Carly Taylor-Smith & Karen Pavicic Lead Victory Laps After Winning Grand Prix Competition on Opening Day of Adequan Desert Dressage II

Thermal, Calif. – Nov. 19, 2021 – After a few weeks break, west coast-based dressage athletes returned to the Desert International Horse Park (DIHP) for the second installment of the Adequan® Desert Dressage series. With the sun shining brightly down on both the national and international show riders, the opening day of competition at the Adequan® Desert Dressage II CDI-W featured four CDI classes. In the Hof Kasselmann CDI3* Grand Prix, Croatia’s Karen Pavicic took the win aboard Totem, while the United States’ Carly Taylor-Smith and Rosalut NHF rode to victory in the Four Winds Farm CDI-W Short Grand Prix.

Carly Taylor-Smith and Rosalut NHF

Competition reached a pinnacle Friday afternoon with the Four Winds Farm CDI-W Short Grand Prix in the International Arena. A competitive lineup of horse-and-rider combinations made up the start list, with qualification for Saturday’s Buffini & Company CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle on the agenda. Taylor-Smith and Nikki Taylor-Smith’s Rosalut NHF (Rosenthal X Legacy) rode to a score of 69.053% from the judges, which would place them at the top of the leaderboard. Taylor-Smith and the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding had never ridden the short format Grand Prix test prior to Friday’s competition, which led to some nerves from Rosalut NHF while on course. Having had the gelding since he was a foal, Taylor-Smith has developed him through the ranks and hopes to continue to give him experience at Grand Prix while improving upon his scores.

Guenter Seidel and Equirelle

Guenter Seidel and Equirelle, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, received second place in the Four Winds Farm CDI-W Short Grand Prix. The Leatherdale Farms and Louise Leatherdale owned entry scored a 68.395% with Seidel in the irons, and will go on to compete in the Buffini & Company CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday afternoon.

Karen Pavicic and Totem

Prior to the Four Winds Farm CDI-W Short Grand Prix, the Hof Kasselmann CDI3* Grand Prix took center stage in the International Arena of DIHP to welcome a strong roster of top athletes and their mounts. Of the competitive eight-horse field, it was Pavicic and her very own 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Totem (Totilas X Denebola), who was first down centerline and laid down a solid performance to receive a 69.391%. The occasion marked Totem’s Grand Prix debut and Pavicic’s first time in five years riding a Grand Prix test, and they ultimately held on to the lead to take home the win. The Croatian athlete was thrilled with the result, which was only made more special when she learned it was Croatia’s first ever CDI Grand Prix win in the history of the sport. 

Jan Ebeling and Status Royal OLD

Second place honors in the Hof Kasselmann CDI3* Grand Prix was awarded to Jan Ebeling (USA) and the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Ann Romney, Status Royal OLD, for their score of 67.304%. Aaron Janicki (USA) rounded out the top three with a score of 67.087% aboard Heron, his 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.

Miki Yang and Donavan

Earlier in the day, Miki Yang and Donavan took home the win in the VitaFlex & Devoucoux  CDI-Y Young Rider Team Test with a 67.157%, while Tiggy Gates and Shadow’s Dream topped the Antares CDI-J Junior Team Test with a 64.495%. 

Competition at the DIHP will continue Saturday, Nov. 20, highlighting the Elizabeth Keadle CDI3* Grand Prix Special set to kick-off at 9:45 a.m. PST, followed by the  Buffini & Company CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle at 3:55 p.m. PST. 

For more information about the Desert International Horse Park (DIHP), click here.


Karen Pavicic  – Hof Kasselmann CDI3* Grand Prix winner

Karen Pavicic and Totem

On her expectations for Totem’s first Grand Prix:
“I had so much fun out there. It was a blast, which is a victory for me. I was just going out there to have a confident ride for his first experience, and I think we achieved that for the most part. We had two expensive mistakes and they were my fault, so no fault of his. He was super! The future is so bright for him and I am thrilled. The piaffe-passage work is always a highlight for him, but really he has a talent for all of the Grand Prix. He really has no weakness, he just needs a little more time.”

On her plans for the future with Totem:
“I would really like to qualify for the World Championships in Denmark next year. I believe it would be the first time for a Croatian to go, and I think today was also a big milestone for Croatia. I am thrilled to be here and every day is a gift with Totem.”

On competing at the Desert International Horse Park:
“Ever since I was here last year, I have wanted to come here to compete, so this is a dream come true to be able to come here to ride and to do our debut at Grand Prix here is fantastic!”

On winning the first Grand Prix for Croatia:
“I haven’t even thought about that yet to be honest! I wasn’t expecting to win at all today, I was just wanting to go out and have as best of a test as possible that we could do at this point. He is still very green, and I am a little rusty, but this is a great starting point for us and there is so much more to come in the future.”

Carly Taylor-Smith – Four Winds Farm CDI-W Short Grand Prix winner

Carly Taylor-Smith and Rosalut NHF

On Rosalut NHF:
“He is eleven and I have had him his whole life since he was a foal. He is quite a cheeky horse, full of himself! He is a little inexperienced because this is his second year in Grand Prix, and we are getting a little bit better each time in our test. Today, I had never done the Short Grand Prix before and we were so relaxed in the warm-up, but the minute I hit those different lines, he was pumped. Those lines came up really fast, so he got a little tense. I made a few rider errors, so it was definitely different and quite a hectic test. We have never ridden it before though, so I’m sure if we practiced it more it would have been different.”

On her test:
“We got most things in there. His piaffe was pretty good and his extensions were pretty good. It is all there, it’s just ironing out the details. We are getting a little bit better each test and we are getting a little bit higher in our scores, so we are kind of climbing that ladder. He was a little explosive in there so then we were a little too ‘up.’”

On her hopes for the future with Rosalut NHF:
“We want our scores to come up and get more experience so that he stays a bit more relaxed in his tests. We are just going to see what happens! I would love to do a World Cup, or in three years there is the [2024 Paris Olympic Games], but that is just more of a dream than it is a goal now. We are trying to improve each time and get those scores up and get more experience in the arena.”

On competing at the Desert International Horse Park:
“I was here four weeks ago and it is even more done up than last time I was here, so it is great! The horses bounce off of the footing, too! [Rosalut NHF] already can move his legs, but here he is so bouncy. It is fantastic here and the organization has been super. The facility is gorgeous, so for us it is amazing and we love it here!” 


Four Winds Farm CDI-W Short Grand Prix:
Rider / Country / Horse / Owner / Total Score
1. Carly Taylor-Smith / USA / Rosalut NHF / Nikki Taylor-Smith / 69.053
2. Gunter Seidel / USA / Equirelle / Leatherdale Farms / 68.395

Hof Kasselmann CDI3* Grand Prix:
Rider / Country / Horse / Owner / Total Score
1. Karen Pavicic / CRO / Totem / Karen Pavicic / 69.391
2. Jan Ebeling / USA / Status Royal OLD / Ann Romney / 67.304
3. Aaron Janicki / USA / Heron / Aaron Janicki / 67.0987
4. Missy Gilliland / USA / Toledano XXXI / Missy Gilliland / 65.544
5. Mette Rosencrantz / USA / Dzeko / Cory Walkey / 63.239
6. Mathew Cunningham / USA / Ribery 27 / Jeri Walz / 58.370
7. Tina Caldwell / USA / Lagerfeld K / Marcia R. Sutherland / 58.217
8. Shannon Peters / USA / Disco Inferno / Shannon Peters / 52.739

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed