Category Archives: Adequan Global Dressage Festival

Dressage Really IS Like Brain Surgery for GK Elite Sport Adult Amateur Achievement Award Winner

Dr. Nancy Binter riding Arend Z pictured with Husband and Katie Riley of GK Elite Sport (Photo courtesy of JRPR)

Wellington, FL (January 17, 2018) — “Dressage is like neurosurgery,” said Dr. Nancy Ellen Binter, MD, after accepting the GK Elite Sport Adult Amateur Achievement Award for the opening week of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival 2018 at the Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida.  A practicing neurosurgeon for more than three decades in Burlington, Vermont before opening her own consulting service, the dressage level Intermediate I competitor said, “All the preparation, intellectual ability, and athletic and technical talent are exactly the same.”

Sharing her prestigious award with her husband of 32 years, retired neuroradiologist Dr. Rakowitz, she added, “It’s all in the medical family here! I am a neurosurgeon and ride horses as my hobby, which keeps me sane. He is videographer and ‘Captain of the Sugar!’” Before moving to Florida, the couple’s dedication to one another and the sport saw them “trucking and trailering” to such renowned Northeast dressage shows as Devon, Pennsylvania with Dr. Binter’s 11-year-old Zangesheide gelding Arend Z (by Oldenburg show jumping champion Air Jordan out of a mare by the great KWPN- and Holstein-registered Dutch Warmblood, Hemmingway).  The Zangesheide is an elite Belgian breed produced by crossing only the finest of European performance sport horses.

Dr. Binter, who trains with U.S. Olympic dressage rider Michael Barisone and his wife, Dutch Grand Prix rider Vera Kessels-Barisone, credited her beautiful bay horse for their award-winning achievement at one of the largest and most acclaimed international and national dressage circuits in the world: “Arend Z has a wonderful brain, and an unbelievable engine.”

The GK Elite Sport Adult Amateur Achievement Award was presented Katie Riley on behalf of GK Horses president, Nicoletta Ghribi and GK Horses sport partner, Pan American Games Dressage Team Gold medalist, Dr. Cesar Parra. “Dr. Binter and Arend Z epitomize adult amateur achievement: dedication, commitment, joy and harmony,” said Riley during the presentation ceremony.  To follow this more, follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNc6ZMpZgD4.

GK Horses operates exceptional horse and rider training facilities in Wellington and Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, and is proud to recognize outstanding dressage horse-and-rider combinations throughout the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival 12-week series, January 11 – March 27. Learn more the GK equestrian team and horses at www.gk-horses.com.

Records Broken at the First 2018 Friday Night Stars at AGDF

Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Paridon Magi. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 12, 2018 – The second day of action at the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) culminated in another show-stopping performance by Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén (SWE) on Lövsta Stuteri’s Paridon Magi at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

The Swedish warmblood Paridon Magi had never scored over 79% before, so his winning 81.15% represented a huge new record for the 15-year-old gelding by Don Primero.

“It’s really nice to be back here again,” said Vilhelmson Silfvén, who rode to a Queen medley by Cees Slings. “I like to start the season like this – and then keep going like this; that would be nice.

“I’m extremely happy,” added the seven-time Olympian, who is enjoying her eighth consecutive winter season in Wellington. “This is the perfect place to compete, with all the different details for the horses worked out.”

Paridon Magi’s groom, Johanna Jendland, was presented with a $500 check by sponsors Adequan®, who have signed on for another three years as title sponsor.

Allyn Mann of Adequan® said: “It’s really become a family here: owners, organizers, riders, press, everyone. We look forward to another exciting season, especially as the riders look forward to the bigger picture in Tryon this year.”

Shelly Francis (USA) filled the runner-up spot on Patricia Stempel’s 14yo Hanoverian gelding Danilo, posting 77.725%. It was the first time the pair had performed under lights.

“He was a bit edgy as it was at night and he got hot, so there were little mistakes, but it was really fun and I could actually smile while riding. He keeps getting better; he’s nice and fit, a little more tuned up,” added Francis, who rode to a compilation of music put together by Marlene Whitaker.

The 20-year-old Spaniard Juan Matute Guimon filled third after a rousing performance on his father’s 12-year-old Quantico Ymas, whom he has been riding since the horse was seven. His expressive test included one-handed pirouettes that earned whistles from the appreciative crowd, and 75.275% from the judges.

“I felt like a gladiator out there! It was a challenging ride, but I earned all my points,” said Matute, who rode to music made by his mother and a floorplan designed by his father.

Earlier in the day Matute bolstered his prize-money further, topping both the FEI under-25 Grand Prix presented by Diamante Farms, as well as the FEI Young Rider Team test, sponsored by his family’s stud farm, Yeguada de Ymas.

His smooth 71.643% U25 grand prix win came aboard the 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding Don Diego Ymas, taking the horse’s tally to two wins in two days. His young rider horse Copernico Ymas – an eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding by San Amour x Don Gregory – scored 71.235% to win the small class convincingly.

Another rider recording back-to-back victories was America’s Jennifer Baumert. She topped the FEI Intermediate I CDI1* with 71.471% – improving on her winning Prix St. Georges score – with Elizabeth Juliano’s Handsome, a 13-year-old Hochadel x Weltmeyer Hanoverian gelding.

Canadian rider Diane Creech steered her own and Louise Leatherdale’s Robbie W to FEI Intermediate I CDI3* honors. The 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Rubin Royal x Inschallah posted 69.706%. The class, presented by Triple Crown Nutrition, was a nail-biter, with Creech finishing just 0.03% ahead of second-placed Melissa Taylor (USA) and Ansgar.

