Wellington, Fla. – March 2, 2018 – Since the beginning of the 2018 Adequan Global Dressage Festival in January, Olympian David Marcus and international Grand Prix rider Nicholas Fyffe of Marcus Fyffe Dressage (MFD) have been excelling both in the competition arena as well as in coaching their clients to many top placings. With multiple wins on various horses from Training Level to Grand Prix, Marcus and Fyffe are thrilled with their teams’ performance thus far in 2018.
When MFD student and adult amateur Louise Cote was suddenly out of commission for a few weeks due to a neck surgery, Fyffe took over the ride on her talented 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Hitchcock. The new pair made their Intermediate I debut together in January and over the course of three shows, Hitchcock has not placed lower than first or second in his Intermediate I classes. They average around 71-72 percent and, during Week Three, won the Vita Flex Victory Pass Award, which Fyffe has received multiple times throughout his career.
“Hitchcock is a horse that David and I have had in our program for several years and the past few shows have really been a great opportunity for me to step him up the levels and gain him more exposure in competitions,” Fyffe said. “I am considering him for the CDIO3* Nations Cup if my Australian federation fields a team this year. If not, we may compete in a couple of international CDIs because he’s certainly showing that he’s competitive enough. His owner, Louise, has got a lot of satisfaction seeing him do really well in the show ring. Now that she’s starting to ride again, she’s really enjoying him – it’s been a fun collaboration.”
Alongside Fyffe, Marcus has had top performances in the show ring with multiple horses including his new upper-level mount Dean Martin, who made his Grand Prix debut during Week Five with two blue ribbons in large classes. The 10-year-old Oldenburg by Dimaggio was imported in July and Marcus has been working on developing a strong partnership with the gelding ever since.
“I was really happy with Dean at our first show – not necessarily just because he won, but that he really showed himself to be a real competitor,” Marcus explained. “He traveled to the horse show and felt the same as he does at home. He let me really ride him. He’s still quite green at this level so there’s still a lot of strength to gain but he showed me that he could be a partner. He wanted to be in that arena, wanted to perform and could handle that atmosphere, and that’s a big, big part of what we look for at the top of the sport. That was really exciting for me.”
In addition to Dean Martin, Marcus rode Illuster Van De Kampert, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood owned by Nuvolari Holdings, LLC, and MFD sale horse, Guacamole, a 8-year-old Lusitano gelding owned by long-time client Kyle McIver. In Intermediate I, Illuster Van De Kampert topped his class with a score of 72.353 percent, while Guacamole excelled in his Fourth Level classes.
“Illuster is a very talented horse,” Marcus explained. “I think one of his highest scoring movements are his flying changes as they’re very expressive and he has a real talent for them. He was a little unnerved the first day as it was a busy environment during 5* week, but on the second day, I could feel him take a breath and he really let me ride him. Even though it was a conservative test, he did really well and we have room to improve.
“Guacamole was so fun to show as well and he gets a lot of attention,” Marcus continued. “I really enjoyed riding him; everybody gravitates to that horse so it just puts a smile on my face. He’s a cute buckskin that looks like a My Little Pony, but he’s developing into a serious FEI horse. It’s really impressive what he’s capable of and I look forward to someone else having that opportunity with him!”
Not only have Fyffe and Marcus received topped scores themselves in the show ring, but MFD clients and students have also made great advancements towards achieving their goals. During Week Five, Marcus and Fyffe coached three U25 combinations to great scores: Katrina Sadis with Zepelim, Genay Vaughn with Donarweiss GGF and Rosie Julian-Simoes with Rankrado.
“We really put a lot of energy into our coaching as we enjoy developing riders,” Fyffe explained. “Our under 25 riders are really wonderful to work with because not only are they really talented at such a young age, but they’re prepared to work really hard. We really have seen them evolve, develop and take our advice and run with it. We’re seeing them improve and it’s exciting that we have such a talented group of up-and-coming riders.”
One highlight of the season that stands out to MFD so far was their students making waves in a very competitive Prix St. Georges class during Week Five. One of their young riders, Caroline Nicholson and Diozar, topped the class with a 71.324 percent, while adult amateur rider Kyle McIver earned second with her gelding Afago Da Raposa, recently purchased from Marcus Fyffe Dressage, scoring 70.735 percent. The two claimed their placings ahead of all Open division riders in the class.
“Kyle told me before she went in how nervous she was as she believed there was no way she could compete against the professionals,” explained Marcus. “The class was large with a lot of top European riders in it so that was a really proud moment for me as a trainer to see a young rider and an amateur come in and top the open class.”