October 2021
Mark Your Calendars:
Dressage at Devon
September 28-October 3, 2021

ShowPlus Dressage at Devon
It was the last day of ShowPlus Dressage at Devon 2021. It was a great show culminating in the fantastic Grand Prix rides last night. But things didn't end there. There were many more great rides today along with the Blessing of the Animals and Dressage Explorers. And even the weather cooperated.
Rider Talk
We thought we'd take the opportunity to talk with a few riders. Each had a different path to the Victory Lap, but all were fascinating.

Tanya Strasser-Shostak and Her Mother Turn Lemon into Lemonade

Tanya Strasser-Shostak, daughter of Evi Strasser, was surprised to have the challenge and opportunity to ride two horses this weekend. Her mother had planned to compete and Tanya had planned to travel with her to Dressage at Devon from Canada, bringing three horses. Sadly, however, their plans were foiled by a tangle of Covid-19 regulations.

The pair reached the Canadian-U.S. border with Tanya’s mount, DiCaprio Tyme, and two of Evi’s mounts, Disney Tyme and Déjà Vu Tyme. But at the border, officials told them that Evi could not make a land border crossing into the U.S because she had recently traveled to Europe. They assured her, however, that she could travel by air. So Evi left Tanya at the border with a trailer full of horses, took a taxi to the airport and bought a ticket to fly to Newark. Evi was then informed that she needed another piece of documentation to complete her journey. Unfortunately, she was unable to obtain it until a few days too late.

With that turn of events, Tanya was on her way to Devon with two horses that had no one to ride them. Evi was disappointed that she would not ride Disney Tyme and Déjà Vu Time at Devon. However, according to Tanya, she was quick to “turn lemons into lemonade.” Evi encouraged Tanya to pilot the two horses through their paces at Dressage at Devon.

Tanya says, “I want to emphasize how grateful I am because I know how much it would have meant for my mother to ride them. My mother said, ‘Do it. You can.’”  

It turns out that Evi was right to have confidence in Tanya’s and her horses’ abilities. Déjà Vu Tyme, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding co-owned by Evi and Erika Murphy, danced to second place in FEI CDI3* Grand Prix (Qualifier for the Grand Prix Special) with a score of 65.130%. The test was Tanya’s first at the CDI level.

Tanya was also happy with her ride on the other two horses. She describes Disney Tyme, a 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding as “super-extravagant and flashy.” She was also pleased with the progress of her usual mount, DiCaprio Tyme, a dark bay eight-year-old Hanoverian, showed in his tests.

Tanya attributes her success at Devon to a team effort, including the helpfulness of the Dressage of Devon staff who switched entries as necessary and other riders who supported her. One even lent her a tailcoat. Plus, even from a distance, her mother has been coaching her via FaceTime.

Despite the horses’ success, Tanya says, “I would have loved to have my mother here with me.”

Dr. Cesar Parra Returns for Another Year of Competition at Dressage at Devon

Originally from Columbia,Dr. Cesar Parra, (pictured here with his wife Marcella) dressage rider, trainer and instructor, returned again to compete at Dressage at Devon. He first competed at the venue in 2000 and has been back every year since except 2020, when the show was canceled due to the Covid-19 epidemic. During those years, Parra has racked up around 30 plus wins. He says he keeps returning because of the atmosphere, convenient location and, more recently, the excellent footing.

Parra likens Dressage at Devon to dressage shows in Europe. He explains that other U.S. venues are quieter; the stands do not fill up, there is little applause and audience involvement. People here are even actively engaged in watching the rides in the warm-up rings.

This year, Parra brought five horses to the show, including Belle Ami (Belissimo M x Reebook), a bay Westphalian mare he just started riding one month ago for one of his clients. She put in a winning performance for him in the FEI CDI3* Intermediate I, earning a score of 70.981%. Parra says, “Bon Ami is really fun. She’s willing, comfortable, easy and level-headed. She is spectacular. It’s like riding on a cloud.”

