Category Archives: Adequan Global Dressage Festival

Orlob and Berktold Claim Developing Horse Championship Titles to Wrap AGDF 11

Marcus Orlob & JJ Glory Day. Photo © SusanJStickle.com

International action for the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) 2023 season in Wellington, Florida wrapped up on Sunday, March 26. The grand champions were crowned in both the Lövsta Future Challenge Young Horse Grand Prix Series and the Buffalo Wild Wings Future Challenge Young Horse Prix St. Georges Series. These classes aim to identify and nurture talented, up-and-coming young FEI horses, giving them exposure to benefit their development with the biggest of world stages in mind.

Competition was extremely hot in the small tour ranks, with the top three in the field of eight starters all scoring over 71% — particularly impressive as these are young, green horses at the level.

It was the 41-year-old German-born American rider Marcus Orlob who rode Alice Tarjan’s JJ Glory Day (by Kastel’s Grand Galaxy Win x Deemster) to victory with a commanding 73.705% — including a high score of over 75% from one judge. At seven years old, Glory Day was the youngest horse in the class — the only seven-year-old — and the only stallion. This was just his second ever Prix St. Georges test.

“I’ve had this horse for three years and since then I’m quite amazed by him,” said Orlob, who is based between Annandale, NJ and Loxahatchee, FL. “Every time I ride him it’s a joy. He wants to work. I thought a couple weeks ago I would do this just for fun and he was really afraid the first time.

“Now I think he did quite a clean test and the judges seemed to like it, so I’m really happy. The changes are more confirmed [than they were a few weeks ago], and he was more mature, with better balance and straighter.”

Mares Rule Big Tour Final

In the big tour ranks, competitors qualified by riding an Intermediate II test, but for the final they rode the Young Horse Grand Prix test — which was a bit of a surprise for the eventual winner, Bianca Berktold on Imperial, when she double checked the night before.

“It’s smart to read the emails they send you thoroughly because I thought I was doing a regular Grand Prix, and last night at 8pm I realized it was a young horse Grand Prix and that I’d never ridden a young horse Grand Prix myself and I had to Google it — but Imperial showed up and went in and was amazing.”

The 10-year-old mare (by Charmeur x Vivaldi) belongs to Berktold and she has trained her up the levels. The pair, who scored 69.973% to secure this year’s title, won five small tour CDI classes at the 2022 edition of AGDF.

“I’ve had her since she was two and a half, so it’s been a work in progress,” added the 40-year-old. “I am so lucky to have her and she’s still green at this level, but she’s coming together nicely. She really has a talent for piaffe and passage and the lateral work is really easy for her, so it’s an incredibly talented horse.”

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

Barbançon Scores a Double to Close Out Her First AGDF Season in Style

Morgan Barbançon & Habana Libre V. Photo © SusanJStickle.com

It was an epic and unforgettable day for 30-year-old French rider Morgan Barbançon, who capped a sensational first Wellington season of her career with wins in both the Dutta Corp CDI4* Grand Prix Special and the Beatrice Marienau Dressage CDI3* Grand Prix Special. They were the two showcase classes of the penultimate day of week 11 during the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). The wins took Barbançon’s tally of victories to three in under 24 hours — all on different horses.

On Saturday, she led the four-star class on the 11-year-old Habana Libre A (by Zizi Top x United), pulling out a unanimous win on 71.702% from final draw, despite a mistake in the one-time changes on the diagonal. American ladies filled the remaining two podium steps, with Katie Duerrhammer and Paxton sealing second on 69.234% and Alice Tarjan third riding Candescent to 68.596%.

In the three-star ranks, 12-year-old Deodoro (by Damon Hill x Lauries Crusador) stepped up to earn Barbançon yet another winner’s rug for her burgeoning collection, putting down an untouchable 71.596% despite the three riders placed behind her all posting personal best scores. Emily Miles (USA) and Java Dulce — winners of the qualifying grand prix class — had to settle for second this time with 70.872%. The final competitor in the class, America’s Kevin Kohmann, picked up third with a 69.043% ride on Dünensee.

“I’m on cloud nine right now,” enthused Barbançon, who will be back in Europe first thing on Monday morning and straight back to riding in the cold. “I’m exhausted and I gave the last bit of myself in that last test today, but it’s such a good tired.”

