November 2016 - Golden Moments
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 01 November 2016 04:31

Great American/USDF Region 7 & CDS Championships see record-breaking participation.

Heading into its 50th year, the California Dressage Society is getting better with age. And it’s certainly getting bigger, if the whopping 370-horse turn-out for its 49th Annual Championship is an indicator. Held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center Sept. 29-Oct. 2, the Great American/USDF Region 7 & California Dressage Society Championships enjoyed record-breaking participation in six rings over four days.

Elma Garcia and Wenesa turned a ride in memory of Parry Thomas into a victorious performance. Photo: Terri Miller

“After 49 years, it’s amazing that this championship show just gets better and better every single year,” said longtime organizer Glenda McElroy. “We’ve hosted record-setting editions before, but this one takes the cake by far.

We’re seeing a level of excitement I haven’t seen before, and it’s wonderful for the sport. This show has become a destination event for riders here on the West Coast.”

Big stars like Jan Ebeling, Sabine Schut-Kery and Sarah Lockman joined with riders from every nook and cranny in the West to tackle the Championship’s many divisions. Competition encompassed horses of all ages and experience and riders from 13-year-olds to Olympians, including 1976 team bronze medalist Hilda Gurney.

Space restraints prevent us from detailing all the highlights, but here is a smattering of some of the Championships top stories, excerpted from daily reports by Yellow Horse Marketing for CDS.

Gaspard De La Nuit DG and Ashlyn De Groot, winners of the CDS/Interactive Mortgage Five-Year-Old Open Futurity. Photo: Terri Miller

Tribute To Parry Thomas

“This one’s for Parry,” said Elma Garcia, as she struggled to control her emotions before receiving the $1,000 California Dressage Society Horse of the Year title, for the Adult Amateur Intermediaire I division, for her partner Wenesa.

“Parry originally bought Wenesa out of the Verden Hanoverian auction for Debbie [McDonald] to ride, and he loved the mare. But when Debbie retired from international competition after the 2008 Olympics, Adrienne [Lyle] encouraged me to try her,” explained Garcia.

“I got on, took two steps and knew immediately that she was the horse for me. Debbie was a little skeptical at first and said that she would be a technical ride for an amateur, but after a week of working with Debbie we got her blessing, and it’s made it so much better for me because this horse has taught me so much. [Parry’s wife] Peggy always said that Brentina had the same white ‘birdcatcher’ spots on her body and that they were for good luck - and I guess she was right. I love the Thomas family and have so much respect for them, so I told my husband that I was riding today for Parry.”

(Editor’s Note: One of U.S. dressage’s top supporters, Parry Thomas passed away in August.)

Ravel Redux

The royally-bred KWPN stallion Gaspard De La Nuit DG (Ravel x Ceolieta by Sir Donnerhall, owned and bred in the U.S. by DG Bar Ranch) is looking more and more like his famous sire in the show ring. In this year’s CDS/Interactive Mortgage Five-Year-Old Open Futurity, the black stunner swept both First Level tests for an overall score of 74.038% in the talented hands of rider Ashlyn DeGroot of Hanford, CA (Fresno Chapter).

“Even though he’s a stallion, he’s so rideable and he never says ‘no.’ He has such a great, workmanlike attitude at the shows, and is handling the demands of both competition and breeding so well,” said DeGroot. “I think a big highlight is his suppleness and how easily everything comes to him. He has a lot of presence in the ring and he’s very fluid and steady. I’m so thankful to be able to ride such a nice horse.”

Charlotte Jorst and Kastel’s Akeem Foldager celebrate winning the Open Grand Prix. Photo: Jennifer M. Keeler

Sarah Lockman and Charming Boy. Photo: Terri Miller

Super Silberpfell

David Wightman of Murrieta, CA (Temecula Valley Chapter) certainly knows his young horses. In 2003 and 2005, Wightman represented the United States at the FEI/WBFSH World Breeding Championships for Young Horses in Dressage in Verden, Germany. So when he and his wife Kathleen Raine found Silberpfeil, they knew they had a potential new star and the six-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Silberschmied x Barcelona by Boss, bred in Germany) did not disappoint.

In August, Wightman returned to the World Championship stage with Silberpfeil as one of two U.S. Team members who traveled to the Netherlands to compete, and now back home on the West Coast the pair claimed the Paquita Parker Perpetual Trophy for the CDS/Interactive Mortgage Six-Year-Old Open Futurity with an overall score of 71.611%.

