Category Archives: Adequan Global Dressage Festival

Adequan U.S. Para-Dressage Team Dominates at Paralympic Qualifier in Florida

Roxanne Trunnell, Grade I, and Dolton. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Wellington, FL – January 15, 2020 – Adequan® U.S. Para-Dressage Team rode into the new decade dominating the 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* and CPEDI1*. This first show of the Paralympic calendar year took place January 8-11, in Wellington, Florida, at the beautiful grounds of the Global Dressage Festival. The Adequan® U.S. Para-Dressage Team, led by chef d’equipe Michel Assouline, included David Botana (Portland, Maine), Grade I, and Lord Locksley, a 19-year-old Trakehner stallion owned by Margaret Stevens and Susanne Hamilton; Rebecca Hart (Loxahatchee, Fla.), Grade III, and El Corona Texel, Rowan O’Riley’s 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding; Kate Shoemaker (Wellington, Fla.), Grade IV, and Solitaer 40, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Kate Shoemaker, Craig Shoemaker, and Deena Shoemaker; and Roxanne Trunnell (Wellington, Fla.), Grade I, and Dolton, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Flintwoode Farms LLC and Karin Flint. Equestrians rode over three days for both team and individual accolades. Champion of the CPEDI3* was USA rider Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton scoring an average of 81.871. Reserve Champion was Marie Vonderheyden and London Swing. This was the first look of the year with only seven months before the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. The 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* and CPEDI1* was not only the place for each duo to finesse their tests in this Paralympic qualifier but it was also where riders with new horses like Beatrice DeLavalette and Ellie Brimmer were able to get into the international ring in front of top judges.

Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline was excited for the U.S. riders. He noted, “Our riders have risen above all expectations showing great dedication and competence while maintaining U.S. Para Dressage in top FEI ranking position with a team average of 75.55%, our highest to date. Roxanne Trunnell’s progression seems unstoppable and Karin Flint’s Dolton is moving into FEI world number one position on the current ranking list with record breaking U.S. scores. Also very exciting is the broadening of our athlete base getting high scores in the 70% range. We have a great team of riders, owners and support staff working in strong unity; their endeavor continues.”

President of the USPEA Hope Hand added, “The weather was challenging due to gale force winds that seem to grace us in January every year, but the skies were clear and the temperature was just about perfect. The first show of the season is always exciting to see all the new combinations. It was also fun watching our WEG medalists who draw a crowd with their celebrity status setting the stage for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. We were confident in our team to do well but still on edge since every competition going forward is an important Paralympic qualifier. Over the last year, the Elite riders ramped up their fitness and riding programs to prepare for the January early start. Hard work does pay off big time. Roxanne Trunnell stole the limelight with her personal best scores each day exceeding 80% pushing her to the top of the World Individual Ranking List. She certainly rocked it and raised the bar for the other riders. Canada and Mexico followed the lead and also performed well, earning individual first places. The 2020 race to Tokyo undoubtedly will be remembered as one of the greatest athletic contests of strength and determination.”

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.

Inaugural Lövsta Future Challenge Series Kicks Off at AGDF

Pablo Gomez Molina and Ulises De Ymas with Swedish Olympic dressage rider Louise Nathhorst and Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven of Lövsta.

Wellington, FL – January 12, 2020 – In the inaugural Lövsta Future Challenge Intermediate II series qualifier for developing grand prix horses, it was winner Pablo Gomez Molina who took the coveted qualifying spot for the final in the Global Arena, which takes place during the 12th and final week (March 25-29) of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

The 25-year-old Spanish rider paired up with Ulises De Ymas, a 10-year-old Spanish-bred gelding. He is owned by Gomez Molina’s employers, Yeguada De Ymas, who bred the horse.

“It was only our second inter II,” said Gomez Molina, who has been riding the horse since he was four. “We tried our first one on Thursday to see if we could do the qualifier today and Ulises was really good. It was a good plan to go early in the season to secure the place in the final.

“Ulises really tries all the time and stays with you. It’s great to have the opportunity to do the Future Cup to develop a young horse like him. He’s probably not quite ready for grand prix, but a class like this helps get you to the grand prix little by little.

“He’s a really sweet horse; you can put anyone on him. But when you ask him to work, he’s right there with you and always tries to do everything. Even if he doesn’t understand, he tries to make you happy. It’s so great to have a horse like that to compete,” added Gomez Molina, who rides around 12 horses a day.

Gomez Molina has worked for Yeguada De Ymas for seven years and splits his time, spending winters in Wellington and summer in Europe, competing on both sides of the Atlantic.

