Jacqueline Brooks Victorious in Grand Prix at 2009 Dressage at Devon

Sat, 09/26/2009 - 00:00
2009 Dressage at Devon

Olympian Jacqueline Brooks and Balmoral clinched the main attraction on day four of Dressage at Devon by winning the Grand Prix for Freestyle. The Canadian duo impressed with a 66.936%, beating out second-placed Tina Konyot by less than 0.1%.

"He shocked me," Brooks said of the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding that was bred in a small town north of Toronto and is owned by Anne Welch and Brinc Ltd. Balmoral, by Belcanto out of Charisma, is Brooks' younger mount and she was thrilled with his performance. "He was loving being in [the ring and under the lights,]" she explained. "I'm really proud of him." Brooks was having so much fun she confessed to laughing during her test.

The excitement of the win quickly crossed international borders as Brooks' parents listened to the Canadian National Anthem via cell phone. "It's just a fun night," she says.

Tina Konyot was also pleased with her horse. This was Calecto V's fifth Grand Prix and his very first time under lights. "I didn't know what to expect," she said, but was thrilled with the way her horse handled the situation. "I was so happy I could go in the arena and ride my horse." She was especially pleased with the canter tour and expects her piaffe/passage transitions to improve as her horse matures. "He's going to be special. I knew that from the beginning," she says of the 11-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding by Come Back.

Grand Prix for Special

In the Grand Prix for Special, Lars Petersen, a familiar winner at Dressage at Devon, once again claimed the blue ribbon. With Naomi, the Dane earned a 65.915% in front of the international judging panel that included Anne Gribbons, Linda Zang, Wim Ernes, Freddy Leyman and Christoph Hess.

"I'm always happy winning," Petersen said with a smile. "It makes it more fun." He's been paired with the bay mare for approximately one year and feels that she will continue to improve.

Finishing in second place in the Grand Prix for Special was Pierre St. Jacques and his partner of ten years, Lucky Tiger. "Overall, I was very happy with him," he said of his ride that earned a 64.170%. "Tiger was good. I made some mistakes," he said humbly.

Prix St. Georges

The Prix St. Georges division started at 8:00 in the morning and ran for more than eight hours as nearly 40 horses and riders showcased their skills. Topping an impressive international field was Cesar Parra aboard Lori Washton's Olympia (by Jazz), who received a 72.456% for their efforts. Parra said this was his ninth victory at Dressage at Devon. "This is a dream," he explained. "For me this is a very special place. I love the crowd here. There's no place like Devon." Parra has been riding Olympia for just five months and has high hopes for the horse. He explains, "This guy is a warrior. He's a wonderful, wonderful horse."

Finishing in second place was Christopher Hickey and Cabana Boy, a pair that has been victorious at Dressage at Devon on many occasions. The Contucci son has progressed from Born in the USA Breeder's Award winner at Dressage at Devon as a two-year-old to the reigning USEF National Developing Horse Champion. "I'm very happy with Cabana Boy," Hickey commented. "I'm very lucky to have such a wonderful animal." Like Parra, Hickey has warm feelings for Dressage at Devon and explained that it was the biggest, most important and fun horse show in America. "Showing at Devon is an honor," he said.

Young Riders

Kassie Barteau, of Naperville, IL, has had an incredible season. She continued her winning ways at Dressage at Devon in the FEI Young Rider Team Test riding ten-year-old stallion GP Raymeister to a 67.193% for the victory. A Devon veteran despite her youth, Barteau called this year's Young Rider class "very competitive". She described her partner-who also won Thursday's Holsteiner class-as "such a tryer, and a high-energy horse. He teaches me a lot." Barteau is hoping to finish out her Young Rider career by competing at the World Cup for Young Riders in Frankfurt this fall. She is excited about the prospect of showing in Europe for the first time before she graduates from the Young Rider division.

Finishing less than 0.3% behind Barteau was another about-to-be-former Young Rider, Caroline V. Roffman, of Wellington, FL, who earned a 66.930% on Bulgari, by Baryshnikov and out of Evita.

Young Horse Classes

The USEF Four-Year-Old Test and the FEI Five- and Six-Year-Old Tests continued for the second day. Judges' commentaries after each ride enlightened spectators and riders alike. Those comments glowed for Ulla Petersen and her rides on the full brothers Sabati and Steinway, who topped the Four-Year-Old and Five-Year-Old classes respectively. Both youngsters are owned by Nancy Holowesko and are by Sandro Hit out of Rosalea. Four-year-old Sabati, who Petersen said had been a little rattled in the earlier class, took a big step up from his fifth place on Thursday to win Friday with an 8.4. A winner on both days, Steinway topped his Thursday 7.54 victory with a 7.76 on Friday.

Thursday's four-year-old winner, Aesthete, didn't compete in the Friday class, but rider Karen Monks-Reilly said that he "loves going forward, loves this test, and loves the crowd," and that therefore she wants to be especially careful "not to abuse his willingness to perform." The KWPN gelding, by Trento B out of Unusual, is owned by Betsy Spence.

The Six-Year-Old test produced another double winner. Horses Unlimited's Hanoverian stallion Pikko Del Cerro HU, by Pik L out of the Rohdiamant mare Rohweena, scored an 8.58 Thursday and an 8.32 on Friday. Mikala Gundersen, who has ridden the horse since the beginning of his four-year-old year, said "he's been coming here since age two; he's grown up at Devon and this year he's really come through. I feel that he's starting to carry himself enough for the Prix St. Georges." Cerro not only won the Overall Born in the USA Breeder's Award as a two-year-old, but has won all of the young horse classes at DAD with scores above 80%, from the USEF Four-Year-Old classes in 2007 and both FEI Five-Year-Old classes in 2008. Owner Anne Sparks beamed with pride at the success of Cerro-"the first baby that I saw born"-and added that he and siblings Pikko Del Rio HU, who was second in both FEI Five-Year-Old classes, and Pikk Elena HU, fifth in today's Four-Year-Old Test, had all been named by her "phenomenal" farm manager, Mario Sandoval.

Fun Stuff

Not everything was top-hat and-white-breeches-and-tails seriousness. The lunch break was time for a bathing-suited Beach Boys-themed display of equine beach ball tossing and sand skijoring. Midafternoon saw the Ladies Hat Contest, with nearly two-dozen contenders, including one accompanied by a Jack Russell terrier who had his own purple hat and got his very own prize, a plush Dressage at Devon horse, for his efforts. The evening break saw a lively quadrille plus cowboy and lady pas de deux by the Barteau family and KYB Dressage friends.

Donors for the Ladies Hat Contest prizes included sponsors Hermés, Ronald Ravan Designs, BluHorse Clothing, Suzanne Storms Horsehair Jewelry, Albion, Trilogy, Dark Horse Chocolate, EqueSport, Paddock Saddlery/A'dashi and The Engraver.

Photos copyrighted: Mary Phelps/Phelpsphotos.com - Hoofprints

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