It appears the face of American dressage is changing. Welsh Cob stallion North Forks Cardi along with rider/trainer/co-owner Jessica Wisdom left the entire dressage community in awe as they won the FEI Intermediare I Musical Freestyle at a CDI in Rancho Murieta, CA on April 11, 2010. The pair, who has been turning heads all over America for the past several years, received a 68.5% from four Olympic-qualified judges and one International judge.
North Forks Cardi began capturing the nation's attention throughout a very successful 2009 season, which included three FEI Musical Freestyle Championships with a best score of 70.75% and two Intermediare I championship wins. Demonstrating impressive expression, lightness, and throughness, he is admittedly difficult to look away from.
At 14.3 hands, Cardi is leading the charge toward a change in American dressage. While ponies and small horses have been successful at all levels of competition in Europe, few have done the same in America. “Team Cardi” seems to be proving that size is not so important after all. What is? Talent, hard work, and correct training.
What does all this mean? As a stallion with impressive foals already on the ground, it appears the best is yet to come, namely, beautiful, talented ponies, all bred in the U.S. These ponies, along with many other Welsh Cobs, Arabian Sport Horses, American Sport Ponies, and other talented ponies and small horses, are welcoming a new generation of people to the sport of dressage: small women and young people.
These horses will undoubtedly play an integral role in the United States' dressage future, helping to produce better, younger riders, who will take international competition to a higher level, much as they have in Europe. So look for these smaller dressage super stars as they make their way across the country, one show at a time.
And congratulations to Team Cardi!
For more information on North Forks Cardi and Welsh Cobs, please visit www.winterlakewelsh.com.
A video of Cardi in 2009 at PSG: