Wellington, FL – January 28, 2013 – Swedish Olympians Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Patrik Kittel were the big winners at the 2013 World Dressage Masters CDI5* Palm Beach January 24-26. Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello took the championship in the Grand Prix Freestyle on Saturday while Kittel and Watermill Scandic H B C took second. The previous day, they swapped spots when Kittel placed first in the Grand Prix and Vilhelmson-Silfven took the second place honors.
In Saturday evening’s freestyle, Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello, an 11-year-old bay Hanoverian gelding owned by Lovsta Stuteri, rode the momentum from an enthusiastic crowd to claim the championship. Vilhelmson-Silfven collected a personal best score of 84.075% for her electrifying freestyle performance. She received a standing ovation from the crowd as she exited the ring.
“It’s just such an honor to ride a horse like Don Auriello,” she said. “He is so fun to ride. He was enjoying himself with me, enjoying the time, enjoying the energy. It was a great atmosphere.” She credits the Florida dressage circuit as a catalyst for the horse’s development. “Florida’s been very important for Don Auriello,” she said. “He has done a lot of his best starts here, I think.”
International Judge Stephen Clarke, who was recently elected the FEI Dressage Judge General, spoke highly of Vilhelmson-Silfven’s freestyle ride. “Tinne’s horse, for me, it’s absolutely what dressage should be about,” Clarke said. “It’s all the talk about horses that should be uphill and in balance and in complete harmony with the rider. The picture that she presents is, for me, truly outstanding, and I think that we were very lucky to witness that tonight.”
Kittel, Sweden’s No. 1 rider, and Watermill Scandic H B C, his own 14-year-old chestnut KWPN stallion, scored 82.525% for their freestyle. Their high placing capped a successful string of performances at Jim Brandon Equestrian Center. Along with their victory and a Grand Prix score of 77.861% on Friday, Kittel and Scandic took home wins in the Gold Coast Opener CDI-W Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle Jan. 18-20.
Kittel said he’s a big fan of World Dressage Masters. “It’s an amazing show,” he explained. “We’ve been treated so well here. The people here are friendly, the crowd is really nice, lovely weather. What more can you want?”
“It’s been a fantastic event here,” Kittel said. “I mean, look at the crowd, and look at the riding. It’s unbelievable.”
Vilhelmson-Silfven and Kittel defeated two-time WDM Palm Beach champion Steffen Peters, who consistently notched a third place finish for the United States with 80.175% in Saturday’s Freestyle and a 75.149% in Friday’s Grand Prix. Peters said both he and his horse, Legolas 92, enjoyed the freestyle. “I love it when I have fun, but I can guarantee you he had a lot of fun tonight too,” he said after the ride.
Heather Blitz and Paragon, the 2012 U.S. Olympic team alternates, took the fourth place spot with 74.900% in the Freestyle and a fourth in the Grand Prix with a 74.064%. “He was really electric from the crowd and just the energy in here,” Blitz said of Paragon, her own 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.
Five-time Danish National Champion Lars Petersen rode Mariett to take fifth place in the Freestyle with 73.925% and fifth in the Grand Prix with a 71.809%. Petersen, a local favorite who bases his training operation in Loxahatchee, FL, earned cheers from the crowd with his upbeat freestyle routine on Mariett, a 15-year-old Danish Warmblood mare, owned by Marcia Pepper and Lars Petersen.
Canada’s David Marcus and Chrevi’s Capital impressed spectators with their piaffe and passage Saturday night, scoring 70.750% to finish in sixth. The duo improved their standings from Friday’s Grand Prix, in which they placed seventh with a 70.660%, where the pair left the arena amid cheers and waving of Canadian flags.
U.S. Olympian Adrienne Lyle and Wizard, winners of the Grand Prix Special CDI4* at the 2012 WDM Palm Beach, rounded out the order of finish in the Freestyle with 68.575%. A crowd favorite, Lyle trains with Debbie McDonald at Peggy and Parry Thomas’s River Grove Farm in Idaho. “He’s a fantastic horse and I was so happy to have the chance to compete here,” Lyle said.
In Saturday’s Grand Prix Special, Mikala Gundersen added a victory at World Dressage Masters to a growing list of accomplishments at Jim Brandon Equestrian Center this winter. Gundersen, a Danish rider based out of Wellington, FL, and My Lady, a 13-year-old Danish Warmblood mare owned by Janne Rumbough, were third in Thursday’s Wellington Classic Dressage Sunshine Challenge Grand Prix CDI3* and also finished just out of the top eight in Friday’s Grand Prix CDI5* at WDM Palm Beach, taking ninth place with 68.447%.
U.S. rider James Koford rode Rhett, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding, to a second place finish in the Special with 67.333%. Koford, whose recent successes include wins in the Grand Prix at the 2011 International Horse Sport Champions Cup CDI3* and the Grand Prix Freestyle at the 2012 Wellington Dressage CDI-W, also competed at last year’s WDM Palm Beach.
