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Kim Gentry Dressage


Kim Gentry and her horse, Leonardo, had an exciting win in the FEI 5 Year Old class at this year’s Dressage at Devon. Dressage at Devon (CDI – W/Y/J) has been the premier North American equestrian event since 1975. The show hosts international and Olympic level riders in world class dressage competition, in conjunction with the world’s largest breed show and an International Fall Festival. The show was held September 25-30 in Devon, Pennsylvania.

Leonardo won the class with a score of 76.200% on Thursday, September 27 and was awarded the Bachelor Bowl Trophy. Gentry was in the company of some of the best riders in the world; for example, Dr. Cesar Parra won the 6-year-old class and US London Olympic team member, Heather Blitz, competed in the 4-year-old class. There was a large contingent of Canadian horses and riders, with several competing in the young horse classes.

Gentry and Leonardo competed in the 2012 USEF/Markel Young Horse Championships back in August finishing eighth in the final. “Leo grew right before the Young Horse Championships and his balanced changed. He looked like a gangly teenager and felt like he didn’t know what to do with his legs!” Gentry said. “During the month between the Young Horse Championships and Devon, I mostly hacked him around the farm. He grew so much that he needed time for his body to adjust and for his muscles to catch up. I tuned him up in the dressage arena just a few days before we left for Devon. We planned the trip so that we had several days in New Jersey for the horses to recover from the long ride.

“At the show Leo had way more expression in his trot than he had back in August. We had a super warm-up and Leo was unfazed by the crowded warm-up ring. He kept offering a huge trot that I knew he didn’t have the strength yet to maintain! We had a good test with a couple of small mistakes, including a lovely flying change in the counter canter, which cost us a few points. I thought that it was a nice test and went back to the barn with no clue that we were in first place! It wasn’t until after dinner when we checked the scores that I realized that we had won the class!  It was great to compete in front of very well respected foreign judges at Devon and have positive feedback from them. Stephen Clarke, FEI ‘O’ judge, was one of the judges for our class and he is currently regarded as one of the best judges in the world.

“We really hadn’t planned on campaigning Leo through the 5-year-old program this year. Devon was also a bit of a last minute thing for us, so to win was a really nice surprise!”

Back home, Gentry said she pays careful attention to how Leo feels day to day and if he’s going through a growth spurt. “I hear comments about how young horses are pushed through the young horse program, but I have seen some very correctly developed horses in the program,” she said. Leo gets a lot of down time and time in the pasture.

Gentry wanted her student, Viki Meyers, to have to the chance to compete her 4-year-old Gold Flash at Devon. She was the first alternate for the Young Horse Championships, but didn’t get to go. At Devon, Viki finished ninth in her class and was the only amateur rider. She received an overall score of 7.5 from German FEI “O” Judge Christoph Hess. “As a trainer it was great to have my own horse win, but it was a special treat to have my amateur student hold her own in a very competitive 4 year old class!” Gentry said.

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