Dr. Cesar Parra and Performance Farms team riders are known for their consistent National and International successes over the last two decades. Now they are gearing up for 2022 with a trio of National Champion trainers and two year-round training centers, in Jupiter, Florida, and at a new facility, in Pittstown, New Jersey.
The plan going forward is for 2022 to be as magical as 2021, or even better! Last October, Cesar was proclaimed the high-scoring Best FEI Rider of the 2021 CDI-W Devon, winning the CDI3* Small Tour. This was his sixth overall FEI title – on six different horses — at Dressage at Devon. Over the 20 years he has competed there, he has had over 30 victory passes, in every division from Young Horse to Grand Prix.
In addition he was in a league of his own in Devon’s national Six-Year-Old classes, Cesar won on Gina Raful’s Fanta just a month after making top five in the 2021 U.S. Young Horse Championships at Lamplight. Dressage at Devon was also the international debut for Brooke Centrella’s Westphalian mare, Belle Ami, who Cesar won the FEI High Score and Best FEI Rider in Intermediaire I aboard.
Meanwhile, Performance Farms assistant trainer, Katryna Evans, took command at Devon in the National 5-Year-Old classes, just weeks after winning the Bronze Medal at the same Young Horse Championships at Lamplight.
An October 2021 report here on HorsesDaily.com said it best: “After Dr. Parra’s 20th season competing at Dressage at Devon, and 18th at the Markel/USEF National Dressage Horse and Developing Young Horse Championship, it’s no wonder he has needed at least two farms and homes to house all the awards and ribbons.” His 2021 wins at the prestigious Dressage at Devon just after an equally impressive Festival of Champions prove the staying power of his team and Performance Farm’s classical training system.
Successful Start to the 2022 Season
At their first show of the 2022 season, success unfolded as planned at the Gold Coast Dressage Opener held this past weekend at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Madeline Bendfeldt and Møllegårdens Fashion won their Third Level Test One classes with 76%+ and cinched the Vita Flex Victory Pass award. Next up was Katryna Evans who won the Third Level Test Two classes with newcomer, Land Do Retrio.
A Trio of Champions Makes up the Team
The horseman himself is humble in that recognition. “We are very lucky to have the team that we have,” says Cesar, one of Colombia’s top international riders and a member of its 2004 Olympic team before coming to America and representing the United States on its Team Gold Medal-winning squad at the 2011 Pan American Games.
Of his Performance Farms’ assistant trainers, Cesar says, “Katryna Evans and Madeleine Bendfeldt are amazing riders and people, who have a very special mix of talent and incredible experience. They received the best classical dressage education in Europe and have years of experience bringing very high-quality horses up the levels. They have many qualities that make them both such valuable members of our team.”
Originally from Colorado, Katryna made herself at home at Devon, winning the National 5-Year-Old classes on Cesar and Marcela Parra’s Danish Warmblood gelding, Møllegårdens Fashion. Earlier at U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions at Lamplight Equestrian Center, she rode the four-year-old Hanoverian Fontenay to an amazing qualifying score of 89.4%, and with Møllegårdens Fashion, made the Top Three in the 5-Year-Old Championship.
Madeleine arrived in the United States last summer, having worked for Helgstrand Dressage in Germany and Wellington, Florida, and she immediately made her presence known, winning the 6-Year-Old National Championship at the 2021 Markel/USEF Developing Dressage Horse Championships.
“In addition, I have the talented Nicolas Torres helping with our New Jersey operations,” Cesar adds, referring to his former FEI Junior Rider champion at the stunning new facility in Pittstown. “He has been a student of mine since he was 11 years-old and now he is a Chemical Engineering and Mathematics graduate! He is an amazing rider and we will probably see much more of him on Colombian teams in the future.”
Giving Back to the Sport Internationally
Cesar continues to further the education of horsemen in his homeland, coaching five “master class” clinics there annually and serving as Headmaster of Training for the Colombian Cavalry. “I try to help the sport wherever I can. I think it’s important for those of us involved to help dressage grow.”
Supporting the Sport Through Sponsorship
Meanwhile, Performance Farms is sponsoring at the Global Dressage Festival, Wellington Classic Dressage and the Gold Coast Dressage Association again for 2022, presenting the Performance Farms Adult Amateur Achievement Award.
“I really enjoy recognizing Adult Amateurs, as their passion is ultimately what drives our sport. There are many amateurs who are tremendous riders. I want to make sure they do not go unnoticed. They have the talent. They work hard. In the right system, they can become successful and competitive riders if they so desire. In my experience, adult amateurs are not so different from us professionals. We all want the same thing. To be the best riders we can be, to have healthy and happy horses, and to be able to bond and connect with them,” Cesar says.
Horses and Riders Welcome Year-Round in Florida and at the New Farm in New Jersey
Cesar traditionally spent winters in Jupiter, Florida and summers at his beautiful Performance Farm in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, but going into 2022 Parra has changed his business plan entirely.
The Whitehouse station property has been sold and while it was originally the plan to stay permanently in Florida, just two weeks after closing the sale he signed the sales contract for the Pittstown facility with a friend.
“This looks like my dream barn,” Cesar says. “Beautifully built with a huge indoor arena and lots of outdoor spaces. It has very easy access to Manhattan, yet in a quiet and lovely area. We’re working around the clock so that we can move in soon to this world-class facility.”
A dream barn where riders and horses can fulfil dreams, too. “Teamwork makes the dream work” is a favourite motto of Cesar’s and he is excited to share the dreams with others. Performance Farms currently has a few spots open for horses in training and rider’s seeking coaching at both facilities.
“In addition, this year will also be about the development of our amazing prospects. The young horses we have right now are some of the best prospects I have ever worked with and I’m very excited for all of us to help them fulfil their potential as future international Grand Prix horses,” added Cesar.