The New England Dressage Association (NEDA) Fall Festival of Dressage was a huge success this year as the numbers attest. The Fall Festival was the largest overall dressage show in the country and the largest ever held by NEDA. Comprised of four competitions, the Festival showcased the Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation Region 8 Championships, FEI-recognized CDI-W Y/J, qualifying and finals classes for the USDF Breeders’ Championships New England Series, and a large Open Dressage and Breed Show. The event was also a USEF High Performance qualifying competition for FEI and USEF Championships.
The Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation Region 8 Championships, which are the heart of the Fall Festival, saw an increase in entries this year going from a healthy 288 in 2011 to 324. Riders qualified for the Championships by riding in designated qualifying classes at USDF recognized competitions. Classes ranged from Training to Grand Prix, including Freestyles from First Level to Grand Prix, with winners in the JR/YR, Adult Amateur and Open categories.
The Fall Festival featured 609 entries for a total of 1,554 rides, up from last year’s 1,487. The improved show and housing conditions for the Breed Show competitors resulted in an increase in their entries from 53 to 87. Even the number of vendors was up to 29, compared to 21 in 2011, for the shopping pleasure of all in attendance. Parties for the competitors were provided by Hof Mendenhall on Thursday and dressageclinic.com and Trilogy by Performance Saddlery on Saturday.
This year, "blessed with spectacular fall weather for the first time in over ten years, the NEDA Fall Festival went off without a hitch,” said Kathy McHugh, NEDA’s president. “Under Beth Jenkins' longtime leadership, the show ran like a top, excepting the usual minor glitches here and there. It is worth noting that, even though we were this year arguably the largest dressage show in the US, the show ran almost entirely on the fuel of hundreds of volunteers. The volunteer tent, manned ably and for many years by Debra Carr-Kirk [in her last year as volunteer “wrangler” for the fall show], was a constant beehive of activity for four days, with willing helpers fanning out all over the show grounds. This fact clearly sets us apart and contributed to the warm and friendly atmosphere in an otherwise intimidating environment. Thanks to all from NEDA!"
In the hotly contested Breed Show Sweepstakes, winners were Kathy Hickerson with Harpo MG in the Colts/Geldings/Stallions, and Elizabeth Hotchkiss with Royal Dancer in the Fillies/Mares, both Dutch Warmbloods. The NEDA Grand Championship winner was Fie Studnitz Anderson and the Oldenberg stallion Rocazino.
Winners in the Fall Festival Dressage Sweepstakes included Danielle Gavriluk and Black Diamond, her four-year old Hanoverian gelding, at Training Level with a 72.993%, Fie Studnitz Andersen and the Oldenburg stallion Rocazino at First Level scoring an impressive 73.200%, Heather Mason and June Brody’s Oldenburg mare Nor’ee at Second Level with a 70.811%, Elizabeth Niemi and Toronto, a Dutch gelding owned by Melvin Churchill, at Third Level with a 70.436%, and Danielle Gavriluk with her Hanoverian gelding Highlife K at Fourth Level scoring 68.130%.
The always exciting and entertaining CDI classes saw a quality field of 32 competitors. Winning the CDI Grand Prix class was Cesar Parra and the Dutch gelding Van The Man, owned by Michael Davis, with 69.745%. The CDI Grand Prix Freestyle was won by Melissa Taylor on her own Schumacker Solyst, a Danish gelding, with a 70.300%. And the CDI Grand Prix Special saw Lars Petersen taking the win with a 69.600% on Marcia Peppers’ Mariett, a Danish mare.
As always, Centerline Events did a masterful job of running the show office. Other vital parts to the smooth operation of the show included Paul Cormier manning the grounds; Amy Bresky and Norman Levine organizing 50 stewards; Carol Gordon as the show treasurer; Karin Swanfeldt and her family running the VIP tent; Elaine Rose as breed show chair; and Alexandra Dane passing out some 3,000 ribbons and organizing the set up for 47 awards ceremonies.
NEDA congratulates all the competitors and hopes to see everyone back for next year’s show! To learn more about the Fall Festival of Dressage and to see a complete list of all the winners, visit http://www.neda.org/FallFestival-Home.html.