Six-year-old Hanoverian gelding Fanta 4 (Finest x Fleur Noir) also delivered a win for Parra in the FEI Young Horse Test for Six-Year Olds with a score of 83%. Cesar says he is “amazing” to ride."
Three Equine Pairs Shine Under the Lights in the Grand Prix Freestyle

With a score of 72.995, Michael Bragdell rode Qredit Hilltop (Quarterback x Dream Rubina), a 13-year old Oldenburg stallion, to first place in the FEI World CupTM Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle. Qredit Hilltop has a long history at Dressage at Devon, debuting in 2009 as a yearling colt (under the name Perfect Qredit) in the Devon Breed Show. Ten years later, he became the Grand Champion in the same show.
In 2009, Hilltop Farm bought Qredit from Michelle Coursin, an air traffic controller who boarded her colt at Hilltop. Michael Bragdell said, “From the day he came to the farm as a yearling, we all felt he was something special. He was so well behaved.” He started Qredit Hilltop under saddle and has been working with him ever since. Commenting on his win, Bragdell said, “It’s beyond cool. I had done Devon as a handler at the breed shows for twenty-some years. I was purely a jumper rider, and I never thought I’d be where I am tonight,”

Bragdell expressed how much he enjoyed riding the freestyle under the lights at Devon. “We just went in and had fun. It’s always fun when you do the freestyle. You just enjoy the music. And there is no other place like this.” Bragdell even prepares for his rides in a fun way. “I have a playlist that I use before I go in.” It includes the Beastie Boys, Abba and a flexible selection of other music.

Explaining what’s next for himself and Qredit, Bragdell says, “Right now, I’m just enjoying the moment. I’m really happy with how he has progressed. He is the first horse I have made from scratch.” While he achieved his personal best score in last night’s performance, Bragdell says, “I’m still learning, but hopefully we’ll continue to build on this.” Their next step is to compete in Florida, and Bragdell feels they are ready for more CDI-level tests.

Susanne Hamilton took second place with a score of 71.075 riding Lesath (Legat x Dimena), a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding. She says Lesath loves his music, Puttin’ on the Ritz, and based on the audience’s reaction, they shared Lesath’s musical tastes. Shannon Stevens and Ferrari (Special D x Bewaldina), an eleven-year-old KWPN gelding, came in third. In their first venture under the lights, they scored 70.990.

The three top riders in the Grand Prix Freestyle and the winner of the Grand Prix Special, Diane Creech) expressed how Dressage at Devon is unique and reminds them of Europe because it is quaint, compact, and everyone is close to each other. While riders support each other at most shows, they say it’s accentuated at Dressage at Devon with strong camaraderie in the show barn.
Sunday Afternoon in the Dixon

·       The FEI Intermediate B CDI3* was won by Allison Kavey and Citha’s Utopia with a score of 62.378.
·       The FEI Junior Freestyle (CDIJ) NAYC/USEF Qualifier was won by Sarah Listzwan and Brandtoftes Sjubell with a score of 68.685.
·       The FEI Young Rider Freestyle (CDIY) NAYC/USEF Qualifier was won by Lauren Krame with a score of 62.735.
·       The FEI Intermediate I Freestyle (CDIAm) was won by Judith Sloan and Mr. Smith with a score of 64.245.
·       FEI Intermediate I Freestyle (CDI3) was won by Cesar Parra on Belle Ami with a score of 73.575. Belle Ami is a a Westphalian Mare owned by Brooke Centrella and Cesar Parra and bred by Marike Kesper-Vekens.

Sunday is a Great Day for Kids!
Blessing of the Animals
Father Larry McCormick blessed dogs of all shapes and sizs - and even a couple of horses from the Silver Moon Vaulters barn. All were attentive and appreciative of his kind and caring that was so apparent in his Blessing. Thank you Father Mack and his wife Ruth for a beautiful cemony.
The Dressage Explorers program continues to grow. This year the Explorers had a Tea Party with Grerta the unicorn and the princess, had a selfie scavenger hunt, and met Fancy, Franko and the Silver Moon Vaulters. Plus they met with Hannah Irons, the 2020 USEF Young Rider National Champion, and who was the winner of the Intermediate Freestyle at Dressage at Devon on Scola Bella 653 (Scolari/Walona by World Cup) with a score of 67.205. She was here representing herself and Dressage4Kids and provided great insight into dressage.

And of course it would not be Dressage Explorers without the Make n'Take Stickhorse ride down the Centerline.
A Big Thank You to Our Performance Division Judges
Natacha Waddell (BRA) FEI 4*/YH
Cesar Torrente 4* (USDF-S COL)
William Warren 4* (USA)
Mike Osinski 
Christof Umbach (LUX) 4*
César Lopardo-Grana 4* (Argentina) 
Hans-Christian Matthiesen (DEN) 5*
Janet Foy (USA) FEI 5* 
Thank you to our 2021 Sponsors, including:
Cargill/ProEliteFeeds - DuBarry - Dechert - Equijet - Hilltop Farm ron Spring Farm - Main Line Health - ShowPlus - Trion - Willis TowersWatson