Aussie Briana Burgess in CDI Grand Prix Debut on La Scala Places 3rd with 70% in Holland

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Briana Burgess and La Scala. Photo: Courtesy Lyndal Oatley
Briana Burgess and La Scala. Photo: Courtesy Lyndal Oatley

 

ROSENDAAL, Netherlands, Dec. 5 2013–Australia’s Briana Burgess and La Scala made their debut at international Grand Prix Thursday for a score of 70.213 per cent and third place at the Den Goubergh Christmas CDI3* just five months since starting with the 15-year-old Rhinelander gelding.

The result that placed the pair behind Tommie Visser and Vingino on 71.426 per cent and Hans Peter Minderhoud and Johnson on 70.426 per cent, both of the Netherlands, was the second highest for an Australian combination competing in Europe or North America this year.

Only Lyndal Oatley, who helped Briana warm up, has scored higher in the Grand Prix, posting 71.128 per cent on her Olympic mount, Sandro Boy.

The Austraian combination of Hayley Beresford and Jaybee Alabaster, also based in Germany, placed seventh on 68.085 per cent in Thursday’s Grand Prix.

“I’m still new at the Grand Prix level,” Briana told dressage-news.com. “Leading up to the show we have been concentrating on not making mistakes, looking at the details, correcting them and being accurate.

“This was our first time at international Grand Prix. I think as we get a little more experience the points can go even higher.”

The goal is the Australian team for the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France next summer. The selection trials will be held in Europe.

The 26-year-old Briana and her mother bought La Scala (Lancer II x Rembrandt) through Patrik Kittel, the Swedish Olympian who is married to Lyndal, last July. The horse had been trained and competed by Henri Ruoste of Finland.

La Scala, or Scali as he is nicknamed, is stabled with Patrik, and Briana drives 45 minutes each way from her base in Osnabrück for daily training.

Briana moved to Europe six years ago to be based with Johann and Penny Rockx in Belgium before going to work for three years with Monica Theodorescu, who is now the German team coach.

She and her mother are partners in the ownership of La Scala.

From the time she first tried the horse, “it worked straight away; we hit it off.”

The next competition on the schedule is Drachten in the Netherlands the first week of January.