Four riders contested the amateur FEI Prix St. Georges class, sponsored by Rowan O’Riley. It was topped by Janne Rumbough on Armas Zumbel, a Spanish-bred PRE by Escarzo x Relampago II. The 15-year-old grey gelding scored 68.441% for the win. Rumbough will celebrate her 74th birthday next month.

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Victory for Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén as Adequan Global Dressage Festival Kicks Off

Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Paridon Magi. Photo credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 11, 2018 – The 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) opened the winter season at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida with Swedish competitor Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and the 15-year-old Paridon Magi posting a new personal best of 75.87% in the FEI Grand Prix CDIW, presented by Adequan® AGDF, which hosts seven weeks of CDI competition through March 31.

“It was the best ride I’ve had on him and I was happy that he was open minded and really working with me,” said Vilhelmson Silfvén of her 2017 European Championships partner.

She first came to Wellington for the AGDF in 2011 and was so impressed that she has come back every year since.

“It’s such a super preparation for my horses and the best way to keep them in the winter,” added Vilhelmson Silfvén, who was second in this class last year. “I gain so much to have them train over here. To have the opportunity to compete again and again, as much as you like, is fantastic.”

It was seven months ago when Shelly Francis (USA) and Doktor last set foot in a competition arena, but the pair was on form to win the MTICA Farm-presented FEI Grand Prix CDI3* with 72.543%, earning over 71% from all five judges. The duo, who is ranked 54th in the world, was last to go, and took over the lead from the penultimate competitor, Susan Pape (GBR) on Harmony’s Don Noblesse.

“Doktor was a bit tight to begin with, chewing and clanking his teeth, so I had trouble finding the rhythm in the early trot work, but I was pleased with him,” said the 59-year-old of her 15-year-old Oldenburg by Diamond Hit. “He’s been a bit of a project; I didn’t do the award ceremony with him because I usually put ear plugs in, but as I was last to go I didn’t have time. Some people might think I’m a chicken but I’d like to live a bit longer; he runs flat out in there.”

The pair has been together since Francis found the horse at Michael Klimke’s barn in Germany. They now progress to the grand prix special on Saturday, where Francis plans to “press for a little more”.

The FEI Prix St Georges CDI3*, presented by Triple Crown Nutrition – the day’s opening class – was clinched by Heather Blitz (USA) on her own nine-year-old Danish warmblood Praestemarkens Quatero (by Quaterback x Rohdiamant). At only his second FEI show, the chestnut gelding logged 71.961%, and was the unanimous winner across the three judges.

Spain’s young talent Juan Matute Guimon stormed the under-25 CDI FEI Intermediate II class with 72.599%, winning by over 6% from first draw. Sponsor Diamante Farms presented the prize to Matute and the long-legged Don Diego Ymas, a 15-year-old black Hanoverian gelding by Don Frederico x Wolkenstein II.

Jennifer Baumert (USA) on Elizabeth Juliano’s Handsome was the only rider to crack the 70% barrier in the day’s second Prix St Georges class – the ProElite-sponsored CDI1* – finishing on 70.637%. The 13-year-old Hanoverian son of Hochadel (out of a mare by Weltmeyer) beat Lemony’s Nicket – ridden by Michael Klimke – who sold to the US for the then record price of €900,000 in Verden, Germany in 2011 – in to second place.

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Deloitte US Para-Equestrian Dressage Team Earns Gold at the AGDF CPEDI3*

Margaret McIntosh and Heros. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Margaret McIntosh and Heros Top International Para-Dressage Competition Followed by Annie Peavy and Royal Dark Chocolate

Wellington, FL – January 8, 2018 – United States Para-Dressage riders ended a fantastic weekend earning an unprecedented number of scores over 70. Top Grade I rider and 2016 Paralympian from Reading, Penn., Margaret McIntosh, rode Heros to the overall highest individual score. Equestrians from the USA and Canada competed at the 2018 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) CPEDI3* Week 0, January 4-7, sponsored by By Mission Control, Rowan O’Riley supporting athletes in the USPEA and US Equestrian, and Cargill. It was an exciting three days in Wellington with unseasonably cold temperatures and high winds but the importance of this international show could be seen from the outstanding scores. For Para-Dressage athletes in Grade I-V, the AGDF shows (Week 2 is January 18-21) are two of only three stateside opportunities left to secure their FEI certificates of capability for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. These shows are also a chance to showcase their rides in front of the FEI Ground Jury consisting of Dr Jan-Holger Holtschmit (GER), Kristi Wysocki (USA), and Sarah Leitch (GBR). The Deloitte U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team earned Gold with USA Teammates Margaret McIntosh, Roxanne Trunnell, Michele Bandinu, and Katie Jackson. The USA Team was led by Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt with US Equestrian Head of Para-Dressage Coach Development and High Performance Programs Michel Assouline.

It was a weekend of record breaking with the largest amount of US Entries in a CPEDI and the greatest amount of riders earning over a 70 or even the high 70s in a CPEDI.

Kai Handt commented, “We had a very large competition and we will do it again in another week. It was a great weekend that began with some inclement weather on the first day of schooling. A lot of people got a little nervous in the beginning but our riders are used to dealing with all types of atmospheres and weather and their scores in the show ring showed that. We had some new team members this week and our system changed where our selection committee picks the team instead of the Chef.

Our team did great and overall and the competition went well. We have some top elite riders that are on the right path to superb tests, our riders scores can be seen improving from the outside resources including the online judging program and the additional Center of Excellence symposiums and Coach Development Programs. I hope we can see some more consistency at the next show and get even more athletes in the mid-70 range.”

Michel Assouline confirmed, “It’s interesting because we have the same two top riders that we had last September in Tryon at the CPEDI3*. I am seeing a great deal of improvement especially with the unprecedented amount of scores in the 70s. The riders had some challenges including the wind and distractions but the high performance riders made it work. Overall the quality of the performances is improving. I can see they are benefitting from the online judging each month helping each rider raise the bar. I have only been in this job for half the year and I already see changes. Gigi (Margaret McIntosh) has moved up by 3% and Annie Peavy has moved up by 2%. We still need more depth, more riders, and more quality horses.”