Croatia’s Karen Pavicic and Danish rider Rikke Poulsen tied for first place in the Future Challenge Prix St. Georges test with both scoring 69.927%, meaning both now qualify for the final. Pavicic piloted her own eight-year-old Totilas x Donnerhall gelding Totem, while Poulsen rode her own nine-year-old Furstentanz, by Fürstenball.

Poulsen said: “I was really pleased that I showed him Thursday and Friday in the national Prix St. Georges because he can hold his breath in a test. I finally felt him more with me and relaxed so I could enjoy riding the test. Furstentanz has been a really late bloomer, but finally I feel it all coming together.

“Now that he’s pre-qualified in the big ring, if he can mentally take it, then maybe I’ll do a small tour CDI. He is a fresh horse and can be naughty, which is why I want to make sure I don’t push him too hard too fast,” added the 41-year-old who has been based in Wellington since 2008 and trains both dressage and jumping horses.

She also praised the Future Challenge developing horse classes, saying: “You can compare yourself with the other young horses and see where we are at in your training. I’m very excited that they put those classes in the schedule. It’s great to have the final to look forward to and train accordingly now that we qualified this early in the season.

Grand Prix rider Anna Marek (USA) had been knocking at the door all week in the small tour classes and she finally broke through on Sunday to top the FEI Intermediate I Freestyle CDI3*, presented by Triple Crown Nutrition.

Marek, who is 30, rode a challenging floorplan on the rangy and appropriately named Snoopy Sunday on the concluding day of the season’s opening week. The ambitious floorplan included flying changes out of counter-canter and the 11-year-old gelding, by the Sandro Hit son Sungold, was rewarded with 73.8%.

“Yesterday he was very spooky and I’m not sure why,” said the Ocala-based rider. “I was thrilled today after such a tough ride yesterday. He’s really not a spooky horse, but he’s not been in an arena like this and so yesterday I was a little surprised. There were just so many mistakes and he was so scared of the wind and the tent, so I was really excited that he was so good today.

“Karen Robinson put the freestyle together for me and we made it for Snoopy. She matched the music really well to his movements, and what I love about it is that I can hear the transitions into and out of the pirouette or the changes or the trot half-passes,” said Marek, who finished third in the previous day’s FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3* riding Dee Clair.

“I trust Snoopy,” added Marek, who is 6ft tall. “I trained him for the owner a couple of years ago and took him to a few small horse shows, then ended up buying him. We get along really well and I love him, although he’s actually quite small. Anne [Gribbons] told me that he was too small for me and I kept telling her that I thought he was a really nice horse. She didn’t really believe me at first, but I kept showing him to her and saying, ‘I swear this is a good horse!’ And now she believes me and loves him as much as I do.”

Ariana Chia (CAN) won the two small tour CDI3* classes earlier in the week, but in this instance had to settle for second with her own ultra-consistent gelding Fiderflame. The 10-year-old by Fidertanz scored 72.85%.

In the day’s other Intermediate I class, amateur rider Amanda Lopez contested the class on her two horses, clinching the win with her own 16-year-old Quantum, who is by the jumping stallion Quite Easy. The Swedish-bred gelding posted 66.324%.

In the day’s highest-level class, the Intermediate II CDI3*, Susan Dutta (USA) showcased her and her husband Tim Dutta’s 10-year-old Hanoverian Don Design DC. A couple of niggling errors towards the end of the test subdued the score, but they finished on 69.853%, a sign of the horse’s talent. The dark bay gelding is by the stallion Der Designer (since gelded), who was sold as a five-year-old at the PSI auction in 2011 for €1.1 million.

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

Steffen Peters Aces the Grand Prix Special in Week One of AGDF

Steffen Peters (USA) and Suppenkasper.

Wellington, FL – January 11, 2020 – USA Olympic team medallist Steffen Peters stamped his authority on the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by MTICA Farm, in the opening week of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Peters and Four Winds Farm’s 18.2hh gelding Suppenkasper pulled off a fault-free performance and were rewarded with 76.149% — including a high score of 78.404% from the Colombian judge at H, Cesar Torrente. This is the horse’s first visit to AGDF and he and Peters will remain in Wellington until the CDI5* show in week seven (February 19-23).

California-based 55-year-old Peters said: “That was really fun. He has endless energy; he’s a dream. If any rider would get on this horse they would say that this is the ultimate feeling.”

