USA Grand Prix & Intermediaire Championships Start Tuesday
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Dec. 7, 2015–As the only rider in the world to have logged at least eight international Big Tour victories on two horses in 2015, Steffen Peters has brought both mounts to the United States Grand Prix Championships presented by the Dutta Corp. seeking his fifth straight national title.
Looking to improve on her record as runner-up in the 2014 championships after squeaking in as a virtual unknown for their inaugural appearance is Laura Graves on her Verdades that are now among the elite group of international competitors.
Steffen will compete Legolas, 13-year-old Westfalen gelding and U.S. champion for the past three years, and Rosemunde, eight-year-old Rhinelander mare that was the 2014 Intermediaire champion.
Competing on both sides of the Atlantic, Steffen of San Diego, California and Legolas, No. 8 in the world have posted eight victories of 17 starts at CDIs in 2015. On Rosamunde, 23rd in the world, the record for their first year at Grand Prix is nine of of 12 starts. Both horses are owned by Four Winds Farm of Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang.
Laura of Plymouth, Florida on her 13-year-old KWPN gelding, ranked 15th in the world, won seven of 12 starts in 2015.
Steffen on Legolas and Laura on Verdades were the two Grand Prix combinations on the U.S. team that won gold at the Pan American Games this summer and earned a start for America at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The Tim Dutta Grand Prix Championships of 17 combinations from across the country counts as a qualifying competition for Americans seeking to be on the team for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The Intermediaire Championships will see seven pairs from the East Coast and one from the Midwest.
Both are being staged for the first time at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, home of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival and will start Tuesday with the veterinary check.
The Grand Prix and Prix St. Georges is scheduled for Wednesday in front of an international ground jury comprising Gary Rockwell as President and Linda Zang, both of the United States, Hans Christian Matthiesen of Denmark, Peter Holler of Germany and Christof Umbach of Luxembourg.
The Grand Prox Special Intermediaire I will be held Thursday with no competitions scheduled for Friday.
The Freestyles of both championships will be Saturday evening, the Grand Prix under lights.
The Dressage Owners Task Force with Kim Boyer as its new chair will host a reception in the VIP pavilion after the veterinary check on Tuesday. U.S. Equestrian Federation Director of Sport Will Connell will speak on Olympic team selection.
Pony, Junior, Young Rider and Brentina Cup Under-25 divisions that are usually part of the Festival of Champions were split off this year and held along with Young Horse Championships in Wayne, Illinois in summer.
Confirmed entries for the Dutta Corp./USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship as of Monday, Dec. 7:
-Katherine Bateson-Chandler of Wellington & Jane F. Clark’s Alcazar, 10, KWPN gelding
–Allison Brock of Wellington with Fritz & Claudine Kundrun’s Rosevelt, 13, KWPN stallion
–Susan Dutta of Wellington with Tim and Susan Dutta’s Currency DC, 15, Oldenburg gelding
–Shelly Francis of Loxahatchee, Florida with Patricia Stempel’s Danilo, 11, Hanoverian gelding
–Shelly Francis and Doktor, 12. Oldenburg gelding
–Laura Graves of Plymouth, Florida with her own Verdades, 13, KWPN gelding
–Catherine Haddad-Staller of Califon, New Jersey with Rowan O’Riley’s Mane Stream Hotmail, 13, Oldenburg gelding
–Charlotte Jorst of Reno, Nevada with her own Kastel’s Nintendo, 12, KWPN stallion
–Tracey Lert of Scotts Valley, California and her own Udo, 14, KWPN gelding
–Beatrice Marienau of Oak Creek, Colorado with her own Stefano 8, 16, KWPN gelding
–Kimberly McGrath of Redlands, California with Arianthi Ferronato’s Winslow, 12, KWPN gelding
–Heather Oleson of Eagle, Idaho with her own Victor, 13, KWPN gelding
–Arlene Page of Wellington with her own Alina, 17, Danish Warmblood mare
–Arlene Page with her own Woodstock, 12, KWPN gelding
–Steffen Peters of San Diego, California with Four Winds Farm’s Legolas 92, 13, Westfalen gelding
–Steffen Peters and Four Winds Farm’s Rosamunde, 8, Rhineland mare
–Günter Seidel of Cardiff, California with James & Charlotte Mashburn’s Zero Gravity, 11, KWPN gelding
Confirmed entries for the Dutta Corp./USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship
–Emily Copeland of Loxahatchee, Florida with her own Festivo RS, 10, P.R.E. (Pura Raza Española) stallion
–Shelly Francis with Patricia Stempel’s Rubinio, 9, Westfalen gelding
–Melissa Fladland of Griswold, Iowa with her own Royal Gem, 10, Oldenburg gelding
–Melissa Jackson of Parrish, Florida with Laura Eyre’s Whirlpool, 12, Hanoverian gelding
–Jane Karol of Concord, Massachusetts with her own Sunshine Tour, 8, Oldenburg mare
–Dorothy Morkis of Dover, Massachusetts with her own Artiest, 10, KWPN gelding
–Cesar Parra of Whitehouse Station with his own and Cavallias’ Blickpunkt 4, 10, Westfalen stallion
–Christina Vinios of Wellington with her own Folkestone, 9, Oldenburg gelding
Tentative schedule at the Global Dressage Festival grounds in Wellington:
–4 pm Tuesday, Dec. 8–Veterinary check for both Grand Prix/Intermediaire horses
–10 am Wednesday, Dec. 9–Prix St. Georges, prize money $2,000
–1 pm Wednesday, Dec. 9–Grand Prix, prize money $6,000
–10 am Thursday, Dec. 10–Intermediare 1, prize money $2,000
–1 pm Thursday, Dec. 10–Grand Prix Special. prize money $6,000
–Friday, Dec. 11–No competition
–4 pm Saturday, Dec. 12–Intermediaire Freestyle, prize money $1,000
–7 pm Saturday, Dec. 12–Grand Prix Freestyle, prize money $8,000
Although the championships are not a CDI, international rules are being followed so it meets Olympic qualifying standards, including a ground jury of five with three foreign judges. The ground jury comprises Gary Rockwell (5*) USA, President – Linda Zang (5*) USA – Hans Christian Matthiesen (5*) Denmark – Peter Holler (5*) Germany – Christof Umbach (4*) Luxembourg