Before working for the US Equestrian Team, Assouline was with the British Team for 12 years. Assouline explained, “I love the U.S. and I love the challenge of having another project. We have good athletes and immense support but we need more horses. The structure is there and a lot of people are willing to help. America has a great culture in Equestrianism and the horses are brilliant here. But it seems that para-equestrian has been a little behind compared to the European sport. So now we need to push everyone that is on board. It’s nice to see US Equestrian, Murray Kessler, and many other individuals and organizations pushing forward and getting the wheels in motion. A para-equestrian athlete isn’t just an athlete with basic athlete requirements for their sport. A para-equestrian is not only competing and getting that opportunity but we are giving them a better life overall.”

Assouline was instrumental in 2017 with his wife Mette and Margaret McIntosh’s Coach Missy Ransehousen finding McIntosh her new horse Heros. The duo dominated the CPEDI at Global posting scores in the high 70s over the weekend solidifying their partnership for the 2018 year.

McIntosh explained, “We’ve been working really hard since Tryon so I was pleasantly surprised to see that everything we have been working on with Missy came together this weekend. It was nice having done so well in the Team Test that we could relax, concentrate, and really ride my horse for the Individual Test. Taking a step back and experimenting with the warm-up, Missy road her a little bit deeper and rounder and changed things up to the next higher level.”

McIntosh added, “When I looked at my scores I was delighted to have Sara Leitch’s judging feedback because Michele speaks very highly of her as a ground jury member. So when I was received the highest score in the individual test that was vindication that we are on the right track. I am thankful to my Coach Missy, my family and to all the US support staff for their hard work this weekend.”

McIntosh was one of the four members of the US Team which included fellow Grade I rider Roxanne Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas). Trunnell, a 2014 WEG rider and 2016 Paralympian had a consistent week with NTEC Daytona Beach. “I am very happy with Daytona and our tests went really well,” said Trunnell. “We have been working on Daytona’s stretching to the bit and keeping her walks the same tempo. She was quite precise this weekend overall and I enjoyed being a part of the U.S. Team.”

Trunnell rides with Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt at the North Texas Equestrian Center along with Grade V top rider and U.S. teammate Katie Jackson. Only one year ago, Jackson was looking at her first CPEDI competition in The Stadium, and in October 2017 Jackson took over the ownership of this high performance horse Royal Dancer.

Jackson stated, “It’s wild in some ways because it seems like a long journey in a short amount of time. It’s exciting to be back here. It’s my favorite place to show, Royal is happy here, and the arena is great. There isn’t anywhere else I would want to show. I was really pleased with how Royal performed this weekend. He was with me and listening to me. We have been working really hard this fall and it is rewarding to see it all come together in the ring. I am thankful for Kai for helping me focus on each detail of our test. I am also thankful for the clinics with Michele (Assouline). We have plenty to improve on but I am happy with how far we have come. It’s beyond my wildest dreams to own a horse like Royal and we are getting to know each other better and better. He tries his heart out and he just wants to please. There is so much more in him that I haven’t even tapped. I get these glimpses of what the possibilities could be and it’s riveting.”

Michele Bandinu (Santa Barbara, Calif.) rounded out the team of four for the U.S. Bandinu, a grade IV rider, drove his two horses Soulman 13 and Skagen from California for the CPEDI3* shows. “It was an honor being a part of the U.S. Team. There is definitely a lot of support with Michele (Assouline) and Kai (Handt). I am also thankful to my coach Ryan Torkelli and trainer Albrecht Heidemann. As a West Coast Para-Dressage rider I wish there were a few more opportunities on the West Coast since the logistics and mileage can be hard on the horses.”

Also from the West Coast was Alanna Flax-Clark (Los Angeles, Calif.) who flew out to the East Coast to work with Sara Schmitt Dressage LLC. Flax-Clark secured the Grade II win with Captain Moonlight TG. This was her first CPEDI3* and first time in Wellington, FL.

“It was a great show,” stated Flax-Clark. “I have only been riding him a few weeks but he is fantastic. He had to learn a lot for our partnership to work and he learned quickly. He’s a smaller horse with big gates and as soon as he enters the show ring he knows to turn it on. I enjoyed the ride this weekend and I am thankful for all of the support from California, New Jersey, and here in Florida.

In Grade III Rebecca Hart (Unionville, Penn.) finished the weekend with a 74.167 in the Freestyle competition and obtained the Grade III championship. As a Three-time Paralympian (2008, 2012, 2016) and two-time WEG athlete (2010, 2014), Hart is comfortable with the electric atmosphere of The Stadium at AGDF. So when Hart and her new mount El Corona Texel paraded down centerline Hart showcased her horse’s power and finesse.

“He’s kind of a unicorn,” smiled Hart. “I am so blessed and I can’t thank Rowan O’Riley enough for helping me with him and backing me. It’s been a true pleasure to experience a horse of such quality and character. Without Rowan it would not have been possible. It has been an amazing four months and I am really looking forward to the future.”

Hart continued, “This weekend has been an incredible event. I have missed getting in the CDI ring and it’s been a lot of fun to go down centerline again with a new horse and new programs. Tex is an extremely talented young horse. He continued to listen, focus, and do his job even when it was windy and cold, which shows his talent as a high performance horse.”

Hart concluded, “I personally want to thank Melissa MacLaren Felix, Sara Mullins, Rowan O’Riley, and my groom Alexandra Philpin for helping us in and out of the dressage ring. I also want to thank all of the managers, sponsors and volunteers, that make Global a first-class event.”