Jacqueline Brooks of Canada scored 66.833% on D Niro to claim third place. Brooks, a seasoned international competitor, won a team silver medal at the Pan American Games in 2003 and has ridden on two Olympic teams. D Niro, a 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, is owned by Brookhaven Dressage, Brooks’ training facility.
Brooks, who was making her third appearance at WDM Palm Beach, explained why she keeps coming back. “Every time you get invited to a thing like this, it’s fantastic,” she said. “The more you do it, the more you appreciate it coming in, because you know how significant it is, and how many people, how many sponsors, and how much work it is to put an event like this together.”
Sponsors, judges, officials, competitors and spectators praised the event from the facilities to the friendly atmosphere to the appreciative crowd. Antonia Axel Johnson, title sponsor of World Dressage Masters series, agreed. “We don’t know of any show in the world where when you ride in, the rider coming out says ‘Have a good ride.’ And that is really unique, I think, for the WDM show here,” she said. “It’s really extremely exciting and nice to be here.”
FEI Grand Prix Freestyle O CDI5*
USEF HP GAIG/USDF
Sponsored by: Axel Johnson Group 70.000 Euros
1. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) – Don Auriello – 84.075%
2. Patrik Kittel (SWE) – Watermill Scandic H B C – 82.525%
3. Steffen Peters (USA) – Legolas 92 – 80.175%
4. Heather Blitz (USA) – Paragon – 74.900%
5. Lars Petersen (DEN) – Mariett – 73.925%
6. David Marcus (CAN) – Chrevi’s Capital – 70.750%
7. Adrienne Lyle (USA) – Wizard – 68.575%
World Dressage Masters FEI Grand Prix CDI5*
1. Patrik Kittel (SWE) – Watermill Scandic H B C – 77.681%
2. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) – Don Auriello – 76.851%
3. Steffen Peters (USA) – Legolas 92 – 75.149%
4. Heather Blitz (USA) – Paragon – 74.064%
5. Lars Petersen (DEN) – Mariett – 71.809%
6. Adrienne Lyle (USA) – Wizard – 71.362%
7. David Marcus (CAN) – Chrevi’s Capital -70.660%
8. Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED) – Withney van ‘t Genthof – 69.872%
9. Mikala Gundersen (DEN) – My Lady – 68.447%
10. James Koford (USA) – Rhett – 66.383%
11. Jacqueline Brooks (CAN) – D Niro – 66.362%
12. Cheryl Meisner (CAN) – Tango – 65.404%
13. Silvia Rizzo (ITA) – Donnerbube II – 65.255%
14. Diane Creech (CAN) – Devon L – 64.106%
Eliminated – Tina M. Konyot (USA) – Calecto V
FEI Grand Prix Special CDI5* USEF HP 20.000 Euros
1. Mikala Gundersen (DEN) – My Lady – 69.479%
2. James Koford (USA) – Rhett – 67.333%
3. Jacqueline Brooks (CAN) – D Niro – 66.833%
4. Cheryl Meisner (CAN) – Tango – 66.208%
5. Silvia Rizzo (ITA) – Donnerbube 2 – 64.917%
Elim. – Diane Creech (CAN) – Devon L
World Dressage Masters Palm Beach CDI5* Fast Facts
North America’s only World Dressage Masters event, part of the richest dressage series in the world. Up to 20 of the world’s top dressage stars will compete for €100,000 EUR (about $130,000 USD) in prize money at the WDM Palm Beach.
January 23-27, 2013
Palm Beach County Jim Brandon Equestrian Center
Okeeheelee Park South
7500 Forest Hill Blvd
West Palm Beach, FL 33413
Official Show Organizer:
Wellington Classic Dressage
Noreen O’Sullivan 561-227-1570 or John Flanagan 561-714-9058
Social media links:
Website: www.WorldDressageMasters.com and www.wellingtonclassicdressage.com/world_dressage_masters.htm
*Gates open at 11:00 a.m. each day for WDM Palm Beach ticket holders only. Tickets will not be available for purchase at the gate. Ticket holders are encouraged to arrive for Saturday evening’s Grand Prix Freestyle at 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 25
2 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. − FEI Grand Prix Open CDI3*
* Friday, Jan. 26:
2 p.m. to 5 p.m. – WDM Nürnberger Grand Prix
* Saturday, Jan. 27:
2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. – WDM Grand Prix Special
7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. – WDM Grand Prix Freestyle
WDM Presenting Partner:
Axel Johnson Group
WDM Official partners:
Team EXQUIS, Nürnberger Versicherungsgruppe
WDM Official supplier:
WDM Global Media Partner:
Phelps Media Group International
12012 South Shore Blvd., Suite 105
Wellington, FL 33414
Mason Phelps or Sue Weakley
561-753-3389 (phone), 561-753-3386 (fax)
Past WDM results, as well as complete WDM Rider Rankings, can be found on the WDM website: www.WorldDressageMasters.com.
Mary Adelaide Brakenridge and Sue Weakley for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International