Katie Poag & Zonnekoning Win Tryon CDI3* Grand Prix With Personal Best Score
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
MILL SPRING, North Carolina, April 21, 2017–Katie Poag rode Zonnekoning, a KWPN stallion and half-brother of Verdades that she has developed over the past six years, to victory in the Tryon CDI3* Grand Prix Friday with a personal best score.
Katie and the 13-year-old she calls “Ziggy,” scored 68.840 per cent for the win that beat their previous high score of 68.820 per cent posted at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida four weeks ago.
Katie, based on John Island on the South Carolina coast 240 miles/390km from this 2018 World Equestrian Games show grounds, rode Zonnekoning to victory in the Wellington CDI4* Grand Prix Special in March for their first win since starting Big Tour in Florida in January, 2016.
“It’s very exciting to find out we’re moving up slowly,” said the 37-year-old Katie who found the horse in the Netherlands six years ago.
“This is really special for me, my own horse; I’ve been bringing him along and had some good help along the way and it makes it more special that he’s mine.”
P.J. Rizvi of Greenwich, Connecticut and Breaking Dawn placed second on 68.222 per cent, the highest Grand Prix score for the pair in almost three years and following a Florida winter circuit where they posted their first win. The 16-year-old KWPN gelding was ridden by Ashley Holzer for Canada at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Arlene “Tuny” Page of Wellington and Dr. House in only the third CDI Grand Prix since beginning Big Tour two months ago, were third on 68.100 per cent.
Zonnekoning is Katie’s first international Grand Prix horse–she competed a Friesan named Rembrandt at national level Grand Prix in 2009.
She said that when she saw “Ziggy” six years ago she thought there was something very special about him–“he was very smart, very green, they had started him later, and I’ve been bringing him along since myself.”
Katie admits that Zonnekoning is her first stallion and though a “procrastinator,” he has “phenomonal talent and a heart of gold” that she hopes to make the duo a contender for the American team for the World Games here next year.
She has worked with Anne Gribbons, the former U.S. team coach, for the past three or four years, an experience she describes as having occurred at a good time in their development and “it’s started to pay off.”
Before Friday’s Grand Prix, Katie and Zonnekoning (Florett AS x Topas) ranked 17th on the rankings for the U.S. championships in Gladstone in mid-May but changes in the standings could lead to her being invited to Gladstone, New Jersey. She has never competed in Europe but has applied for a grant to do so.
Katie said that Zonnekoning has had a limited breeding program but has produced a foal, Kendrix, that she plans to keep for her own as a future prospect. The horse will not continue breeding while she is competing him.