Piaffe Performance Farm Team Continues Winning Ways at 2015 Global Dressage Festival

The Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, is in its final weeks and many ribbons have been awarded as riders celebrate their victories. Even after nine weeks of competition, the Piaffe Performance Farm team is still going strong. Its members have much to celebrate after the past weeks of competition, especially at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby. Cesar Parra, owner of Piaffe Performance, and his students- Barbara (Bebe) Davis, Eduardo Munoz, Roberto Brasil, and Kathryn Mills— secured multiple top placings for Team Piaffe Performance.

Parra, who is the founder of Piaffe Performance, couldn’t have been more proud. “The Palm Beach Derby was another great show for us,” he said. “It is wonderful to see the improvement in all the horses and riders throughout the season. And we had some exciting results.” Parra’s team receives top training and opportunities through Piaffe Performance, based in both Jupiter, Florida and Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Parra, who is a former Olympian, has the goal of developing the talent of both riders and horses.
Parra rode Van the Man, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood sired by Obelisk and owned by Michael Davis, in the Grand Prix test during the Palm Beach Derby and won with a 71.7 percent against Tracey Amaral Olsen and Lamborghini. He also debuted Davis’s 7-year-old 16.2-hand Oldenburg mare Fiderhit OLD (by Fidertanz out of a Sandro Hit mare) at the Developing Prix St. George level and won with an impressive 74.118 percent against top competitors, such as Dorie Addy-Crow, Michelle Folden, Lauren Knopp, Catherine Haddad-Staller, and others. It was Fiderhit OLD’s first Prix St. George class. The pair also scored over 70 percent in Sunday’s class.
Barbara (Bebe) Davis won the FEI Junior/Young Rider Prix St. George with over 73 percent on the Hanoverian gelding Feivel Mousekewitz (Federweisser x Saninni, by Singular Joter) during the week. Just a few hours after the win, the 17-year-old finished second with Rotano (Rotspon x Bona Dea, by Brentano II), with over 72 percent riding the Junior Team test in a competitive open FEI Test of Choice class. “Mouse,” who was bred by Gabriele Bontemps, and Rotano are both 14 years old and are owned by Bebe’s proud father, Michael Davis.
“Eduardo Munoz (COL) showed his horse, Benji, for the first time this Florida season at Fourth Level and won all three days,” beamed Parra. Munoz and Benji (Baroncelli x Sherly, by Sherwood), an eight-year-old bay Hanoverian gelding imported from Germany, raked in the blue ribbons and earned a 69.459 percent on Friday in the USEF Fourth Level Test 1 test.
“Katt Mills, who flies into Florida only to show and then has to go back to Pennsylvania to run her farm, had another great weekend with over 70 percent at Third Level,” added Parra. Mills rode Fabiano (Florencio I x Estocha, by Ehrentusch), her German-bred Westphalian bay gelding bred by Sigrid Farwick.
Parra and his Piaffe Performance Farm Team are consistently in the ribbons, and Parra is open to new dressage riders becoming a part of his winning team.

Text by Johnny Robb
(Original article by eurodressage.com)

Piaffe Performance Awards Amateur Champion Karen Thompson-Harry at Adequan Global Week 3

Wellington, FL–Karen Thompson-Harry was awarded the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Award during Week 3 of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, making her trip from her home in Canada to Wellington, Florida, a worthwhile one. Piaffe Performance is known for its recognition of adult amateur riders who exhibit exceptional sportsmanship and horsemanship, and this passionate owner of her first Prix St. Georges horse fit the bill. Thompson-Harry traveled to the Adequan Global Dressage Festival to compete in the Adult Amateur division with her horse, Whisper Champion. She has trained for the past twelve years with Tom Dvorak, international dressage rider and coach and owner of Friday Hill Dressage in Erin, Ontario, Canada.

Thompson-Harry says that the best part of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival is “the opportunity to focus my days on my riding and my horse without so many other competing interests like there can be at home.” The very busy Thompson-Harry practices family law and equine law, and was also recently appointed to be the chair of Dressage Canada’s Officials Committee. Her three-year term began on January first. She is a longtime member on the Officials Committee.

