The first CPEDI competition of the season trotted down the centerline at the Equestrian Village of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL last week.
The event is one of only two opportunities in North America for para-dressage riders to compete in front of the international ground jury and earn their FEI certificate of capability for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG).
In short, the stakes are high and the chances few.
At the Wellington CPEDI3*, Team USA reigned supreme, earning the Team Gold and sweeping all five divisions on the day sheet. (In the interest of editorial accuracy, only three of the 19 competitors were Canadian, all of which competed in the Grade I division. No other nations were represented).
Here’s how the competition played out.
Margaret McIntosh, a 2016 Paralympian and former top eventer, dominated Grade I with Heros, posting scores in the high 70s over the weekend.
“We’ve been working really hard since Tryon so I was pleasantly surprised to see that everything we have been working on with Missy came together this weekend. It was nice having done so well in the Team Test that we could relax, concentrate, and really ride my horse for the Individual Test. Taking a step back and experimenting with the warm-up, [my trainer] Missy [Ransehousen] rode her a little bit deeper and rounder and changed things up to the next higher level.”
Fellow 2016 Paralympian Annie Peavy and Royal Dark Chocolate also posted scores in the middle 70s emerging as the top Grade IV duo.
In Grade II, Allana Flax-Clark (USA) and Captain Moonlight earned the blue, while Grade III was led by three-time Paralympian (2008, 2012, 2016) and two-time WEG athlete (2010, 2014), Rebecca Hart (USA) with her new mount El Corona Texel.
Hart finished the weekend with a 74.167% in the Freestyle competition.
“This weekend was an amazing event. I have missed getting in the CDI ring at AGDF. It’s great to be back. It’s been a lot of fun to go down centerline again with a new horse and a new program,” said Hart. “I want to thank them for having us again and holding us in the main stadium. It’s great to get the experience we need in this type of environment.”
Lastly, Katie Jackson and Royal Dancer excelled not only for the team, but in the individual rankings of Grade V. Jackson competed in her first CPEDI in Wellington just one year ago. She’s now aiming at the 2018 WEG.
The Adequan Global Dressage Festival begins on January 11, 2018. Para-dressage riders will be back at the Florida venue for the Week 2 CPEDI3* on January 18-21, 2018.