Raleigh, NC (August 4, 2015) — USDF Gold Medalist John Zopatti rounded off yet another successful dressage show with KWPN-Half Arabian gelding Uwannabeme WH at the Raleigh Summer Dressage I & II competitions at the end of July, held at the Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. Horse Complex in Raleigh, North Carolina. The pair captured two wins, placing first in the Third Level Test 3 with a score of 66.154 percent and again the following day in the Third Level Test 2 with a score of 66.282 percent.
Zopatti said he is especially proud of how Uwannabeme WH, known affectionately as “Slim,” has matured emotionally over the past few months. During the pair’s performance in Raleigh, the horse displayed increasing trust and confidence in his rider. Zopatti and Uwannabeme are currently preparing for the Arabian Horse Association’s 2015 Sport Horse Nationals, which will be held this September at the same location as the Raleigh Summer Dressage I & II shows.
“We went to the show in Raleigh because I wanted to get him familiar with the show grounds, thinking he might be more relaxed if he got a chance to look around before the actual championships,” said Zopatti, who began working with Slim, owned by Johnny Robb of Loxahatchee, Florida, in February 2015.
The four-time Gold Coast Dressage Association Trainer of the Year said that he is very happy with how Slim’s training has been progressing. “We are getting a lot more relaxed with some really good training in the warm-ups. Now I’m just trying to go to enough shows that we can transfer the training from the warm-up ring to the show ring,” he explained.
Slim had never competed at this venue before, and was startled by the surrounding stadium seating that quickly filled with buzzing spectators. “When Slim got in there and saw the people circling around his head, he got really afraid — so much so that I had a hard time even getting him down the centerline. But by the end of the test he had relaxed and realized that the people were not there to hurt him.” Despite this setback, Zopatti and Slim recovered quickly and delivered a winning performance when they re-entered the ring.
“The Third Level Test 2 was exactly an hour after that first test. I gave Slim a ten minute warm-up and marched him back into that arena that he was so afraid of an hour before, and he was so relaxed,” said Zopatti. In that test, he and Uwannabeme WH won high score in Third Level. “It just showed me that he actually does think and he does trust me enough that when I say ‘It’s ok, we can go back in and give it another shot,’ he does it.”
Zopatti and Uwannabeme will show once more before the Sport Horse National, at Cool Down Dressage 2015 near their summer facility in Pinehurst, North Carolina (Zopatti operates out of Blue Marlin Farms in Wellington, Florida in the winters). “There is a weekend show in town at the Pinehurst Harness Track the weekend before Nationals, so I’m going to hit that as a warm up and make adjustments there and use it as a preparation for Nationals,” he said.
To learn more about John Zopatti, visit www.johnzopatti.com or call 561-722-7555.
Photo: John Zopatti and Uwannabeme WH delivered winning rides at Raleigh Summer Dressage I & II in Raleigh, North Carolina (Photo courtesy of John Zopatti)
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