Peters attributed his almost 6% improvement from the Grand Prix to an altered warm-up routine for the big-framed but light-footed Spielberg x Krack C 12-year-old: “He’s such a firecracker, like he was in the grand prix. My dream is always to keep the feeling from the warm-up into the ring, and that worked out perfectly today.

“I walked him this morning and then I worked him for half an hour at lunch time, then I put him away and let him completely settle down, then I did another 20 minutes before the test. That’s what I used to do with Legolas and maybe this might be the new recipe for ‘Mopsie’.”

Peters has the World Cup Dressage Final in Las Vegas in mid-April and the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan in July in his crosshairs.

“Mopsie is sometimes a bit tricky in the arena, and we still have a huge hurdle to go with the freestyle, as it’s quite a different atmosphere and it’s still a bit about desensitizing, but hopefully with one more good freestyle score, we will head to Vegas,” added Peters, who picked up nines for the extended canter, pirouettes and for his riding.

“Since Tryon, where he got extremely excited, he’s been getting better and better. I’m one of those extremely lucky guys who gets to ride a horse like that and I think there’s an 80% in there; so many times we’ve been close, but I rate him as my big hero, as my best friend. He’s one of those horses that can easily make you shed happy tears.”

Of the 15 starters, it was Great Britain’s Susan Pape who was once again the bridesmaid. She rode Harmony Sporthorses’ 11-year-old Zenon stallion Harmony’s Eclectisch to second place with a shade under 70% after mistakes in the one-time changes pulled their score down. The USA’s Anna Marek filled third with the charming bay mare Dee Clair. Diane Morrison’s 12-year-old Sir Sinclair daughter scored 68.851%.

Having finished second in the week’s earlier Prix St Georges CDI1*, Swedish rider Carline Darcourt went one better, riding Bon Coeur 1389 to a 71.882% victory in the competitive Intermediate I CDI1* class.

The sporty black eight-year-old is a well-known breeding stallion in Europe, having already produced more than a dozen licensed sons. He is owned by Lövsta Stuteri who also own his sire, Benetton Dream. This is his first ever international show. The previous day’s winners, Susan Pape (GBR) and Bourani, had to settle for third place, with home rider Katie Johnson riding Paxton finishing second. All three scored over 70%.

Canada’s Ariana Chia once again topped the leaderboard at small tour, winning the Intermediate I CDI3* on Fiderflame with 69.5%. This marks their second win of the week, and Chia will be bidding to make it three out of three when she contests Sunday’s Intermediate I CDI3* freestyle class with the 10-year-old gelding by Fidertanz.

In the FEI para classes, Roxanne Trunnell (USA) held her lead in the Grade I after scoring a career-high of 83.167%. Trunnell piloted Flintwood Farm LLC’s Dolton, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Danone I, to the overall champion award.

“It feels really good; we’re training a lot at home and it’s all coming together,” Trunnell commented, adding that it was Dolton’s first time competing under lights, resulting in a touch of tension.

Beatrice De Lavalette (USA) dominated the Grade II para division after receiving her highest score of the week. She earned 73.667% aboard Nicolas De Lavalette’s Duna, while Jason Surnoski (CAN) came a close second with 72% aboard his own Phoenix.

The Grade III para division saw Rebecca Hart top the leaderboard after scoring an impressive 72.644% on Rowan O’Riley’s Fortune 500, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding.

“It was really a good experience and I had a nice easy start to the season. The next qualifier is in week three, so we’re hoping to up our scores and represent really well,” concluded Hart, who has her eyes set on Tokyo 2020.

Lee Garrod of Canada improved her score again, scoring a 71.833% in the freestyle to win the Grade V para division on Question, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Quaterback.

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

Jill Irving Records Personal Best in First Freestyle of AGDF

Jill Irving (CAN) and Degas 12.

Wellington, FL – January 10, 2020 – Day two of the opening week of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) heralded the first Friday night under lights of this competitive season at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

The result in the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Lövsta, was an exact repeat of the previous day’s results, with three Canadian ladies, all trained by Ashley Holzer, filling the podium. They were led by Jill Irving on her own long-time partner, the De Niro gelding Degas 12, who scored 76.06% — a personal best score. Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu rode All In to second place (75.74%), while 23-year-old Naima Moreira Laliberte filled third with 75.645% on Statesman.

“Degas is 18 this year so I’m thrilled with his energy,” said Irving, who rode to a Beatles compilation. “His piaffe and passage felt great. He’s really flexible and, with age, he’s become less nervous, which used to be an issue. I was super thrilled with him and it’s really fun to be part of all this at Global. It takes a village to make this sport roll.”