As the first pair to show in their class on Thursday morning, Thompson-Harry and Whisper Champion won first place in FEI Prix St. Georges Adult Amateur with a 66.053 percent, grabbing the win over Jeanne Van Nuys-Hitt and Sirtaka, who earned a 65.789 percent. The next day, the pair placed third in the FEI Prix St. Georges Adult Amateur division. Saturday found Thompson-Harry again on top in the FEI Prix St. Georges Adult Amateur division with 66.579 percent.

Piaffe Performance is a returning sponsor to the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival series, and more adult amateur dressage riders will be crowned with the Piaffe Performance award throughout the twelve-week-long series being held in Wellington, Florida. When asked why he sponsors the award, Dr. Cesar Parra of Piaffe Performance replied, “Well, number one is I really love this sport and being with the horses, and I think the only way we can keep on doing it is making it grow. And it has to grow by the base, and this is about the amateurs. They are really the ones that can support all the crazy guys like me that want to do it professionally, so I love watching that get better.”Global 3 AA Award

Janne Rumbaugh Wins Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Award Week 1 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival

Wellington, FL (January 19, 2015)– Success in dressage is nothing new to veteran dressage rider Janne Rumbough of Palm Beach, Florida, and to her Pure-Spanish horse Junior. Thanks to Piaffe Performance and the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, this year has gotten off to the right start for the pair. During the first week of the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, Piaffe Performance awarded Rumbough and Junior the first Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Award of the season. Piaffe Performance is known for its recognition of adult amateur riders who exhibit exceptional sportsmanship and horsemanship.


Rumbough, through her own MTICA Farm, is a founding and current sponsor of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. This year marks her fourth time competing at the event. “I have been involved with dressage since it started in the 70’s and you just try to continue,” says Rumbough. “This venue is wonderful, and we all try to continue doing whatever we can to keep the sport going.”


Rumbough offered her appreciation to Piaffe Performance for sponsoring the award. “I appreciate it and thank you so much, Piaffe Performance, for putting the adult amateurs on the map, she smiles. Piaffe Performance is a returning sponsor to the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival series, and more winners will be crowned each week throughout the twelve-week-long series in Wellington, Florida.Janne 2

dressage at DEVON



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We are SO proud of our amazing horses and wonderful team after this year’s Dressage at Devon!!! Big thanks to our sponsors, clients and each and every one supporting us at Piaffe Performance.





Nadine Buberl’s visit from her home in Germany to the United States for three months to see what it was like has turned into four years already and partnerships with a pair of talented  young horses that has put her at the top in America.




Whitehouse Station, NJ (June 28, 2013) – The weekend of June 15-16 was a busy one indeed for Piaffe Performance horses and riders, with horses competing at the Centerline Events Dressage show at Hits-on-the-Hudson in Saugterties, New York as well as at Hawk Hollow Ranch in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Piaffe Performance trainer Nadine Buberl had a one-two punch in USEF First Level Test 1 in front of (r) judge Susanne Hamilton with the “two babies,” as Parra lovingly refers to elite Oldenburg prospects, Fashion Designer OLD, who won the class with an unequivocal 82.931%, and whose only real challenge was from stablemate Fiderhit OLD, who finished second with 80.345%. Fashion Designer OLD is owned by Martin Sosnoff, another Piaffe Performance student, and Fiderhit OLD is owned by Michael and Sarah Davis.

“The next day, in the Five Year-Old test,” Parra said, “Nadine won with Fiderhit OLD with an 81.8% and was second with Fashion Designer OLD with a 79%. It was a nice rebound from the prior week at the East Coast Selection Trials, where Fiderhit OLD and Nadine did an impromptu exit from the ring and were eliminated, losing the chance to compete for the World Championships. That was disappointing as we couldn’t show what a fantastic mare she is, but we are now preparing to do our best at the US Championships in August.”

Piaffe Performance continued its winning ways with Domenique Cassavetis claiming the FEI Prix St. Georges-AA/JrYR on Charming Princess, earning a personal best of 68.158%.

Bebe Davis, 15, and Rotano won the FEI Junior Team-NAJrYRC/USEF Qualifier, earning the super score of 68.514%. She was also third in the Junior Individual with a 67%.

