Beatrice Marienau, German Turned American, Rides Her Stefano B to Win Wellington CDI3* Freestyle
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 12, 2016–Beatrice Marienau, the German turned American, rode Stefano B to victory in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle Friday, the first Big Tour victory in their inaugural Florida winter circuit.
Beatrice, 45 years old who lives in remote Oak Creek, Colorado and the 17-year-old KWPN gelding, were awarded 74.300 per cent, by far a personal best score for the pair that have competed together at CDIs for three years.
Fellow Americans Shelly Francis of Loxahatchee, Florida and the 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding Danilo placed second on 74.175 per cent with Arlene “Tuny” Page of Wellington on Alina third on 71.150 per cent.
Beatrice’s cousin, Great Britain’s Laura Tomlinson on Unique were fourth on 70.375 per cent. Beatrice and Laura are stabled at Tuny Page’s Stillpoint Farm near the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Global show grounds.
“It’s unreal,” a tearful Beatrice, known as ‘Trixi’,” said after the awards ceremony. “I still can’t believe it. It will take me a while to understand what just happened.”
Beatrice grew up in Bad Kreuznach, west of Frankfurt, and got into horses at three years old, initially eventing, through an aunt and uncle, the Bechtolsheimers, parents of Laura Tomlinson.
She switched to jumping and trained jumpers until she was 20 years old. Then at 21 not knowing what to do with her life went to England where the Bechtolsheimers “planted the seed of dressage.” She returned to Germany to earn a marketing degree.
In 1998, she went to Wyoming on vacation and was offered a job as a chef at a working ranch–no television, no computers, but cattle drives.
There she met the man who became her husband, from Evansville, Indiana.
Beatrice liked the life style, though it did not include riding.
“I liked the guest ranch idea and wanted to build our own,” she said.
But the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks forced her to go home to get a visa as she wanted to live in the United States.
In October, 2002 she married and the day before Christmas received her so-called “green card” that allows her to be a permanent resident.
She and her husband visited Steamboat Springs in Colorado and liked it so much they moved to the area in 2004, buying a 300-acre (120Ha) ranch that they called Hideaway, in the middle of the forest or as Trixi describes it, “the middle of nowhere.”
Beatrice had horses for trail riding, but showing, she said, was not for her because of the stress and “ring phobia”–scared of going into the competition arena.
However, by 2008 Beatrice was riding dressage and a trainer introduced her to Lilo Fore, a German transplant to northern California and an American citizen as well as an International Equestrian Federation 5* judge.
“That’s when the magic started,” she said.
She bought a 16-year-old Grand Prix schoolmaster, Reve de Neige, and started getting serious about dressage. In 2010 the pair performed their first Grand Prix and a year later were in the CDI Grand Prix arena in Southern California.
Looking for a younger horse, she found Stefano B as a 10-year-old.
“I fell in love with him,” she recalled. “We immediately clicked. I’m so fortunate to have him.”
Through a run bad luck with other horses she bought at the same time, “Stefano kept me going. I would go to the barn and ride horse and get me through it.”
Beatrice went to Lilo Fore’s training center in California for six months.
“I started showing,” she said, “and working on my ring phobia. I just didn’t want to disappoint people.”
She saw a sports psychologist and Lilo, who had become her “horse mom” also helped her a lot. As did Laura Tomlinson who texted her advice.
She went back to Lilo’s for a year to try to fulfill her dream of competing at the U.S. Festival of Champions.
To be in top 15 invited to the national championships was “pretty awesome.”
Although Stefano is 17 with the knowledge and experience gained Beatrice want to take him to Europe this summer to compete in some CDIs.