Fraser-Beaulieu, who is back riding after the birth of her first child in the summer of 2019, said: “This is my second competition back and he’s the type of horse that needs to be in the ring a fair amount, so yesterday in the Grand Prix I felt he was a little sticky and unsure. Today he came out ready to rock. The beginning of my test felt incredible — the best feeling I’ve ever had on him. Then I had a mistake in my ones, which was a pity.”

Laliberte was riding in her first Friday Night Stars class, a long-held dream of hers. She said: “I’m really happy to finally be competing here. I thought Statesman did a great job in there; it’s a different atmosphere and apart from one rider mistake, the rest felt quite amazing. We’re still newcomers; I’m happy to break the ice.”

This is her third season with the 13-year-old Sandro Hit gelding, and only their seventh grand prix competition together. They were part of the gold medal winning Canadian team at the Pan American Games in July 2019 and this was their first show since then.

Judge Bill Warren was impressed with what he saw: “To sit at Global at C and see the quality of horses and riding was just thrilling. I’ve judged Jill and Brittany many times over the years and I’ve seen the relationships develop with their horses, and it’s been really gratifying to see where they’ve come from and where they are now.”

The 2020 season’s first small tour class, the FEI Prix St Georges CDI3* presented by Triple Crown Nutrition, went the way of the Canadians, with Ariana Chia returning to Wellington with Fiderflame for the second year running and winning their first class of the show. The 10-year-old gelding by Fidertanz was the only one to break the 70% watermark, scoring 71.47%. This is Chia’s fourth year in a row competing at AGDF.

In the FEI Prix St Georges CDI1* class, all three top finishers of the nine starters scored over 71%, with the winner’s sash going to Great Britain’s Susan Pape and Harmony Sporthorses’ Bourani. The nine-year-old gelding by Belissimo M had not competed internationally in a year, and this was his first ever plus-70% score. Hot on his heels was Lövsta Stuteri’s breeding stallion Bon Coeur 1389. The eight-year-old by Benetton Dream FRH was ridden to 72.529% by Sweden’s Caroline Darcourt. Katie Johnson (USA) and Paxton rounded out the top three.

In the para equestrian division, Grade II rider Beatrice De Lavalette (USA) topped the leaderboard with 68.398% riding Sky High 15 in the individual test and then pulled off a 71.569% victory riding her other horse, Duna, in the championship test. This followed a disappointing performance the previous day when she finished third on Duna with 68.2%.

“Today my coach Shayna Simon really told me to push her, to keep her upright — and she was right,” said the 21-year-old of her own 12-year-old KWPN mare by Vivaldi. “I worked very hard during the test to make sure that she wasn’t too far down and that she was active. It was hard, but definitely worth it.”

De Lavalette was the most critically injured survivor of the Brussels Airport terrorist bombing in March 2016. She suffered partial paralysis and lost both her lower legs, making the accuracy with which she rides particularly impressive.

“I was very proud of my eight-meter circles today, because those are hard. Overall, it was a very good test, so I am happy,” added De Lavalette, who has only been riding Duna since July, having bought her from Judy De Winter in the Netherlands. Previously, she had been competing a PRE, so switching to a warmblood was a major change.

“When we first started with Duna it was a completely new, different horse. I had never had a warmblood before, so we were able to explore those new sensations and paces,” she concluded.

At Grade I, home rider Roxanne Trunnell continued her sizzling form on Dolton, scoring 81.964% to lead the class by a clear 10% over the budding talent of David Botana and the grand prix-trained stallion Lord Locksley. She has, this week, become one of very few riders worldwide to achieve scores of over 80% in a non-freestyle class, where the scores are typically higher.

Kate Shoemaker (Solitaer 40) once again posted an impressive score in the Grade IV division. The USA rider scored 74.634%, picking up two eights for her riding of the consistent 13-year-old black stallion by Sandro Hit. Grade V rider Lee Garrod (CAN) improved on her previous day’s score, landing a win with Question, a 12-year-old gelding by Quaterback, with 69.087%.

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

Canadians Dominate on Opening Day of 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival

Jill Irving (CAN) and Degas.

Wellington, FL – January 9, 2020 – The 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) opened the winter season at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida, with Canadian riders filling all three podium places in the FEI Grand Prix CDI-W, presented by Lövsta.

The 15-strong class was won by last-to-go Jill Irving on her own Degas 12 and was the qualifier for the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, which takes place under the lights on Friday evening.

“I was really thrilled with him,” enthused Irving, who is based between New Brunswick in Canada and Wellington, Florida. “He’s going to be 18 this year and I’m going to be 57, so we’re both having to take good care of ourselves for the future. I’ve had him since he was six and this cooler weather was really his cup of tea.”

The De Niro son’s test was well balanced and unhurried, with just a single mistake in the two-time changes. Irving and her teammates have their sights firmly set on the Tokyo Olympics this summer, and this marked a good start in her and Degas 12’s campaign. This win comes off the back of Canada’s team gold at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru in July of 2019 and this was the duo’s first competitive outing since then.

“It’s my childhood dream to go to the Olympics — for every athlete they’re the dream. I feel really prepared for this journey, but Canada needs to take the best horse/rider combinations and I hope that’s me, but if it’s not, we take the best,” said Irving, who has a second horse, Arthur, at international grand prix level.

She also praised the AGDF for elevating the status of competitive dressage in the US: “The AGDF is amazing and I’ve been coming here since 1992; it’s less stressful than a European tour where you’re always moving to different venues, with paperwork and travel,” she explained. “But here, the Friday night under the lights shows prepared me for Aachen. I thought, it’s just like Global, but bigger.

“Dressage horses need this show in North America. The footing is great and we’re a family here; I can come and invite people to watch and it’s a world class facility. It gives us the opportunity to compete against people like Steffen Peters and Laura Graves — all the big guns — without having to go to Europe. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for Global. It’s put dressage on the map for the United States. When I’m an old lady and I can’t ride a horse, maybe I can own one and still come.”

The top three finishers in the class — Irving, Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu, and the up-and-coming 23-year-old Naima Moreira Laliberte — all train with Ashley Holzer, with whom Jill is based at Wellington.

For Fraser-Beaulieu, this was her second show back with her long-time partner All In since having a baby in the summer of 2019. She and the large-framed 15-year-old chestnut gelding by Tango scored a little under 70%, with Moreira Laliberte and the elegant Sandro Hit son Statesman less than 1% adrift.

There were 19 starters in the day’s other grand prix class, the CDI3* Grand Prix presented by MTICA Farm, which is a qualifier for Saturday afternoon’s CDI3* Grand Prix Special. The California-based 55-year-old Steffen Peters, the penultimate rider, overtook the long-time leader, Great Britain’s Susan Pape, to claim the class with 70.826%.

Under Peters, Akiko Yamazaki’s 12-year-old gelding by Spielberg out of a Krack C dam showed brilliance peppered with patches of over-exuberance, resulting in a wide range of marks from the five-strong panel of judges. This was Peters and Suppenkasper’s first show since competing at Aachen in Germany in July of 2019.

Susan Pape finished second with 70.435% on Harmony’s Eclectisch, an 11-year-old black stallion by Zenon, who was stepping up to grand prix internationally for the first time. Germany’s Michael Klimke was third on another Harmony Sporthorses-owned ride, scoring 70.109% with Harmony’s Royal Dancer, a 14-year-old by Royal Blend.

In the morning’s para equestrian classes, Grade 1 rider Roxanne Trunnell convincingly won her classification, riding Karin Flint’s Danone I son Dolton, to an 81.131% victory — a winning margin of almost 6%.

“I was extremely proud of how Dolton handled the windy weather today,” said Trunnell of the eight-year-old gelding who posted a personal best score in this class. “He has been really eager to go these past few days so it’s been nice not having to remind him to keep marching, but at the same time I’m having to sit relaxed enough so as not to make him look like he’s rushing. It’s a really fine line.

“Dolton has taken it upon himself to make sure I’m safe on his back, so I think the windy weather really made him tune in and listen to what I was asking,” added Trunnell, who is competing in Wellington for her fifth consecutive year.

Kate Shoemaker rode Solitaer 40 to a 71.667% win in the Grade IV test, while Beatrice De Lavalette piloted Sky High 15 to a 70.435% victory at Grade II. The Grade III was also won on over 70%, with the USA’s Rebecca Hart and Fortune 500 (70.049%) beating Canadian Olympian Lauren Barwick and Sandrino (69.5%).

In the Grade II class, Mexico’s Erika Baitenmann Haakh and Leonora performed an incredibly consistent test to win the six-strong class with 70.101% — the only plus 70% of the classification.

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

New Opportunities for Young Horses Announced for 2020 Global Dressage Festival

Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Benetton Dream.

