Ilse Schwarz at the Rolex FEI World Cup in Las Vegas

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Monica Theodorescu on WhisperStory & Photos by ILSE SCHWARZ

LAS VEGAS, Nev., Apr. 18–Between the Rolex FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix and the Freestyle there was a quiet day competition-wise, but plenty on offer in terms of entertainment and demonstrations. If you were up early enough, the warm-up with music began at 6 a.m. I confess I arrived at 6.45 a.m., right in time to see Monica Theodorescu run through her freestyle.

Isabell Werth was there watching (she watched all the riders school), and threw a few words of encouragement and maybe advice (it was in German) toward her.

Hans Peter Minderhoud then schooled the wonderful mare Nadine (owned by Team Exquis, those wonderful folks who have brought us the Exquis World Dressage Masters series that began in Palm Beach in January) under the watchful eye of Edward Gal.

edward5417Edward and Isabell watch Hans Peter Minderhoud and Nadine

Then it is Isabell’s turn…no Satchmo, just Isabell walking up and down the arena on foot as her music plays. Isabell schools her extended walkisabell5423

Next is the combination that truthfully dragged me out of bed, Steffen and Ravel rehearse their entry to new music a few times and quietly go through the first half of their freestyle. After the canter pirouettes he lets Ravel canter, stretching in large circles down near “spooky” C- it seems most of the riders spent quite a bit of time schooling in front of C.

Ravel sporting his classic out of control mane. I’m assured it is so much fun to braid!ravel5447

Next is Anky and although she didn’t ride through her exact freestyle, she rode portions of it with such conviction–as if the stands were packed–that when the music ended I had to stop myself from breaking into applause.

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Ashley Holzer is the last in and works on getting Poppy through and in front of the aids in piaffe and pirouettes, he had looked like he sucked back a little as her Grand Prix ride progressed. I think that is taken care of now.

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Ashley, the only rider schooling in a helmet, chats with her coach, Evi Strasser

As I was packing up the tripod and getting ready to leave, Isabell came in on Satchmo. I had nowhere else to be at 8am so I figured I would watch while she walked around. An hour later and I was delighted to have watched an entire schooling session. Satchmo starts his works looking quite normal, he is elastic and loose but nothing that would stop you from walking right past. It isn’t until the final 15-20 minutes of schooling that you see the “competition” Satchmo.

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That half pass that has received “10”s from the judges, schools for a “12.” I watch and watch to try to figure out how she does it. I’ll keep you posted if I ever do. Obviously both Steffen and Anky have also figured out this one!

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Steffen joins the “battle of the half passes.”