Friday’s competition at the Dressage by the Sea 4* CDI saw 20-year-old old Hunter Valley rider Mary Warren, and her 11-year-old gelding Mindarah Park Raphael (Mindarah Park Ramadan/Mindarah Park Jewel/Leon and Karyn Warren) add their first ever CDI4* title to a resume that already boasts much success. Mary is currently the youngest rider to win the Freestyle CDI-W two years ago, on Mindarah Park Ramadan.
“We were last out, and I knew what we had to do,” Mary said. “We’ve had a great campaign here at Willinga Park, some strong placings and it felt like we were close. But then to complete the test and know the score before you even leave the arena, that is so cool!”
Mary recently got a new coach, Robert Schmerglatt, who she says brings a new perspective to her coaching. “I think it’s just helped to have a fresh set of eyes. I feel like my partnership with ‘Raphy’ has lifted to a new level, and we really feel like a team.” Today this pair will again be competing against more senior combinations, a prospect that no longer sparks fear in this accomplished rider. “I used to be overwhelmed seeing their names on the draw sheet, but now I feel like I am starting to be more consistently competitive and that’s a great feeling.”
Earlier in the day, the Queensland combination of Jayden Brown and DaVinci L (Dancier) completed their small tour campaign undefeated over the two weeks and with their personal high score of 76.960%—the high score of the event so far. “We are thrilled with what DaVinci L has done over the last two weeks,” said Jayden. “Being based in one place for this two-week campaign has been really good for him. We have been able to work him and rest him in equal measure, just fine-tuning those little things to improve our score at each outing. He’s responded well, and we’ll head home very proud of what we have achieved in front of such an eminent International judging panel.”
The final Grand Prix CDI4* Freestyle event takes place this afternoon, and the 2019 Willinga Park Dressage By The Sea event draws to a close on Sunday with the final jewel in the crown of the Southern Hemisphere’s first ever CDI4* event, the Grand Prix Kur. We’re still awaiting a name at the top of the leaderboard as a fitting conclusion to two weeks of world-class Dressage at Bawley Point.