Wellington, Fla. – Feb 28, 2019 – The Florida International Youth Dressage Championships kicked-off on Tuesday at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center with a rider Question & Answer session, allowing veteran dressage riders to impart words of wisdom to the group of young riders. Competition for the championship began on Wednesday with the FEI Intermediate II 16-25 test, where Hope Cooper rode Hot Chocolate W to the top position and Don Diamond to second place. Camille Carier Bergeron followed behind taking the third place ribbon.
Cooper’s stellar ride earned her a score of 68.176 percent aboard the 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Mary Mansfield. Hot Chocolate W (Hochadel x Pikolina) scored particularly well in the passage and collected canter. Cooper also scored well in her rider points, receiving a 7.5 from 3 of the 5 judges. The 23-year-old from Concord, Massachusetts is currently a student at Connecticut College studying behavioral neuroscience. In 2014, Cooper won individual bronze in the Continental/Regional Championships in Lexington, Kentucky.
Prior to Hot Chocolate W entering the ring, Cooper road Jane Karol’s Don Diamond (Don Gregory x Reine Seide) to a score of 67.5 percent. The 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding is a familiar ride for Cooper, having had the ride on him for nearly 5 years. In 2014, the pair had great success in the North American Youth Championships and Young Rider tests, and have been competing together ever since.
Third place was awarded to Bergeron and Acoeur (Acordelli x Roxette), a 12-year-old gelding owned by M. Wieczorek. Bergeron is a 19-year-old from Canada who took home the silver medal at the 2015 Youth Continental/Regional Championships in Lexington, Kentucky.
Competition at the Florida International Youth Dressage Championships will resume Friday, March 1, at 8 a.m. with the FEI Pony Rider Team Test.
Results: CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle
Place / Rider / Country / Horse / Total Score
1. Hope Cooper / USA / Hot Chocolate W / 68.176
2. Hope Cooper / USA / Don Diamond / 67.500
3. Camille Carier Bergeron / CAN / Acoeur / 67.382
4. Natalie Pai / USA / Unlimited / 67.088
5. Laurence Blais Tetreault / CAN / Utah / 66.735
6. Kerrigan Gluch / USA / HGF Brio / 64.824
7. Paula Matute Guimon / ESP / Silver Blaze / 62.647
8. Tanya Strasser-Shostak / CAN / Déjà Vu Tyme / 62.353
9. Emily Smith / USA / Dublin / 61.794
10. Rosemary Julian-Simoes / USA / Rankrado / 60.765
11. Tanya Strasser-Shostak / CAN / Renaissance Tyme / 60.559
12. Cassandra Jessop / CAN / Xenophon SMF / 59.059
13. Hannah Hewitt / USA / Fidens / 58.206
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Hope Cooper – Intermediate II 16-25 winner
On her horse:
“We call him Hot Chocolate, Chocolate, or Chokie! I began riding him about 3 or 4 years ago. He is owned by Mary Mansfield who is incredible. She is incredibly supportive and an amazing person, so she has let me show him and work with him. When I started working with him he was Third Level, and he just learned so quickly I thought ‘Let’s just do the U25 this year!’ He surprises me all the time. He was really difficult at first to get collected and not wanting to run, but now he has turned into this really cool U25 horse.”
On her test:
“There were a few things that weren’t as good as they could have been but I am really happy with him. The pirouettes weren’t as good as they usually are and the piaffe he is still so green in. He only started learning it [piaffe] late in the summer so I was willing to do it, I just know that it could go much further. I am always so proud of him when he gets his ones because they are really hard for him. We could only do 3 about 5 months ago so those are certainly a challenge but they are there. This was one of the better tests I have ever had with him and he really felt like he wanted to be in there with me. He was listening to me every step of the way. We were a team!”
On what she would like to improve on:
“Personally, I feel like the quality can always be improved on but I am really happy with where he is right now and how forward he was in the ring. That has been a challenge for us in the past so I would like to keep that where it is. I would just like the movements to be a little bit crisper. The pirouettes need to be a little bit more on the spot and flowing.”
On the rest of season:
“I actually leave on Monday for Germany! I will be there for 6 weeks, I have a young horse there so that should be fun. The rest of season I will be home to take summer classes so that I can graduate on time. I am showing nationally and then hopefully both horses will go to Lamplight.”