2013 CDN Can Alzina, National Dress Rehearsal for Next Year's International Event

Sat, 03/30/2013 - 10:08
2013 CDN Can Alzina

A new show has been born in Spain: The 2013 CDN 3* Can Alzina Dressage & Music, Banco Sabadell. This competition burst like a bomb onto the Spanish dressage scene. From 22 - 24 March 2013 no less than 140 national riders, most of them top Spanish pairs,  gathered and competed at this brand new national show 40 km outside of Barcelona, in Polynia, at Can Alzina.

Can Alzina is home to Barcelona Horses, a team consisting of Agusti and Lucas Elias, Annabelle Collins and Nuria Vila Perez. They are as special, friendly and warm as their facilities and as nice as the sunny weather this past weekend. One thing they have certainly made clear to the whole equestrian world: Spaniards share the same passion for horses as any other country in the world does. When a show is well done, people are delighted to enjoy the sport.

It was not only about competition that weekend. National highlights included Juan Manuel Muñoz and Fuego de Cardenas, José Daniel Martín Docks and Hampton Green Farm's Grandioso, and Beatriz Ferrer-Salat with her team from Villa Equus. Jordi Domingo brought along Mango Statesman (by Sandro Hit x Brentano II), a full brother to the wonderful mare Poetin, owned by world renowned Spanish textile king Nahmann Andic, and World of Magic (by Wordly x Espri), who certainly turned heads. All of them were on the spot and that was a real treat, but the important fact at this event was that it showed the whole world how serious, competitive dressage can still be so much fun with space to make friends and enjoy food, culture, music and dance. Saturday night party fever came true at “Dressage & Music”.

The Can Alzina Dressage Competition is the brainchild of the Collins, Elias and Vila family. Helping hands and efforts to make this show become a real success were not missing. Can Alzina benchmarked a state of the art show at the same level as any other international equestrian competition. Sponsors could not believe it. Banco Sabadell took another bet on the equestrian scene in this case. Following the Madrid Horse Week Banco Sabadell has been the second event they are supporting in a very short period of time. Textile baron Mango did not lag behind; Superwagen, a subsidiary of Audi in Sabadell, was surprised by the huge success of the show and it is clear now that Audi will appear as one of the main sponsors at the next venture.

For a long time Annabelle Collins and Augusti Elias together with Nuria Vila and Lucas Elias have been working behind the scene on this show with all their heart, supported by Topiberian Eventos. Annabelle could not believe it. “We are so happy! It is such a pleasure to share this with all our friends. And we feel so rewarded. Saturday evening you couldn’t get through the crowd! It was something,” she commented. There was so much expectation before the show had even started. One hundred and forty subscriptions were filled up in less than a week. Something like this has never happened before in Spain."

You had to see it! People were coming in all Saturday afternoon. And by the time the Grand Prix started, there was no space left around the competition arena. People had to get up on benches, tables and chairs to watch their “idols”. They all knew they would have a great time with their favorites. Once more Fuego and Juan produced goosebumps with their charismatic Spanish Kür. They won the freestyle. This was the opening of the season for the two of them. Olympic team mate José Daniel Martin Dockx finished just behind them on Grandioso III. The pair looked fresh and made almost no mistakes.

The hosts appeared several times in the top placements. Annabelle Collins was delighted with her mare Alfa. “I think she must have felt that it was our day. I was so happy riding her,” she said. Spanish national champion and home star at Can Alzina, Erik Balasch, topped everybody in the Young Riders category with his Dorado, a two-time winner at Can Alzina. Nuria Vila won the Clasica 2 with the PRE stallion Manchego ARB (by Gumiel), a real mover who had been number 8 at the 2011 World Young Horse Championships in Verden.

Beatriz Ferrer-Salat's Hanoverian gelding Fabergé (by Falkland) made his debut as a true schoolmaster under Alfonso Exposito, one of her students. They won the Prix Saint Georges. Exposito also presented a new future star named Elegance. Living up to his name, this wonderful offspring by Negro was dancing through the arena. He has amazing potential and a gorgeous hind leg. They won the 4-year old class.

