Articles: Press Release
Wrap-up for Zada Enterprises, LLC Florida Dressage Classic at Winter
Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, February 16-19, 2006
Mary Hilton for Phelps Media Group, Inc., International
at (561) 753-3389 or at email@example.com
WELLINGTON, FL - February 6, 2006 - Zada Enterprises, LLC Florida
Dressage Classic, the second of three dressage shows featured at the
34th annual Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, wrapped
up on Sunday, February 19, at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club
following four days of competition. Featured in the four-ring show were
qualifying competitions for the Great American Insurance Group/United
States Dressage Federation (GAIG/USDF) Regional Championships and the
$25,000 Windsome Dressage/Show Jumping Team Spectacular. More than 200
first-class horses ridden by topnotch riders from North and South
America and Europe competed.
Dressage Highlights - Thursday, February 16 - Sunday, February 19
Competition at the Zada Enterprises, LLC Florida Dressage Classic kicked
off on Thursday, February 16, with a win for Canada's two-time Olympian
Ashley Holzer riding Pop Art, her nine-year-old Dutch gelding, in the
FEI Prix St. Georges. The pair scored 70.125% to top a field of 20
horses. In second place, Charlotte Bredahl Baker, a member of the U.S.
1992 Bronze Medal Team in Barcelona, rode Eskada to 68.00%. Taking
third was Canadian Susan Dutt-Roth riding Rheirattack who earned
65.875%. Judging the FEI Prix St. Georges were Brenda Minor at C and
Anita Owen at B.
"This horse proves yet again how consistent he is in the ring," said
Holzer. The pair most recently claimed victories at the CDI3* Gold Coast
Opener in Loxahatchee, Florida, where they won the Prix St. Georges,
Intermediaire I, and the I-I Freestyle, and then went on to win the Open
FEI Prix St. Georges at Wellington Dressage at the Winter Equestrian
Festival two weeks ago. "I am still so pleased that with all that's
going on, he's willing to work hard and pay attention to me in the
ring," Holzer added.
"Poppy" was a six-year-old showing Second/Third Level when Holzer began
working with him two-and-half years ago. She has trained him to his
present level and plans to show him in the Grand Prix by the end of the
"He's awesome," noted Eva Pracht, who coaches Holzer when they are both
in Florida. Pracht lives in Canada and Holzer resides in New York.
Pracht and Holzer were teammates on the 1988 Canadian Olympic squad that
won the Team Bronze Medal in Seoul (Holzer also competed for Canada at
the 2004 Athens Olympic Games). "Pop Art is just a wonderful, wonderful
horse," Pracht enthused.
In other FEI competition, Nancy Later riding Alexis-D won the
Intermediaire II with a score of 68.934%. Julia Vysniauskas aboard
Papillion placed second with 67.967%. Mikala Gundersen riding Pinochhio
VI was third with 67.561%. Judging the class were Jessica Ransehousen
at E; Jeanne McDonald at C; and Sue Madden Mandas at M.
Friday, February 17
Featured on the second day of the Zada Enterprises, LLC Florida Dressage
Classic were two sections of the FEI Grand Prix, which accommodated a
combined total of 27 horses. In the morning section, Katherine
Bateson-Chandler of Wellington aboard FBW Kennedy for owner Jane Forbes
Clark claimed victory over a field of 14 entries, scoring 70.208%. In
the afternoon section, Michael Barisone of Long Valley, New Jersey,
topped a field of 13 horses riding Neruda, a Dutch gelding he owns with
Jane and Salo Suwalsky, earning 70.417%.
Bateson-Chandler rode Robert Dover's 2004 Athens Olympic Games Team
Bronze Medal horse to a score of 70.208% (1,011 points) narrowly edging
George Williams of Richwood, Ohio, into second place with his score of
70.069% (1,009 points) aboard Marnix owned by Joann Smith. Two-time
Canadian Olympian Ashley Holzer of New York, New York, placed third
riding Gambol to a score of 69.167% (996 points). Holzer and Dr. Diane
Fellows own the black Dutch stallion. Officiating were Sue Madden
Mandas at E, Jessica Ransehousen at M, and Brenda Minor at S.
