves, represented by Jacqui Graham-Jones, and top UK vet Colin Straughan used the event to introduce their businesses to the Irish dressage market and were more than impressed with the scale of the show.
‘It was an extremely well run show and the standard of riding was really good,’ said Graham-Jones, who markets the high performance, second-skin, riding gloves which are designed by riders for riders. ‘I am really excited about launching the iQuip brand here and think it has a bright future in Ireland,’ she added.
Results-wise, Carolyn Mellors’ Vision Sport Horses were well represented and were justly rewarded for their efforts. She took the Winter Finals Medium Championship and the Cavan Festival Medium Championship aboard VSH Zugaro, while her rider Asleigh Rea took the Winter Elementary title on her own VSH Amadeus.
Amanda Goldsbury won both the Cavan and Winter Championship Advanced Medium titles on her 18hh, Irish bred Troytin. In what is the Master Imp sired, gelding’s third year in dressage since being rescued from the hunting field by Goldsbury, he has showed remarkable ability and the 23-year-old hopes to compete him at Prix St George before the end of the season. Indeed it will be an exciting season ahead for the Summerhill-based New Zealander who has just taken the rides on Trudi Parsons’ quality dressage horses, among them, potential Grand Prix star Bacardi Van de Kempenhoeve a 2001, Belgium-bred gelding.
It was a successful weekend for Parsons, whose six-year-old Ajout Retto Van Weltevreden won the Winter Preliminary Championship with Alison Keogh, who temporarily took the ride while Parsons recovered from injury.
However, at prize giving on both evenings, one name dominated.Sorrel Klatzko emerged victorious with the talented Tornado from the Winter Intermediaire I Championship and the Prix St. Georges, along with taking the Cavan Festival Novice on Ardie Athletico and placing in every class she entered.
ar from being overshadowed by the professionals, the junior riders swept the boards at the lower levels. Silver Spurs competitor Alana Cazabon Sullivan, who is just 11 years old took the Category 1 section of both the Winter Finals and Cavan Preliminary Championships, along with a host of other prizes over the three days. Emelie Larkin, Katie Burns and April Allen also flew the flag for the Silver Spurs, the final two assessment days of which will be held on 27/28 June in Galway EC and Laurel View EC respectively.
Speaking of the event, Dressage Ireland’s chairman Robert McCormick was full of praise for the riders and everyone who made the show such a success.
‘The show was a great success. Most riders did both competitions which meant huge savings for them and I am very happy with the decision to join the two together.’
A full set of results is now online
Text by Angel Fahy
Photo © Jim Prime