(Originally posted on The Chronicle of the Horse)
International Dressage Rider Cesar Parra has returned from a rewarding training period in Europe with a new horse in tow and his sights set on a successful winter show season with the horses and students of Piaffe-Performance Farm. Parra is looking forward to 2011 and hopes to build on a fantastic 2010 show year, which included breaking in his status as a new American citizen by winning his first National Championship at the USEF Dressage Festival of Champions.
“We just returned from training with Hubertus Schmidt in Europe, and it was amazing,” Parra said. “It is great to be there at Hubertus’, to watch him ride and get his help. It is really a wonderful riding environment and exactly what I needed — to be challenged every day and do the work I needed.”
Parra said the time spent in Europe was not only beneficial for him, but also for Grandioso, a nine-year-old Westfalen gelding owned by Michael and Sarah Davis. “Grandioso is doing awesome and is constantly improving, especially after our time spent in Europe with Hubertus. He is a huge horse, so strength is very important in order to carry himself and maintain his expressive gaits. We worked a lot on Grandioso’s piaffe with Hubertus and it is improving daily,” Parra said, adding that his goal with Grandioso is to continue his training with their sights set on the 2012 Olympics in London.
While Parra is looking forward to competing Grandioso on the Florida winter dressage circuit, he is also eager to introduce the Davis’ newest star, Lindner, a five-year-old Westfalen gelding imported from Beckmann Stables in Germany. “This is a top quality horse that surely has a bright future ahead. We plan to develop him through the top levels of Grand Prix and I am sure he will be very successful,” Parra said. “In my career, I have been fortunate enough to work with many amazing horses, including a couple of winners of German National Championships. I believe Lindner has the potential to be better than any of them. I feel very blessed to have a young horse of his caliber in my barn.”
While Parra will be focused on his horses, he is equally excited about the potential of his students at Piaffe-Performance. “The winter in Florida is a very exciting and enjoyable time. I plan to expose the young horses to a nice show environment and my young riders will be working on trying to qualify for the Championships. We will also be working on finding nice homes for the horses we have available for sale. It is an interesting time for all of our students, both old and new, as they learn about the business of showing and all that is included,” Parra said.
Meanwhile, owners Michael and Sarah Davis and their daughter Bebe are all riding their horses with Parra and preparing for the fast approaching winter dressage season. It is exciting for my family to be on both ends of the dressage spectrum, owning top horses with US Team aspirations and also training and competing themselves.
For more information on Parra or Piaffe-Performance, which has facilities in New Jersey and Florida, visit their website atwww.piaffe-performance.com.