USA Dressage Team Chief Robert Dover Strongly Supports Heather Blitz & Paragon
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 13, 2014-Robert Dover, the United States Chef d’Equipe who has been working with Heather Blitz in preparing Paragon for competition this year, on Monday strongly defended the coaching that he believes will “achieve true excellence on the international stage.”
Comments by Robert came two days after the American Olympic reserve combination, in their first show in nine months, scored 60.745 per cent in the Grand Prix Special at last weekend’s Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup event.
After the ride on the 11-year-old old homebred gelding, Heather was positive about the performance.
“A lot of things were better,” she told dressage-news.com. “The connection was better. I got to work on his power, to keep him more on the aids in the ring. I pressed him for more obedience which caused some mistakes. It was productive for the future.”
Robert said in a text message to dressage-news.com Monday night: “I just want to say that I was very proud of Heather Blitz who, in pushing herself and trusting me that the path toward the truth and Paragon’s brilliance might take time, went into the Grand Prix Special and did not compromise.
“Yes, it caused many mistakes which could only have been avoided by not doing what was right and necessary to produce future greatness.
“I absolutely believe that this combination can and will find the strength and harmony to achieve true excellence on the international stage.”
Heather, who is now based in the Boston area but is in Wellington for the winter cicuit, and the big chestnut that she has brought up since helping deliver him, were on the United States gold medal team and took individual silver at the 2011 Pan American Games at small tour.
In 2012, the pair were selected to go to Britain as a reserve with the American team for the London Oympics.
The partnership competed during the 2013 Forida winter circuit, with first place finishes in both the Grand Prix and Special for the U.S. team that won the CDIO3* Nations Cup. That was their last competition before the weekend’s World Cup show.
Paragon’s extravagant gaits and size with eight of their nine Grand Prix level scores in Florida in 2013 well above 70 per cent won the horse a legion of fans.
There was, however, disappointment over their return to the show ring in the Grand Prix and the Special.
Combinations are gearing up to qualify for the national championships in June where the short list of horses and riders will be selected to go to Europe where the U.S. WEG team will be chosen.