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

Iberian Horses Reign Supreme on Saturday at AGDF

Kerrigan Gluch & Mejorano HGF. Photo © SusanJStickle.com.

It was a long and nail-biting wait for Kerrigan Gluch (USA) to discover that she had won the Fair Sky Farm CDI3* Grand Prix Special. She was first to go, mid-morning, on Saturday of week 10 of the 2023 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL. When the class finished, mid-afternoon, Gulch’s name was still atop the leaderboard with Mejorano HGF and their score of 68.872%. That included some big names, like Morgan Barbançon — winner of the qualifying Grand Prix on Thursday with Bolero — whose performances couldn’t better Gluch’s.

Susan Dutta and Don Design DC, the Dutta Corp.’s 13-year-old gelding by Der Designer, finished second with 68.702%. Korean rider Dong Sean Kim is still getting to know his new acquisition, Galleria’s Bohemian. The 13-year-old gelding by Bordeaux finished fourth in the freestyle final at the Tokyo Olympics under Denmark’s Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour. This is just Kim’s second CDI on Bohemian, and their first Grand Prix Special together. They scored 68.574% for the yellow ribbon.

Mejorano was bred by his owners, Hampton Green Farm. Gluch began her career there as a working student 11 years ago, and then graduated into a sponsored rider. Having known Mejorano as a young horse, Gluch then picked up the ride full-time three years ago, and their partnership is going from strength to strength.

“He’s an extraordinary horse, super talented in all aspects of the grand prix,” said the 26-year-old. “I’ve really been focused on the flow of everything – in and out of transitions – so everything had a lot of harmony and that was the main goal for this weekend, and I think I accomplished that. My piaffe/passage tour was quite smooth and I was happy with how the changes felt in the ring. It’s a very long test, but I was able to settle in and enjoy it.

“Mejarano is a product of the breeding in the States that we strive for. It’s special to be able to do it with him knowing that he was born here and show that off. He tries his heart out for me every time,” added the Ocala-based Gluch, who has recently started training with fellow Ocala rider, Shelly Francis, after years training with Charlotte Bredahl.

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

Julio Mendoza Loor Has ‘Feeling of a Lifetime’ en Route to Nations Cup Grand Prix Freestyle Win

Julio Mendoza Loor. Photo © SusanJStickle.com.

Ecuador’s Julio Mendoza Loor capped an epic week of personal bests to close out the Stillpoint Farm CDIO3* Nations Cup™ during Week 7 of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL. Mendoza Loor claimed the gold medal in the CDIO3* Grand Prix Freestyle with an almost 80% test on his own 12-year-old gelding, Jewel’s Goldstrike. The son of Bretton Woods x Watermill Scandic scored three nines for his halts on the way to 79.325%, with three of the five judges awarding the pair over 80%.

The 26-year-old Anna-Cristina Abbelen (GER) continued her sparkling form at her first ever Wellington show season. She recorded another career high score, of 77.16%, on her own and Silke Abbelen-Mooren’s 16-year-old Samarant gelding Sam Donnerhall to finish in silver. Caroline Darcourt (SWE) snuck into third with Lord Django, just 0.28 percentage points ahead of compatriot Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén (Devanto).

Mendoza Loor, who is 43, also won the CDIO3* Grand Prix Special on a new personal best earlier in the week. The pair had tremendous small tour success at the Bolivarian Games in 2022 — winning all three tests and leading Ecuador to team gold — but this is only the horse’s fourth big tour CDI.

He said of his AGDF 7 freestyle, “It was the feeling of a lifetime; the ride was unbelievable. He is a horse who wants to perform; he wants to be there and to always try harder. He is willing to do everything and more than what I’m asking. I’m so proud of him for how young he is — he’s an unbelievable horse. Last year was the first time I competed him here in Wellington, and he won the CDI, and this time he really showed me what he can do and made me so proud.”

He’s a hot tamale to ride

The gold and silver medalists — both from the USA — in the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup™ Intermediate I Freestyle laid down new personal bests. The 20-year-old Christian Simonson, who is based in Wellington and trains with Adrienne Lyle, took top honors riding Son of a Lady to a stonking 78.445%, with a high score from judge at H Christof Umbach of 80.775%.

