Cesar Parra on Olympia Wins First US Championship

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Cesar Parra and Olympia. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Cesar Parra and Olympia. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By JOANIE MORRIS

GLADSTONE, New Jersey, Aug. 8–In his first opportunity to ride for a U.S, National Championship, Cesar Parra capitalized on the chance Sunday to take home top honors in the Intermediaire I Dressage Championship at the 2010 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions. A Colombian native, Parra began riding under the American flag in 2009.

“I wanted to go for it,” Cesar said after his ride. “These are very good riders, with all these riders you can take nothing for granted.”

Riding Olympia, an energetic 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Lori Washton, Parra of White House Station, New Jersey impressed the crowd at the USET Foundation headquarters to a musical medley by Earth, Wind and Fire. The music suited Olympia, whose lively nature is positively amplified with atmosphere and he scored 74.800 per cent based on the strength of his trot work and his pirouettes. Kassandra Barteau of Maple Park, Illinois on Toscano was reserve champion and Chris Hickey of Colora, Maryland on Cabana Boy placed third.

“I was just thinking about doing my very best,” he said. “It is very difficult choreography for this level… I knew it was good, and I was very grateful. It is very, very exciting.”

The pair was the crowd favorite–many of Parra’s local supporters were on hand–and the favorite of the Ground Jury which marked him well clear of the competition and Parra finished with not only the winning freestyle mark, but also the best overall percentage from the three days of competition.

“It’s a dream come true,” Cesar said of winning a National Championship on his first try.

But 22-year-old Kassandra Barteau gave Parra all he could handle. She won the Prix St. Georges (the first leg of the Intermediaire I Championship) on Friday with Toscano in her first try contesting an open championship. The 2008 and 2009 National Young Rider Dressage Champion made it clear that her legacy wasn’t going to end when she turned 22.

Kassandra Barteau and Toscano. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Kassandra Barteau and Toscano. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

“My horse was really great,” Kassandra said. “I’m proud of him. He was really on my aids all weekend, I couldn’t have asked for more from him.”

After winning the Prix St Georges, she and Kristin Cooper’s 10-year-old Dutch gelding were second in the Intermediaire I and then third in the Freestyle with a score oto music from the movies Madagascar, Driving Miss Daisy and Shrek. Her overall score was good enough for Reserve Champion honors in a division of classy veteran riders.

“It’s a pretty amazing feeling,” she said. “I’m honored and lucky to be sitting here.”

Jessica Ransehousen, president of the Ground Jury, had high praise for Barteau, especially regarding how she has evolved through the ranks and was able to maintain high scores at the Intermediaire I level throughout the course of the competition.

Chris Hickey, team and individual gold medalist from the 2007 Pan American Games, was right on Barteau’s heels. Hickey rode Hilltop Farm’s Cabana Boy to a dynamic freestyle to tropical music that suited both the eight-year-old Dutch gelding’s name and presence in the arena.  Cabana Boy has won USEF National Championships at every turn over the last three years. He was both the five and six-year-old champion in the Markel/USEF Young Horse Championships in 2007 and 2008 and then he was the 2009 Developing Horse Champion sponsored by the Dutta Corp. and Performance Sales International.

He capitalized on the horse’s strengths and was rewarded with high marks from all five judges for a freestyle score of 72.500 per cent.

“That horse has a fabulous canter,” Chris said. “His pirouettes can be very, very good but he is eight years old so he needs to get strong and stay consistent in his work.”

All three riders indicated that these horses would be aimed toward the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011. The Pan American Games are held at the Intermediaire I level.

With the Intermediaire I championship complete, Kassandra will turn her focus to the Brentina Cup next weekend, which is the ‘Young Adult’ Championships for riders aged 22 to 28 years coming up to the Grand Prix. She will ride Be Se.

Next weekend will also host the National Junior Dressage Championship and the National Young Rider Dressage Championship as well as the conclusion of the National Grand Prix Championship which is also serving as the USEF Selection Trial for the US Dressage Team for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Complete scores:

E: Gurney – USA H: Yukins – USA C: Ransehousen – USA M: Mechlem – GER B: Rockwell – USA
Rider Ctzn Horse E % Rk. H % Rk. C % Rk. M % Rk. B % Rk. T % Pl.
Parra, Cesar USA Olympia 75.250% 1 75.000% 1 71.500% 2 75.750% 1 76.500% 1 74.800% 1
Hickey, Christopher USA Cabana Boy 72.250% 2 73.000% 3 73.000% 1 71.750% 4 72.500% 3 72.500% 2
Barteau, Kassandra USA Toscano 71.000% 3 70.250% 6 70.750% 3 73.000% 3 73.250% 2 71.650% 3
Barteau, Kassandra USA GP Delano 70.000% 4 69.000% 11 70.250% 4 73.250% 2 68.000% 8 70.100% 4
Mason, Heather USA Glen Emeril 69.000% 6 69.500% 8 66.000% 10 71.750% 4 71.750% 4 69.600% 5
Barteau, Yvonne USA GP Raymeister 68.750% 7 69.750% 7 69.500% 5 70.500% 7 68.750% 6 69.450% 6
Festerling, Marisa USA Big Tyme 69.750% 5 69.500% 8 66.250% 9 69.250% 8 70.750% 5 69.100% 7
Batts, Tami USA Ranko 67.500% 9 71.250% 4 66.750% 8 71.250% 6 68.250% 7 69.000% 8
Williams, George USA Don Bailey 68.500% 8 73.500% 2 66.000% 10 69.250% 8 67.750% 9 69.000% 8
Rosencrantz, Mette USA Finally 67.250% 10 70.500% 5 68.500% 6 67.250% 11 67.000% 10 68.100% 10
Rosencrantz, Mette USA Taison 66.500% 12 69.000% 11 67.750% 7 67.250% 11 66.750% 11 67.450% 11
Jackson, Cyndi USA Strauss 67.250% 10 68.250% 13 64.750% 12 66.750% 13 66.500% 12 66.700% 12
Taylor, Melissa USA Chicco Roslev 62.500% 16 69.250% 10 63.250% 14 68.000% 10 65.250% 13 65.650% 13
Roffman, Caroline USA Bulgari 5 63.250% 15 67.500% 14 63.500% 13 63.500% 16 64.500% 14 64.450% 14
LeGoy-Weltz, Olivia USA Rifallino 65.500% 13 65.500% 15 61.000% 15 64.500% 14 64.500% 14 64.200% 15
Marchand, Jennifer USA Don Principe 63.500% 14 63.750% 16 61.000% 15 64.250% 15 64.500% 14 63.400% 16