In the afternoon FEI Grand Prix, Michael Barisone and Neruda scored
70.417%, tallying up a total of 1,014 points. Taking second place was
Arlene Page of Wellington with her Wild One, who was awarded 999 points
for an average of 69.375%. Separated by one point, Canada's Ashley
Holzer riding her own Imperioso earned 998 points and third place,
"I thought it was better than two weeks ago," Barisone said, referring
to his win at the USEF High Performance Grand Prix at the Wellington
Dressage show where the pair won on a score of 69.292%. "It was more
complete. I thought I rode a little clearer and with a little more
Barisone pointed out that he is consistently asked now if his goal is
qualifying Neruda for the World Equestrian Games or the World Cup Final,
and that he has a consistent answer. "I say, 'You know what I learned
after all these years? I learned that all I want to do is ride better
today than I did yesterday'," Barisone said, adding, "And I did that
Saturday, February 18
Lars Petersen of Denmark riding Dacardo for owner Melissa Taylor Yee won
the FEI Intermediaire I, topping a field of 15 horses. The victory gave
Petersen a clean sweep of his small tour at the show with the
seven-year-old, 16.3-hand gray Swedish gelding by D-Day out of
Azisterne. The pair won the FEI Prix St. Georges yesterday with a score
of 69.375% and came back today to claim victory in the I-I with a score
Going early in the class, Dominique Culham of Caledon East Ontario,
Canada, riding her own Matisse, held the initial lead with a score of
67.625%, but the pair had to settle for the second place ribbon in the
final tally. Two riders tied for the third place ribbon - Carla De
Falco of Wellington riding her own Gionso, and Marco Bernal of Colombia
riding Halbgott, a Trahkener stallion he owns with Lumar Equestrian -
with both riders earning 66.750%.
Petersen, who now resides in Wellington, has been riding the talented
Dacardo for two years. He started the youngster's initial dressage
training as a six-year-old and competed him in his first horse show.
"He's very hot, very hot," emphasized Petersen, adding that it has taken
a long time for the gelding to become more relaxed in the ring. "He'll
be a super horse. He's probably one of the best horses I've had. He has
been quite a challenge in the ring but he's coming around now."
Petersen plans to move Dacardo up to Grand Prix in a year or so, but
"not too fast with him because he's so sensitive."
In today's Intermediaire I, Petersen said that Dacardo's best work was
in the trot. "I felt I could keep him powerful in the trot but still
keep him relaxed." Petersen explained that the beautifully dappled gray
still becomes a bit tense in the canter and the walk segment, but noted,
"He's just green. It's only his third I-I." Dacardo also won the I-I at
Wellington Dressage two weeks ago.
Petersen is enthusiastic about Dacardo's future as a Grand Prix horse,
pointing out, "He has three super good gaits. There's nothing he's not
Officiating over the class were Brenda Minor at C and Sue Madden Mandas
at B. The judges were unanimous in scoring Petersen as the winner.
In other FEI competition, Jessica Jo ("JJ") Tate of Wellington riding
her own Cambay won the FEI Grand Prix Special with a score of 70.667%,
topping a field of eight horses. Lisette Milner of Wellington and her
stallion Eminence placed second with a score of 65.933%. Tami Hoag of
Oak Park, California, riding her Rheinlander mare Coco Chanel took the
third place slot with 65.800%.
The $25,000 Windsome Dressage/Jumper Spectacular was also held on
Saturday, February 18, with seven teams competing and an enthusiastic
crowd on hand to cheer them on. Stadium Jumping, Inc. was able to
re-schedule this make-up date for the event, which had been rained out
two weeks ago. The popular crowd-pleaser, which has been contested at
the Winter Equestrian Festival for 10 years with the sponsorship of John
Deuss and his Windsome Farm, features teams of show jumpers and dressage
riders who switch disciplines and compete in a Third Level dressage test
and over a Hit 'N' Hurry Jump course. For the eighth consecutive year,
the team of show jumping Olympian Anne Kursinski and dressage Olympian
Bent Jensen claimed victory. The two will again split the first place
prize money of $8,000.
The perennial winners barely squeaked by for the victory this year
however, as the final tally had two teams tied with the top score of 13
points. In the Windsome Spectacular, the dressage score breaks the tie,
and in this case it was Kursinski's ride that clinched the win. Taking
second place were show jumper Eliza Shuford, who rode Lieben in the
dressage phase to 64.37% and third place, and dressage rider Lauren
Sammis, who rode Words of Wisdom in the jumping phase to first place,
notching 26 points in 65.618 seconds. The red-ribbon team split $6,000
in prize money.
