Barcelona Horses seems to be ready now to host two weeks of ‘top’ competition in March 2014: a CDI3* and a CDI4* with up to 12 Official 5* judges, a Judges Supervisory Panel almost identical to the JSP at the upcoming WEG, an international dressage & music Forum, and of course a wide range of tests, almost "à la carte" for the riders.
The stakes were high! And again Barcelona Horses did it, organized by Top Sport Horses, sponsored by Banc Sabadell this second national competition was held at the Spanish riding club in the beautiful Barcelona outskirts. The event was another huge success with the ‘Copa de S.M. El Rey’ as a real highlight. In its 6th edition this important trophy had its first independent outcome which happened to complement a wonderful competition.
Working behind the scene were again the Elías, Collins & Vilà family members who are the driving force behind the top team from Can Alzina. The center burst right into the competition scene and not only on a national level. After the first national competition held in March 2013, this 2nd show in 2013 was “sold out” after 72 hours; something never experienced before in Spain.
This last Dressage show of the year was the dress-rehearsal for the international Spring Tour 2014, which is awaiting in Barcelona with two international shows a CDI3* and a CDI4* (the very first ever held in Spain) from 18 - 30 March 2014.
It’s getting better and better in Can Alzina and this time the show even had a member of the Royal Family among its distinguished guests, H.R.H. Princess Doña Pilar de Borbón, former president of the FEI, who honoured the event with her presence.
It is the place to be with its friendly, family atmosphere and its top facilities and services which are definitely at the height of any international event. The professionalism together with the warmth and hospitality of the Spanish host turn the events into an outstanding date on the dressage competition calendar. This time the Copa de S.M. El Rey was the special attraction for national competitors.
There were national top riders on the spot who seldom move their horses to other regions. In the first place there was this year’s winner, the Andalusian Cristóbal Belmonte and his Diavolo de Laubry (by Alibi de Laubry x Ibrahima de Laubry), an expatriate Belgium Warmblood. The combination made their claim to fame with their remarkable results at the beginning of the month - a 4th place at the National Championships. This ‘coronation’ came rather unexpected for a very promising team with enormous potential, a spectacular passage, some very nice transitions, big flying changes. They were real eye catchers in their tests.
Besides several well respected national judges, the show counted three 5 star judges. From The Netherlands, Francis Verbeek-van Rooij, Maribel Alonso de Quinzanos, the Mexican new first lady of the Judge’s FEI Dressage Committee and Andrew Ralph Gardner, British Official judge, part of this year’s Herning jury.
Behind the new Champion in this class, there were two Lusitanos cueing up. Juan Antonio Jimenez, former Olympian with late PSL Guizo, now came out with his promising new mount Vietkong (by Estoiro) which has an expressive passage and piaffe. The 2002 born bay is not in his first Grand Prix Season. The second Lusitano, Brazilian bred Unicornio do Retiro, was presented by Spanish team rider Claudio Castilla.
Though only one combination is awarded the King's Cup in the Grand Prix class, Laura Reija was the queen of the Prix St. Georges with her KWPN Wobelisk, (by Obelisk), recently back from Holland. At Can Alzina she was coached by Sander Marijnissen on the scene. Behind her, day after day, was Beatriz Ferrer Salat with Du Pre. She trained her student’s horse for long time friend, Carolina Uzandizaga, who owns this Don Frederico offspring. The Barcelona native Ferrer-Salat will be making her Grand Prix debut soon on Sir Radjah. Her trainer Ton de Ridder couldn’t be at the event due to other obligations, so this debut was postponed to the next national show at Equital, Valencia. Former Olympic rider José Manuel Lucena from Robledales de Ultzama also performed well on Wolk (by Rhodium out of Joy) a horse he has trained from scratch.
There were for sure amazing combinations in the Young Horse classes, home rider from Barcelona Horses’ team Annabelle Collins presented her Dimacho BCN, a Kwpn son by Johnson. The pair was the highlight of the 5-year old class as this wonderful bay has an extraordinary uphill canter. Annabelle and Agusti’s wedding present named Catwalk, a lovely red-coated mare excelled in the 6-year old classes each day with Barcelona Horses’ team rider Juan Perez Pulido. Erik Balasch and Dorado said good-bye forever to the Young Rider classes, winning their last Young Riders Team and Individual Test. We expect them back on the scene in the Under 25 division next season.
The Spanish based Swedish rider Linda Swande came out with her new mount, which turned heads in the four year old class earlier this year. Super gaits and very good submission made them win in the first round, but in the finals José Andres Montero got ahead of them with Seven Eleven.
The King’s Cup brought more glamour to the show as well as a very emotional celebration, Miguel Angel de Cardenas and his wife the Countess of Prado Castellano where honoured for their lifetime commitment to the Pure Spanish Horse and Dressage. Their sponsored pair, Fuego de Cardenas and rider Juan Manuel Muñoz Díaz, achieved a remarkable feat, climbing up the international ranking after the 2010 Kentucky World Equestrian Games as members of the national team since 2006.
For any dressage event this was almost as good as it gets. The Can Alzina show even had a touch of glamour as one of the first ladies in Spain represented the royal family at the show. It was an honour which showed from the warmth and the importance of the personalities from the equestrian world gathering there to welcome her for the prize giving ceremony and later on the gala dinner held at the wonderful Can Alzina restaurant.
Next year will be even more exciting. The global event of the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy will nbe the highlight of the upcoming international season. This 2013 King’s Cup at Can Alzina was definitely the ‘dress rehearsal’ for next year’s Spring Tour.
Barcelona Horses is gearing up for the CDI4* premiere in the history of international Spanish Dressage competition. The facilities of the center are at state of the art and at this moment two more Martin Collins arenas are being prepared, as well as more bathrooms installed and improvements made to the stabling area, which was already top this time. Barcelona Horses is not saving on comfort for their guests nor anything that could make this competition even more successful next year.
For more info: www.barcelona-horses.com
by Katharina Braren
Photos © Top Iberian - Celeste Ribo