Christopher Hickey of Colora, Md., rode Balissa HTF to the highest score of the day at the Global Dressage Festival National II Horse Show on Wednesday. The pair scored 75.323% in the USEF First Level, Test 3 – Open at the Stadium show grounds of the Global Dressage Festival (GDF). Mary Ambrose of Canada and Ming Dynasty were Reserve High Score receiving 71.757% in the USEF Fourth Level, Test 2 – Open.
Balissa HTF is a Hanoverian owned and bred by Jane MacElree of Hilltop Farm in Colora, Md. MacElree and Hickey were pleased with the five-year-old mare's performance.
"Jane and I are really excited that Balissa is doing so well," said Hickey. "Morten Thomsen, my trainer from Denmark, was here for nine days and he helped me with all my horses including Balissa. I think it really made a difference in her performance. Morten knows her so well because I spent four months training in Denmark prior to my arrival in Florida. I am really happy that she showed so well today."
Thomsen also helped Hickey with Witness Hilltop, the horse he will be riding in the $35,000 WEF Wellington Dressage Nations Cup CDIO3*, presented by Stillpoint Farm, which will be held April 13-14 at the GDF.
Hickey and Balissa took top honors once again at the Global Dressage Festival National 2 Horse Show on Thursday. Hickey and the Hanoverian mare received the highest score of 74.516% in the USEF First Level, Test 3 – Open at the Stadium show grounds of the Global Dressage Festival (GDF). The Reserve High Score was awarded to Jennifer Griger of Wellington, Fla., on Delhia with 71.081% in the USEF First Level, Test 2 – Open.
Hickey felt that the test was better on Thursday, even though they received a higher score on the previous day.
"The test today had fewer mistakes than yesterday, but she was a little strong and fell out of balance a little bit more," said Hickey. "I think that when this horse is trained she is going to be a powerhouse. She is sensitive and forward-going by nature, but then sometimes she puts herself out of balance. One of the reasons she is such a blast to ride is because she has her own engine, but then because she is so young and such a big horse, it is sometimes difficult for her to balance."
Hickey is the training director at Hilltop and especially enjoys showing the homebreds. "I love to show this horse because it is representative of two generations of Hilltop breeding," said Hickey. "It's fun for me, working for a breeding farm, to successfully show them. These are horses that are born and bred in the USA and they are also good quality horses."
Please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.
About the Global Dressage Festival
The GDF is one of the world's largest international and national dressage circuits. The remainder of the circuit features a CDI3*, a CDI5*, and the first non-championship CDIO Nations' Cup in the Western Hemisphere.
The GDF is offering more than $275,000 in prize money for the five international competitions making it one of the richest circuits in the world. In addition to the CDIs with national competitions, the GDF will feature four separate national shows to be held at the newly constructed venue.
The GDF encompasses almost 60 acres of the former Palm Beach Polo Grounds. The facility includes four outdoor arenas with world class footing and 200 permanent stalls. Future planned improvements include a covered arena, permanent covered spectator seating for the central outdoor arena and a permanent Global Pavilion. There are also plans for another 100 permanent stalls.