In Grade IV Annie Peavy, 2014 WEG athlete and 2016 Paralympian, performed outstanding with Royal Dark Chocolate. Peavy (Avon, Connecticut) and Royal Dark Chocolate overtook Grade IV with scores in the middle 70s. Together they were the reserve champion high point rider.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival Welcomes Back World Renowned Competition

Photo Credit ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 4, 2018 – The 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is set to once again host one of the most highly-anticipated and competitive dressage circuits in the world, beginning January 4 and continuing till March 31, 2018, at Equestrian Village at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). This winter circuit will provide indispensable opportunities for a diverse group of riders seeking qualifying scores for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG). The season will feature four qualifying events for the discipline of Dressage and two for Para-Dressage.

“We are incredibly excited for this upcoming dressage season,” said Thomas Baur, Director of Sport for the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival. “This year we will see riders from all over the world coming to Wellington to prepare for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. We are presenting a new structure of classes at the Grand Prix level, as well as Small Tour levels, and are welcoming top judges that will also be featured at the WEG.”

The season will feature new Large and Small Tour class updates, implemented to allow riders to compete multiple horses in different classes and help the continuation of class growth throughout the season. “We have made the Large Tour into two separate Grand Prix divisions,” commented Monica Fitzgerald, Show Manager at AGDF. “One division will qualify you for the Grand Prix Freestyle and the other will qualify you for the Grand Prix Special. By dividing them into separate classes, we then have the ability to run more Grand Prix rides, which we think a lot of our competitors will be very happy with.”

Baur added, “We are looking forward to the benefits that the new scheduling format will provide. These adjustments will benefit riders, giving them the opportunity to ride two horses, but in separate classes. Fewer starters in each class will also allow more placing opportunities for competitors, and will make the time table run at a smoother pace.”

Competition at AGDF will begin Thursday, January 4, and continue through Sunday, January 7, with the first CPEDI 3* of the season. International competition then continues with the first of seven FEI CDIs hosted during the twelve-week season from January 11-14. The Lloyd Landkamer Memorial CDI-W will begin international CDI competition and serves as a season-opening tribute to longtime AGDF manager Lloyd Landkamer, who passed in 2015.

The second CPEDI 3* competition will follow during AGDF 2 (Jan. 18-21), offering Para-Equestrian athletes another opportunity to earn valuable qualifications for the remainder of the year. AGDF 3 will host another CDI-W from January 25-28.

Competition continues on Thursday, February 8, with the season’s only CDI 5* during AGDF 5, featuring many of the world’s top competitors in the circuit’s largest international week. The week will also host CDI 3*/1* competition alongside the prestigious CDI 5*.

A historic staple of the season commences with the start of the Palm Beach Derby CDI-W, one of the longest-running dressage competitions in South Florida. More recently, a traditional Dressage Derby competition was added to the week’s competition schedule and features four Large Tour riders competing against each other on unfamiliar Small Tour-trained horses in a knockout-style competition, while judges’ commentary is announced following each ride.

The final week of the AGDF season welcomes the FEI CDIO 3* (March 28-31), the only non-championships CDIO 3* in the western hemisphere. The week features top riders competing for their country’s colors in hopes of earning team points towards the overall FEI Nations’ Cup Series.

The 2018 AGDF season features four CDI-Ws, a CDI 4* and CDI 5*, as well as a CDIO 3* and two CPEDI 3* competitions. Local spectators are welcomed and encouraged to come out and enjoy world-renowned competition, as the show is always open to the public and free general admission. The weekly “Friday Night Stars” evenings take place every Friday during international CDI events and showcase the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle class, where combinations ride to choreographed musical routines. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and the class begins at 8:00 p.m.

For more information on the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

AGDF Concludes Successful Season with Final Victories for Lyle and Matute

Adrienne Lyle and Salvino. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – March 25, 2017 – The 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) concluded on Saturday, March 25, at the Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL with victories for Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Juan Matute Guimon (ESP) in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, presented by Harmony Sporthorses, and the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDI 3*, presented by Yellow Bird Farm.

Lyle and Salvino, a 2007 Hanoverian stallion (Sandro Hit x Donnerhall) owned by Salvino Partners LLC, ended their competitive winter circuit with a 73.510% in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, presented by Harmony Sporthorses.

Salvino was purchased for Lyle two years ago, after the retirement of her WEG and 2012 Olympic mount Wizard.

“This idea was born to work on syndication to buy horses for high performance riders who were out of a horse to ride,” said Lyle, “and Salvino came about after five long trips to Europe to look at horses. We found him as an eight-year-old and he showed some talent, but that was by no means confirmed at the time. We stayed out of the ring last year, just spending the time that it takes to get to know a new horse. We spent the time training and strengthening, and I think that it paid off because he seems to be going in there happy and calm, and that is our main goal.”

The pair has been competing nationally throughout the winter, and made their 2017 debut in the international ring earlier in the week.

“I think he loves the international ring,” she continued. “He doesn’t seem fazed by the environment at all. He’s not really an anxious horse, and he really stepped up to the plate for me today. We are still working on some things, such as putting the piaffe more in one spot, as well as more power in the extensions. Bit by bit it’s coming along, and I’m really thrilled with him today. It was a great score and a great effort, and I think there is a lot more in him still.”

Second place in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3* was awarded to Shelly Francis (USA) and Danilo, a 2004 Hanoverian gelding (De Niro x Annabella x Andiamo) owned by Patricia Stempel, scoring 71.353%. Third place went to Jill Irving (CAN) and her own Aurthur, a KWPN gelding (Jazz x Olympia W x Contango), earning 68.157%.

