Text and Photos by Lily Forado
The Palm Beach Dressage Derby has been recognizing outstanding performances for more than a quarter-century, making it one of the oldest dressage shows in the country.
Several sport breed associations presented their high point awards at the final awards ceremony on Sunday, and many of the winning pairs have gone on to represent their studbooks and countries outside the United States.
The United States PRE Association has sponsored the PRE High Point award at the Derby since 2008, thanks to the generosity of Palm Beach Dressage Derby founder and USPRE board member, Janne Rumbough
The USPRE High Point Series is designed to encourage PRE riders of all levels to train and compete in rated dressage shows.
At the 2022 Palm Beach Dressage Derby in Wellington, Florida, which took place from 4-6 March 2022, Leah Winston won the USPRE High Point Award. Riding her own horse, Lujo SC at the national level, the American rider achieved the high point award with 66.618%. Winston is based at Brookview Dressage in Palm City, Florida.
Leah is not a newcomer to the USPRE series awards. Back in 2020, she won the same award with Doctor LXVI. Her passion and moreover her commitment to her P.R.Es is endless. Through the years, Leah has trained several horses, but her own Lujo SC (by Nevado Santa Clara) has a special place in her heart. Leah rides on the arenas with P.R.E.s even if it is a young horse or an adult horse.
Do you have any fond memories of your first contact with a Spanish horse?
The first memories I have of a PRE are with the wonderful chestnut PRE I Imported from Spain with a client 4 years ago. He was the first horse I won this wonderful award on. I was lucky enough to be able to travel to Spain to meet him and several others I’d seen online to see for potential import.
What do you like most about the Spanish Horse?
Every PRE that I saw on that visit I basically fell in love with. It helps that they are absolutely gorgeous, but for me it is their sweet, amazing and loving personalities.
If you could ride a famous PRE horse right now, which would it be?
If I could ride any famous PRE it would have to be the sire of my current boy LUJO SC sire Nevado Santa Clara.
On several occasions, you won USPRE High Point Award. Did you expect such results?
I’m absolutely thrilled to have won the high point several times. The first year with Doctor I wasn’t even aware there was such an award so I was completely shocked. Last year we knew there was one, but didn’t know which competition it was. This year I was aware finally and really wanted to win it on either Simpatico or Lujo SC.
Can you tell us more about your horses?
My PREs are all different in personality, some are more sensitive than others, but I love each and every one. We just imported another last week and I have another on the way in April. I do see that the Warmbloods competing have this amazing movement, but I am realizing what to look for in the PRE and am very excited that they are being accepted in the arena and able to hold up next to the Warmbloods. I get super positive feedback from judges and will continue to train and promote this magical breed as best I can.