"I'm just amazed that we won it again!" beamed Kursinski, who topped the
dressage segment with a score of 69.407% riding Liberty Light owned by
Randy Barenholtz. "I have to say I did practice twice this year and
that was good. I'm glad I practiced! Bent's a great teacher and it was a
lovely horse. Personally, to be the best dressage rider is really great
because I don't think I was last year, or some of the other years
The dressage judges were Jeanne McDonald, Jessica Ransehousen, and
Jensen acknowledged that Kursinski's performance was the best ride she'd
ever logged in the Windsome Spectacular. Liberty Light is a 10-year-old
Dutch gelding that Jensen competes in the Prix St. Georges. As is their
custom, Kursinski and Jensen were riding their traded mounts for the
first time. "Every year it's been a new horse for us," said Jensen.
"Anne always places in the top three. There have been some tough ones in
there too, but she can do it."
In the jumping segment, Jensen placed third riding Heisman's Image owned
by Debbie Feldstein. The pair scored 25 points in 61.868 seconds.
Heisman's Image is a 10-year-old Selle Francais that Kursinski has shown
and who now competes in the Adult Amateur jumpers.
"I don't practice," Jensen admitted, noting that he competes in two
competitions each year that require him to jump. He attributed his
ability to go fast and get over the course to his experience jumping
when he was a youngster. "But it's amazing really when you think about
it," Jensen grinned. He noted that cheering crowd helped his
performance as he tried to catch the leading score of 26 points. "I
could hear them and that's what makes it fun. You really want to go but
at the same time you have to be careful to get the turns right. That's
what makes me a little nervous - you want to go fast but still you don't
want to miss a jump." Jensen did have one rail down, which cost him one
"He has a good feel and he's courageous," Kursinski pointed out. "Bent
is a very good natural jumping rider. I assign him a good horse and he
says 'OK, let's go!'"
The dressage scores also determine the starting order for the show
jumping phase, with the rider on the lowest placed team going first. The
riders in the jumping phase are required to jump a set course with each
jump cleared valued at two points; then they can score additional points
by jumping as many fences as possible within the time allowed.
Following the winners, Kursinski/Jensen, and the second-placed team,
Shuford/Sammis, the results were as follows:
Third place, $5,000 prize: Chris Delia rode Fortissimo in dressage to a
score of 66.667% for second place (6 points); his teammate Tom Dvorak
jumped Ramson to a score of 26 points in 66.282 seconds for a second
place finish (6 points). They finished with a total of 12 points.
Fourth place, $3,000 prize: Nona Garson rode Tango to 63.704% and fourth
place in dressage (4 points); her teammate Benny Konstantinova rode
Giacomo to a jumping score of 23 points in 62.907 seconds and fourth
place (4 points). Their total was 8 points.
Fifth place, $2,000: Pippa Green berg rode Fereska Figaro to a dressage
score of 62.741 and fifth place (3 points); partner Elaine Sherer jumped
Talk the Talk to a score of 21 points in 64.541 seconds for sixth place
(2 points). Their total was 5 points.
Sixth place, $1,000: Elizabeth Maloney rode Prado to 58.889% and seventh
place in dressage (1 point); her teammate Meredith Morray jumped Conti B
to 24 points in 61.715 seconds for fifth place (3 points). The team's
total was 4 points.
Seventh place: Roberto Teran aboard Bona Sera earned 62.148 for sixth
place (2 points); his teammate Heather Bender jumped Pogeno to a score
of 20 points and no time clocked as she went off course for seventh
place (1 point). They finished with 3 points total.
Kursinski admitted that this year, as the long-time reigning team, she
felt the pressure of maintaining the winning streak. "It's still fun,
but it is competitive and everybody's practicing, everybody's trying to
beat you. Now, you really want to win!" she said. She attributed her
tie-breaking performance this year to having "a good coach, great horse,
a little luck and good judges."
Sunday, February 19
The traditional "Musical Freestyle Sunday" at the Winter Equestrian
Festival brought out the crowds and the dancing beats for the final day
of the Zada Enterprises, LLC Florida Dressage. Freestyles were
presented in five divisions.
Topping the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle was two-time Canadian Olympic Team
member Ashley Holzer of New York, New York, riding Gambol, the
11-year-old Dutch stallion she owns with Dr. Diane Fellows of Palm
Beach. The duo earned a score of 74.875% to best a field of eight
Claiming the second place slot was George Williams of Richwood, Ohio,
aboard Marnix for owner Joann Smith, who was awarded 73. 917%. In third
place, Canadian Cheryl Meisner Linssen riding Paganini, an
eight-year-old Dutch stallion owned by John Risley, received a score of
Officiating were judges Brenda Minor at E, Jessica Ransehousen at C, and
Jeanne McDonald at M.