Juan Matute and Dhannie Ymas

Later in the afternoon, 19-year-old Matute and Dhannie Ymas, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Don Crusador x Welina) owned by Yeguada de Ymas S.L., climbed to the top of the leaderboard in the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDI 3*, presented by Yellow Bird Farm, with an impressive score of 75.050%.

“I was very pleased to not only finish first in the last ride of the season,” said Matute, “but also with the feeling overall. It was quite good, and I’m trying to find a balance with how much power I should ask for without losing the softness and relaxation. I believe that today with Dhannie I approached that balance well, and I believe that this ride reflected that.”

Commenting on his winter season, Matute continued, “I have four horses that I competed at the FEI level, and they all had very valuable seasons, and I think that we all progressed a lot. I have to keep in mind that these are all horses I was riding in the Juniors not so long ago. For example, last night was only Quantico Ymas’ second freestyle under the lights and two years ago, I was doing Young Riders with him. The amount of progress that we have been able to make in such a short period of time is unbelievable. It gives me goosebumps, and I’m very proud of the work we are putting in, as well as the results we are getting back out.”

Diane Creech (CAN) and Robbie W, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding (Rubin Royal x Rolling Home x Inschallah) owned by Louise Leatherdale, earned a 74.350%, landing them with the second-place spot. Third place went to Catherine Malone (USA) and Dilona, a 2008 KWPN mare (Lord Leatherdale x Vajda x Kennedy) owned by Iron Spring Farm, with 72.875%.

For more information on AGDF and for information regarding the 2018 season, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Lane, Irwin, and Buffini Impress in CDIO Freestyles at Final “Friday Night Stars” of AGDF

Megan Lane and Caravella. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – March 24, 2017 – The final “Friday Night Stars” FEI Grand Prix Freestyle of the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) concluded on Friday, March 24 at the Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL with another Canadian win with Megan Lane and Caravella in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO 3*, presented by Stillpoint Farm.

The last class of the night, the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO 3*, presented by Stillpoint Farm, presented the gold medal to Megan Lane (CAN) and her own Caravella, a 2001 KWPN mare (Contango x P. Riviera x Riverman), scoring an impressive 74.550%.

Lane described her win. “I am thrilled. It’s still a little surreal, and I’m at a loss for words really. I’m so happy! I was happy with the whole test; you have to be on top of your game when you’re competing against riders like this. I’m just really happy with the whole thing.”

Lane and Caravella have been paired together for eight years and started in the junior division.

“We’re both getting better and better. It’s been an amazing journey,” she recalled. “I’m so lucky to have her. It was destiny meeting her, and I’m so privileged to be on this road with her. We are still growing all of the time so that’s the most exciting part for me.”

Regarding her freestyle test, Lane said, “She comes alive at night when she sees the lights and hears the music. You have to have your timing perfect, but I’m lucky because we know each other so well and that’s a huge asset.”

Shelly Francis (USA) and Doktor, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding (Diamond Hit x Gurena x Renoir I) owned by Patricia Stempel, were awarded the silver medal in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO 3*, with a score of 74.075%.

Francis commented, “Compared to the last week, I had him (Doktor) a hair more under control and maybe rode to my music a little quieter. He felt really honest and tried super hard, so I was very happy with him. He was a little calmer tonight and felt much easier to maneuver.”

Bronze went to Lisa Wilcox (USA) and Galant, a 2006 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Escuro x Bellisima) owned by Jacqueline Shear, with 73.175%.

“I felt like Galant and I didn’t have the best weekend,” said Wilcox. “The last time I came out and we did the freestyle, there was a bit more energy. This is new for him, to do these three tests three days in a row. I could definitely feel that tonight; he was not quite as brilliant as he was in the last freestyle. Having said that, he was still very rideable and just missed a tick of the sparkle we had the first time with that freestyle. Overall though, I’m very honored to be a member of this team for the Nations Cup.”

USA team member Tuny Page spoke for Nations Cup and week 11 sponsor, Stillpoint Farm. “It’s the first Nations Cup in the entire series, so it’s wonderful to be the lead off [event]. After last year with the USA winning the entire series, we were looking for a really great start, and we did have a great start. The Canadians just had a slightly greater start. It was a great competition, and I think that everyone can agree that without great competition, you don’t ride your best.”

FEI Judge Thomas Lang (AUT) commented, “It was a great evening for dressage, and we saw some amazing tests this evening. Something can always go wrong, so you can never be certain that everything goes the way that you want it to. That is life as a dressage rider, and that’s life as a dressage judge. Everybody tonight had a good energy, and it was a great show.”

Tina Irwin (CAN) and her own Laurencio, a 2007 Oldenburg gelding (Laurentio x Pasadena x Donerhall), rounded out their weekend with a third win, this time in the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDIO 3*, presented by Stillpoint Farm. The pair won the class with an impressive score of 76.500%.

Said Tina Irwin of her freestyle music choice, “I actually had the freestyle designed for a different horse, so I used it two years ago at the last Nations Cup. It happens to suit this horse better I think, so it kind of worked out. It’s a lot of work to design freestyles, so I thought that if I could use it again, I was going to go for it. I made it pretty difficult; I have four canter pirouettes and a lot of tempi lines, (and) I enter and finish with tempis. I wanted to make it difficult and also capture those artistic marks, because choreography and degree of difficulty counts.”

Second place was awarded to Tina’s husband Jaimey Irwin (CAN) and Donegal V, a 2008 KWPN gelding (Johnston x Remy x Gribaldi) owned by Team Irwin Supporters Group, with 73.575%.

“We’re very good at competing against one another,” said Jaimey Irwin of his competitive relationship with his wife. “We’re always cheering each other on and helping each other.”

Tina Irwin added, “When Jaimey gets ahead of me, it pushes me more. I get like, ‘I’m going to beat him tomorrow now!’ So, it’s good. I’m very competitive and we push each other, so it’s good.”

