Wellington, FL – February 22, 2016 – Diane Creech is off to a strong start in the first several weeks of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, riding Leatherdale Farms’ horses to great results. Her competitive focus early in the season has been giving Diana C and Hallmark seasoning at the medium tour level, preparing both horses for a smooth transition to Grand Prix.
“With Diana and Hallmark, it’s a little early to put the full pressure of the Grand Prix on them,” Creech said. “There’s no sense pushing forward when they’re not ready because you take away confidence. They are both becoming more and more comfortable with the different movements, and I’m so proud with the way they are developing.”
Diana C, a 9-year-old Hanoverian mare (Damsey FRH-Belinda, Brentano II), has had a string of positive efforts at medium tour. Intermediaire II wins for her thus far in 2016 include an FEI Test of Choice class Feb. 13 at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) 5 national show (scoring a 67.5 percent) and an Intermediaire II class Feb. 6 at the AGDF 4 national show (scoring a 68.816 percent).
“I think over the summer she has taken a nice big step,” Creech said. “She’s gotten stronger and more confident, so I’m really happy. She tries so hard and always gives 150 percent. It takes time to build a team, so we are slowly but surely developing the bond, and being together all the time certainly helps.”
Leatherdale Farms’ co-founder, Doug Leatherdale, sadly passed away in December, and Creech notes that his influence is very much felt as his wife, Louise, continues to guide the farm’s extensive operations.
“I’m so grateful to Louise, and I’m sure Doug is watching,” Creech said. “I know Diana was so close to his heart, and he was so proud to have found her. Both Doug and Louise recognized instantly how special she really is when they saw her as a 4-year-old. They always had that same belief in her sire, Damsey. It’s nice to have a daughter of his so close to home, showing all the talent he passes on to his youngsters.”
Hallmark, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (His Highness-Lapislazuly, Lancier), began the season by scoring a 69.236 percent for the Intermediaire A test at the Gold Coast Opener Festival. He went on to win an FEI Test of Choice class with a score of 67.763 percent at the AGDF 5 national show.
“He is getting more used to it and becoming confident in the movements,” Creech said. “He loves his job and tries very hard; he’s a typical His Highness baby. I’m very happy with how he is developing.”
Creech’s daughter, Vanessa Creech-Terauds, traveled from her home in Caistor Centre, Ontario, to ride Fleur de Lis L in the AGDF 5 national show Feb. 11-14. Competing at First Level to get to know each other better, the pair showed they already have a natural connection. They earned consistently high scores and capped the weekend with an impressive mark of 76.029 percent.
Fleur, bred by Leatherdale Farms, is by the farm’s stallion First Dance, who arrived in the U.S. this winter from Germany to stand at Bridlewood Farm in Union, Kentucky. At 7 years old, Fleur has plenty of potential, and she has already captured a championship and a reserve championship at the U.S. Dressage Finals with Mike Suchanek in the saddle. Fleur recently joined Creech’s group of horses in Florida, and Creech is working on building a relationship and developing the promising mare.
“Fleur loved the way Vanessa rode her and was quite comfortable with what Vanessa was asking her to do,” Creech said. “I was quite proud and happy that they clicked so well. Fleur has not been with our group that long yet, and it takes a little while to build up a partnership. I love the mare; I think she’s really nice, and she is honest as can be.”
After several years based at Lars Petersen’s Legacy Farms in Loxahatchee during the winter seasons, Creech made the decision to come to Palm Beach Equine Sports Complex in Wellington for the 2016 season. She found that the peace and quiet of Legacy Farms provided a relaxing training environment, but wanted the horses to experience a more bustling atmosphere on a day-to-day basis so they could have an easier transition between home and show.
“It’s hard but good for them to have so much thrown at them,” she said. “If you deal with it in a trusting way, they figure it out. Being at Palm Beach Equine is like being at a show every day, with all of the horses and activity. After training with Lars at his farm for so long, it was a tough decision to make, but we felt it was important for the horses to experience a busy environment and learn to settle in there.”
Backed by the support of the Leatherdale Farms team, Creech looks forward to continuing a successful winter season with the horses she trains and competes.