Referring to Katie Riley and Zanzibar’s winning 67% in Developing Grand Prix, Parra said, “I am so happy with the development of Zanzibar. He is improving immensely from week to week. Our goal is the Developing Horse Championships in late August so it is exciting to think where we will be by then.”

At Hawk Hollow, Carlos Munoz and Feivel Mousekewitz, owned by Apex Stables International, made their debut together winning the FEI Freestyle Night with more than 72%. And not to be out done by his daughter’s results at Saugerties, Michael Davis competed in his first ever Prix St Georges with his horse Synergy’s Cincinnati to finish with a score over 66%.

Photo: Nadine Burberl and Fiderhit OLD. Photo courtesy of Sharon Packer.



Wellington, FL (April 18, 2013) – Dr. Cesar Parra, whose bridles have been known to sport red, white and blue brow bands, had patriotism riding high over the April 13-14 weekend during America’s only event of its kind, the Wellington Nations Cup CDIO/CDI3*, presented by Stillpoint Farm at The Stadium at the Global Dressage Festival show grounds. On Saturday, Parra clinched the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO3* with a 74.375% score on Van The Man from judges Evi Eisenhardt (E), Maribel Alonso (H), Anne Gribbons (C), Linda Zang (M), and Joan Macartney (B).

The former Colombian 2004 Olympic as well as 2002 and 2006 World Equestrian Games veteran, who became an American citizen in 2008 and represented the US on the Gold medal-winning 2011 Pan American Games dressage squad, was also a member of Friday evening’s Nations Cup reserve champion Team USA 2.

On the combined strength of their Grand Prix Freestyle and Sunday’s FEI Grand Prix Special (72.208%) scores,put Parra in runner-up position in the Individual Rider Standings and top USA Individual rider. Van The Man is an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Obelisk x Landjoker) acquired for Parra by sponsors Sarah and Michael Davis in 2011.

“I was very excited to take part in my first Nations Cup and to medal as a team and as an individual,” said Parra. “I’ve been grateful for the opportunity to represent my country. I’d like to thank my owners, wife, groom, and Katie Riley, my eyes on the ground, and also to the USEF for selecting me as a member of the team. This horse has improved so much. I love him.”

“I am so proud of my husband, so proud of all the Piaffe Performance riders, and all the members of our team. It has been an amazing weekend and season,” said Parra’s wife, Marcela Ortiz.

Tuny Page of Stillpoint Farm praised the Nations Cup format and its contributions: “One crucial thing about this competition involves the opportunity to expose small tour horses to this kind of atmosphere and a patrons’ tent. That’s really important in the development of international sport. I hope that people in the world of dressage are paying attention to what’s happening here because it’s fantastic and will continue to improve.”

As stylish outside the ring as within it, Parra thanked Page and the pillars of the dressage world that made a week-long dressage event like this possible in Florida: “Thank you so much [to Page]. She’s not only a great rider with wonderful horses, but she’s always trying to help the sport. It means a lot to all of us to have this place and I hope we can continue to enjoy it because it’s really a pleasure to come and ride here. We are so grateful.”

Parra reserved his best praise for last, for his four-legged partner, Van The Man. “He was right on it, from the very first step. He’s been, as most of my colleagues know, a ‘clown’ to say the least! He’s humbled me more than a couple of times, so I just keep on working and today, he said ‘Okay, I’ll do it.’ It was amazing from that first step. It’s exciting to do the best you can and have it work out. I’m just so happy that I cannot describe it. I’m really, really grateful.”

As the Piaffe Performance team leaves Florida for its Whitehouse Station, NJ, facility, all eyes are on the horizon line for Normandy and the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

“My goal,” Parra concluded, “is to really make him my partner. I believe in him. I think he’s a world-class horse. It’s just a matter of getting him to trust me, to follow me, to believe, to become a great horse.”

Follow Van The Man and Cesar Parra’s season together, and learn more about Piaffe Performance and its stellar stable of dressage prospects at www.piaffe-performance.com.