Simonson rode to a freestyle composed for another of his small tour horses, Zeaball Diawind. He has had Son of a Lady for a year after buying him from Severo Jurado Lopez and competed him very successfully in Young Riders, and this was their second senior small tour international show.

“‘Sonny’ truly felt amazing for the whole test,” he said. “The trot work was so elastic and he really carried himself throughout the whole test, so I could not be more proud of him. He is a hot tamale to ride, and it amazes me how much energy he has.”

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

Alice Tarjan and Long-Time Partner Candescent Grab Glory at AGDF

Alice Tarjan & Candescent. Photo © SusanJStickle.com.

Alice Tarjan (USA) came out on top of the 15 combinations forward in the Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Iron Spring Farm, on Saturday of Week 7 at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL.

Tarjan was competing her own 13-year-old mare Candescent (Christ x Falkenstern), and the pair netted a winning score of 72.638%. This was just 0.06 percentage points shy of their best performance ever in this test, achieved in the very same arena at AGDF in 2021.

Tarjan explained that although she has been training Candescent since she was a four-year-old, she hasn’t been the most straightforward horse despite her attractive, expressive movement.

“Overall, everything’s going in the right direction,” said the 43-year-old from Oldwick, NJ, who has a clutch of prolific horses at grand prix level. “It’s been a long road and she hasn’t been the easiest. I’ve had her for nine years and she’s always been a real challenge.

“I don’t think anyone wrote a book on how to train this horse. She’s been doing grand prix now for a few years but what I’ve learned is that being able to do the movements in the grand prix and then putting everything together in a cohesive and harmonious test are two very different things,” added Tarjan, who has been coming to Wellington for almost a decade. “Now I finally feel like I have a horse that’s on my side and we’re finally starting to form a partnership.”

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

Germany Storms to Nations Cup Gold in Week 7 of AGDF

Felicitas Hendricks & Drombusch 2. Photo © SusanJStickle.com.

For the third consecutive year, it was Germany whose national anthem rang out at the conclusion of the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup™ contest in Week 7 of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, Florida.

The Nations Cup™ in Wellington is a mixed team competition, allowing countries to put forward a combination of small tour and big tour combinations, with the grand prix combinations being awarded a bonus of 1.5% on their score. Germany’s winning team of Frederic Wandres, Felicitas Hendricks, Anna-Christina Abbelen, and Michael Klimke finished on 437.844 points, with the silver medal winning USA team of Charlotte Jorst, Anna Marek, Christian Simonson, and Susan Dutta on 427.285, and Sweden (Christina Devine, Caroline Darcourt, and Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén) in bronze on 414.498.

Germany’s top score on Friday came courtesy of a 72.234% (rounded up to 73.734% with the bonus) personal best in the CDIO3* Grand Prix Special from rising stars Hendricks — the youngest rider on the team — and her own Drombusch 2 (by Destano).

“I’m really glad I had the opportunity to show here, and I think it’s perfect conditions for us riders and a top series,” said the 22-year-old. “I was able to have the highest score today and I love the grand prix special. It went well with the passage and extended trot parts — those were our highlights today. I couldn’t be prouder of our team.”

Personal Bests under the Lights

In the “Friday Night Stars” class under lights, the CDI3* FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Buffalo Wild Wings, the Spanish rider Pablo Gómez Molina punched the air in jubilation at the final halt after completing a 77.865% test. Aboard the 13-year-old PRE gelding Ulises De Ymas — who is owned by Javier Bacariza, Cristina Danguillecourt, and Yeguada de Ymas SL — Gómez Molina scored a huge new personal best of 77.865%.

Gómez Molina rode to an upbeat compilation featuring Queen and “Harry Potter” theme song music, for which he received two nines.

“Ulises is really active with a lot of activity and knee action, and I think it fits him really well. I was hearing the crowd clapping in time, so I think they liked it,” said the beaming 28-year-old. “I started competing internationally in Wellington, so for me to win the grand prix yesterday and today win the freestyle — I’ve been here watching every single freestyle — it’s pretty special.”

