WELLINGTON, Fla. — Alanna Flax-Clark and El Paso, her 15-year-old Dutch Riding gelding by Elegant, won the FEI Para Individual Champ Test Grade II – CPEDI 3* with a score of 65.294% during week 9 of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) on March 9.
Grade II is for riders who mainly use wheelchairs and have some combination of trunk, arm, or leg impairments. Flax-Clark is from Granada Hills, Calif., but now trains in Califon, N.J. with Sara Schmitt. Schmitt is a Grand Prix dressage rider, trainer, instructor, USEF 'S' judge, ADS 'r' judge and international combined driving competitor.
“He felt more consistent in the walk today, and I think more responsive,” said Flax-Clark of El Paso “We changed a little stuff from yesterday, and I think overall it felt more fluid. We kept my reins a little bit longer, so he wouldn’t fall forward as much and the poll would be a little bit higher. I think it just gave him a little bit more room to move and not fall back.
“It was bit more scary for me because I didn’t feel as locked in,” continued Flax-Clark. “I can’t adjust my reins during my ride, so it’s always what can I do beforehand so that we both feel comfortable and get the best ride possible.”
El Paso is a big help to Flax-Clark in the show ring. “He’s a super show horse. I don’t really have to worry about anything in the show ring, especially here he feels right at home,” said Flax-Clark. “From January, the first day we took him out at AGDF, it was like he was right at home. He’s really focused, he loves showing, he loves working, and I can focus on what I need to do in the ring.”
Flax-Clark said of AGDF, “This is just my second year here and it’s great to be able to ride in front of the international judges and get their comments and also just to be around all the other para riders and learn from them.”
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