Nichols, Ball, and Wagman Capture Wins at Desert Dressage, Presented by Adequan®

Nichols, Ball, and Wagman Capture Wins at Desert Dressage, Presented by Adequan®

Desert Dressage 1, presented by Adequan® –the first of four weeks of dressage competition at the Desert International Horse Park (DIHP) in Thermal, CA – wrapped Sunday with elite West-Coast dressage athletes taking home top honors.

Young rider Erin Nichols stepped into the Grand Prix level for the first time quite successfully, scoring a 79.021% in the Adequan® FEI Grand Prix aboard Elian Royale, owned by Premiere Sport Horses. Nichols, a former FEI North American Youth Championships double gold medalist, was elated with the progress in her relationship with Elian Royale, the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Johnson TN x Amidou).

“We’ve come a long way in just over a year now. This was our first Grand Prix as a team so it was really exciting to take this step into the Grand Prix level and see where we’re at and make the plan for this upcoming season,” Nichols reflected.

“It was amazing,” she continued of the feeling she got during her Grand Prix test Friday. “I went in just thinking let’s see what happens. I was open minded and just taking it as learning experience. It’s a challenging level; it’s a long test and everything happens quicker. It requires a lot of attention on my part and my horse’s part. It all came together after our work in the off season and it was really cool to see that all come together.”

Success at any level comes as a result of hard work, and Nichols put in the work at home to earn her win Friday.

“Coming up to the shows, we worked through some of the movements and went through the test a few times at home,” she explained of her training. “My trainer, David Whiteman, really helps me become a good test rider. He goes through the test in detail and how to ride each corner, each movement, each part of the big test. I think that helps break it down so I can really think in the moment. Because we had practiced, it felt not as intimidating.”

Nichols already has experience competing on teams and thriving under pressure, but her step upward continued to solidify that she’s heading in the right direction.

“This weekend gave me a lot of confidence stepping into this level,” she explained. “It gave me the feeling that I can do this, and it gave me the extra encouragement that I can go at this level and we can do it well. The Grand Prix test itself really lets my horse shine so it’s been really cool to bring out all the best he has to offer.”

Returning in November for the first CDI event of the season, Nichols will take another step up, this time into her first CDI3* Grand Prix and CDI3* Grand Prix Special.

Read more:

Nichols, Ball, and Wagman Capture Wins at Desert Dressage 1, Presented by Adequan® – Desert International Horse Park (