Photo: Dr. Cesar Parra and Van the Man during the Nations Cup CDI 3*. (Photo courtesy of SusanJStickle.com)

Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement

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Wellington, FL (April 18, 2013) – Dr. Cesar Parra, owner of Piaffe Performance Farms was proud to present the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award during Wellington Nations Cup CDI 3* to the man who originally inspired the award, John McGinty. John was chosen by an independent committee but Parra was very pleased have one of his own Piaffe Performance Team members recognized. Parra explained that there is nobody who deserves the award more than McGinty. “I think John is one of the biggest fans of our sport that I know,” Parra said. “He loves dressage. He breathes dressage. He’s all about dressage. Really, it’s amazing to see how hard he works and all the enthusiasm he puts into it,” Parra added. McGinty proved himself worthy of the award many times over during the past few months, racking up win after win throughout the 2013 Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Florida. Then, he topped off his amazing season at the Nations Cup where he and his horse, Playboy, rode into first place in the FEI Prix St Georges Adult Amateur class with a score of 61.447%.

McGinty was pleasantly surprised by winning the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur award. “I’m just so grateful,” he commented, “I’m so amazed and I’m so happy!” He continued, “My goals seem to be coming along and I’m doing better and better, but I didn’t do this on my own. My horse is wonderful and my team is wonderful – and it does take a team to do this!” McGinty acknowledged and described the Piaffe Performance Team who he feels is responsible for his recent success, “There is Dr. Parra and his wife, Marcella, through whose help I was able to get my horse, Playboy, and then there is my wonderful coach, Katie Riley, and our barn manager, Jen Mandracia, and then there are Laura and Samantha who send Playboy into the ring looking his very best!”

McGinty said that he plans to finish the season with Playboy, his 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood by Jet Set D, in the Prix St Georges, and then determine their goals for the higher levels during the summer. In addition to being a dressage rider, McGinty is also involved in the hunter/jumper circuit as an FEI judge for jumpers, hunter equitation and hunter breeder divisions. However, he is still continuing to push the equestrian sports envelope by being a strong advocate for Adult Amateur dressage, and along with other people from Europe, he is putting forth an effort to get Adult Amateurs their own division on the international level.

It is this type of encouragement for Adult Amateur riders that Parra hopes to continue to inspire with the Piaffe Performance Award. Designed to recognize exceptional performances by adult amateurs, the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur High Performance Award was given out each week of the 2013 Global Dressage Festival. “Adult amateurs are the backbone of our sport,” comments Parra. “My team is made up of a number of young riders and adult amateurs, and their dedication to the sport and their horses is undeniable. I am proud to be able to recognize adult amateurs and their achievements on the AGDF circuit in this way.”

Photo: From right to left, Katie Riley, Samantha Rand, Dr. Cesar Parra, John McGinty, Jen Mandracia, Laura Pradells, and Marcella Oritiz Parra at the 2013 Adequan Global Dressage Festival Nations Cup CDI. Photo courtesy of JRPR—no photo credit necessary.

Martin Sosnoff Beats the Odds at Wellington 5* National Show



Wellington, FL (April 12, 2013) – Martin Sosnoff recently beat the odds at the 2013 Adequan Global Dressage Festival Wellington 5* National show by riding his gelding, Scirocco to a 60%, but defeating the odds is nothing new to the adult amateur dressage rider. “When I spoke to friends in the orthopedic field, they said I had a 1 in 100 shot to ever ride again, much less compete. But they’re not riders, it’s not in their blood,” said Sosnoff, referring to his determination to get back in the saddle. In 2012, the avid rider and founder of the private investment management firm Atalanta Sosnoff Capital, endured three back surgeries in the span of five weeks, enough to significantly sideline even the fittest equestrian. However with the help of Dr. Cesar Parra and the Piaffe Performance team, Sosnoff is now not only competing, but getting respectable scores in the Prix St. Georges.

Sosnoff will celebrate his 82nd birthday in August, and his Prix St. George horse, a Dutch Warmblood gelding named Scirocco, will turn 19. “I’ve done The Century Club. What’s left to prove?” he chuckled. The Dressage Foundation ‘Century Club’ recognizes riders and horses whose combined age totals 100 or more. While Sosnoff and Scirocco’s numbers also add up, the Rhinebeck, New York horseman checked the Centurion test off his bucket list while a youthful 76, riding his then 24-year-old Fourth Level horse, Big Red.