Wellington, FL – October 24, 2019 – The 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival will add to their offerings for young horses competing at the Prix St. Georges and Grand Prix levels with the $15,000 Lövsta Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix series and the $10,000 Summit Farm Future Challenge/Young Horse Prix St. Georges series. Both series will have qualifiers throughout the (AGDF) circuit, which runs January 8 through March 29 at Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

With the aid of dressage journalist and owner Ken Braddick, AGDF launched the Young Horse Series in 2019 and classes are dramatically expanded for 2020. The Lövsta Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix series was organized with the help of seven-time Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén, who is the professional rider and trainer for Lövsta Stuteri, based in Sweden and Wellington, FL.

The original Lövsta Future Challenge was set up by Vilhelmson Silfvén and Louise Nathorst in its home country of Sweden as a talent development program in both dressage and show jumping for young grand prix horses and Under 25 riders, giving them the arena and the conditions to advance toward the top level of international sport.

“We not only promote the horses and riders but also the teams behind them, including grooms, trainers, breeders, horse owners, and sponsors,” said Vilhelmson Silfvén. “All are incredibly important for developing talent. Lövsta Future Challenge also strives to create forums where riders and equestrian professionals can exchange knowledge and work together towards a sport where the environment and horsemanship are central themes.”

Lövsta is now bringing their ideas to AGDF to implement with young grand prix horses in dressage. Vilhelmson Silfvén said, “We want to give them a platform to develop and with this series help them take the step towards the highest grand prix level. We hope that the interest for educating and producing young grand prix horses will grow. Our goal is that this series will be successful so we can take it to an international level in the future.”

The Lövsta Future Challenge series will hold qualifiers for horses age eight to ten years old at AGDF 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, with the final held during AGDF 12 for $15,000 in prize money. The best horse/rider combination of each qualifying week will qualify for the final, plus two wild cards will be determined for the final. If a horse/rider combination who is already qualified wins more than once, the next placed horse/rider combination of that week will go forward to the final. The test used in the qualifiers is the FEI Intermediate II.

“The series will give them the routine and hopefully the confidence to take the last step towards the highest grand prix level,” said Vilhelmson Silfvén. “We at Lövsta also believe a series like this with a goal of becoming an overall winner will boost both riders and horses and the teams behind them. We believe that one of the most important parts to reach success and growth is to set up goals.”

The Summit Farm Future Challenge/Young Horse Prix St. Georges series will have qualifiers in the same weeks for horses age seven to nine years old, with their final also held during AGDF 12, with prize money of $10,000. The two best horse/rider combinations of each qualifying week will qualify for the final, plus two wild cards. The same qualifying applies for those combinations that win more than one qualifier. The test used for the qualifiers and the final is the FEI Prix St. Georges, but in the final, two Prix St. Georges tests will be offered, with one as a warm-up class and the second as the final.

Top dressage rider and trainer Scott Hassler said of the Summit Farm Future Challenge, “A series like this is important because it’s one of the most exciting group of horses. Germany’s Nürnberger Burg-Pokal Prix St. Georges has shown us what a championship at this level can do. This is the most critical stage in making a grand prix horse – getting them in good hands, competing, and training well to make a grand prix horse.”

The United States has developed Prix St. Georges as a national program in recent years, said Hassler, who was involved in creating the program. “Now it’s one of our most competitive championships,” he noted. “For AGDF to have a prize like this and have a series with a final be available is so exciting and awesome.”

AGDF looks forward to hosting the best and brightest young dressage horses in the world at the 2020 circuit and wishes all competitors the best of luck. For more information on the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Cesar Parra Brings Sir Beckmann Up through the Ranks, Winning Again AGDF Week 12 CDI

Cesar Parra and Sir Beckmann (Photos Courtesy of Performance Farms)

Wellington, FL (April 6, 2019) – The 2019 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) will go on record as another successful season for Dr. Cesar Parra of Performance Farms.  Well known in the international dressage community for always having a stable full of happy talented horses, Parra continued to gracefully dance his way into the winner’s circle on some of the most willing equine athletes around. Most recently, Parra’s success has been with the big, gorgeous Hanoverian gelding, Sir Beckmann (Sir Donnerhall x Witchita).  Bringing this young horse up through the ranks over the last few years has been a joy for Parra, and he feels Sir Beckmann is coming into his own.  His outstanding performances in the FEI Tests for 7-year-olds during Week 10 of AGDF showed off the pair’s hard work. “The horse felt really fantastic with such amazing gaits,” Parra recalls about Sir Beckmann. “He did everything nice and clean overall.  I am very, very pleased with him. I love him very much, and I’m looking forward to what he’s going to bring in years to come,” he adds.