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

Pablo Gomez Molina Scores First Grand Prix Victory aboard Ulises de Ymas

Pablo Gomez Molina & Ulises de Ymas. Photo © SusanJStickle.com.

The opening day of an exciting week at the Adequan Global® Dressage Festival (AGDF) saw top talent rise with a new personal best for Spain’s Pablo Gomez Molina in the Iron Spring Farm CDI3* FEI Grand Prix on Thursday morning. Thirty athlete combinations rode down centerline to kick off Week 7 of competition at the venue.

As one of the final entries, Gomez Molina piloted the 13-year-old P.R.E. gelding Ulises de Ymas (Seni Indio x Superior II) to his top-finishing score of 71.087% in the class for the highest honors. Breaking the 70% mark, but still falling short of Gomez Molina’s total, Susan Pape (GBR) and Harmony’s Eclectisch rode into second place with a score of 70.587%. The victory lap was rounded out by the USA’s Anna Marek on Fire Fly, who finished with a score of 69.500%.

USA Scores Home Team Win in Under-25 FEI Nations Cup

The FEI Nations Cup for Under 25 riders, presented by Diamante Farms, was the feature competition on Thursday during opening day of week 7 at AGDF. The under-25 division was a clean sweep for team “stars and stripes” who pocketed the gold with a point total of 139.736. The home nation also secured the silver medal with a finishing score of 135.500. Rivals to the north, Canada landed in the bronze position with a final tally of 133.118.

Benjamin Ebeling (USA) boasted the only score to break 70% in the CDIOU25 Intermediate II, presented by Diamante Farms, which left him both with the team gold and individual first place aboard Ann Romney’s 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding Status Royal OLD (Statesman OLD x Rubin Royal OLD). Ebeling’s performance was a repeat of his victory during the same event last year in which he and the mount scored only a slight fraction below their most recent test on a percentage of 70.647%.

In an impressive performance during her debut as a team rider for the United States, Callie O’Connell clinched the class’s overall second-place position by earning 69.089% for her performance aboard the Ruling Cortes LLC Owned 14-year-old KWPN gelding Eaton H (Wynton x San Remo).

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

Barbançon and Helgstrand Are Untouchable in Week 5 of AGDF

Morgan Barbançon & Habana Libre A. Photo ©SusanJStickle.com.

France’s Morgan Barbançon and Habana Libre A claimed the winner’s blanket in the day’s headline class, the CDI3* Grand Prix Special, sponsored by MTICA Farm. Barbançon’s 71.66% on her own 11-year-old gelding — by Zizi Top out of a United dam — is their second highest score ever in this test.

Of the 15 starters, the trio of riders on the podium remained unchanged from Friday’s qualifying Grand Prix, but the 22-year-old German sensation Felicitas Hendricks climbed a place to net second. She rode her own 12-year-old gelding Drombusch 2 (Destano x Dimaggio) to 70.362% in the pair’s debut senior international show at the level. Her compatriot Anna-Christina Abbelen, 26, piloted her 16-year-old Samarant gelding Sam Donnerhall to 69.723% and third place.

“I’m extremely happy and it was great to win,” enthused the 30-year-old Barbançon, who is spending her first season in Wellington. “Habana was a wee bit tired today but still tried. The whole passage/trot part was nice, and I was really happy with the walk. The piaffes were a little bit less [powerful] than two weeks ago, but it was cooler then and really warm today.

“I don’t normally get affected by the heat, but yesterday I already had to use a new frack [tailcoat] because it was drenched. This is the second one going to the dry cleaners. But I prefer that to the frostbite I get at home.”

Alexander Yde Helgstrand and Belantis Top Intermediate I CDI1*

Andreas Helgstrand’s 19-year-old son Alexander Yde Helgstrand and Belantis — formerly ridden by Isabell Werth — made it two wins from two starts in AGDF 5, topping Saturday’s hotly contested Intermediate I CDI1*, presented by Centerline Stables. They also won Thursday’s Prix St. Georges class. Helgstrand was also competing his mother’s horse Super Mario in the under-25s, and two wins in that division — at Intermediate II and Grand Prix — brought his tally of CDI blue ribbons for the week to four.

