Canadian Olympian David Marcus scored a personal best to finish second to Steffen Peters of the United States in Grand Prix competition held Aug. 9 at CDI3* Verden, Germany. Marcus is preparing to represent Canada at the upcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Aug. 23 to Sept. 7 in Normandy, France.
Marcus, of Campbellville, ON, was awarded a score of 72.30% in Saturday’s Grand Prix test riding Chrevi’s Capital, representing the pair’s highest score to date. U.S. Olympic medalist Steffen Peters posted the winning score of 74.98% with Legolas while Germany’s Dorothee Schneider riding Silvano earned 71.92% for third place. A total of 31 entries contested the Grand Prix.
“What more can you ask for than to have a personal best right before the world championships!” exclaimed Marcus, 33. “It is great for our confidence, and it shows the world the improvements that Capital is making and what he is capable of.”
Of Saturday’s performance, Marcus noted, “I had an early ride; I was third in the ring. I had to warm-up in the rain, but thankfully it stopped raining in time for my test and Capital was really good.”
Three weeks earlier, Marcus had contested the prestigious CDIO5* Aachen, Germany, as Canada’s sole representative. Following a clean but conservative Grand Prix test, Marcus pushed Chrevi’s Capital for maximum brilliance in the Grand Prix Special and had a mistake as a result.
“My goal in Verden was to find the perfect balance between the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special tests that I rode in Aachen,” explained Marcus. “I wanted the harmony of the Grand Prix from Aachen combined with the power and more uphill quality that I had in the Special. I think that was exactly what I was able to achieve today, and I was thankful that it was rewarded by the judges.”
Since making their grand prix debut in 2012, Marcus and Chrevi’s Capital have continued to improve their partnership and their standing on the international stage with each competition.
“He was great; he did exactly what we were hoping to do,” said Marcus of the 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Chrevi’s Cavallo x Weinberg). “He felt the best that he’s felt in the ring so far without even feeling like he was at maximum capacity yet.
“I was especially pleased with the piaffe today,” said Marcus, referencing one of the most difficult movements required at the Olympic-level of grand prix competition. “It’s always something we are working to improve, and I think the scores reflected that his piaffe today was the best that he has done in the ring.”
The atmosphere at Verden proved to be especially challenging, as the venue simultaneously hosted the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) World Breeding Championships for Dressage Young Horses, as well as show jumping competition.
“There is really a lot going on; it’s a lot for the horses to handle,” said Marcus. “The actual competition arena is not so scary, but getting to it, and the overall atmosphere of the show grounds, is a lot for the horses to process. I give credit to every person sitting on a young horse at this show!”
Since arriving in Germany at the beginning of July, Marcus and Chrevi’s Capital have been based with renowned trainer, Jean Bemelmans, who is currently training the French team for the World Equestrian Games. Marcus’s personal trainer, Oded Shimoni, who has been flying back and forth from his base in Wellington, FL, arrived two days before the competition in Verden to coach Marcus.
From Verden, Marcus will return to the Aachen show grounds for the Canadian Dressage Team training camp. Then, on Aug. 21, it’s on to Normandy, France, for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, with Grand Prix competition beginning on August 25. A total of 31 nations are expected to be represented in the dressage competition at this year’s World Equestrian Games.
“So far, we’ve enjoyed pretty smooth sailing,” said Marcus. “Capital is in good form and continues to improve, and it’s been a good experience overall. I can’t thank my owner, Deborah, enough for this opportunity. Jean and Oded have provided incredible training; my groom, Alison Malatestinic, has worked so hard towards this goal; and my partner, Nicholas Fyffe, has provided not only unconditional support, but has also seamlessly managed the business at home while I’ve been away.”