Articles: Press Release
Evi Strasser and Quantum Tyme won the Grand Prix
Freestyle during the CDI Blainville Dressage International's 'Freestyle
Kenneth Kraus of Phelps Media Group, Inc.
at (561) 753-3389 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Blainville, Quebec - July 5, 2006 - There is something truly magical
about the 'Freestyle Extravaganza' held on Saturday night to close out
the annual CDI3* Blainville Dressage International.
Having just celebrated its eighth year, Blainville hosts the longest
running World Cup Qualifying dressage competition in all of Canada and
is one of the sport's greatest success stories (it also hosts one of the
longest-running show jumping qualifiers as well, with the CSI-W
Blainville now in its 18th year). Well-supported since its inception,
this year's event attracted more than 240 horses, with a record number
of entries in the advanced level - 25 horses started the CDI division of
Prix St. Georges while an additional 21 horses participated in the
Not only does the show provide four competition rings, $20,000 in prize
money, and access to the best judges in the world - two members of the
CDI panel will officiate at the upcoming World Equestrian Games in
Aachen - but it is the 'Freestyle Extravaganza' that makes the week so
special for those competitors lucky enough to qualify. This year, the
top 15 riders were invited to contest the Intermediaire Freestyle while
eight took on the Grand Prix Freestyle.
The ring is set up with grandstands accommodating 1,400 spectators along
one long side, while two VIP tents, one running the length of the other
long side and one situated on the short side, sees another 1,200 guests
enjoy a gourmet eight-course dinner, complete with wine and port.
The party atmosphere provides an electric atmosphere for the horses, as
does competing under the lights in front of so many spectators. In the
Intermediaire, one horse refused to go anywhere near the ring, forcing
the rider to withdraw. However, once the music starts, horses and
riders visibly relax, tuning out everything except the music that, in
most cases, they know so well.
The performances are met with great appreciation from the crowd, the
large majority of whom are locals that, while not necessarily educated
in dressage, have grown to appreciate having an international equestrian
venue, the Blainville Equestrian Park, in the midst of their community.
The organizing committee, led by President Jean-Pierre Arvisais and
Manager Louise Thibault, are responsible for not only having a vision of
what the sport could be, but in making it a reality. Jean-Pierre's
motivation in creating the 'Freestyle Extravaganza' stemmed from a
simple reasoning. "If people like horses and people like music, it
stands to reason that they will like watching horses perform to music,"
he told me back when the show was in its infancy.
His common sense approach has not only seen the event succeed, but grow
year after year. The VIP tables are sold out well in advance of the
competition, and the general admission tickets, priced at $15 each, are
always sold out by show time, usually much sooner if good weather is
This year, the crowds had already witnessed Andrea Bresee and her
Canadian-bred mare, Raffles, win the Intermediaire Freestyle performing
to music entitled 'Middle Earth Quest of the Dream Warrior'. Compiled
by freestyle designer Karen Robinson of Applause Dressage, the music
highlights a very technical program, including tempi changes on a
For entertainment between the Intermediaire and Grand Prix Freestyles,
'The Flying Frenchman' who flew in from Paris to perform, lit up the
crowd. Two jumps from the grand prix field were brought into the
dressage arena, and the two brothers jumped them on foot. Every time a
jump went up in height, a piece of clothing was removed! This
progressed with enthusiastic crowd involvement until the jumps stood at
1.70m and the Flying Frenchman stood in their briefs! A family event
afterall, the boys provided great amusement, and their athletic
abilities certainly amazed the crowds.
This year, Mother Nature was not as cooperative as she had been in the
past, and rain began to fall just before the start of the Grand Prix
Freestyles. First in, Julia Vysniauskus who now represents her family's
native Lithuania in competition, rode in the heaviest of the downpour,
but was foot perfect throughout. Her 14-year-old Slovenian-bred
gelding, Syntax, never faltered throughout her clever and extremely
technical program, and one of the judges even had her to win. Her
overall score of 70.875% would prove to be good enough for second place,
a thrilling finish for the 24-year-old.
The rider the crowd was waiting to see would prove to be unbeatable.
Evi Strasser, who resides just north of Blainville, was back to defend
her title. Well-known for her showmanship, Evi has nerves of steel and
riding for a crowd only makes her perform better. Riding to emotional
and epic music from Disney's 'The Lion King', Evi and her Oldenburg
gelding, Quantum Tyme, put on a great show, earning a final score of
73.675%. It was a warm send-off, as she and Quantum will depart for
Germany where they will compete for Canada at the World Equestrian
Evi bought the horse from an auction catalogue, having someone in
attendance do her bidding, and has done all of the training herself.
They successfully represented Canada at both 2000 and 2001 FEI World
Young Horse Breeding Championships, and were members of the Silver Medal
Team at the 2003 Pan American Games. In 2005, they rode in the World
Cup Final in Las Vegas. Evi, who competed at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics
with Lavinia, will be making her WEG debut.
It wasn't over just yet for the crowds that were ignoring the rain in
Blainville. The Blainville Pony Club, another ingenious idea initiated
by Jean-Pierre, kept the crowd entertained by performing their musical
ride or 'carousel'. Ten children, all dressed in costume, amused the
audience while the small ponies delighted onlookers with their antics.
Then came the presentations, and the thunderous applause for Evi, the
hometown heroine. Evi took no less than three victory gallops, treating
the crowds to a world-class passage. In true fairy tale fashion, Evi
was crowned the queen of Blainville!
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