(Originally posted at HorsesDaily)
For almost a decade internationally celebrated rider and trainer Dr. Cesar Parra has been qualifying some of the brightest stars in the sport for the Markel/USEF Developing and Young Horse National Championships. This year, Dr. Parra’s Performance Farms has three horses headed to the Championships. While Dr. Parra has high hopes for all his charges, he is most excited about GK Don Cesar, who heads to the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Championships as the top seed in the Developing Horse Prix St. George Championship rankings.
Photo: Cesar Parra aboard GK Don Cesar who is ranked number 1 in the US for the Developing Horse Prix St. George Championship competition. The USEF/Markel Developing Horse Championships begin tomorrow August 22 and run through August 25th at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, IL., USA (Photo: Leanjo.de Koster provided courtesy of Performance Farms)
Don Cesar has been on well planned trajectory career path since Dr. Parra discovered him as a 3 year old. “He (Don Cesar) is such a willing and happy horse, a true overachiever,” explains Dr. Parra, “He has achieved success each year as a young horse and last year he made his debut in the Developing Horse Prix St. George and finished as the US Reserve National Champion. This year he is even more solid in his work at this level and I am proud and excited that he is entering this year’s Championship ranking number one”, Dr. Parra added with a pride that has not diminished even a little since his first opportunity to compete in the US Championship nine years ago.
Dr. Parra and his team have been top contenders at the US Festival of Champions and the Markel/USEF Young Horse and Developing Horse Championships every year since 2010 when his newly minted citizenship qualified him to compete. In his debut year in 2010, Dr. Parra set the bar high winning the Intermediaire Championship on Olympia. That would be the beginning of a winning formula that continues today after more than more than 20 successful rides down the centerline at the US National Championships. Last year, Parra and Fashion Designer OLD took top honors and won the Developing Horse Grand Prix Championship and Don Cesar won the Reserve Championship in the Developing Horse Prix St. George.
Dr. Parra has his hopes pinned on his top ranked mount Don Cesar this week. Don Cesar has enjoyed an illustrious career coming up through the ranks of the young horse and developing horse program. He finished third as a 5 year old and Reserve Champion as a 6 year old, and then went on to represent the United States in the Young Horse World Championships in Ermelo, Netherlands as a 7 year old. As an 8-year-old he returned to the US National Developing Horse Championships to garner the red Reserve Championship cooler in the Developing Horse Prix St. George.
Dr. Parra and his team have three exceptional horses representing Performance Farms in this year’s National Championships to be held August 20th-25th at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, IL. Along with Dr. Parra aboard Don Cesar, both Katie Riley aboard Fabulous Lady and Merita Hagren aboard Jida Selly A will compete in the 5 year old Young Horse Championships.
Coming into the Championships with his horse Don Cesar at the top of the rankings and his own vast experience competing as an Olympian, a Pan American Games Team Gold medalist, a Nations Cup Silver medalist, and two-time FEI World Equestrian Games™ and FEI World Cup™ veteran gives Dr. Parra a confidence boost for this week’s competition, but he is quick to note that “the US Championships are made up of the top of the top when it comes to horses and riders, so it is always very competitive and a fun and exciting rivalry for all the competitors”.
Follow Dr. Parra and all the rising dressage stars he has in training at www.piaffe-performance.com and on Facebook @PiaffePerformance.