WELLINGTON, FL – March 16, 2006 – Topping a field of 26 horses, Leslie Morse of Beverly Hills, California, riding Kingston won the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3* at the Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic CDI 3*/Y in Wellington, Florida, today. Morse and her 14-year-old Dutch stallion by Voltaire out of Gisnette earned a score of 71.583%. Canadian Ashley Holzer of New York, New York, earned the same score on both of her stallions, 70.708%, to tie for second place with Gambol, an 11-year-old Dutch stallion owned by Dr. Diane Fellows and Holzer, and Imperioso, a 16-year-old Dutch stallion owned by Holzer who was her mount at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
All but one of the international panel of judges placed Morris first, with only the judge at E putting them third. Judging the FEI Grand Prix today were: Elizabeth McMullen (O) Canada at E; Stephen Clark (O) Great Britain at H; Angelika Froemming (I) Germany at C; Axel Steiner (O) USA at M; and Hilda Gurney (I) USA at B.
“I’m glad to be back in the ring,” said Morse. “Now I’ve got another test under my belt so that’s great.” Prior to today’s victory, in the past seven months Morse has only competed in one other show, the Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI (March 3-5) in Loxahatchee, Florida, where Kingston placed second in the Grand Prix. Morse and Kingston are currently qualified to compete in the Selection Trials for the World Equestrian Games (June 15-18 at Gladstone, New Jersey) and are using the Wellington CDI as a preparation for the trials.
“He was good. His ride-ability was really good,” Morse said, assessing the 17.3-hand bay stallion’s performance today. “He got a little strong on me by the last one tempis and I couldn’t quite keep him on the aids, but other than that I was really pleased with the trot, the extended trot, the extensions, and the zigzag. Even after not showing for so long and then showing a couple shows, the test is just getting easier for us. I’m really pleased with that.” Morse and Kingston have been partnered at the Grand Prix level for three years.
Morse said that what felt the best to her today were Kingston’s pirouettes and his walk. “The second pirouette felt beautiful,” she enthused. “The walk felt fabulous, it felt super. I thought the passage transition from the walk was really super. The extended canter felt beautiful – he just covered ground and came back to me easy.”
At the Cadillac Challenge of the Americas fundraising event on March 11, the U.S. Dressage Team Coach Klaus Balkenhol rode Kingston in a Pas de Deux exhibition with Morse on her other brilliant stallion Tip Top 962. “Klaus has ridden Kingston periodically when we train in Germany. It’s a big help to have him ride him because he can feel what I’m talking about,” Morse explained. “Klaus’s timing and his rhythm are amazing. I feel so lucky to have that advantage.”
Morse is aiming Kingston for the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Aachen, Germany, August 20 to September 3, and using the Wellington CDI as “a tune-up”. Morse recently taped 13 two-minute ‘training tips’, which will air on the Horse TV Channel as part of the series following her to the World Equestrian Games.
Morse also has her sites set on the World Cup Final in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, April 20-24, with Tip Top. She is qualified to compete in the 2006 USEF National Grand Prix Freestyle Championship/U.S. League Final CDI-W, which will be held on Friday and Saturday nights (March 17-18) in conjunction with the Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic. That competition will determine the two riders that will represent the United States at the World Cup Final.
Looking ahead, Morse says she also plans to qualify for the Selection Trials for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games – with either horse. “We’ll wait and see what comes at the right time,” she said.
Morse acknowledged that the four-ring Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic CDI 3*/Y is “a huge event” and noted, “I just feel so lucky to have two horses here in it and so fortunate to have been able to bring them. It’s just a fabulous experience so far. I’m really looking forward to a fun weekend. It’s a great way to start!”
CDI Highlights on Opening Day
In the other CDI class held today, the FEI Prix St. Georges, Ashley Holzer took another victory lap with her Pop Eye, claiming the win over a field of 33 horses with a score of 71.40%. Melissa Jackson of Parrish, Florida, aboard Wellington 248, a nine-year-old Hannoverian gelding she owns with her husband John Jackson, claimed second place with a score of 71.03%. Denmark’s Lars Petersen of Wellington, Florida, riding Dacardo for owner Melissa Taylor Yee claimed third with a score of 69.30%.
“He hasn’t lost a class yet, this whole Florida season,” Holzer pointed out. The duo are approaching 10 consecutive wins. “He’s a phenomenal horse.” Pop Art is a nine-year-old, 16.2-hand chestnut gelding by Amsterdam out of Jody Prinses that Holzer owns.
“I have to also take my hat off to the other competitors in the class,” Holzer noted. “It was a close class. Melissa did great – she’s only been with that horse since September. Lars had a fabulous test I heard, so I think we were all pretty close. That makes it fun.”
Officiating at the ring were Michael Poulin (I) USA at H and Gisela Holstein (I) Ireland at C.
With a smile, Holzer easily pointed out the best part of Pop Art’s performance today: “I’ve been feeling very sick this whole day and Pop Art took care of me. That’s the best thing. He did the test and I sat there and pointed him in the right direction.”
The Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic CDI-W CDI 3* /Y continues at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club through Sunday, March 19. For complete results, visit http://www.stadiumjumping.com
Evening Competition Featured March 17-18
Featured on Friday night, March 17, is the Grand Prix, and on Saturday night, March 18, the Grand Prix Freestyle, competitions for the USEF National Grand Prix Freestyle Championship & U.S. League Final CDI-W. The schedule is as follows:
7:00 Brian O'Connor
7:12 National Anthem
7:15 65 Hexagon's Louisville Reid-Offield, Karin
7:25 54 Succes Taylor Yee, Melissa
7:35 55 Cambay Tate, Jessica Jo
7:45 64 Caribi Lipp, Karen
8:00 Frieze Frame Friesans Exhibition
8:10 Arena Resurface
8:20 48 Lucky Tiger St. Jacques, Pierre
8:30 78 Wild One Page, Arlene
8:40 161 Tip Top 962 Morse, Leslie
8:50 16 Marnix Williams, George
9:00 Brian O’Connore/Silke Rembacz Pax De Deux exhibition
General Admission Tickets (Daytime and Evening Performances)
General Admission Tickets may be purchased at the gate. Adults – $10. Seniors – $5. Children over 12 – $5. Children under 12 – free.
Table Reservations in the Jockey Club
For table reservations, call Kendra Cecieta of Phelps Media Group Inc. International at 561-753-3389.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/fei-grand-prix-dressage-morse-kingston-wef-equine-3-06.html">Leslie Morse and Kingston Win FEI Grand Prix CDI 3* at Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic CDI 3*/Y</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com