Esther Mortimer (GUA) and Adajio, a 2004 Hanoverian gelding (Alabaster x Elsi x El Dorado) owned by Sue Schramayr, took the third-place spot with a 70.350%.

Mortimer kept her strong third place position behind the Irwins throughout the entire week of competition.

“I did do the Nations Cup two years ago, and I’m pretty sad that I don’t have a full team this year, but maybe next year we will have one. Regardless, this whole experience is wonderful, and it’s great to be here and be a part of it. I feel honored to be riding here, especially representing Guatemala.”

Anna Buffini and Sundayboy

Victory in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle 16-25 U25 CDIO 3*, presented by Diamante Farms, was captured by Anna Buffini (USA) and her own Sundayboy, a 1999 KWPN gelding (Kennedy x Eezelma), with a score of 73.525%.

“This is surreal,” said Buffini. “A dream of mine has always been to compete a freestyle under the lights, and to do it on Sundayboy’s very last competition ever and to come out with the win – it’s just unbelievable. I owe him so much, and he tried his heart out for me. I’m so proud of him. He’s such a star.”

This was the final competition for the pair, who also won team gold at the North American Young Rider Championships in 2014. Sundayboy will be retiring as one of the most decorated Young Rider horses in the history of the United States.

Buffini continued, “He’s done all he needs to do for me, and I’m not going to ask anymore of him. He’s given me his whole heart, and that’s all I could have asked.”

Second place in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle 16-25 U25 CDIO 3*, went to Sean Sierra Keasler (USA) and Lux Stensvang, a 2002 KWPN gelding (Lobster x Verona Stensvang x Diamond) owned by Keasler, earning a score of 72.450%.

Commenting on her experiences, Keasler exclaimed, “All I wanted to do was ride that horse under the lights. I had witnessed it, I had groomed for previous employers, I had been behind the scenes, and all I wanted to do was ride under the lights myself. A long time ago I said, ‘The only way I will ride under these lights is if there is a U25 Nations Cup,’ and now here I am. It was a dream that became a goal, and now it’s a reality.”

Kaitlin Blythe (USA) and Don Principe, a 1999 Hanoverian stallion (Donnerhall x SPS Papagena x Prince Thatch xx) owned by Maryanna Haymon, came in third with 68.575%.

“It was a magical feeling to compete here under the lights,” said Blythe. “It was only my second time riding this freestyle with this horse, so it was really fun to do it here. To be able to earn a medal was just really exciting for me. My horse loves to dance, and he just gets so excited; it was fun to feel him enjoy it.”

Devon Kane spoke on behalf of sponsor Diamante Farms. “We’re very honored to be able to support this first U25 Nations Cup here at AGDF and in the U.S. The caliber of riding, athleticism, and competitiveness between nations has been incredible. Everyone did incredibly well, and the level of sportsmanship has really been something to take note of.”

Earlier in the day, Catherine Malone (USA) and Dilona, a 2008 KWPN mare (Lord Leatherdale x Vajda x Kennedy) owned by Iron Spring Farm, bested a class of 21 riders to take the winning spot in the FEI Intermediaire 1 CDI 3*, presented by Yellow Bird Farm, scoring 71.228%.

Maria Florencia Manfredi (ARG) and Bandurria Kacero, a 2005 SA gelding (Wonderboy Sdtal Ghyuan x Bandurria Farola) owned by Enrique Sztyrle, saw a victory in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*, presented by Harmony Sporthorses, earning a 72.525%.

For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Canadian Team Takes Victory in Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup CDIO 3*

Tina Irwin and Laurencio. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – March 23, 2017 – Day two of the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup™ CDIO 3* at the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL brought victory and a gold medal for the Canadian team on Thursday, March 23, at the Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

The Canadian team clinched the top of the podium with impressive performances in the FEI Intermediaire I CDIO 3* and the FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3*, presented by Stillpoint Farm. This followed strong rides executed on Wednesday, when the Canadian team established an early lead.

Tina Irwin (CAN) and Laurencio, her 2007 Oldenburg gelding (Laurentio x Pasadena x Donerhall), took the spot on the top of the leaderboard once again in the FEI Intermediaire CDIO 3 with a score of 73.237%.

Irwin commented, “I’m very lucky to have a horse like Laurencio. He’s very special. To have such amazing rideability quality-wise, and such a good temperament to go with it, it’s quite easy to ride him. He does a great job; I just sit on top and steer him. I’m pleased with our season, and I knew that he was a special horse right from the beginning. I’m happy to start to showcase that.

“I think it’s a great experience to be having these Nations Cups,” continued Irwin, who felt this competition helps prepare riders and horses for championships. “It’s huge for us to get together as a country and have these experiences.”

The second-highest score in the FEI I-1 CDIO 3* was captured by Tina’s husband, Jaimey Irwin (CAN), and Donegal V, a 2008 KWPN gelding (Johnston x Remy x Gribaldi) owned by Team Irwin Supporters Group. They recorded a 69.263%.

“Donegal has been doing extremely well this year,” said Irwin.” I’m very happy with his progress. He did a really good test yesterday; it was super except for his halt in the beginning, (when) he got a little excited. Today, the wind came and the tent was flapping and that got him really excited, so he wasn’t quite with me today, but he still tried. He has a lot of ability in there for the future, and I’m very happy with the way he’s going.”

Canadian team member Jill Irving rode her own Degas 12, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding (De Niro x Rosana M x Regazonni), to a score of 69.588% in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3*, presented by Stillpoint Farm.

Said Irving of her experience with Degas 12, “We did our job, and that was the goal. I love pressure, but I focus on what I need to do in the ring and Degas was ready to step up.”

Megan Lane and her mount Caravella, a 2001 KWPN mare (Contango x P. Riviera x Riverman) rode as the anchors for Canada in the FEI Grand Prix Special and scored 70.176%.

