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Michelle Gibson and Don Angelo Claim Double Victory at Wellington Classic Holiday Challenge

Devon Kane Introduces Dom Perignon to U.S. in PSG at Wellington Classic

WELLINGTON, FL - December 19, 2007 - Michelle Gibson riding Don Angelo for owner Terri Kane claimed a double victory at the Wellington Classic Holiday Challenge, held December 15-16 at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida, winning both the Prix St. Georges and the Intermediaire I.

Don Angelo, a 16.2-hand, seven-year-old Oldenburg stallion, won the FEI Prix St. Georges on Saturday with a score of 72.50% and followed that up with a win on Sunday in the FEI Intermediaire I, scoring 68.50% in his debut performance at this level. FEI International (I) judge Natalie Lamping officiated.

Gibson, a member of the Bronze Medal Team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, is based at Terri and Dick Kane's Diamante Farms in Wellington, and has had the ride on Don Angelo for two years. In 2006, the duo finished as Reserve Champion in the Eastern Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Selection Trials for Six Year Olds and earlier this year they won the 2007 USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship sponsored by the Dutta Corporation and Performance Sales International. Gibson is aiming Don Angelo for the 2008 USEF National Intermediaire I Championship.

The Wellington show was Don Angelo's first outing since the Developing Horse Championship in September. "I wanted to get him in the ring again and do his first I-I. The I-I was really the whole point," explained Gibson. Describing her horse's performances over the weekend, Gibson said, "In the Prix St. Georges, he was really super - in front of my leg, listening, everything was just right there. For the I-I, it was his first time and he was good. He was a little bit tired because it was the second day, but he still stepped up to the challenge. I had two small mistakes, but I'm thrilled with the score that we received from Natalie Lamping."

Gibson noted that Don Angelo's strong points in the Intermediaire I proved to be in the canter tour, despite a small mistake in the two tempis. "He has such an uphill, beautiful canter and the changes are really pretty," Gibson enthused. "In the pirouettes he sits and carries and makes a really nice canter pirouette. Even the extension - he's uphill, bounding, ground-covering. We get a lot of points there. Overall it went very well. I could not have expected more."

Gibson began riding Don Angelo as a five-year-old and has concentrated on the USEF Young Horse program. The duo never competed in the Training through Fourth Level open classes. "I didn't think it was necessary for him to go and do all of that. He was ready to do the harder work and because I didn't show him every weekend I don't feel like we pushed him beyond his capabilities," Gibson explained. "When I showed him as a six-year-old, we were going for Young Horse Championships and then this year, I showed him specifically trying out for Developing Horse Championships - if your horse is ready, why not? The program gives people a goal to work towards - for example, knowing a six-year-old in the Young Horse program should be doing a single flying change, you work towards that. The whole program is good for the sport, good for the horses."

Gibson is garnering percentage points to qualify Don Angelo for the 2008 USEF National Intermediaire Championship - a championship she won in 2006 with Lex Barker. Gibson explained why she feels Don Angelo is a potential national champion, saying, "He's proven that with his scores already. I don't think we've had below a 66% in any of our classes. The horse is of good quality. He has fantastic presence in the ring, he has three very good gaits, and the work is relatively easy for him - he can do all of the work without struggling."

Gibson believes Don Angelo will be a Grand Prix horse in the future and she plans to keep the ride through that level. Eventually she will turn the reins over to Devon Kane, the owner's daughter, but not in the near future. "Devon will get the ride on the horse eventually, but for the meantime I am training and showing him and he is getting experience," Gibson said. "Devon is riding and showing and training and getting experience. When the time is right, she will take over the ride on him, but not today!" Gibson laughed.

Gibson has worked with the Kane family and their horses since 2001 and has trained Devon Kane for the past six years. Devon won the Individual Gold Medal at the 2007 CN North American Junior/Young Rider Championships. "I appreciate the support from Terri and Devon," Gibson emphasized. "It's a good team. We work well together so I appreciate that I have that relationship with them."

Devon Kane Introduces Dom Perignon to U.S. in PSG at Wellington Classic

Devon Kane competed Dom Perignon in the Prix St. Georges at the Wellington Classic Holiday Challenge and finished in fourth place with a score of 64.00%. It was the first time Dom Perignon had competed in the U.S. and the debut of this duo in the show ring.

Dom Perignon is an 11-year-old, 17-hand, black-bay Hanoverian by Donnerhall out of a Macho mare. The gelding arrived at Diamante Farms from England nine months ago. Kane has been riding him for about six months.

The elegant, leggy Dom Perignon is a bit of a Cinderella story, Kane shared. His owner, an amateur rider, moved to the U.S. and boarded Dom Perignon at a farm in England for six months. After connecting with trainer Michelle Gibson, she brought her horse to Diamante Farms. Dom Perignon arrived lacking muscle and fitness and was quite spooky. The owner rode him several times a week, but then moved to Aspen, leaving Dom Perignon in training at Diamante. "He's completely transformed into this beautiful horse!" enthused Kane. "His fitness is fantastic. He's not spooky. He's been fine at home for a long time so we took him to the show to see how he'd be in that atmosphere and he was perfect. He's muscular, he's very happy, and his personality is really coming through - I'm addicted to him! He's fun to ride, he's easy, and he's happy to do what you ask of him. He has a lot of heart and character coming out."

Over the past six months, Kane has done almost all of the riding under the guidance of her trainer, Michelle Gibson. "Michelle knew from the beginning there was something in there with this horse - we just had to find it," Kane said. "But he completely surprised us with how he developed."

Kane complimented Dom Perignon's performance in their debut PSG, saying, "He stayed with me and he listened pretty well. His trot work is really nice. He has a really steady, consistent trot. All of the lateral movements are pretty good. We actually got 8s on the half passes from Natalie Lamping, so I was very excited."

The owner has decided to sell Dom Perignon, and Kane said, "He's definitely going to make someone very happy. He'd make a good mount for any junior or young rider or amateur, even a younger professional. He can definitely give any rider confidence. He's a great mount to learn on. He'll be a really great Prix St. Georges/I-I horse."

Kane has the ride on Dom Perignon while he is at Diamante Farms and will continue to bring him to the small tour arena. Enthusiastic about their first show together, Kane said, "I was so proud of him!"



PHOTO CAPTION: Michelle Gibson and Don Angelo claimed victory in the Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I at the Wellington Classic Holiday Challenge. PHOTO CREDIT: Jennifer Wood/PhelpsSports.com. This photo may be used only in relation to this press release.

 

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