Christmas came early for Jill Giese and John Dingle of the Pemberton dressage stable Dreamcatcher Meadows, bringing home six United States Dressage Federation 2012 medals and other prizes from New Orleans on Dec. 8.
Three of their horses were honoured for their 2012 performance at the Adequan/USDF's annual convention, winning awards in several different categories.
"We were fairly laden with medals, it was very nice," said Giese.
As well, the husband-wife team has had their best year ever with Dreamcatcher Meadows' overall ranking as dressage breeders, coming in third place for North America. Normally, the top five competition horses' results are used to calculate the score, but Dreamcatcher Meadows managed to reach third place with just four horses in the top flight level of competition in 2012.
"We were delighted with that," she said. "If we had competed five, which we hope to do next year... we were eighth last year, third this year, so I have hopes for next year."
Dreamcatcher Meadow's four-year-old Hanoverian champion mare Ballerina DMV, owned by Bus Fuller, took home the Sunshine Sport Horse Association trophy for Young Horse Highest Score of the Year, with an 80.5 median score throughout the season. It is one of just six perpetual trophies handed out each year.
"The most remarkable thing is that she ended up with the highest median score of all horses, all levels, all breeds, all sexes, for the whole organization for 2012. It was quite something. The president of the USDF, George Williams, in the presentation emphasized that, which was really nice," Giese said.
Ballerina DMV also won other awards in New Orleans, the overall champion young horse and the champion Materiale Horse of the year for mares four and five years old. She was also judged champion "In-Hand" mature mare category, where the horses are judged without a rider.
"That meant a lot to us because it is judging the horse against the ideal from the breeding perspective, and that's what we do apart from training them under saddle. It's to try and plan your mare and stallion crossings in such a way, as close to the ideal horse as possible," Giese said.
Dreamcatcher Meadows' stallion, four-year-old Launcelot DMV, owned by Shelley Sharpe, won the 2012 USDF Materiale Champion in the All Breeds category. Giese own mare, Dreamcatcher, won the All-Breed Intermediare Level Open Class Award, the Intermediare Free Style (to music), and Giese won "Vintage Rider".
Asked if the American breeders are curious about them, Giese laughed and said, "We're quite unusual. People say 'Where's Pemberton?' so we mention Whistler and the Olympics and it gives them some sort of frame. Then they're just as curious as anything. 'Why are you doing it up there!?' I say you have to visit it to understand it."
As well, Ballerina DMV was named the highest scoring dressage mare of any age in Canada by the Canadian Hanoverian Society. This award will be presented to Dreamcatcher Meadows in January.