Receiving gait scores of 9 on trot and 9 on canter, Sir Beckmann stepped up and made his rider proud. Parra describes that showing as a 7-year-old can be challenging, but his horse was up to the task at hand. “The 7-year-old classes are a little bit different from the 4, 5 and 6-year-olds. In the 7-year-old, you have two sets of scores,” he explains. “One set of scores is about the gaits and normal things like with the 6-year-olds, but then you have another score sheet which is as if you were in a Prix St. Georges. So, a 7-year-old has almost the same requirements as a Prix St. Georges, which is pretty intense and demanding for such a young horse.”

Parra goes on to say that he is looking forward to bringing Sir Beckmann up further through the ranks as he matures. “The plan is to be very vigilant in his development and training to make sure he keeps loving what he does,” he explains. “We really want to have a happy athlete. We want him to have harmony, and we want him to be comfortable.  I don’t think he’s learned yet how to fully move through his body, so that’s what we’re working on,” Parra continues.  He also explains that he’s only planning to show Sir Beckmann once a month going forward. “I don’t want to show him too much because I don’t want him to get sour at the shows,” Parra describes. “I want him to be happy in the show environment.”  Parra also says that he’s added a little something extra to Sir Beckmann’s training program. “I’ve been taking him on a lot of trail rides, which in the beginning was a little scary, but it’s getting better and better!” he smiles.

The extra time, love, and attention that Parra gives to all horses in his charge is consistent with his personal philosophy, as well as that of the classical training methods of Performance Farms. Parra’s philosophies by which he conducts his life are discipline, courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, sharing, and strength of character. These are the same qualities he tries to pass on to the students and staff who make up his team. The Classical Training Methods are those taught by the old Masters and perfected by some modern-day riders. These Methods are based on the Training Scale: Relaxation, Rhythm, Contact, Impulsion, Straightness, Collection (Losgelassenheit, Takt, Anlehnung, Schwung, Geraderichtung, Versammlung).  This Training Scale is the foundation of the Classical System and of Parra’s training philosophy.

Located in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey and also Jupiter, Florida, Performance Farms provides its clients with full-service training programs that are tailored based on the needs of the individual horse and rider combination. For more information, visit www.piaffe-performance.com.

Contact: Dr. Cesar Parra
Piaffe-Performance Farm
(410) 977-8352
DrCesarParra@msn.com
www.piaffe-performance.com

Betsy Steiner and Swiss W Win FEI Intermediaire-1 Freestyle CDI3* on Final Day of AGDF

Betsy Steiner and Swiss W. ©SusanStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – March 31, 2019 – On the final day of the 2019 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, freestyle music sounded throughout the venue as competitors rode their last tests of the season. Topping the FEI Intermediaire-1 Freestyle CDI3* presented by Vita Flex were Betsy Steiner and Swiss W.

There were 15 entries in the Intermediaire-1 Freestyle but with the high score of 76.200%, Steiner came away with the win on Swiss W, a 12-year-old Wurttemburg mare owned by H. Whitney Bailey.

This is the first year that Swiss W has done the CDI Small Tour and this was only their third freestyle.

“She likes that music and springs to it,” said Steiner. “The fun thing is, when she feels really on, the two [tempis] on the centerline you can look the judge right in the eye and think, ‘Watch this.’ When you’re riding, you can see her legs in the changes. You can see her knee and foot go out in front and think, ‘That’s gotta look pretty good!’”

Steiner said of her score, “I was surprised it was so high!”

Steiner found Swiss W in Germany in May of 2015 and it was love at first sight. “She has a wonderful owner,” said Steiner. “When I saw her, I basically said, ‘I don’t think I can live without her.’ And he said, ‘Well, let’s get her and see what she can do.’

“She knew single flying changes and half passes and had some beautiful training that the people from Germany gave her,” Steiner recalled. “I wasn’t so interested in a mare. She was just coming back from a show. She walked off the van and she stops and looks at me for way too long. That was the beginning, the look. Then I saw her and rode her and was in love.”

Steiner is considering moving up to grand prix next year but will let Swiss W tell her when she’s ready.

“She’s got almost everything for it. We have to get a few things more confirmed,” she said. “Before she shows, she really wants to feel like she knows it well. She’s like the girl in school who wants to get straight As.

“She’s very, very intelligent and wants to have confidence in what she’s doing. She would like me to explain things clearly to her,” she continued. “When she has confidence, she would give me her heart and soul and everything. I feel very responsible for being very careful in that training. She’s just been a complete and total joy; she’s a soulmate. She’s so unique and genuine in what she gives back. It’s an honor and privilege to ride her.”