Sosnoff faced a greater test returning from the operating table to the saddle. “I don’t think about winning or losing, I’m just happy to compete again,” he said of his journey, which began last November, literally, at the walk. “I wasn’t strong enough to post. As weeks passed, I could post the trot, then canter, then sit the trot and finally, progress with the intensity that we could train to compete.”

“We” represents a team composed of his favorite horse, Scirocco, his upstate New York trainer, Wes Dunham and when in Florida, Piaffe-Performance owner and trainer, Dr. Cesar Parra. Sosnoff calls meeting Dr. Parra, “Pure serendipity.” He and Dunham were in Florida horse shopping when a friend called, recommending a 30-minute trip to Piaffe-Performance and assuring they would be pleased with what they found. Sosnoff not only found a horse. He found a friend and mentor whose expertise he continues to seek out as often as possible.

He bought his current PSG horse, Scirocco, five years ago as a First Level prospect: “We have a great relationship. A friend described our first meeting as ‘love at first sight’ and we do love one another. He’s very congenial, affectionate, and intelligent.”

And as a riding partner? “He was very forward, and I like forward, but we had to spend the first two years getting him collected and packaged. He’s been a fast learner and started PSG last year. He has some very nice changes, half-passes at the canter easily, and is good at the one- and two-tempis.

“Scirocco can easily do Intermediare-1,” said Sosnoff, who did not begin riding until his 40’s. “I’m the one who needs consistent PSG scores in the 60’s first. We did okay but can always do better. We could have been more forward and rode the first test fairly conservatively.” For a man who should have been given 100-1 odds of ever riding again, much less at an FEI Prix St George level, getting a 60.789% is a resounding, if conservative, success.

“I try to see Cesar as often as I can. And I try to ride at least three times a week. I’d like to ride four or five, but three I think is the minimum you can get away with without losing a competitive training edge.”

“Martin shows all of us at Piaffe-Performance how it’s done,” said Parra, who has also been in Wellington to ride for one of two U.S. Dressage squads competing in its CDIO Nations Cup. “For Martin, dressage is his fountain of youth, which is wonderful. I think every dressage rider hopes to be going strong after eight decades.”

Thanks to the horse as the great equalizer, dressage is one of the few Olympian sports where men and women, young and old, compete as equals. While his ageless friend seeks out more Prix St. Georges classes for Scirocco this season, Parra has several Piaffe-Performance stars on the rise, including two five year-old Oldenburg prospects that may lead him down the road to the 2014 World Equestrian Games. Photo: Martin Sosnoff and Scirocco at the 2013 Adequan Global Dressage Festival.

Photo courtesy of SusanJStickle.com



Wellington, FL (April 9, 2013) – When the United States fields two dressage teams for the Wellington Nations Cup CIO3*, April 11-14, at the 2013 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, among its Grand Prix combinations will be Piaffe-Performance Farm’s Dr. Cesar Parra, who will ride Michael and Sarah Davis’ 11 year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Van The Man, and join Susan Dutta of Wellington, on Tim Dutta Inc’s 13 year-old Oldenburg gelding, Currency DC, on USA II Team at the Grand Prix level. USA II Team’s Prix St. Georges riders will be Chris Hickey with Witness Hilltop and Justin Hardin with Wyatt Star. USA I Team will constitute Heather Blitz on Paragon and Shelly Francis on Doktor for the Grand Prix, and Caroline Roffman aboard Her Highness O and Kimberly Herslow aboard Rosmarin at the Prix St Georges.

“It is always an honor to represent the United States,” said the 2011 U.S. Pan American Games Dressage Team Gold medalist, whose international resume as a rider and trainer includes more than 300 FEI wins, as well as having competed in the 2004 Olympics, 2005 Las Vegas Dressage World Cup, and 2006 Aachen World Equestrian Games.

Parra, known to sport a dash of red, white and blue color on the occasional browband, is ready to ride: “Van The Man is an exceptional horse, and I always try to live up to the trust that Michael and Sarah show putting their beautiful horse in my hands. We will be proud to ride for America together.”

The 2013 Adequan Global Dressage Festival is offering more than $275,000 in prize money for five international competitions, making it among the richest circuits in the world. The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (Adequan GDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring five CDIs, including a 5*, the first non-championship CDIO Nations’ Cup in the Western Hemisphere, and nine U.S. national events.

