Amy Speck-Kern and Gerona Score 78.4% in USA Show Debut

Mill Spring, North Carolina (June 23, 2016) – Despite being only recently imported to the United States, the elegant bay KWPN mare Gerona might as well have been born in the dressage arena as she tackled both the intense atmosphere of an international show circuit and the challenge of the FEI 5-year-old Division like a true competitor during the Tryon Summer Dressage I, held June 18, 2016. In the mare’s debut performance on US soil, Gerona and Amy Speck-Kern of Excel Dressage scored a 78.4%, securing their first qualifying score towards the Markel/USEF Young Horse National Dressage Championships.

Speck-Kern, who operates Excel Dressage out of Loxahatchee, Florida, has had less than a month’s worth of preparation following the mare’s arrival and quarantine in the States in May, and was impressed with the young horse’s composure despite long hours in the trailer and a completely new environment. “We are all blown away by how well she handled herself,” said Speck-Kern. “I’ve only been riding her a short time, and normally wouldn’t take the risk of showing so early during a new partnership, but by day two it felt like I’d been riding her forever. We clicked, and she’s an incredible horse to ride and train. I expected a few hiccups at her first show on this side of the Atlantic, but she might as well have been in that ring a 100 times. Her three gaits, excellent conformation, and beauty are what originally caught our attention as a potential FEI prospect, and with the added bonuses of intelligence and character she has everything she needs to be a real contender in the Young Horse divisions. We couldn’t be happier with the results of her USA debut.”

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Gerona is owned by the Hoog family, and Katie Hoog, who has been purchasing horses from The Netherlands since 2007, teamed up with Speck-Kern and Excel Dressage to import exceptional dressage prospects in 2015. Hoog scouted the Ster PROK predicated mare on a buying excursion to Holland in March of 2016, and was immediately enthralled by her talent, temperament, and beauty. In a pressure crunch of time and travel, the decision to purchase the mare was made from only a video and quick lunging session, but that was enough to seal the deal. As a 3-year-old, Gerona (Tango x Odessa x Junior STV) won her mare testing with an 82.5%, and seems destined to maintain a similar average following her US debut in Tryon.

Bi-annual Dutch buying trips are a staple of Excel Dressage’s focus on bringing top quality dressage youngsters to the US. During that same weekend, another Excel Dressage import, Esteban (Rousseau x Naturel), achieved his own record score with his new amateur owner. The 6-year-old KWPN was imported in late 2015, and sold to Judy Nordstrom during the 2016 winter show season in Wellington, Florida. The pair finished the weekend with an impressive 75.5%, the highest of their career.

Excel Dressage was founded by Speck-Kern in 2010 and offers training, showing, and sales of top caliber dressage horses. After beginning her career with Olympic Bronze Medalist Michael Poulin and “S” Judge Sharon Poulin, Speck-Kern’s naturally quiet and effective riding style and training method drew a strong international client base of competitive amateurs. Excel Dressage imports a select number of exceptional sales and show prospects each year, and Speck-Kern was also recently accepted into the prestigious USEF “r” program. With her sights set on eventually obtaining international judge accreditation and international show ring success, she offers a unique training viewpoint as both a rider and judge.

For more information, including up-to-date news and horses for sale, visit Excel Dressage’s website, visit them on Facebook, or contact them directly at amy.speckkern@gmail.com, +1 414 550 1176.

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