Beatrice has produced more dressage kids. Her equestrian centre Villa Equus is a well respected training yard. On the scene, Paloma Parga won the 5-year-old category with Lord in Motion (by Lord Loxley) followed by Beatrice’s long time pupil, Nazaret Gallego on the Spanish horse Azebuche X (by Andador X). Host Lucas Elias also presented Long Long Time. What potential in this combination!

The competition was a dream come true for the spectators and competitors. It was definitely a dream for the three families which have been working very hard to offer this gift to the Spanish equestrian scene! An international crowd gathered at the event and they were all full of praise and looking forward to next year's CDI hosted at Can Alzina.

Spanish Dressage Director Luis Lucio was on the scene was as new head of Spanish Equestrian Federation's Dressage Department. He was impressed with the event:

“It was necessary. The latest movements on the institutional side were not so encouraging to the Spanish dressage community, namely the loss of a national trainer for the adults as for the youth and the on-going difficult economic situation. Few entries at the first shows this season did not really help cheer us up, but this was a real boost to our dressage community. There will be a before and after Dressage & Music, I’m sure.”

Beatrice Ferrer-Salat commented that “it is a wonderful show! Everything worked perfectly. I am so thrilled to have this high quality competition a half-hour from my home."

Kim Boyer, president of USPRE and owner of Grandioso III, was on the spot to honour the Copa Ancce winners (award from the PRE association Ancce). “It was wonderful! Spain needed this. It showed the whole world how popular dressage is here. The competition was very well organized, and of course my heart opens when I see so many Spanish horses with high placings. Oh, and one more thing, I can’t remember ever having eaten so well on the showgrounds.”

The Can Alzina Restaurant is a real treat. Saturday night before the big celebration, lots of the riders, judges, trainer, breeders and sponsors had dinner on the spot. “It is fantastic that you can have such good food on the showgrounds! In a real restaurant!”

Enzo Truppa, Italian international 5* judge and head of the organizers committee at the FEI said that “this met the level of expectation for an international show. It was very well organized, the footing is top. There are little things to improve but everything worked very well and we saw good riding!” Enzo had a special concern: “more open in the neck” was his overall recommendation to the Spanish dressage riders.

Juan Manuel Muñoz, Olympic dressage rider for Spain, said, “I am really delighted to have international judges at a national competition. Usually we only get this if we travel several thousand kilometres and here we have it right at the door of our home studs. This is back to local working for global improvement in dressage.”

Maribel Alonso, international 5* judge from Mexico, commented that, “it was perfectly organized. Everything was flowing and easy. The organizing committee and Topiberianeventos did a wonderful job. The structure of this competition is very interesting. National B-judges have the opportunity to judge with experienced international judges. It is a great idea and I must say for us foreign judges it was very interesting to see how good the national competitors are in Spain. We were surprised by the level and it is interesting to see the international riders in a local show. We can learn very much with this system.” Maribel Alonso, Enzo Truppa, Ghislain Fouarge together with Francisco Guerra and Miguel Jorda were the 5 international judges at Can Alzina's national competition. For the first time in Spain there were 7 judges for the Grand Prix.

Diana Al Shaer, Russian Grand Prix rider based in Germany at Jan Bemelmans' Gut Landfrieden, surprised everybody with her visit. “I had to come. And I must say it is a great show! Next year I will not miss it. Hopefully they will do a CDI next time and my horses will stay sound.”

Nicole Werner, Eward Gal’s and Hans Peter Minderhoud’s Business partner, flew in from Holland just for a day. “This will be the real “must” in Spain in a near future, I can see that. We would definitely like to participate next year if there is an international show,” said Werner.

And then the party started! Champagne, wine, drinks, cool music, live music and live drummers  kept the crowds dancing until late night Saturday evening. “Dressage & Music” in Barcelona was a high standard show one will never forget. Everybody is looking forward to the CDI edition next year.

Text and Photos © Katharina Braren of Top Iberian