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Suzanne and Cooper Get Help From Superman to Win FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI

Wellington, FL – March 24, 2007 – As the Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic at the Winter Equestrian Festival winds down, Suzanne Dansby-Phelps continues to top the scoreboards.

Aboard Cooper, she earned a 70.40 percent today in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI for the win. In yesterday’s Grand Prix Special, she piloted Goubergh’s Kaspar to victory. Dansby-Phelps owns Dancing Horse Farm in Atlanta, GA, and has been partnered with Cooper for five years. The flashy 15-year-old chestnut gelding stands at 18.3 hands.

“I’m very excited (about the test today),” she explained. “I feel like Cooper really deserves most of the credit because he’s got such a big heart. He concentrates on his work: He’s wonderful that way. He’s totally stalwart and a hard worker.”

Dansby-Phelps’ freestyle, which she choreographed herself, has a very high level of technical difficulty and uses one-tempi changes on a 20-meter circle, double pirouettes on center line and transitions from the canter directly into passage. Her music is from the “Superman” and “Superman Returns” soundtracks and combines an entertaining mix of sounds, including “Lex Luther’s Luau,” a Hawaiian song.

“I chose the Hawaiian music because the rest of the music is so big. The Hawaiian music adds a little lightness to it. I think it’s fun to add a surprise here and there in the choreography – it keeps people motivated when they’re watching the ride. And, I think the horses hear it and enjoy it,” she commented.

She continued, “Cooper’s nickname is Super Coop, so that’s one of the reasons Superman kind of stuck. At first it was a little sketchy; it was really kind of hard to bring it all together with this music because it changes a lot. We had to do a lot of editing to make it really smooth and continuous.”

This was only the second time Dansby-Phelps performed the freestyle in competition, and she noted that she will continue to tweak the music and movements to highlight Cooper’s best qualities. The pair is already qualified for the League Finals in Burbank, CA, and Dansby-Phelps said that she has set the 2008 Olympic Team in her sights.

“I aspire to make the team for 2008 for the Olympics,” she explained. “There is no reason why anything should stop us from making the team. He is definitely a world-class horse, and we’re just going to keep on training and working toward the goal of bringing it together so we can provide a performance that will reflect that.”

Dr. Cesar Parra and Ecu 8 took second place in the Grand Prix Freestyle, earning a 67.350 percent for their performance. George Williams and Marnix, owned by Joann Smith, finished in third place with a 61.600 percent.

In the FEI Intermediaire I CDI, which was run over the course of two days, Shawna Harding and Come On III set the early lead with a 70.250 percent. Harding’s score held through the remainder of the riders for the win. Second place went to Christopher Hickey and Regent, who also won the FEI Prix St. Georges CDI this weekend. In the I-I, the pair earned a 69.667 percent from the judges. Silke Rembacz and Millenium took third place with a 68.083 percent.

Caroline Roffman earned blue again today in the FEI Young Rider Prix St. George CDIY with Bulgari 5 and a score of 69.250 percent. Hannah Holland Shook and Cape Town followed in second place with a 66.950 percent, and Devon Kane piloted Douwe to third place with a 65.700 percent.

Competition at the Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic CDI-W CDIY will conclude tomorrow afternoon.

PHOTO CREDIT: Suzanne Dansby-Phelps and Cooper 19. Photo by Susan J. Stickle.


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