Dr. Cesar Parra’s domination of the Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire FEI classes at prestigious CDI shows in Florida and New Jersey has resulted in a berth on Colombia’s Pan-American Games team. With scores routinely above 70%, Parra and Horses Unlimited’s imported Hanoverian stallion Pik L will give the favored American team a run for their money in August in the Dominican Republic.
Pik L and Parra have been together for about 18 months and have matured into a consistent team. “At this point in our relationship I can really rely on Pik L,” said Parra. “Not only can he do all of the movements very easily, he can add a lot of brilliance.” The judges have agreed. Top European and North American judges have rewarded the pair with scores above 70%, resulting in FEI High Score awards at the US Freestyle Championship show, the Palm Beach Dressage Derby and the Port Jervis CDI.
This will be Parra’s second trip to the Pan-American Games; in 1999 he helped his team win a silver medal. “My goal would be to do at least as well as we did at the last Pan-Am Games and perhaps also medal as an individual,” Parra said. The USDF Gold Medalist and member of the International Dressage Trainer’s Club has more than 300 FEI wins.
Parra was at the top of the Colombian dressage community in 1995 when he was discovered by FEI ‘O’ judge Linda Zang, who helped arrange for Parra to study in Germany with Herbert Rehbein. The three years of intensive study in Germany culminated in the Pan-Am Games medal and the 1999 Colombian Athlete of the Year. Shortly after this success, Parra moved his family to the United States to escape threats of kidnapping by Colombian guerillas. The result of the move is Parra’s thriving business Piaffe Performance, a training and coaching establishment with a devoted following of successful Young Rider and Amateur students.
Several of Parra’s students will join him in competing at the Pan-American Games. Fellow countryman Cesar Torrente will ride Parra’s Adonis, a German Hanoverian that Parra has successfully shown and trained through grand prix. With Parra coaching, Torrente and Adonis earned a 68.5% to win the FEI PSG at the recent Middlesex Dressage show in New Jersey.
Two additional Pan-American Games team members are also calling Parra their coach. Gabriel Armando will represent Argentina and Eduardo Munos will join Parra on the Colombian team. Parra explained, “Watching a student win a big class is almost as much of a thrill as winning myself.”