April 11, 2008

© TetleyPhoto.com
Prix St Georges/Intermediaire I level horses will be loaned to riders in the CDI3* International Dressage Derby in Sydney next month. Canada's Karen Pavicic, pictured above is a confirmed entrant, as is Pia Fortmuller, pictured below.

© TheHorsesEye.com

Karen Pavicic of Richmond, BC, and Pia Fortmuller of DeWinton, AB, will represent Canada at the Sydney CDI3*/CDI-Y International Dressage Derby being held in Sydney, Australia, May 1 to 3, 2008. The event, hosted at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre at Horsley Park, site of the 2000 Olympic Games, is the only CDI3* held in Australia each year.

Pavicic, who is also a Level 3 dressage coach, and her horse Lionheart were the reserve members of the Silver Medal winning Canadian Dressage Team at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Based on their success in 2007, Pavicic and Lionheart have been named to the Dressage Canada Short List B for 2008.

"I am ecstatic to be selected again," said Pavicic. "I went 14 years ago, and I am looking forward to going again to see the quality horses and riders and how things have changed in Australia."

Fortmuller had a very successful year in 2006, which culminated in winning individual gold and the team gold medal at the North American Young Riders Championships (NAYRC), riding her long-time partner Donagna, Dagmar Fortmuller's 13-year-old Hanoverian mare sired by Don Primero. During the 2007 season, she rode Pallas, Bettina Teixeira's 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion, in the Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I classes. In 2008, Formuller and her horses Big Blue, a 12-year old Trakehner gelding sired by Enchantee, and Werner, a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood sired by Vermouth, have been moving up the ranks at CDI competitions in the Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I classes.

"I am looking forward to the worldly experience and the opportunity to interact with people from another country," noted Fortmuller, who was named to 2007 Dressage Canada Long List. "I feel privileged to represent Canada."

The international judging panel at the Sydney CDI 3* will include President of the Ground Jury, Gotthilf Riexinger (FEI O-GER) and Members Axel Steiner (FEI O-USA), Victoire Mandl (FEI I-AUT), Peter Holler (FEI I-GER), Alison King FEI I-HKG), Midori Furukawa (FEI C-JPN), Mary Seefried (FEI O-AUS), Susan Hoevenaars (FEI I-AUS), Jill Cobcroft (FEI I-AUS), Gisela Nilsson-Harding (FEI C-AUS), and Maria Schwennesen (FEI C-AUS).

Due to Australian's strict quarantine requirements and the high cost of air transportation, the organizing committee invited owners to loan their Prix St Georges/Intermediaire I level horses to the visiting international riders. The International Dressage Derby is the most exciting event of the competition. All riders will start on equal terms, drawing the name of the horse they will compete on out of a hat.

Canada has had great results in the past at the Derby where many up-and-coming elite athletes can get a taste of international competition abroad while showing their versatility riding unfamiliar horses. In 2007, Canadian Dressage riders Denielle Gallagher of Lakeside, NB, and Wendy Christoff of Delta, BC, claimed the Team Silver Medal in the Derby, and Christoff won the title of best foreign rider.