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Arabian Wins Two Silver Medals In International Competition


Most of the competitors at the first FEI "Coupe des Ameriques" looked down from their warmbloods when they rode past Mary Claire Massey and her 15-hand Arabian Scrabble+// (Monopoli x Saletra). But by the end, they were looking up as Massey clutched two silver medals for placing second in team and individual competition at the Junior FEI level. The event, also known as the Championship of the Americas, was held from July 17-21 at Blainville Equestrian Park just north of Montreal with riders from seven countries competing at the Grand Prix, Advanced, Young Rider and Junior Levels.

At the 2001 North American Junior FEI Championship, (which took place this year at the Coupe des Ameriques), they finished 6th out of 30 competitors and took team silver. In 2000, the pair won team gold at the Cosequin/AHSA Junior Dressage Team Championship

One of only six riders chosen by the USA Equestrian Dressage Committee to represent the U.S. as a junior, Massey and the 12-year-old gelding proudly earned two of the 12 medals won by the U.S. Once again Scrabble+// was the only Arabian in the competition, proving that it's not height and heft that counts but pluck, precision and practice.

"Scrabble+// has really good movement for his size," says Massey, 17, of Arlington, Tennessee. "His lateral stuff is really good and he loves flying changes."

Massey acknowledges that Scrabble+//'s movement may not have the scope of a bigger horse. "But when he's out there by himself you can't tell he is little because I'm only 5 foot tall," she says. "Everything looks proportional and nice."

Scrabble+//'s strong points are his consistency and steadiness. "He doesn't make many errors," says Massey.

On the first day of competition, the pair did have some errors on their Fourth Level test. "I knew what we had to correct, and he was steady and perfect on the second day," she says.

The third day was the freestyle, and the pair received their highest score, a 66.45. "The judges loved it because we matched the music so well," says Massey. Massey and Scrabble+// did flying changes and half passes to orchestrated Disney music, including tunes from Mickey Mouse, The Little Mermaid and Mary Poppins.

Massey started riding Arabians in hunter pleasure classes. She took up dressage after her trainer Cindy Ralda suggested it might help her mare, who had begun acting testy around other horses in the ring.

Massey got hooked on dressage when started competing at all breed shows. She teamed up with Scrabble+// after her older sister Erin, who had shown him through Third Level, went off to college. Since then Massey has worked with Grand Prix rider Sarah Martin and later with Greta Wrigley. She started working with Scrabble+// at First Level and has shown him several times at Prix St. George Level, with scores of 60, 61.750 and 65.

Along the way Massey has earned two U.S. Nationals top tens at Third and Fourth Level. (Her sister Erin went top ten at First and Second Level.) At Youth Nationals, she picked up two championships at First and Second Level and a top ten at First Level in the JTR 13 & under classes.

Next year Massey hopes to qualify as an FEI Young Rider where she will need to ride at the Prix St. George Level. FEI Juniors are 14-18 and compete at Fourth Level. FEI Young Riders are 16-21 and compete at the Prix St. George Level.

"If I qualify, I will go to the Young Riders championship next summer," says Massey. "I am just going to try and go as far as I can with Scrabble+//."

IAHA® is expanding its dressage offerings by instituting the first annual Arabian Sport Horse Nationals in order to encourage more participation of Arabians, Half-Arabians and Anglo-Arabians in dressage competitions. Sport Horse Nationals will be held at the Virginia Horse Park on September 17-21, 2003. In 2004 the show will be held on September 15-19 at the Murieta Equine Complex in Rancho Murieta just 20 miles from Sacramento, California.

IAHA® is a 28,000 member breed association that registers Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses, administers more than $4 million in prize money annually, produces national events, maintains official event records , recognizes more than 400 Arabian horse shows and distance rides and provides a ctivities and programs that promote Arabian horse breeding and ownership. For in formation about Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses, call 303-696-4500, e-mail or visit


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