(Editor’s Note: For more on the WBFSH, read Ayden Uhler’s report)

CDS Horse of the Year champions for Adult Amateurs at Fourth Level are Karen Nocket and Ken’s Kitten. Photo by Jennifer M. Keeler

World Cup Hopes

After claiming CDS Grand Prix Horse of the Year honors on Friday, Charlotte Jorst of Reno, NV (San Diego Chapter) wrapped up her championship weekend on a winning note by topping a field of 10 in the Great American/USDF Region 7 Open Grand Prix division with a top score of 68.950% aboard her Danish gelding Kastel’s Akeem Foldager. Jorst noted that she and her mount will now consider trying to qualify for the 2017 Reem Acra/FEI World Cup Final in Omaha, as well as a trip to Kentucky next month to represent Region 7 at the U.S. Dressage Finals presented by Adequan. “Why not?” said Jorst. “It would be great to go to the Finals, and I think Akeem would love it!”

Ann Romney and Donatello overcome first-to-go status, a fear of indoor arenas and some distractions to ride to the Intermediate 2 Championship. “I think the best part about today is the fact that despite everything he was still trusting me, coming back and listening to me,” said Ann. “Those are the types of small achievements that people don’t necessarily see or realize how hard the road may have been with a horse, but they’re the most meaningful because you know. You just keep chipping away at it to make progress, and you have to love the journey because that’s what matters.” It was one of several weekend highlights for Jan & Amy Ebelngs’ the Acres Dressage program. Jan rode several horses to top placings and, in between, he and Rassoulini did a terrific dressage demonstration for the Longines LA Masters show jumping event going on the same weekend in Long Beach. The same night, their son Ben Ebeling jumped in the Master’s super fun Charity ProAm Challenge. Photo: Terri Miller

Busy Body

Sarah Lockman of Foothill Ranch, CA (Los Angeles Chapter) may have been the busiest rider at the show with 11 horses competing across a wide range of levels, but her efforts paid off with three horses in the top five of the Region 7 Open First Level Championship, including taking the win with Tobi Coate’s five-year-old Oldenburg gelding Charming Boy (72.574%).

Team Ebeling Is On Fire

The Region 7 Open Intermediaire I title went to Olympian Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, CA (Los Angeles Chapter), who has been nurturing the up-and-coming talent of Ann Romney’s 10-year-old Hanoverian Bakari for several years and has claimed titles at the CDS Championship Show at Fourth Level and Prix St. Georges since 2014. Now another honor was added to the gelding’s resume by topping a huge field with 71.136%. “He just keeps coming back every year getting better and better,” said Ebeling.

Racing To the Winners Circle

After qualifying for the CDS Championship show through the popular Regional Adult Amateur Program (RAAC), Karen Nocket of Rolling Hills Estates (Palos Verdes Chapter) and her nine-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred gelding Ken’s Kitten earned CDS Horse of the Year divisional honors for Adult Amateurs at Fourth Level to win the Fox Run Perpetual Trophy with a combined average of 62.958%.

Anke Herbert & Fandango.

Eventer Frankie Thieriot Stutes, her son Drake and Chatwin, celebrate a terrific foray into the dressage world.

Steady As He Goes

The Pelton Family Trophy for Open Intermediaire II was presented to Anke Herbert, from Half Moon Bay, CA (Las Vegas Chapter), who rode her 13-year-old Bavarian gelding Fandango R.S. first down centerline to earn a score of 67.368%, which would successfully remain atop the leaderboard for the duration of the class. Anke brought Fandango to the States as an unbroken youngster eight years ago and has been patiently bringing him up the levels.


Eventers often say that dressage is not their favorite phase, but Frankie Thieriot Stutes proved that they certainly can excel at it. The veteran three-day rider and her own 8 year old Oldenburg Chatwin earned the $1,000 CDS Horse of the Year Third Level Adult Amateur title and the Stanford Dressage Club Trophy. Frankie started the Championships by winning the Adult Amateur Dressage Seat Equitation Challenge.

“We thought it was a very strong class with riders who rode well, sat well, and were very in tune with their horses,” said judge Joan Macartney. “But it was the winner’s equitation skills that put her on top. She was very elegant, the horse was totally in front of her aids and into a soft contact, and she showed her horse to an advantage. There was total harmony between the two and it was very pleasing to watch.”

Sabine Schut-Kery and Sir Cedrik H. Photo: Terri Miller

Sabine & Sir Cedrik H

Almost 30 horses were entered for the hotly-contested $1,000 CDS Horse of the Year Open Prix St. Georges class, but in the end it was the single combination scoring over 70% that claimed the Bent Roswall Memorial Trophy. Sabine Schut-Kery of Thousand Oaks, CA (Los Angeles Chapter) was not to be denied victory as she rode Nicole Bhathal’s Oldenburg gelding Sir Cedrik H to a top score of 70.197%.


For complete results from the Championships, visit