Canadian Olympian David Marcus of Campbellville, ON, scored victory in his first competition on Canadian soil this season, winning the Grand Prix at CDI-W CornerStone Spring Into Dressage. The official test event for the 2015 Pan American Games, CDI-W CornerStone Spring Into Dressage was held June 5 to 8 at the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park in Palgrave, ON.

Marcus and his 2012 Olympic mount, Chrevi’s Capital, topped a starting field of 14 entries to win the $5,000 Grand Prix, presented by Butternut Ridge, with a score of 69.98%. Close behind was fellow Canadian, Megan Lane, who scored 69.90% to place second riding Caravella.

In addition to winning, Marcus also fulfilled the Canadian selection criteria for the upcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) to be held in Normandy, France, at the end of August. Riders needed to achieve four scores over 68% in the Grand Prix in CDI competition, one of which must have been in May or June of 2014. With their respective scores, Marcus and Lane have become the first two Canadian athletes to successfully fulfill the criteria.

“It was a great day for us,” said Marcus, whose mount, Chrevi’s Capital, is a 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Chrevi’s Cavallo x Weinberg) owned by Deborah Miculinic Kinzinger of Butternut Ridge. “I have been concentrating on preparing the Grand Prix coming into this competition. For us, this Grand Prix score was an important part of fulfilling the final phase of our WEG criteria, so that has been a real focus and I’m really pleased with how it went. I couldn’t have asked for more than what Capital produced yesterday. I thought that Capital and I put in a clean, harmonious, correct, powerful test, and that is exactly what I was looking for.”

Marcus added, “This puts us one step closer to representing Canada at WEG, and I am very excited about that. It was also the first competition that Butternut Ridge has sponsored. I want to sincerely thank my owner, Deborah, not only for her support of me and her horses that I ride, but of this class as well.”
A stone bruise resulting from a rock becoming wedged in Chrevi’s Capital’s shoe prevented the pair from competing in the $12,000 Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Butternut Ridge.

“Coming off our success in the grand prix, I was really looking forward to competing in the Freestyle, especially as it’s an incredible show and the competition was being sponsored by Deborah’s own Butternut Ridge,” said a disappointed Marcus. “The good news is that it’s very minor, and Capital will be completely fine. That’s life with horses!”

Marcus has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the upper echelons of dressage sport since making his debut at the Olympic-level of grand prix at the beginning of 2012. Six short months later, he found himself competing at the 2012 London Olympic Games and, in 2013, topped the North American World Cup League. Now, he’s on track to compete at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

“The next step on our journey is to head to Europe at the beginning of July where we plan to compete at the prestigious CHIO Aachen in Germany,” explained Marcus, 33.
Marcus also has a view to competing in next year’s Pan American Games, hosted by Toronto. Competing in the Pan Am test event gave Marcus an opportunity to experience the newly rebuilt venue one year in advance.

“I think what they’ve done so far is truly world-class,” praised Marcus, who operates David Marcus Dressage, a full-service training facility, in Campbellville, ON. “The footing that they’ve installed in the competition arena is second to none. I can’t wait to see what the next phase will be, as the Pan Am Games are definitely one of my competition goals.”

Marcus also brought his developing mount, Don Altena, to compete in the FEI Six-Year-Old division at CDI-W CornerStone Spring Into Dressage, marking the horse’s first CDI-sanctioned competition and only the third competition of his career.

“Don Altena is going to be a very interesting grand prix horse for the future,” said Marcus of the six-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Wonderboy x El Corona) also owned by Miculnic Kinzinger. “The Six-Year-Old classes are a nice way to get experience for him, at a level he is comfortable competing at, against horses his own age. I was very pleased with his result in the FEI Six-Year-Old Final, where we scored over 72%. Overall, he was exactly the same in the competition ring as he is at home, and I think that’s a very important trait that will serve him well in the future.”

Marcus also coached several other competitors to success at CornerStone Spring Into Dressage including Maya Markowski who rode two horses in the CDI Small Tour division and Sarah Pfaff who had two horses in the National Small Tour division. Marcus’s partner, Nicholas Fyffe of Australia, also competed at Fourth Level, enjoying a win with Faisan AT.

His own trainer, Oded Shimoni, flew to Toronto from his base in Wellington, FL, to coach Marcus at the event.

“I would like to thank Oded for his help and support this weekend and Nicholas who, especially in the lead-up to this show, set aside time every day to focus on watching Capital and I in our training,” concluded Marcus. “That was a real benefit coming into this competition.”

With a big win and qualification for the World Equestrian Games under his belt, it was ‘mission accomplished’ for Marcus at the CDI-W CornerStone Spring Into Dressage competition!