CDI Debutant Pair Howington and Serenade MF Win GP Special at 2024 CDI Ocala

Sat, 02/17/2024 - 21:39
2024 CDI Ocala
Jessica Howington and Serenade MF at the 2024 CDI Ocala :: Photo © Lily Forado

In their first CDI together, Jessica Howington (USA) and Serenade MF led the lap of honour for the Grand Prix Special at the 2024 CDI Ocala on Saturday 17 February 2024.  

Howington (USA) and Serenade MF, her own 11-year-old American-bred Hanoverian mare by Sir Donnerhall x Don Principe, scored 68.915% from the judge’s panel of Thomas Kessler (GER), Sandra Hotz (USA), Knut Danzberg (GER), Jane Weatherwax (USA) and Omar Zayrik (MEX). They topped the board in a field of eight riders.

Thursday’s grand prix winners, Anna Marek (USA) and Fayvel, Christina Davila’s 14-year-old KWPN gelding by Zizi Top x Houston, placed second with a score of 68.277%. Allison Carmichael and Figaro, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding by Apache x Zichem owned by Flying Otter Farm, stepped into third place with 68.170%.


Serenade MF, known as “Shrimp” in the barn, arrived at Howington’s farm less than two months ago. “It’s funny because I have two other horses named Miso and Bagel, and now we have Shrimp,” laughed Howington. “She fit right in! Now I have a full plate.”

Howington and Serenade
While new to Howington, Shrimp competed at the international grand prix level for two years with Alice Tarjan, including Rotterdam and Aachen CDIO5* events as well as at the 2023 FEI Dressage World Cup Final.

Howington rode Shrimp at a national show two weeks ago, but this is their first CDI competition together. As she prepared for Friday’s grand prix class, Howington was “super nervous.” They placed second, and Howington was ready to learn more going into the Grand Prix Special.

“It’s a brand-new relationship,” she noted. “I don’t know what to expect, but I learn something new every time, which is cool and helpful. I’ve been so happy with her. She is staying with me and listening. I absolutely love her, I really do. I know it’s a super-new partnership, but I can’t wait for the future.”

Fired Up

Howington noted that Shrimp can be a different horse from at home, to the warm-up ring, to the show arena. “She can get so fired up in the warm-up that she gets tired for the test, physically and mentally,” explained Howington. “That’s one of the things that I learned at the national show, is that she’s ready to go. Today we did a little shorter warm-up and not even working so much on the exercises but just the throughness and rideability. Rideability was the goal for today and to have her stay with me.

Howington on Serenade MF
“I was so proud of her,” she continued. “Even though we had a bobble or two, I’m happy with the whole test. It feels like our partnership grew even since yesterday or four days ago when we arrived on the showgrounds. She’s feeling more like my ride every day.”

Howington plans on competing at a few more CDIs going into the spring in order to achieve her main goal of building their partnership.

“If we can continue to build and get better and better scores, that’s truly icing on the cake,” she said. “I love her and want to ride her for years and years. Getting a good, solid foundation is super important for me right now with her. I want to hang onto her for a long time.”

-- WEC press release, Photos © Lily Forado

Related Links
Scores: 2024 CDI Ocala
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