Marek and Brinkman Headline WEC Dressage XIV and XV Shows
Dressage horses and riders took to the indoor arenas at the World Equestrian Center (WEC) – Ocala on August 26-28, 2022, for national competition at the Dressage XIV and XV shows, presented by Hampton Green Farm and Discover Dressage. The climate-controlled arenas made it possible for junior, amateur and open riders to showcase their talented horses from Intro level all the way up through the Grand Prix division.
On Friday, August 26, during Dressage XIV, 16 horse-and-rider combinations strutted into the arena for the FEI Intermediare I class, where Anna Marek (USA) picked up her first blue ribbon of the weekend aboard Donauwelle P, her own nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Don Frederico. Judge at C Tami Batts rewarded their performance with a score of 72.794%.
In the following class, the FEI Grand Prix, Marek dazzled once again, this time with Fire Fly, earning a score of 74.022%, almost five points ahead of second-place finisher Brian Hafner (USA) with Dream Catcher. Marek, who has been based in Ocala for 12 years, got the ride on the 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Briar Junior x 00 Seven last summer when his owner, Janet Simile, asked if he could enter Marek’s training program. At the time, Marek was pregnant with her daughter, Mae, but Simile chose to continue with Marek. Fire Fly had previously competed at the grand prix level with Shelley van den Neste, so Marek knew it would take some time to build their own strong connection.
“I rode him for a little while, and then my assistant rode him while I was off on maternity leave,” explained Marek. “He’s a very sensitive horse, but once I had Mae and we really got going, we just clicked very well. We’ve really sailed along together, moving up from the Intermediare II last year to the Grand Prix.”
Fire Fly’s sensitivity comes in the form of a spookiness Marek has tried to address in their training. After a strong outing in WEC’s Grand Arena during the Dressage III CDI3* on April 14-17, 2022, and with their eyes on the WEC September Dressage CDI3* this September 15-18, Marek felt it was important to keep Fire Fly in the flow of competing. The decision paid off, with what Marek described as their best test together.
“What’s really special about him is that everything in the test he can do very well, especially the piaffe and passage,” detailed Marek. “My coach, Anne Gribbons, has been helping me work on really putting that piaffe on the spot and not letting it creep forward. His piaffes in this test were really what I always hope to show in the ring.”