“Today the high points were the two-tempis and the extended trot and canter,” said Helgstrand, who is another rider spending his first season in Wellington. “Belantis is super talented and I really love working with him. He had some more power and energy today, but it was still controlled.”

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

Wandres and Bluetooth OLD Extend Winning Streak in Week Five ‘Friday Night Stars’

Frederic Wandres & Bluetooth OLD. Photo © SusanJStickle.com.

Frederic Wandres (GER) and Bluetooth OLD lit up the capacity crowds on a balmy Florida evening for the ‘Friday Night Lights’ FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Havensafe Farm. The barnstorming duo captured the week’s showcase class with over 80% at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL.

Last to go of the 11 starters, Wandres and Hof Kasselmann’s 13-year-old gelding (Bordeaux x Riccione) demonstrated a rhythmic, powerful, and balanced test that was brimming with expression and elasticity. As a three-year-old in Germany, Bluetooth OLD sold for €1 million ($1.3 million USD), and his quality, talent, and consistency at Grand Prix justify that price tag. This result represents the pair’s fourth straight victory at the 2023 AGDF and the audience began to cheer wildly before the final halt. Wandres finished on 80.565%, with a high score of 82.2%.

Two American ladies joined Wandres on the podium. Ashley Holzer rode her own 13-year-old Sir Donnerhall mare Valentine in just her fourth international Grand Prix Freestyle, filling second place with 77.4%. Just behind Holzer, with 77.27%, came Sarah Tubman on Summit Farm’s stallion First Apple — another 13-year-old.

Wandres, who works for Kasselmann and is an AGDF regular, said, “It was the second Friday Night Lights this season for me and I really love the atmosphere — it’s always so crowded and the people are cheering for everyone. I am very happy with Bluetooth; he gets more and more consistent and the important things are getting better and better. I am really looking forward for what’s coming next.”

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

Frederic Wandres Does Wonders in Havensafe Farm FEI World Cup Grand Prix

Frederic Wandres & Bluetooth OLD. Photo © SusanJStickle.com.

Two classes brimming with talent highlighted opening day of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) Week 5. The Centerline Stables CDI1* Prix St. Georges and Havensafe Farm CDI-W World Cup Grand Prix set the tone in Wellington, FL. A man who is no stranger to victory, Frederic Wandres (GER) aboard Bluetooth OLD, a 2010 Oldenburg (Bordeaux x Riccione), truly stole the show with their impressive score of 74.913%. A very competitive runner-up score went to France’s Morgan Babançon aboard Bolero scoring a 71.782%, and third went to Ashley Holzer (USA) and Valentine who were not far behind finishing on a score of 71.174%.

While incredibly proud, an ever-humble Wandres admitted that he and Bluetooth OLD still having room for improvement before achieving even more success. “I thought today went much better than the last time CDI here. He was a little more fresh and forward, even though the weather is a little bit warmer than last time. There are still many things to develop, but overall, it was good. He showed consistency in a test like this, and I thought this world cup qualification here was probably the strongest so far, so I’m very happy.”

Alexander Yde Helgstrand & Belantis. Photo © SusanJStickle.com.

Alexander Yde Helgstrand Takes the Spotlight

All eyes were on Denmark’s Alexander Yde Helgstrand and Belantis during the opening class of AGDF 5 on Thursday morning as the dynamic pair won the Centerline Stables CDI1* Prix St. Georges.

An impressive lineup of twenty-six horses and riders came together for the CDI1*. Only three pairs scored in the 70s, including Amanda Perkowski (USA) and Sontana MF, who placed third with a 70.196%, and Charlotte Jorst (USA) scored a 70.392% aboard Zhaplin Langholt. However, the highest score of 72.206%, a personal best score, went to Alexander Yde Helgstrand (DEN) and Belantis, a 2009 DSP gelding (Benetton Dream Frh 1301 x Expo’se) owned by Helgstrand Dressage USA.

Helgstrand was beyond pleased with his horse’s performance. They have been a team for about two years and all of their hard work, combined with a strong partnership, seems to be paying off. “Today, some of the highlights came from my trot. I felt like I had a really good trot, which is something we have been working really hard on at home, so I was very pleased to see that come together.”

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