Wellington, FL (April 3, 2015)— In the final week of the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, Zilverstar and Chris von Martels of Ridgetown in Ontario, Canada got to leave their mark in the history books. They not only helped to earn a Team Silver Medal in the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup CDIO3* and an Individual Gold in the FEI Intermediate I Freestyle, but they came away with the last HORSE GYM USA® Top Equine Athlete Award of the 2015 Florida dressage season. HORSE GYM USA® has been a sponsor of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival throughout the twelve-week circuit, and has given Top Equine Athlete Awards to recognize those horses in competition that are have ideal physical fitness.
Mikala Gundersen, who co-founded HORSE GYM USA® with her husband, Henrik Gundersen, said that fitness is the most important thing at high levels of competition. “We can’t ride them all day to get the fitness they need, so that is why we use the treadmill, the saltwater spa, and the aqua treadmills to help horses develop greater fitness and healthier bodies— without working them too hard on their backs,” she said.
Von Martels credits part of Zilverstar’s fitness level to HORSE GYM USA®’s equipment. “I can give credit to Mikala and Henrik with Horse Gym because we are very fortunate that we have one of their spas. We have the saltwater bath spa, which all the horses love. In fact, I’m going to go jump in it right now,” he joked after finishing a successful ride during one of Florida’s hottest days of competition.
As part of the Small Tour in the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup CDIO3*, Von Martels and the 11-year-old Zilverstar (Rosseau x Hutricia, by Rossini) helped Team Canada 1 to a Team Silver with their scores of 73.316 percent in the FEI Prix St. Georges CDIO3* and a 74.895 percent in the FEI Intermediate I CDIO3*.
Von Martels praised the rides that Zilverstar gave him. “I’m very, very excited and happy with him because he keeps on bringing his results up as the season goes,” said Von Martels, who has owned the horse for the past three years. “He’s done quite a lot of competitions this winter and has been very consistent.”
The rest of Team Canada 1 included Megan Lane of Loretto, Ontario; Belinda Trussell of Stouffville, Ontario; and Diane Creech of Caistor Centre, Ontario. The team’s Silver Medal-earning score was 438.966.
Zilverstar’s scores from Wednesday and Thursday of Nations’ Cup allowed the pair to qualify for Saturday’s FEI Intermediate I Freestyle to vie for an individual medal. Von Martels and the 16.3-hand bay gelding piaffed and passaged their way to the top of the rankings over 10 other competitors with a 75.6 percent; thus securing the Individual Gold medal. “He was very good throughout the whole test in my opinion,” said Martels. “He has a lot of quality and a lot of energy. The nice thing is now he is really being able to show all that off and shine his strengths.”
Von Martels runs Von Martels Dressage out of Welllington and at his Canadian facility, and also travels often to The Netherlands and New York. He teaches, trains, and develops top dressage horses for young riders up to international-level competitors. Like HORSE GYM USA®, Von Martels certainly knows how important fitness is. “I think that we have to always keep in mind that this is actually a sport. So when we talk about sports, we have to have fitness for not only the rider, but the horse as well. If your horse is in good shape, you’re for sure going to have a better opportunity to get good marks.”
HORSE GYM USA® has been helping equestrians in various disciplines condition their horses since 2004 with their equine treadmills and therapeutic equipment. The HORSE GYM USA® Top Equine Athlete Awards was presented during each CDI series of the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Von Martels was awarded a HORSE GYM USA® jacket, cap, and commemorative ribbon.
HORSE GYM USA®’s product line includes a dry treadmill called the HORSE GYM USA® | WALK; a dry or aqua treadmill all-in-one system called the HORSE GYM USA® | WATER; a cold saltwater therapeutic spa called the HORSE GYM USA® | SPA; and a programmable vibration plate called the HORSE GYM USA® | RELAX, with a separate solarium, SUN 15. Learn more about what makes HORSE GYM USA® products in such high demand by visiting www.horsegym.com, or find the company on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/horsegym.
Photo: Zilverstar with rider Chris von Martels wins the HORSE GYM USA® Top Equine Athlete Award at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. (From right to left: Chris von Martels of Canada, Mikala Gunderson of HORSE GYM USA®, Josh Zorn of JRPR) (Photo courtesy of JRPR— no photo credit necessary) (Click on photo for high resolution photo)