Marek and Fayvel Ride on the Crest of a Winning Wave at 2024 CDI Ocala

Sat, 02/17/2024 - 15:01
2024 CDI Ocala
Anna Marek and Fayvel win the Grand Prix for Special at the 2024 CDI Ocala :: Photo © Lily Forado

-- WEC press release, edited by Eurodressage

Anna Marek and Fayvel are riding on the crest of a winning wave. After bagging the World Cup qualifier victory at the CDI-W Wellington last week, they continued their winning ways at the CDI Ocala on 16 February 2024.

Field of Nine

Marek and Fayvel, owned by Christina Davila, produced a score of 70.369% for the win in the Grand Prix for Special  3* which featured nine combinations and which was assessed by judges Jane Weatherwax (USA), Thomas Kessler (GER), Sandra Hotz (USA), Omar Zayrik (MEX) and Knut Danzberg (GER).

With 68.152%, Jessica Howington (USA) and Serenade MF, her own 11-year-old Hanoverian mare by Sir Donnerhall x Don Principe, placed second. Jodie Kelly-Baxley (USA) and Grayton Beach, her 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Negro x UB 40, scored a personal best of 67.630% for third place.

Jessica Howington on Serenade MF,
previously shown and owned by Alice Tarjan
While Marek has been riding Fayvel since 2020, they did not start competing together until September of 2023 when Davila was injured. Davila and Fayvel competed together at the amateur grand prix level consistently, and Davila wanted to see what Fayvel could do under the saddle of Marek. The pair was immediately successful and with first, second and third place finishes in Grand Prix Freestyle classes at World Cup qualifying shows, they have punched their ticket for the 2024 World Cup Final in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh and Paris

With that qualification, Marek decided to compete in the Grand Prix Special this week in order to gain valuable Olympic qualification scores.

“Today I was really happy with having a clean ride,” said Marek. “There were a few things, just getting to know Fayvel in the ring and especially at this level, that we are trying to clean up and make a little bit better.”

Anna Marek and Fayvel
Fayvel has exceeded expectations for Marek and her team and has shown improvement at each competition. “He is very energetic, and he's quite easy to ride through the movements,” said Marek of the 14-year-old KWPN gelding by Zizi Top x Houston.

“I don’t want to say riding through a clean test is easy because dressage is very hard, but he is the type of horse that doesn't really have anything else in his mind other than doing what I want. He has no baggage.”

Goldstrike Gets Back On the Beat

Riding into the ring for his second win of the week was Julio Mendoza Loor and his own Jewel’s Goldstrike in the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3*. The pair scored 78.535% from the judge’s panel of Kessler, Hotz, Danzberg, Weatherwax – who gave a score of 80% – and Zayrik.

While going in for the freestyle for the first time since October when they won at the 2023 Pan American Games was exciting, Mendoza Loor could feel “Goldie” tense up

Julio Mendoza on Jewel's Goldstrike
“We tried to settle down, but it wasn’t enough time to bring him back to me,” explained Mendoza Loor. “When I asked for the passage when the music started, he got a little bit shaky. We made a mistake in the line of two-tempis. I was a little bit all over the place today, but you have to get back in the ring and he had to feel the music.

"This is a horse who always tries,” he said of the 13-year-old KWPN gelding by Bretton Woods x Scandic. “With every mistake that happens, you’re learning. The highlights today were the pirouettes in the canter and my line of one-tempis into the pirouette.”

Gremlin Grows In I-1 Performance

Taking the top spot in the Intermediate I 1* class were Thursday’s winners, Quinn Iverson and Gremlin , a nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Grey Flanell x Donnerschwee owned by Billie Davidson. They scored 70.030% in their first-ever Intermediate I CDI test.

Allison Zarembowicz (USA) and Happy Khan, her 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Zjengis Khan x Jazz, finished in second place with a score of 62.470%, while Maria Constanza Comaleras (ECU) and Jamrock BCN, her 10-year-old KWPN gelding by Negro x Vivaldi, had a personal best of 62.059% for third place.

Quinn Iverson on Gremlin
Riding in their first CDI competition together, Iverson did not know what to expect from Gremlin, especially in the I-1 test that takes it up a notch from the Prix St. Georges in terms of difficulty with a full pirouette, two-tempi lead changes, and shoulder-in on the centerline.

Iverson was “absolutely thrilled” with how Gremlin performed. “I thought he was going to be a little tired, but nope,” she said. “He was ready to go and was like, ‘We got this!’ I loved how confirmed his changes felt today. The improvements that we made from our last time of doing full pirouettes, I was very happy with. He felt very rideable and just waited for me to take him around, so that was great."

-- Photos © Lily Forado - Andrew Ryback

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