Mendoza Takes Easy Win in Field of Two at 2024 CDI Ocala, Winning CDI Debut for Iverson and Gremlin

Fri, 02/16/2024 - 13:06
2024 CDI Ocala
Julio Mendoza Loor and Jewel's Goldstrike at the 2024 CDI Ocala :: Photo © Andrew Ryback

At the halfway point of the 2024 Global Dressage Festival in Wellington and during a national competition weekend, the rivalling show facility World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida, hosts  its February 3* CDI on 15 - 18 February 2024.

The 2023 Pan American Games individual gold medalists Julio Mendoza Loor (ECU) and Jewel’s Goldstrike scored an easy win in the Grand Prix for Kur in a field of just two competitors.  Young professional Quinn Iverson (USA) was victorious in the Prix St. Georges CDI1* with international debutant Gremlin, owned by Billie Davidson.  

Easy Win

Mendoza Loor and Jewel’s Goldstrike (by Bretton Woods x Scandic) scored a personal best in the Grand Prix with 74.869% from the panel of judges that included Sandra Hotz (USA), Omar Zayrik (MEX), Thomas Kessler (GER), Knut Danzbert (GER) and Jane Weatherwax (USA). Jan Ebeling made his long-awaited international show come back aboard chestnut mare Bellena (by Belissimo x Welser), whose last CDI start was in Myakka City in October 2022. They were second with 66.674%

After winning their gold medal in Santiago, Chile, Mendoza Loor gave his mount “Goldie” a month off for him to rest and relax in his pasture on their farm in North Carolina. He slowly brought him back with two-hour trail rides, hillwork, cavalettis and then moving into the arena, all while riding in a snaffle bit.

“He deserved to have time off,” said Mendoza Loor of the 13-year-old KWPN gelding. “Before we went to the Pan American Games, that was my promise to him, that no matter what we do and how we finish, he would have time off. The relationship we have is about trust. Trust is the number one thing you can have with your horse. Trust, harmony, and relaxation.”

The trust, harmony, and relaxation showed in the ring, despite a “little bit of tension into the corner at K,” described Mendoza Loor. “I had to ask him to stay with me. The judges rewarded the piaffe and passage today. The pirouettes were good and in the line of one-tempis I went for a bigger canter, and he held them beautifully all the way across the diagonal. The personal best feels good because it’s not about how much we can do, it’s how much fun we can have, and that was really fun.”

With his victory in the Pan American Games last year, Mendoza Loor qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games this summer. He, Goldie, and his team – which includes his wife and “rock” Jessica – will travel to Jewel Court Stud in Wuustwezel, Belgium in May where they will stay for the summer. They have planned for three competitions including Wiesbaden, Rotterdam and Aachen, to prepare for the Olympics. This will be Mendoza Loor’s first time ever visiting Europe.

First CDI Appearance for Gremlin and Iverson Results In a Win

In their first CDI outing together, Quinn Iverson (USA) and Gremlin made it count, scoring a personal best of 70.471% for victory in the 1* Prix St Georges from judges Sandra Hotz (USA), Omar Zayrik (MEX), Thomas Kessler (GER), Knut Danzberg (GER) and Jane Weatherwax (USA).

Quinn Iverson on Gremlin
Three pairs competed in this class. Allison Zarembowicz (USA) and Happy Khan, her 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Zjengis Khan x Jazz, also picked up a personal best score of 65.618% for second place. Third place went to Maria Constanza Comaleras (ECU) and Jamrock BCN, her 10-year-old KWPN gelding by Negro x Vivaldi.

While this is Gremlin’s first CDI competition, it is also only the second CDI at small tour for Iverson, who has multiple wins in CDIU25 classes. Originally from Roseburg, OR, and now based in Wellington, FL, for the winter and Colorado for the summer with her trainer, U.S. Olympic silver medalist Adrienne Lyle, Iverson made the move from being a jumping athlete to dressage eight years ago. After an opportunity to train with Lyle and top U.S. trainer and Olympian Debbie McDonald, Iverson turned to dressage full time. She brought her first horse, Black Diamond, who was also owned by Billie Davidson, from First Level to the Under 25 Grand Prix.

Iverson and Lyle found Gremlin two years ago at Helgstrand Dressage in Denmark after horse dealer Andreas Helgstrand had bought the horse at the 2020 PSI auction for 500,000 euro.  While Iverson knew he “had a great brain and good basic gaits,” it took Lyle’s eye to see more.

Iverson recalled, “That is where I'm very thankful Adrienne was with me because she looked at me after we tried him and said, ‘You’ve got to have some imagination here because this horse is going to be really cool. Do you trust me?’ She saw something more, something extra special in him, which I'm very grateful for. He has exceeded our expectations so far. He's very smart.”

Iverson noted that the nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Grey Flanell x Donnerschwee has a natural talent for pirouettes, and she was happy with his overall rideability in this Prix St. Georges test. “He's a very talented horse, and he's got a lot of power,” she said. “To be able to put it all together instead of having pieces is pretty exciting.”

“I think his biggest thing is he almost tries too hard, but I will take that problem any day,” noted Iverson. “We always joke that he's like, ‘Hold my hand as we go.’ He's right there every step of the way though, which is great. We just keep holding his hand.”

-- Ocala press release, edited by Eurodressage - Photos © Andrew Ryback Photography

Related Link
Scores: 2024 CDI Ocala