“Having the pressure of being the anchor,” said Lane. “I try not to think about that and I just really wanted to have a good ride. I do well under pressure, so I’m privileged that I got to be in that spot. Coming out of it I was thrilled; I’m actually still shaking! I’m really happy with Caravella. I think she’s in a good spot. The piaffe passage work is always a highlight, and her canter half-passes are really nice to ride. Her changes, as you can probably see, they are a little difficult to sit because they’re so jumpy, but those are her highlights.”

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) spoke on behalf of the silver medal USA team. “For all of us, everyone that participates, a good, friendly competition pushes us all to be better and provides an opportunity to develop and move on. It’s such a great group of people that we have here in Wellington, so it’s fun in general getting to come together with your country-mates and be in that pressure situation. If you don’t get to practice those things, then you’re only getting to do them when you go to a WEG or an Olympics or a Pan Ams, and we could all use the mileage.”

Spain team member Juan Matute Guimon added, “We are all very thankful for Stillpoint Farm and the sponsors and organizers that make this possible for another year. In my case, I was very happy to also see the inauguration of the first U-25 CDIO competition. Unfortunately, today didn’t go so well for me, but overall I’m very happy with how the week is going. It’s all a positive experience. Even the bad days are better because you get to learn from your mistakes and analyze yourself. When you win and you’re always happy with your rides, you don’t always look at the little mistakes. I think the bad days are better to help you grow, as a rider, as a professional, and as an athlete.”

The FEI Nations Cup CDIO-U25, presented by Diamante Farms, also continued with individual rides in the FEI Grand Prix 16-25 CDIO-U25. Mathilde Blais Tetreault (CAN) and her own Utah, a 2001 KWPN gelding by Jazz, captured the gold, scoring 68.093%.

Mathilde Blais Tetreault and Utah

“I think that I went in there today with much more confidence,” said Tetreault of her test. “I thought that I was going to win, so I tried really hard and it worked out that I did! My center trots were good, my piaffe and passage was better, so overall it was pretty good.”

Tetreault, who has only ridden Utah for four months, said it is “a great feeling” to capture the gold medal.

“I didn’t really expect this because Utah and I are such a new combination,” she said. “I’m really happy that we have progressed.”

Second place and the silver medal went to Anna Buffini (USA) and her Sundayboy, a 1999 KWPN gelding (Kennedy x Eezelma), with 68.093%.

“It’s always a blessing to come out here and be able to compete against such amazing competitors. I’m so proud of Mathilde and Molly too,” said Buffini of her fellow medal winners. “They came out here and fought their hearts out.”

“My ride today was tough,” admitted Buffini. “It was a little tricky, and I felt that I didn’t quite ride at my best. I’m still proud that Sundayboy backed me up and was able to come out with second place.”

Molly Paris (USA) and her mount Countess took the bronze and third place with 65.721%.

“Countess is awesome,” said Paris of the 2002 Danish Warmblood mare (Don x Compeed x Solos). “She comes out every day willing to give it her all and we’ve just been getting better and better. I couldn’t be happier with her.”

Judge at C, Evi Eisenhardt (GER), reflected on the rides. “I was astonished by the quality of rides we saw. These are the three riders with the highest quality of piaffe and passage. Sure, there were a few small mistakes, but the riding is at a higher level. Last year I judged the European U25 riders, and I think that this is close to them.”

Earlier in the day, Diane Creech (CAN) and Robbie W, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding (Rubin Royal x Rolling Home x Inschallah) owned by Louise Leatherdale, won the FEI Prix St. Georges CDI 3*, presented by Yellow Bird Farm, with 73.289%. Second place went to Juan Matute Guimon (ESP) and Dhannie Ymas, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Don Crusador x Welina) owned by Yeguada de Ymas S.L., earning a score of 71.360%. Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Harmony’s Duval, a 2008 KWPN gelding (Rosseau x Riverman) owned by Kylee Lourie, earned a score of 71.009% for third place.

For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

US Dressage Team Takes Silver in Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup CDIO3*

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir (SusanJStickle.com)

US Teams Take Gold, Silver in First U25 Nations Cup on America Soil

Wellington, Fla. – The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team earned a silver medal in the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup™ CDIO3* on Thursday. The U.S. team gave a collective effort for a team total of 432.661. Canada took gold with a score of 434.538, and Spain earned bronze with a score of 397.690. In the first U25 Nations Cup in the United States, the U.S. teams claimed gold and silver.

“I want to congratulate all our super Grand Prix riders and our winning U25 riders at the Stillpoint Farm Nations Cup this week. We had a bit of bad luck in the Grand Prix the first day but came back to be very close to the Canadians, who I also congratulate on a very special victory,” Dover said. “A special shout-out to the winners of both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir, another really exciting combination that is proving to be worthy of being deemed ‘rising stars’ and adding to America’s depth! Friday night is the individual championship and we are excited and hopeful.”

The U.S. combinations performed the FEI Grand Prix test to begin competition on Wednesday. In their first test in a Big Tour Nations Cup, LaGoy-Weltz (Haymarket, Va.) and Lonoir produced a solid score of 72.940%. She and the 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding have been training with Olympic bronze medalist Debbie McDonald and have had a strong start to their 2017 competition season.

“[Lonoir] is very honest and trying really hard. It is exciting to see the work Debbie and I have been doing with him start to reflect in the scores. It is exciting because I know there is still lots of room for improvement,” said LaGoy-Weltz.

Despite going off-course during the canter, Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Doktor, Patricia Stempel’s 2003 Oldenburg gelding, put in a respectable test for a total of 69.720%. Lisa Wilcox (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Galant anchored the U.S. team. The 2004 Olympic bronze medalist guided Jacqueline Shear’s 2006 Belgian Warmblood gelding to an acceptable 70.560%.