Cesar Parra, DDS, MScD, operates Piaffe Performance in Jupiter, FL and Whitehouse Station, NJ and was born in Colombia, where he began riding cattle horses in the Andes Mountains of his grandparents’ farm. Dr. Parra has worked with the best in dressage, including Herbert Rehbein, Siegfried “Bimbo” Peilicke, Hans Rueben, Herbert Kuckluck and Hubertus Schmidt.

Photo: Dr. Cesar Parra and Van the Man will represent the United States during the 2013 Adequan Global Dressage Festival’s Nations Cup CDI 3*. (Photo courtesy of SusanJStickle.com)



At back to back shows at the Masters and the Gold Coast Opener, Performance Farm showed that their horses are riders are well prepared for the Florida season. At the CDI Gold Coast Opener, Van the Man Won the Grand Prix Special and Simply Nymphenburg shined in his 3rd level tests. Nadine Buberl and Borett won both of their classes. Katie Riley had outstanding tests with Leo and Beethoven. Carlos Munoz finished off the Masters weekend by winning the Intermediate I freestyle on Klouseau. John McGinty debuted with his Playboy in Prix St George with super rides at both shows. Bebe Davis, Nicolas Torres and Dominique Cassavetis also finished off in the top of their classes. We are all very proud and look forward to the rest of the season!




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Another Accomplished International Teacher & Trainer Shares His Expertise With Us
In September Greater Atlanta had the opportunity to benefit from another committed trainer, teacher, and competitor. Cesar Parra shared freely with riders and horses of many levels his training philosophy and techniques. Although a native of Columbia, South America, and an adult immigrant to the US, he not only demonstrated a sincere desire to impart whatever he could to enrich the training, but also did so with true ability to communicate clearly.
His philosophy included recognition of the total horse and rider. Cesar emphasized the importance of noticing the body language of horse and rider while working on or around the horse. He stressed good manners, smiling (We’ve heard that before!), and even acknowledging the wisdom that some days it’s just best not to get on if you know things “aren’t right”. After getting after a horse for disobedience, he still recommends patting the horse – similar to concluding a disagreement with someone with a handshake. He mentioned that the end of the whip should never know anger. It’s not about arguing, but creating a leadership by a happy rider that develops a happy athletic horse. As other classical trainers, he believes in walking the horse about 15 minutes or so before the work begins, creating a horse that desires to move forward, and focusing on the quality of the gaits instead of movements. “Everything starts in the warm-up and your work at home. Expect your very best – not perfection. Ask, “How can I make it better?” That is the job of the trainer/teacher – not judging. His focus is on what is important – in life, as in training. His thoughts are to think of the journey, the process, and to stay in the correct direction. Other keys in his methodology are to stop when it’s good and to work on the challenging aspects first, so you can reward your horse by using his strengths as a sort of “play”. So you work on what needs improvement and reward with what is easy – thus saving your horse. Also, expose the horse to lots of different things – umbrellas, loud radios, balloons, chickens or whatever necessary to develop a SAFE horse that trusts you. If necessary, do so while the horse is on the lunge. In conclusion, it was evident that Cesar has been open to other forms of sports training methodology, personal improvement and even corporation teamwork philosophy.
The above generalities were simply interjected into the highly specific lessons. At all the levels the relaxation of the horse was maintained. One evidence of the relaxation is the flexibility and equal suppleness (while riding on both hands) of the nuki muscle which runs along the topline of the horse. The relaxation is encouraged by the consistant contact of the rider’s hands. Some common challenges for contact are the inconsistent, the “almost”, or the“pulled in” (which blocks the horse’s movement). It’s impossible for the horse to accept the contact if it is not consistant. – much less develop engagement. He used a longe and later a whip to show the effect of contact and the different levels of dressage (changed form). Other evidence of the relaxed horse is the back that is truly swinging and the rider should not sit the trot until it is clearly swinging. On the other hand, as the horse develops up the levels – especially to passage and piaffe – there is a level of positive “tension” or “collection”. As the rider gathers the horse’s energy to perform difficult movements, he suggested making the horse want to do them, by not permitting it until the rider allows the execution. This makes the horse want to do it, but it is only done when the rider feels it is for optimum quality (like those flying changes that need to be done and then you can quit!).
Different levels of training tips were given. For example, ride the volte on both hands to develop elasticity and balance much more – similar to other classical trainers. Use it between different movements (even flying changes) and in various locations. Practice the square halt at X before dismounting daily and if done well, finish the workout. Ride an intelligent horse with lots of variety – rein changes, ring figures, transitions, etc. to keep them interested. Make sure that the canter has the same speed with the front and back legs. Get the horse to listen to quiet legs – use the whip more if needed. Submission should be immediate – not negotiated. Improve the speed of the transitions within each gait. Find the right tempo for each horse, but keep the horse’s tempo the same. Prepare a flying change by having the horse look to the new inside with both reins several strides before the change- . Lower the horse’s neck a little at the beginning to help develop the mediums. And more were given….
Cesar mentioned that he was sharing what worked for him, not what was right or wrong. He emphasized, “You need to do what works for you. At his stable, anyone can help anyone else (including himself) with reminders while training. When riding Grand Prix, he rarely rides without someone on the ground. The description of the facility was of support, education, and teamwork.
A special thank you is in order for Shannondale Farm for all their many efforts to put on another clinic – not for profit, but for bringing continued international quality instruction to Georgia. They are providing “live” learning experiences (not books or videos) where amateurs and professionals alike can develop or keep their “eye” educated to current standards – without having to go to expensive shows.



