Wadamur and Susan Jaccoma Take Sunday Grand Prix Special

Mon, 09/28/2009 - 00:00
2009 Dressage at Devon

The three top finishers in Friday's Grand Prix led the field in today's Grand Prix Special competition, too---but judges Isobel Wessels, Wim Ernes, Anne Gribbons, Bo Jena, and Cara Whitham placed them in slightly different order. Finishing first with a score of 66.208% were nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding Wadamur (Weltmeyer), and owner Susan Jaccoma; they'd placed third in the earlier class. In second place, with a 65.625%, was fourteen-year-old Dutch mare Naomi, by Leolict out of Bruin, and ridden by Lars Petersen for owner Janet Bell; they'd won on Friday. Coming third with a 65.167% was Danish Warmblood gelding Lucky Tiger, by Lucky Light out of Teike, ridden and owned by Pierre St. Jacques; they'd been Friday's runner-up pair.

Jaccoma, who has owned Wadamur "since he was three and a half," was delighted with her horse. "This was the biggest test he's ever been in, and he felt very relaxed; his ridability was a high point. He's a good mudder, and I took my time warming him up. We came out a little early and took several walk breaks to help him stay calm." She says the horse is "like the Eveready bunny; he conditions himself in his stall, and he loves to work"; in schooling him, "I try to be creative so he's not bored."

Lars Petersen (who'll be training Wadamur with Jaccoma in Florida over the winter), was very happy with Naomi's performance. Because the ground was still rather wet from a night and early morning of rain, "I rode very conservatively; I was a little unsure about the footing. But the tempis and pirouettes and the passage felt very good. We'll go home tonight and take a little time off before looking to the winter show season."

Earlier in the morning, "Dancing in the Rain" could have been a theme for all eight horses and riders in the FEI Young Rider Freestyle, judged by Christof Umbach, Bo Jena, Jayne Ayers, Freddy Leyman, and Anne Gribbons. The damp audience enthusiastically cheered every entry.

Caroline V. Roffman and her Hanoverian gelding Bulgari V, by Baryshnikov out of Evita, who were the winners of Saturday's Young Rider Individual Test, once again topped the field with a 71.00%. They performed a crowd-pleasing ride to a lively "Italian Holiday" medley; freestyle music-guru Terri Gallo put it together, Roffman said, "but [Bulgari] he really chose the music." Though the victory was somewhat "bittersweet," because their Devon point total wasn't quite enough to surpass Freestyle runner-up Kassie Barteau in the chase to be the US Young Rider representative at December's World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany, Roffman was pleased with her performance. "This is the biggest thing I've ever had to fight for, and I kept it together," said the 21-year-old.

Just before Roffman and Bulgari's test, Kassie Barteau rode Ginna Frantz's ten-year-old Holsteiner stallion GP Raymeister, by Rantares out of Miss Nickel Annie, to the music from the film "The Man from Snowy River," scoring 69.35%. Part of their routine for success: the big hug she gives Ray just before they enter the ring and again just after their final salute: "He really does respond to that hug; it works on his mind to give him confidence." For her, as for Roffman, this would be her final show in the US as a Young Rider; Barteau was happy to be doing the ride here because "I love Devon!"

Meanwhile, in the Gold Ring, morning classes included the FEI Individual Test for Ponies (CDN), Fourth Level Test 3, and the USEF National Young Adult "Brentina Cup"---which went to Adult Amateur rider Catherine Malone, riding her eight-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Don Sarok. In the afternoon, eight horses and riders competed in USEF Fourth Level Test 2, riding before judges Freddy Leyman, Jayne Ayers, and Christof Umbach. Finishing first, with a score of 68.258%, was ten-year-old Trakehner gelding Goldbaron, ridden by Stephan Cheret for owner Carolyn Korus. In second place were eight-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Sea Lord and Silva Martin, riding for owner Shannon Stimson; they earned a score of 64.318.

By noontime the sun came out---just in time for the "California Comes to Devon" exhibition of equine-and-human beach-ball tossing to classic "surfer" rock'n'roll, followed by the East Meets West Quadrille. And a little later, during a break in the Grand Prix Special competition, to the strains of "It's a Small World After All," nine intrepid contestants on mounts ranging from 9 to 14.2 hands took part in the Leadline Class Exhibition---with the rider of the tiniest equine, Miniature horse Princess Buttercup, turned out in shadbelly and top hat. Participants were judged on style, horsemanship, turnout, and cuteness; amazingly, the class ended in a nine-way tie, with all scoring 9.99. In the awards ceremony, several riders demonstrated mastery of the ceremonial "Queen Elizabeth wave''; in the victory lap, at least one displayed strong competence in posting.

The final class of the day was the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle, with fifteen competitors riding before judges Linda Zang, Wim Ernes, Isobel Wessels, Cara Whitham, and Jeanne McDonald. Dr. Cesar Parra and Dr. Lori Washton's 13-year-old KWPN gelding Olympia completed their sweep of the Small Tour with a score of 73.85%. "This was a very emotional ride for me, to have a 'hat trick' at Devon," said Parra, who is based in New Jersey.

Finishing second with a 70.70% were Cabana Boy, a seven-year-old Holsteiner gelding from Maryland's Hilltop Farm, and trainer Christopher Hickey. Their freestyle was "very difficult," Hickey said, but constructed to give the horse some breaks, and done to music with a "beachy, sunny" sound to match his personality. "He's happy in his stall, happy in the barn, and he hasn't ever been pushed beyond what he can do." Though they finished second in the Small Tour, Hickey and Cabana Boy did take home the High Score American Bred Trophy.

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