Arlene “Tuny” Page (Wellington, Fla.) and Woodstock, her 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding, executed a quality test; however, the combination was eliminated pursuant to FEI Dressage Regulation 430.7.6 when blood was found during the equipment check from Woodstock biting his lip.

The U.S. went into Thursday’s FEI Grand Prix Special down by 2.307 with an overall score of 216.220, when a 1.5% bonus was factored in for the Grand Prix scores counting towards the team results.

LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir did not let up from Wednesday’s FEI Grand Prix test. The blossoming combination exhibited a smooth test to score a 71.804%. Francis and Doktor and Wilcox and Galant improved from their first day scores with a 70.451% and 69.686%, respectively.

“A good friendly competition pushes us all to be better and provides an opportunity for us to develop depth. It’s such a great group of people that we have here in Wellington, and it is great to be able to come together with our country-mates, create that team [atmosphere], and be in a pressure situation. It’s a huge benefit to all of us, and we’re grateful for the organizers for making it happen,” said LaGoy-Weltz.

U.S. U25 Teams Find Success in FEI Nations Cup™ CDIO-U25

Represented by two U.S. teams with three combinations, these up-and-coming athletes collected valuable team experience in the U.S.’ first U25 Nations Cup competition. Competing with riders from Canada, the U.S. team of Anna Buffini (San Diego, Calif.), Sean Sierra Keasler (Wellington, Fla.), and Kerrigan Gluch (Wellington, Fla.) topped the podium with an overall score of 137.763. The second U.S. team of Kaitlin Blythe (Rougemont, N.C.), Molly Paris (Charlotte, N.C.), and Genay Vaughn (Elk Grove, Calif.) took the silver medal with a total of 134.315. Canada followed with the bronze with a score of 132.079.

“We have to thank George Williams, our US Equestrian Youth Coach, for bringing this forward to Thomas [Baur]. The fact that these athletes had a chance to experience a team situation like this was fun to watch. It’s good for our sport and our country, and it is exciting to see us growing,” said US Equestrian Development Dressage Coach Debbie McDonald, who served as the Chef d’Equipe of the gold medal team.

Buffini rode a harmonious test with her own Sundayboy, who will be retired after week 11 of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). She and the 1999 Dutch Warmblood gelding led the gold medal-winning U.S. team with a score of 70.500%.

“I came to Wellington partly to compete in the Nations Cup, and I set a goal to come here. It’s like nothing else; to have the same support, be in the same barn aisle, just be encouraging to each other. You can’t just count on yourself; [the team is] counting on me, and I’m counting on them. I love that this is preparing us for the future,” said Buffini.

Keasler (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Lux Stensvang, a 2002 Danish Warmblood gelding, finished with a 67.263%, followed by Gluch (Wellington, Fla.) and Hampton Green Farm’s HGF Brio, a 2005 Andalusian stallion, with a score of 62.158% for the gold medal team.

By Dana Rossmeier, US Equestrian Communications Department

Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar Rock the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 4* at AGDF

Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar (Photo credit: Jo Fisher)

Wellington, FL (March 21, 2017) – Dressage duo Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar delivered an electric winning performance during Friday night’s FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm, at the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, FL. The pair earned a score of 73.325% as Alcazar’s snappy hocks hit every beat in Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” rocking them into first place in the Friday night FEI Grand Prix Freestyle class.

Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar, a 2005 KWPN gelding (Cantango x Polina) owned by Jane Forbes Clark, have hit the ground running in this year’s competition series, having earned a score of 71.88 percent in the CDI-W Grand Prix earlier this season.

“I’m thrilled to win tonight,” said Bateson. “Alcazar felt amazing. He always gets a little excited with the clapping, so when we are warming up next to all of the clapping he sometimes gets a bit hysterical. He became calmer as time went on. When he got into the ring, I think he was relieved to take a breath for the rest of my test. He really tried though super hard for me, and that means a lot. We’ve been through a lot this past year, so this is really special.”

Last July, Alcazar (affectionately known as Lonzie in the barn) suffered from colic after the pair completed their Grand Prix ride at the World Equestrian Festival CHIO in Aachen. Alcazar underwent a successful surgery, and the pair worked patiently towards his recovery with the hopes of competing again once he had returned to full health. Since reuniting in the show ring this winter, the two have been unstoppable, earning exceptional scores that culminated in Friday night’s victory.

Bateson shared the details of Lonzie’s colic with reporters. “He had colic surgery during the show in Aachen, and it was quite serious. He had a lot of gut removed. We had incredible surgeons, and we were blessed to be in the right place. I was unlucky to have it happen, but lucky to be where we were. To be honest, he had the surgery and then he never looked back. He was off for three months and then came back, almost better than ever. Just to have him alive, because they didn’t give him much of a chance, (and) for him to be back not long after and winning a CDI 4*, is pretty amazing.”

Bateson-Chandler’s many career achievements include being a member of the 2016 Gold Medal Dutta Corp. U.S. Team at the FEI Nations Cup, and being part of Team USA at the 2016 CDIO3* Odense Nations Cup in Denmark. In 2010, she represented the U.S at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky riding Nartan. The team finished fourth and, individually, she and Nartan qualified for the Grand Prix Special. Bateson-Chandler hopes to claim a spot on the U.S. team at the World Equestrian Games to be held in Tryon, North Carolina in 2018.

Through her business KBC Dressage, Bateson-Chandler offers training and coaching services, as well as dressage prospect selection for clients. For more information about Katherine Bateson-Chandler, visit her on Facebook and on the web at www.kbcdressage.com.

Contact: Katherine Bateson-Chandler
chandlercarlos@aol.com
908-391-9096