Congratulations to the New US National Pony Champion (and Reserve Champion) Bebe Davis!!

WINNING 2012 Palm Beach Dressage Derby

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Dr. Cesar Parra with Nicolas Torres and Silver Label at the 2012 Palm Beach Dressage Derby. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Cesar Parra)

Wellington, FL (March 23, 2012) – Piaffe Performance’s team of riders, headed by Dr. Cesar Parra, has already had many successes on Florida’s winter dressage circuit, and the group of riders and horses recently added a list of wins to their resumes during the 2012 Palm Beach Dressage Derby, held at Equestrian Estates. Piaffe Performance always has a large group of supporters wearing their colors, and during this year’s Derby the fan club had plenty to cheer about as Parra’s team took home blue ribbons in most of the major divisions, from Young Riders to Pony Tests to the FEI level classes.

Parra debuted a number of new horses during the prestigious CDI competition, including his new Grand Prix mount Van the Man and Simply Nymphenburg, a young prospect from Europe.  Van the Man, who is owned by Michael and Sarah Davis, handily won the Open Grand Prix class and FEI Test of Choice with scores over 70%, while Simply Nymphenburg scored an 81% in the FEI 6-year-old test and won his 2nd Level class with a 74%.  “Van the Man has such potential and our success at the Derby proves he is a horse to watch,” said Parra.  “Simply Nymphenburg is one of the best young prospects I’ve ever seen, and I am thrilled to have the chance to bring him along in his dressage career.”

Katie Riley and Agastrofos, owned by Dave and Taunia Reed, placed second in the Intermediaire II and had a very nice Developing Horse Grand Prix test.  The Reed’s other horse, Superman, ridden by Nadine Buberl had a very nice tour at Third Level with scores as high as 73%.  Buberl also debuted Kingston, a brilliant 5-year-old owned by Apex Stables, who won his first class in the United States with a 77%.  Kingston was the high score of the show and took home the High Score Hanoverian Award, starting off his US show career with a bang.

Bebe Davis and her two ponies, Poldy 10 and Bohdjan, earned excellent scores from Olympic judges to take the championship in the CDI pony divisions and another of Parra’s students, Nicolas Torres, arrived in Florida just in time to show.  He placed second the first day and rounded out the show with wins in both the FEI Junior Rider Individual test and the Freestyle on Silver Label.  Dominique Cassavetis kicked off her Young Rider career with nice tests and good scores with Charming Princess, placing in both the team and individual tests.

The Piaffe Performance Team’s strong showing at the Derby is highlighted by their support team of riders, owners, trainers, and grooms who collaborate to make the show experience a success for everyone involved.  “We have a fantastic team here,” said Parra.  “None of this would be possible without the owners, parents, and staff who contribute to Piaffe Performance.  I am always thankful for the great support from of my team, my riders, students, and owners as we show and compete.”