Nora Batchelder won twice at the World Equestrian Center's rated dressage shows (2)
March 14, 2023
By Staff Writers
OCALA, Fla.--Nora Batchelder on Improv 402 won the Prix St.George at the World Equestrian Center March rated dressage show.
Nora Batchelder on Improv 402 (Photo by Q2 Photography)WEC held back-to-back rated dressage shows, March 8-10 and March 11-12 as well as the 2023 Florida Youth Dressage Championships, that included classes from Training Level to FEI Grand Prix and was an official qualifying competition for the 2023 Great American/USDF Regional Championships.
Batchelder competed on three horses from her base 20 minutes away and had two wins and two second places.
Her top score, 73.529%, was in the Prix St. Georges on Improv 40Z, a 17.3-hand, 10-year-old gelding owned by Sandi Lieb, who bred and raised the horse in Florida.
Batchelder has been training him for almost a year, and he was also second in the Intermediate I with 69.265%.
“In January we did his first Prix St. Georges, and this was our second time out,” said Batchelder, who moved to Ocala permanently when the family sold their farm in New Hampshire in 2013. “I was really happy with our Prix St. Georges, and we had a really good connection. He’s getting more comfortable at the level and stronger in the pirouettes. He’s a very good boy."
“We’ve got him qualified for regionals at Prix St. Georges, so we’ll probably do that,” said Batchelder. “We’ve also started to play around a bit with the grand prix stuff, so over the summer we will dabble with that a bit more to see what he can do.”
SHE ALSO rode two of Carol Glover’s horses, Divo and Mulder RH. Divo was formerly ridden by Glover, but Batchelder has taken over the reins to “see what he could do.”
“We did some small tour stuff at first, then last year moved up to Intermediate II and grand prix,” said Batchelder. “Then we did a handful of shows and he won the Intermediate II and the grand prix at regionals, so this year we’re trying the harder stuff, like the special and freestyle. This was his second special."
“We may try one of the CDIs at WEC in April or May with him, but it’s a big jump to get into the grand prix CDI ring," she said. "Even the jump from the grand prix to the special is big, it’s a hard test. We do an abbreviated warm-up because if I warm up too much he gets tired. The special is eight minutes long, and I was really proud of him. Our last centerline was our best final centerline in any of our grand prix or special tests. He had really good energy.”
Mulder was home-bred by the Batchelder family, and Glover bought him as a 4-year-old.
The gelding is now 6, and this was his first competition. He competed at Third Level and scored 63.25%.
“This was a big environment for him for his first show,” said Batchelder, “but he handled it well, and we have lots of good stuff to build on. It’s always fun to go to WEC. The facility is amazing. It’s got everything you could hope for; the footing is great, and the stabling is fantastic. It’s also really nice in Florida to have climate-controlled arenas.”
Dutch rider Ivo Juhrend, who moved to the U.S. in 2018, had four wins on his two horses Dutch D-Day and Black Diamond as well as placings on Eye Catcher and Bjiray Da Braccio in a two-day period.
His best scores came at grand prix level, scoring over 70% in two tests on Dutch D-Day, and also had two wins on the former jumper Black Diamond at Intermediate II, with 67.941% and 69.706%.
The Florida Youth Dressage Championships were held after a Covid-induced pause of two years.
This was the first time that the Championships, created in 2013, were held at WEC – Ocala.
Entrants in the Junior and Pony divisions competed in two straight tests (the team and individual tests), each one comprising 40% of the final mark, and then a freestyle to music (20%).
For the Young Rider, Children and Under-25 divisions, it was a 50/50 weighting of two straight tests, with no freestyle.
The overall youth champion was 16-year-old Justine Boyer, who won with three solid tests at Junior level on PRE Campanero HG, scoring 70.455%, 69.485% and 68.013%.
Boyer, who is based in Ocala, won the Children’s title at the 2019 edition of the show with a different horse.
“This show is especially fun because I get to compete with other junior riders and get to know them, and maybe in the future we will get to be teammates at North American Youth Championships,” said Boyer, who won over nine in the Junior division.
“Showing here at WEC is definitely amazing. We’ve worked a lot to get Campanero to not be so spooky, and this is the show where he really outdid himself and wasn’t spooky, so it was really nice. We’ve been together for four years working up toward juniors. It’s been interesting to get to ride an advanced horse at a young age,” said Boyer, who has won all six international tests she has entered with Campanero since they began competing at CDIs in September 2022.
Texas-based Alexandra Garvey’s scores in the Pony division on Unsciped climbed as the week went on, and her top score of the week, 69.65%, was enough to seal the Pony championship title.
Bennett McWhorter, 13, finished runner-up to Garvey in the Pony division, but he won the Children’s division, where Garvey had to settle for second place.
McWhorter, of Baton Rouge, La, rode Fortoula and had an average score of 67.345% over the two tests.
Two plus-67% scores sealed the Young Rider title for 20-year-old Celsiana William as riding Prima Ballerina she led from start to finish.
William is originally from Trinidad, Calif., but is now based in Ocala.
She has owned Prima Ballerina since she was 4 and this was her first time in the Florida Youth Dressage Championships.
Nicole Scarpino, 24, who is also based in Ocala, was another to lead her division from the start.
She won the Under-25 Championship title riding Lambada 224 to over 68% in both the Intermediate II and the Under-25 Grand Prix tests.
She plans to compete in the Under-25 CDI divisions next and hopes to step up to some national Grand Prix classes.