Thermal, Calif. – Oct. 22, 2021 – The first day of competition at the Adequan® Desert Dressage I CDI-W and the Spooktacular National Dressage Show, presented by Platinum Performance, kicked off in winning style Friday at the Desert International Horse Park (DIHP). Boasting impressive improvements across the showgrounds, athletes were eager to be a part of the first of three recognized dressage competitions to be held at the recently renovated facility this season. Emerging at the top of the leaderboard in the Hof Kasselmann CDI3* Grand Prix was Carly Taylor-Smith and Nikki Taylor-Smith’s Rosalut NHF after receiving a personal best score, while Jan Ebeling and Status Royal Old, owned by Ann Romney, concluded Friday’s competition with a win in the Four Winds Farm CDI-W Short Grand Prix.

Jan Ebeling and Status Royal Old

Taking center stage first in the International Arena, Guenter Seidel slipped into a commanding lead at the halfway mark of the Hof Kasselmann CDI3* Grand Prix aboard Leatherdale Farms’ Equirelle, a 12-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Florett AS – Orchidee T, Donnerhall). Earlier this year, the three-time Olympian posted a personal best score of 73.319% aboard Equirelle to win the Rancho Murieta CDI3* Grand Prix Special. Friday afternoon, the duo rode to a score of 70.913%, shining in their canter pirouettes and extended trot.

Guenter Seidel and Leatherdale Farm’s Equirelle

Rising to the occasion to overtake top Seidel’s lead, Taylor-Smith and the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding Rosalut NHF (Rosenthal – Legacy, Salut) proved they were the ones to watch. Putting forth a personal best effort, the pair received a 71.391% to take over the top spot. Judges awarded the duo high marks for their impressive display of one-tempi changes as well as their piaffe and piaffe-passage transitions. Taylor-Smith has brought along the American-bred gelding since he was a foal, with their strong partnership already garnering them plenty of success, including earning two national young horses championship titles and two USDF Horse of the Year awards in Rosalut NHF’s short career. Taylor-Smith will compete with Rosalut NHF under the lights for the first time Saturday evening in the Elizabeth Keadle CDI3* Grand Prix Special.

At the conclusion of the class, Taylor-Smith’s score aboard Rosalut NHF would ultimately be good enough to secure the win. Seidel and Equirelle would finish out the class in second place, with Ebeling and Vantage Equestrian Group II LLC’s Indeed (Hofrat – Gorklintgards Indeera, De Niro 6) rounding out the top three for their score of 68.587%.

Carly Taylor-Smith and Rosalut NHF

Immediately following, the Four Winds Farm CDI-W Short Grand Prix kicked off in the International Arena as athletes hoped to qualify for Saturday’s Four Winds Farm CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle. Topping the final class of the afternoon was Ebeling aboard Status Royal Old, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Statesman Old – Facette Royal, Rubin Royal Old). After impressing the judges with the extended canter and receiving a score of 9 for the halt, the pair earned the win with a score of 68.605%. The pair only recently made their CDI-W Grand Prix debut this past March in Wellington, Florida. After taking a break from competition over the summer, Ebeling looks forward to a promising season with Status Royal Old.

Missy Gilliland and Toledano XXXI

Second place in the Four Winds Farm CDI-W Short Grand Prix was awarded to Missy Gilliland riding her own 14-year-old Andalusian gelding Toledano XXXI (Ambicioso XV – Toledana XII, Osado XIV) to a score of 65.448%. Gilliland made her international debut with Toledano XXXI in the fall of 2020 at the DIHP.

To view full results from the Hof Kasselmann CDI3* Grand Prix, click here.

To view full results from the Four Winds Farm CDI-W Short Grand Prix, click here.

Competition at the DIHP will continue under the lights Saturday, Oct. 23, highlighting the Elizabeth Keadle CDI3* Grand Prix Special set to kick-off at 6:15pm PST, followed by the Four Winds Farm CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle at 7:45pm PST.


Carly Taylor-Smith – Hof Kasselmann CDI3* Grand Prix winner

On earning a personal best score:
“I am so happy and so proud of [Rosalut NHF]. It felt great. I was actually worried with it being 90-degree weather that we were going to run out of steam and it was the complete opposite case. He was one hot tamale! He was very fresh so I actually played it a little safe and was holding him back quite a bit throughout the test. He gave me everything. He was ready to go which was an amazing feeling. My piaffe-passage is so much more solid and regular now, my changes were all there, it’s just detail things now. We are slowly getting better each test which is great, and I’m able to start thinking about the movements rather than just riding through it, so that is a big improvement for myself as a rider. It’s more experience in the arena now. He knows his job now which is really fun.”

On her partnership with Rosalut NHF:
“He is such a special horse for me. I’ve had him his whole life since he was a foal. To come to this is very special for me and to be able to have done that whole journey with him. He is only 11 years old so it’s pretty good already for his age. I can’t believe how fresh he was in that weather! I was red in the face and he could have done another test. Huge thank you to all of my sponsors and my team because it takes a village to be able to do something like this. I couldn’t do this by myself. My mother [Nikki Taylor-Smith] is my biggest supporter and owns [Rosalut NHF] so thank you to her as well.”

On tomorrow’s competition:
“I have the [Elizabeth Keadle CDI3* Grand Prix Special] tomorrow night. I have never ridden under the lights with him before so that is going to be quite an interesting experience. I’m not really expecting much, I was aiming more for the grand prix. Tomorrow I’m just hoping to do a clean round if I can and hopefully not make mistakes and use it as another experience tool for myself. Hopefully he has the same kind of fire, but under control would be great! We’ll just see what we can pull off tomorrow, there’s no pressure and we just want to have fun.” 

On competing at the Desert International horse Park:
“It’s great, every time we come is another great experience. We are getting a little better each time. The arena is fantastic and he was springing off that surface which is really great. It’s lovely to have him from a baby to now in the International Arena. My mother [Nikki Taylor-Smith] owns him so we had a tear in our eye with how grown up he is. We are very, very proud of him. His breeder, Maggie [Neider], I’m sure will also be very proud of him. Hopefully we rest for tomorrow because we’re going quite late and I’ve never really ridden at that time before so this will be a whole different ball game for both of us, so we’ll see how it goes.” 

Jan Ebeling –  Four Winds Farm CDI-W Short Grand Prix winner

On riding the short grand prix for the first time:
“Riding it is nice, it rides really well. I have a very hard time wrapping my head around a short grand prix because to me the classical grand prix that we have is already shortened from what it used to be and a grand prix that only has two piaffes, but it rides well. It’s definitely shorter, of course it’s easier, but I think there are some good challenges. I think the last line in the canter with the pirouettes and the one-tempis, I think that’s a good challenge.” 

On the Desert International Horse Park:
“It’s fantastic. They are really bending over backwards, from the staff here in the VIP to everyone running around with a muck bucket, the staff that are cleaning, everyone says hello, good morning and it’s really a super friendly atmosphere here. The footing they just installed is fantastic. They have made so many improvements on the grounds —  it looks fantastic. It’s so fun to come here and the entire staff is very welcoming!”

On the weekend:
“We will see how the [Four Winds Farm CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle] goes tomorrow and then my other horse Indeed unfortunately had a mistake today, but we’ll see how the [Elizabeth Keadle CDI3* Grand Prix Special] goes for him. I think overall it’s been a good weekend. We haven’t shown since April in Florida, so we are here for another six weeks and then we will go back to Florida. This is a really good season opener for us.”