Thermal, Calif. – Nov. 21, 2021 – The final day of Adequan® Desert Dressage II wrapped up Sunday, Nov. 21, at the Desert International Horse Park (DIHP) with three international classes and ample national tests taking place under the California sun in Thermal, California. Riding down centerline bright and early, a competitive field of small tour riders took to the ring in the Ebeling Dressage CDI1* Intermediate I. Kristina Harrison-Antell was first to go in the class and she wowed the judges to ride away with the win with a score of 72.412%, while Claire Darnell won the Deb Pulver CDI3* Intermediate II later Sunday morning with a 69.882%.

Kristina Harrison-Antell and I Felix

No stranger to the winner’s circle, Harrison-Antell’s win in the Ebeling Dressage CDI1* Intermediate I was her second of the weekend with I Felix (Fidertanz–Dalwhinnie, UB 40), Jocelyn Towne’s 8-year-old KWPN gelding. During Saturday’s Lisa Seger Insurance & Markel CDI1* Prix St. Georges, the pair received an impressive score of 75.049%, which was over 5 points higher than second place.

Based in Los Angeles, California, Harrison-Antell found the bay talented as a 2-year-old and has been enjoying bringing him up the levels. Earlier this year, they won the reserve tricolor ribbon in the Markel/USEF Developing Prix St. Georges National Championship at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois. Since their trip to Illinois, Harrison-Antell has focused on developing I Felix’s strength for his pirouettes and after receiving a few 9’s throughout her test for their 2-tempi changes and trot half-passes, she was ecstatic with his Intermediate I debut this week at DIHP.

Rebecca Rigdon and Iquem

Riding into second place on a score of 70.647% in the Ebeling Dressage CDI1* Intermediate I was Rebecca Rigdon on her 8-year-old KWPN mare Iquem (Charmeur–Tres Bien Sijgje, Moreno). Hot on her heels with a score of 70.323% was Nick Wagman who placed third in the class on Heatcliff (Florencio I–Ulivi, Olivi),a 9-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Beverly Jean Gepfer.

After dominating the Small Tour in last year’s Desert Dressage series at DIHP, Darnell has been working hard to move her 9-year-old KWPN gelding Harrold S (Vivaldi–Zantana Sollenburg, Fidermark) up to the next level. She made the long trip down from Mount Vernon, Washington well worth it as she won both Medium Tour classes during Desert Dressage II, first taking home the blue in the Beverly J. Gepfer & Kirk R. Martens Foundation CDI3* Intermediate A with a 70.49% before returning Sunday to top the Deb Pulver CDI3* Intermediate II with a 69.882%.

Claire Darnell and Harrold S

In the final CDI class of the weekend, the Prestige CDI3* Grand Prix Consolation, Matthew Cunningham and Ribery 27 (Rock Forever–Fahra, Florestan I) , an 11-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Jeri Walz, took the win with a 67.137%. Croatia’s Karen Pavicic placed second with a 66.268% on Totem (Totilas–Denebola, Donnerhall), a 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding she owns with Thomas Baur.

Matthew Cunningham and Ribery 27

Dressage in the desert at DIHP returns Feb. 17-20, 2022, with Desert Dressage III, which will feature CDI3* and CPEDI3* international competition in addition to USEF/NAYC Level-5 qualifying classes, and qualifying classes for the 2022 Great American/USDF Regional Championships. A new weekend of international and national dressage sport has been added to the DIHP schedule March 31- April 3, 2022 as a CDI3*, USEF/NAYC Level-5, and 2022 Great American/USDF Regional Championships qualifying competition.


Kristina Harrison-Antell – Ebeling Dressage CDI1* Intermediate I

On I Felix:
“I’m absolutely thrilled. I actually found him as a 2-year-old and I brought him all the way along. From the moment I saw him I knew he was special. This was his first Intermediate I ever in his entire life and he was fantastic. He’s fiercely brave. He’s hot and quirky but he’s been so loyal and as honest as can be – one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever come across. Since the Festival of Champions, we’ve continued to work on building his strength and he’s a lot more confident. His pirouettes are really coming along. He just turned 8 this summer – he’s a late July baby so we’ve been focused on getting stronger for the pirouettes. It’s exciting to see him continue to develop.”

On her tests:
“His changes are amazing. I’ve never had a horse with such amazing changes. I honestly don’t think there is anything that this horse doesn’t do well. He’s so lovely in my hand and gives me such a nice feeling.”

Kristina Harrison-Antell and I Felix

On her future plans with I Felix:
“We are headed to Florida for February and March. This will be my first time ever going down there to ride because I received a high performance grant from the Dressage Foundation on my Grand Prix horse. I’ll be bringing down 6 horses and Felix.”

On competing at the Desert International Horse Park:
“This is my first time competing here but I will be back. It is phenomenal. I think the USEF/USDF Finals should be considered to come here because it’s an amazing facility. The footing is spectacular, the show is expertly run and I don’t have a single complaint. I loved the walk up to the arenas from the stabling and my horses enjoyed that too. I love it here!”

Claire Darnell – Deb Pulver CDI3* Intermediate II winner

On her performance:
“I’m feeling really good about both of my tests this weekend – it was our first Medium Tour CDI. We were here last year and won the Small Tour CDI so it’s exciting to move him up and receive similar scores. The judges complimented me for my lateral work, which we tried to improve from yesterday’s test.”

Claire Darnell and Harrold S with fellow Washington-state rider Aaron Janicki

On Harrold S:
“I started riding him in December 2016 and I’ve trained him up. He was a big baby, but he’s been really great to develop up the levels. He’s been so fun to bring up from a 4-year-old and now we are schooling the Grand Prix. We are deciding what to do for the winter but I think I will be heading to Wellington for six weeks. I haven’t gone to Wellington before so I’m excited. We have a pretty busy sales business in Mount Vernon [Washington] so I don’t want to abandon anyone!”

On competing at the Desert International Horse Park:
“The facility is amazing. The footing is fantastic, the stabling is great, and the upgrades, even since I was here last year, are amazing. It’s my favorite place to show!”

Claire Darnell and Harrold S


Ebeling Dressage CDI1* Intermediate I
Rider / Country / Horse / Owner / Total Score
1. Kristina Harrison-Antell / USA / I Felix / Jocelyn Towne / 72.412
2. Rebecca Rigdon / USA / Iquem / Rebecca Rigdon / 70.647
3. Nick Wagman / USA / Heatcliff / Beverly Jean Gepfer / 70.323
4. Mette Rosencrantz / USA / Chrevi’s Ramour / Mette Rosencrantz / 68.176
5. McKenzie Milburn / USA / Zero Branco / McKenzie Milburn / 66.912
6. Christine Unruh / USA / Avantage / Christine Unruh / 63.118
7. Michelle Mills / CAN / Facendo / Michelle Mills / 59.059

Deb Pulver CDI3* Intermediate II
Rider / Country / Horse / Owner / Total Score
1. Claire Darnell / USA / Harrold S / Claire Darnell / 69.882

Prestige CDI3* Grand Prix Consolation
Rider / Country / Horse / Owner / Total Score
1. Matthew Cunningham / USA / Ribery 27 / Jeri Walz / 67.137
2. Karen Pavicic / CRO / Totem / Karen Pavicic and Thomas Baur / 66.268