Olympian David Marcus of Campbellville, ON, helped lead a Canadian domination of the CDI-W NEDA Fall Festival held September 19-22 in Saugerties, New York.
Marcus and Chrevi’s Capital, owned by Deborah Kinzinger, placed second in both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special behind their 2012 London Olympic teammate, Ashley Holzer riding Jewel’s Adelante. Marcus posted a 69.30% in the Grand Prix to Holzer’s 71.14%, and scored 71.08% in the Grand Prix Special to Holzer’s winning score of 71.56%.

“It was a great weekend for Canada, and Capital was great all weekend,” said Marcus in praise of the 13-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Chrevi’s Cavallo x Weinberg). “I had one big mistake in the beginning of the Grand Prix test; he broke in the extended trot which resulted in scores of two’s and three’s for that movement from the whole panel.”

Each movement in dressage is judged numerically on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the highest score possible. Scores are then averaged together for a final percentage.
“It was totally my fault, I got brave and wanted to go for it, but it backfired,” explained Marcus. “I always tell my students that you don’t get anywhere unless you take a risk. You have to take a risk when you can in order to up your game, and my goal this year is to up the game with Capital. It’s a huge testament to the horse that he can still get almost 70% with such a huge mistake.”

In the Grand Prix Special, Marcus and Chrevi’s Capital had no trouble earning a score of 71.08% after all five members of the international judging panel awarded the pair over 70 percent.

“Overall it was really good, clean with no mistakes, and powerful,” said Marcus, 33, of his performance in the Grand Prix Special. “It had rained heavily overnight and the footing was heavy, so it took a little energy out of him, but he did everything I asked him and more, and I couldn’t be happier.

“I think there is still more in there, if I can put the gas pedal down even more, but he was great at this show,” concluded Marcus.

Having only made their grand prix debut at the beginning of 2012, Marcus and Chrevi’s Capital shot onto the international stage, earning a berth to the 2012 Olympic Game and winning the 2012/2013 North American World Cup League. His next goal with Chrevi’s Capital is to qualify for the Canadian Dressage Team for the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games next August in Normandy, France.

Marcus was also showing a second mount, the 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding Don Kontes, in the grand prix division for owner Kinzinger, who was in attendance to cheer her horses on. After a slow start in Friday’s Grand Prix, Don Kontes returned to the ring on Saturday for the Grand Prix Freestyle, where Marcus debuted a new program compiled by Joost Peters of The Netherlands. With the theme ‘Sweet Dreams’ and featuring music by Annie Lennox and The Eurythmics, their freestyle performance earned the pair a score of 70.10%. The class was won by Lars Petersen of Denmark with a score of 76.57% riding Mariett. Marcus and Holzer’s 2012 Olympic teammate, Jacqueline Brooks, placed second with 72.32% riding D Niro.

“I only received the music on Wednesday, so the first time I had the opportunity to run through it was at the show,” explained Marcus. “It worked really well, and it’s really great music. I am excited to continue to develop and perfect it!”

In addition to his own success, two of Marcus’s students also excelled at the CDI-W NEDA Fall Festival. Maya Markowski of St. Clements, ON, riding Lumiere placed second in both the Intermediaire I and Intermediaire Freestyle with scores of 69.34% and 72.37% respectively. Meanwhile, Ally Dunlop was second in the Young Riders’ Team test, won the Young Riders’ Individual test, and placed second in the Young Riders’ Freestyle test aboard Danero.

“I’m really proud of Ally, she is new to the level and doesn’t have a lot of experience,” said Marcus, noting that Dunlop has not competed since the winter season in Wellington, FL.

Although Markowski is also a professional trainer and operates her own business, Marcus helps her with her top horses.

“As for Maya, she is great!” said Marcus. “Lumiere is a very good horse and she’s a great competitor. She is incredibly brave, which sometimes makes me nervous as her coach, but when it pays off, it really pays off! It’s been fun to be a part of that. I think it’s a horse for the future, and I look forward to helping her continue to develop it.”
The team from David Marcus Dressage now travels to Pennsylvania for the prestigious CDI-W Dressage at Devon where Marcus is a defending champion, having won last year’s Grand Prix for Freestyle with Chrevi’s Capital and the Grand Prix for Special and Grand Prix Special with Don Kontes. Competition runs September 26 through the 29th.