August 2016 - Westward Whoa!
Written by Kim F. Miller
Sunday, 31 July 2016 18:38
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Paso Robles piaffes onto national dressage stage as Festival of Champions host in October.

by Kim F. Miller

The Paso Robles Horse Park has gone from hosting its first dressage show in June, the Templeton Farms Paso Robles Dressage Summer Classic, to becoming the site for the USEF Dressage Grand Prix and Intermediaire 1 National Championships. The venue will host this event Oct. 12-16.

The competition had been set for Epona Farms in Thousand Oaks in the fall.

These Grand Prix and Intermediaire 1 National Championships are part of the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, which is divided into two parts over two events. The counterpart includes the National Championships for Pony, Junior, Young and Young Adult (Brentina Cup), and takes place this month, Aug. 24-28, in the Chicago area’s Lamplight Equestrian Center.

The Festival of Champions is different from the US Dressage Finals, which will be held Nov. 10-13 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. This event includes adult amateur through open divisions, Training Level through Grand Prix.

“It’s great any time we can get a national event out West,” says California Dressage Society president Kevin Reinig. “I realize that dressage is much bigger on the East Coast, but it is growing and flourishing out here and, of course, we have some of the top horses and riders in the sport.

“This gives us the chance to showcase some of the best the West has to offer and opens up opportunities for riders who may have the talent, but not the means or the time, to travel back east for the Championships.”

Kevin predicts the competition will be very exciting to watch and encourages all to make plans to attend. “The best way to show our support is to pack the stands.” He’s excited to visit the Paso Robles Horse Park after hearing great feedback about the facility, the footing and the staff’s ability to support top sport. “The best thing that we can do is support the riders there and show everybody how passionate we are about dressage.”

Lisa Blaufuss, of Crackerjack Productions, will serve as the apprentice manager for the show and is excited about having part of this national championship on the West Coast. “It’s been held on the East Coast for quite a few years and this is a big deal to have it here,” says Lisa. “We hope to have an excellent turn-out of national riders come in for the event.”

Monica Fitzgerald will serve as the competition’s manager.

A part of the management team that staged the Templeton Farms Paso Robles Dressage Summer Classic, Lisa acknowledges that great feedback from that inaugural show contributed to the USEF bringing the Festival to Central California, once it had to be moved from Epona Farms.