Don Altena made his competition debut under Canadian Olympian David Marcus at the CornerStone Summer Festival held July 12 to 14 at the Caledon Equestrian Park in Palgrave, ON. Caledon Equestrian Park is preparing to host the equestrian events for the 2015 Pan American Games.

Marcus, who operates David Marcus Dressage in Campbellville, ON, and owner Deborah Kinzinger found Don Altena, a five-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood gelding (Wonderboy x El Corona) last fall in Europe. The CornerStone Summer Festival marked their first competitive appearance.

“We purchased him in the fall as an investment horse,” explained Marcus, who chose to ride the FEI Five-Year-Old test, developed specifically to showcase future international prospects at their current stage of development. “The longer we have him, the more we like him. I wanted to take him to a horse show and see if the judges thought he was as nice as we think he is.”

The judges agreed, awarding Don Altena with a score of 74.40% in Friday’s competition.

“I was very happy with the result,” said Marcus. “Don Altena deserved the score he received. He showed off beautiful gaits, had no mistakes, and was very submissive and relaxed. He earned the highest score of the test for his canter and, in the future, I think he’s also going to have a real ability for the piaffe and passage work. He already has a talent for it, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops.”