On the final day of the World Equestrian Center (WEC) November Dressage CDI3* sponsored by Hampton Green Farm and Discover Dressage on Sunday, November 19, 2023, at World Equestrian Center – Ocala, amateur rider Amina Bursese (USA) captured two freestyle wins.
Bursese, of Jupiter, FL, and C Discreto, her own nine-year-old PRE stallion by Machin x Carbonero V, won the Intermediate I Freestyle CDIAm with a score of 65%. Second place went to Kristina Brown (USA) riding her own 11-year-old Maestoso Belladiva, a Lipizzaner gelding by Maestoso Legeny x 136 Conversano III Prima-Donna, with a score of 63.825%.
This was the first time riding C Discreto in a new freestyle that Bursese designed herself with orchestral music from the new “Super Mario Bros.” movie soundtrack. The new freestyle highlights trot work but retains most of the choreography from their previous freestyle.
“We had borrowed my husband’s music,” said Bursese of her husband, Mexican dressage rider Diego Gonzalez. “It didn’t suit Discreto at all. When we decided to do more in CDIs, the music needed to be more serious and suit him.”
The pair only started competing in CDI Amateur classes in March of 2023, and this was their third CDI freestyle together. Bursese thought C Discreto’s pirouettes were a highlight of the test, but as an amateur rider, she continues to work on moving forward while keeping her horse in the bridle.
“There were moments when we accomplished that,” she said. “The more moments we get, maybe we will have it for the whole test!”
In the Grand Prix Freestyle CDIAm, Bursese scored 66.270% with Fiti AL, her 19-year-old Andalusian stallion by Jondo x Empaque. Similar to C Discreto, Bursese thought the pirouettes were strong, as well as the piaffe, but she is working to “get more trot out of him in the ring.”
She continued, “I don’t think it was our best test, but I definitely think it was good. It’s tricky to keep them up in the bridle, and it’s something that I struggle with.”
While Bursese has adjusted Fiti’s choreography in the freestyle tests, she has kept the music from the Cirque du Soleil “Luzia” show, which according to its description, is “inspired by the richness of the Mexican culture.”
Bursese, who only started riding 12 years ago when she met Gonzalez, has had Fiti for almost 10 years, and they have moved up from First Level to Grand Prix together.
“He’s my absolute favorite to ride,” she said. “He never tires. We joke and say he is 19 going on three. I spend more time trying to slow down than get him to do anything. Professionals have the gift of bringing out the best of a horse in a test. For me, I still go into passenger mode, and I try to ride without mistakes. I need to be more of a driver. I need to figure out the balance for that. The horses are very gracious. They let me mess up, and they keep on going.”
Bursese has also had a long relationship with C Discreto, a horse she has worked with since it was three years old. Both stallions are actively breeding and are represented by Hilltop Farm.
“I’m so lucky that the horses that I have are mine,” expressed Bursese. “They’re always going to stay with me. What I love about them breeding is that they’ll have a good retirement as a breeding stallion.”
Bursese has nurtured her relationships with her horses by being their sole caretaker as well. “Up until recently, we never had help like a groom. I did everything with the horses, I would always tack up, bathe, handwalk; anything they needed I did. I think it makes a big difference.
“I still do a lot myself,” she continued. “Now we have a wonderful groom who Fiti loves. He’s very funny the people he lets around him. It’s made a huge difference, especially now with more than one horse. It’s so helpful to have someone so good with the horses and cares for them as much as I do.”
Bursese is grateful for the Bronze, Silver and Gold amateur tours offered at the WEC – Ocala dressage shows. “It gives us amateurs a chance to ride our freestyles,” she said. “I have entered the CDI1* and 3* before when there was no freestyle available for the amateur division solely because I wanted to ride my freestyle, so these divisions are really just amazing and appreciated.”
Full Show Results
Dressage at WEC – Ocala continues with the WEC December Dressage CDI-W on December 7-10, 2023. An expanded dressage schedule for 2024 includes six FEI-rated competitions. For more information, visit www.wec.net.