For NAYRC dressage team silver medallists Amanda Barr and Nicole Diesel their trip-of-the-year to North American Young Riders Championships, August 2000, got an unexpected spin-off.
Both Region 7 young riders received a personal invitation from Olympic judge Linda Zang to compete at the CDI-YR in Braine L'Alleud, Belgium. Of course, they took the opportunity with both hands.
At the NAYRC in Parker, CO, Amanda Barr rode Roma, a bay Deutsches Reitpferd-bred gelding by Rauech, in one of his first major competitions. The combination ended 14th in the overall ranking, scoring 62.607% in the kur, 63.385% in the team 56.947% in the individual test. In their best test, the team competition, Roma lost some suspension in the extended trot and could have stayed more uphill in the flying changes. The collected canter work was exceptional, but could have been more electric from behind. Nicole Diesel rode the Dutch warmblood Jamelone in the team test to a 60.67%. The overall impression in that test was that Jamelone lacked collection in the trot traversal movements and canter pirouettes. Nevertheless, Diesel had a soft and steady contact with the bit. Both riders won the silver medal with their region 7 team. However, the fun for them was not over when the NAYRC ended on August 5th, 2000.
"Nicole Diesel and I were asked during the NAYRC, if we would be interested in competing at Braine L'Alleud. We were given about two hours to decide as the preliminary entries had to be sent that day," Barr explained. Fortunately, thanks to the unlimited support of parents and sponsors, they got a go-status for this almost once-in-a-lifetime experience. The idea came from O-judge Linda Zang who kept pushing the AHSA and USET to send Barr and Diesel to Belgium.
Jamelone and Roma left from the LAX Airport on 7th September. They flew to Amsterdam from where they were transported to the PSI stables of Paul Schockemoele and Ullrich Kasselmann in Hagen, Germany. "Our trainer David Wilson is friends with Mr Kasselmann. The horses stayed there for five days prior to the competition. It was wonderful to have such a nice facility to train at prior to the show," Barr said. Diesel and Barr left for Belgium the day of the jog and it turned out to be quite a trip. Due to blockades -- Belgian truckers blocked all highways due to the rising prices of gaz -- the driver had to maneuver quite a bit, but they made it in time.
"The show was a real eye-opener for us," Barr said, "the quality is much stronger than we are used to but Nicole and I did OK in the team test with scores round 62%." Unfortunately, the individual test did not go as well as planned. Roma is quite inexperienced - it was his fifth show - and Jamelone felt a bit tired. Even so, they stayed in the middle of the pack. "It was wonderful to see such nice pony and junior rider horses. The facility was beautiful and it was fun staying at a place with so much history." Domaine Mon Souhait, the host of the international competition for pony, junior and young riders, is an old mansion owned by the American Mr Newton and his Japanese wife Reiko. Mrs Reiko Newton invited a team of Japanese riders as well. They rode on lend horses from various Belgian dressage riders. The 2001 CDI Braine L'Alleud competition has not yet been scheduled.
Text by Astrid Appels and copyrighted for Eurodressage
Images copyrighted: Mary Phelps - reproduction without permission/payment