The biggest crowd of the season surrounded the ring for this
competition, adding to the excitement level of the arena, which is
located close to the bermed seating. "I loved the fact that given any
circumstance, once he gets into his test he really settles down," said
Holzer of the impressive-looking 11-year-old black stallion by Gabor out
Holzer choreographed the dynamic freestyle ride herself and described it
as "technically very difficult." She named some of the movements she
considers particularly hard to exhibit, "I do a collected canter to
piaffe to piaffe pirouette. I do ones and twos on a bending line into
double pirouettes in both directions. I do a trot zigzag into a piaffe
pirouette into an extended trot."
Holzer describes Gambol as a "handy horse" that's easy to navigate, but
needs "lots to do" in order to keep him concentrating. Working with
that element, Holzer said that the choreography she developed was
originally a bit "over his head in the beginning" but it now "shows the
judges what he can do."
Karen Robinson of Applause Dressage worked with Holzer to select the
music. They discovered that Gambol became nervous if the music was too
loud or the beat too strong. Holzer also insisted that the music be
complementary to the horse and not distract from him. "I wanted the
technical difficulty and the horse himself to be what stands out," she
explained. Holzer's final track is comprised of beautiful piano music
by Ronan Hardinan, the Irish composer who wrote the music for "Lord of
"The most important thing to me about this freestyle is that the
audience remembers the pattern, not the music," Holzer stated.
Coming a close second, Williams and Marnix performed to a medley of Cher
tunes without vocals. "I was very, very happy with him in the piaffe
tour," said Williams. He noted that he has been adjusting his entrance,
which is performed to "The Beat Goes On" and traveled too far down the
centerline today, which affected his first transition into passage.
"But then overall I was happy with how I recovered. I got more in time
with the music. I was very happy with the pirouettes."
Terri Gallo worked with Williams to create the soundtrack, which
includes some of Cher's greatest hits such as "The Shoop Shoop Song" and
"Walking in Memphis." "It's a joint effort," said Williams. "I have
ideas, but she makes them all possible. Miraculously she can make it
work because I'm not that musical and my ideas are sometimes a little
Williams designed his own choreography. "I like to base it on what's
good for the horse. I'm not interested in over-facing Marnix at this
point with choreography. I want to emphasize what he can do well,"
Williams explained. "For me, it's music that's really fun to ride to.
In a lot of ways, that's what the freestyle is all about - if the rider
and horse are having fun, the audience will have fun."
In other freestyle competition today, Janne Rumbough riding Gorron won
the USDF Freestyle Test of Choice with a score of 67.083%. Marco
Bernal and Halbgott claimed victory in the FEI Intermediaire Freestyle,
scoring 74.125%. Ashley Peterson and Augustus won the FEI Young Rider
Freestyle, earning 67.333%. And Julia Warstler aboard Integrity won the
FEI Junior Freestyle with a score of 68.417%.
Wrapping up this year's Zada Enterprises, LLC Florida Dressage Classic,
Champion and Reserve Champion High Score Awards were presented to the
top two horse/rider combinations in divisions First through Fourth Level
First Level Champion: Christopher Hickey and Tango, Test 4, 77.222%
First Level Res. Champion: Jessica Jo Tate and Donnermuth, Test 1,
Second Level Champion: Teresa Butta-Stanton and Bacardi, Test 1, 70.000%
Second Level Res. Champion: Alison Sader Larson and Palini, Test 4,
Third Level Champion: Lauren Sammis and Sagacious HF, Test 3, 71.778%
Third Level Res. Champion: Karen Lipp and Cooper, Test 3, 70.444%
Fourth Level Champion: Bill Warren and Romantic, Test 1, 69.767%
Fourth Level Res. Champion: Melissa Jackson and Wellington, Test 2,
Winter Equestrian Festival Upcoming Dressage Schedule
* March 16-19 - Zada Enterprises, L.L.C. WEF Dressage Classic, CDI
* March 17-18 - USEF National Grand Prix Freestyle Championship /
U.S. League Final CDI-W, the Official Selection for the 2006 FEI World
Cup Dressage Final