David Blake and Ikaros Fly High at 2013 CDI Del Mar

Fri, 03/15/2013 - 07:05
2013 CDI Del Mar

Finishing third in the Grand Prix and Kur to Music at the 2012 CDI Del Mar on 8 - 10 March 2013, American David Blake came in a fraction behind two of his greatest mentors, teachers and fellow countrymen, U.S. Olympians Steffen Peters and Guenter Seidel. Blake was very proud to be up amongst such great company and is aiming to fly high with his rising Grand Prix horse Ikaros.

"The highlight of the show was coming in third behind Guenter and Steffen with a 67," David told Eurodressage. "The greatest part of the experience was Steffen telling me that was a very respectable ride."

With a 67.277% in the Grand Prix and a 66.600% in the Kur, David finished third behind Steffen and Guenter in both tests and feels he owes much of his success to their continued help and support. "I take lessons from both Steffen and Guenter on a regular basis but have had my girlfriend Rebecca Rigdon being my eyes on the ground in the warm up," the California based rider explained.

Taking up riding when he was four years old, David began his career as a jumper and switched to dressage when he was fourteen. Within two years he won his USDF Bronze Medal, in 1998 David earned his USDF Silver Medal and he got the Gold Medal in 2003.

Chosen to train in the US Equestrian Federation’s Young Horse Program, David has worked with some of dressage's greatest trainers including Jan Ebeling, Janet Brown, Michael Poulin, 
Axel Steiner, Harry Boldt and Christine Traurig.  Now coached by Steffen and Shannon Peters, David is very happy to be where he is right now. "Training with the Peters is pretty much a dream come true for any rider," he stated.

Having claimed much career success on the international small tour horse Falsterbo, David believes he and his new partner Ikaros are getting closer with every ride. "Ikaros is a 13-year old Danish warmbloood owned by Melanie Pai. Melanie has been a wonderful owner to deal with. She is extremely supportive and cares for Ikaros greatly. I have been riding Ikaros for about a year and I feel we are becoming a consistent partnership in the ring," Blake explained.

The most honest horse David has ever had in the show ring, Ikaros is by Akinos out of a Fernando dam. The biggest plus to the horse is that as a team the two are a good fit.  "He is a very big horse that needs confidence in the ring. He takes care of his highlights, the passage especially, and allows me to help him with his weaknesses," David explained.

Ikaros was a bit reactive to the environment at the CDI Del Mar and David confirmed it is a difficult ring to show in, mainly because it presents the horse with many distractions. "The traffic above the end of the ring and the large fence on the side flaps and the warm up riders heads are visible to the horses," he explained.

Thankfully Ikaros settled in nicely to the plan David had laid out and Blake feels they had the most successful ride so far.  "The plan for the future is to finish the last two CDI shows in California and possibly make a bid to show on the European B tour."

Grateful to Melanie for choosing him as the rider of Ikaros, David would also like to thank Steffen and Guenter for their tutoring and support, and finally thank his all important de-stresser. "Last but certainly not least to Rebecca for helping me settle my nerves before the class," he admitted.

by Sarah Warne for Eurodressage
Photos © Lindsay McCall

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