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

Christoph Koschel and Shakespeare Win Inaugural Future Stars Performance Series Final

Christoph Koschel and Shakespeare. ©SusanStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – March 30, 2019 – The final week of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) continued on Saturday, March 30, with the final for the inaugural Future Stars Performance Series presented by Iron Spring Farm. Christoph Koschel (GER) and Shakespeare emerged as the winners of the exciting new event.

AGDF offered eight weeks of qualifying chances for horses seven to nine years old for the Future Stars Performance Series Final presented by Iron Spring Farm. Horses competed in the USEF Developing Prix St. Georges each qualifying week and the best two from each qualifying class went on to the final. They rode the Developing Prix St. Georges test in the warm-up on Thursday and again in Saturday’s final.

Koschel and Shakespeare, a nine-year-old Mecklenburg gelding by Sancisco Old x Letizja owned by Carrie Schopf, scored 74.575% for the win, which garnered them $10,000 in prize money.

“I was really happy with my test today,” said Koschel. “I think he improved a lot since Thursday. He was much more comfortable in the main arena here, so I could show more of his potential, and I think that’s a very positive show for the future. I think his ability to collect is really a highlight, especially the pirouettes. Later on, the piaffe passage work will also be great.”

At the time, Koschel was the youngest rider to win the Nürnberger Burg Pokal in Germany (their popular Young Horse National Championship) in 1992, a competition that the Future Stars Performance Series is modeled after.

“I was always thinking, coming here [to AGDF], ‘That would be great to have [this class] here as well, because Americans they have such good young horses as well.’ Then there’s [a class] before the top sport or the grand prix sport,” Koschel explained. “It’s a real development class. When you have the whole season to prepare, it’s for sure a highlight to be in the main ring at the end. I think it was really well done, and I really enjoyed it.”

Second place went to Christopher Hickey (USA) on Cecelia Stewart’s Straight Horse Zackonik, a nine-year-old DWB mare by Blue Horse Zack x Romanik. The judges awarded them a score of 72.200%.

“This mare has a wonderful temperament, and she’s a worker bee,” Hickey said of his mount. “She loves the work. I think that for me, that’s a big highlight – that a horse is really rideable – and today my rein back, it was a weak spot in the test. I lost some of the changes in the warm-up momentarily and then they came back, so that was a good thing. That’s what happens with young horses, and we all understand that.”

Hickey added, “I would also like to say that it’s wonderful as an American, having shown in Europe some, it’s great to have a final like this and a class developed. I thank Ken [Braddick] and everyone at AGDF who came up with this in the first place.”

Meagan Davis (USA) and Damocles HLF, her nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Diamond Stud x High Society, placed third with a score of 72.025%.

“My horse’s changes today were a highlight,” Davis said of her test. “They were big and expressive and ground-covering. I was able to show a little more power in today’s test.”

Davis mentioned that Damocles HLF is an American-bred horse from Highlife Farm in Florida. “It’s kind of full circle that we’re coming back to the final here, and he did so well. It was a great experience,” she said.

Thomas Baur, AGDF Director of Sport, announced that AGDF will introduce a Young Horse Grand Prix Series in 2020. He stated, “First, I would like to thank Ken Braddick for the idea and bringing it up to me. I was immediately on board because I know the German system, and we developed it together. We will look at the Series and how we can keep improving it.”

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

Katherine Bateson Chandler and Alcazar Capture Final “Friday Night Stars” Freestyle of AGDF

Katherine Bateson Chandler and Alcazar. Photo © SusanStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – March 29, 2019 – In the final “Friday Night Stars” of the 2019 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), Katherine Bateson Chandler (USA) and Alcazar captured the win in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI4* presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate on Friday, March 29. It was a night full of freestyle competition with two classes held under the lights with a full crowd of spectators.

With the final Grand Prix Freestyle win of the season, Bateson Chandler and Alcazar, Jane Forbes Clark’s 14-year-old KWPN gelding by Cantango, have shown growth and potential through the circuit.

Their win garnered a final score of 75.850% from the judges, a personal best for the pair.

Ashley Holzer and Havanna 145 Win FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3*

Earlier in the evening, the winner of the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3* presented by Brooke USA was Ashley Holzer riding Havanna 145, owned by Diane Fellows. Holzer and Havanna performed a high degree of difficulty test to music based around the pop hit “Havana” by Camila Cabello, with music and choreography by Tom Hunt. The judges rewarded them with a final score of 76.995%.

“[In] the end she started to really settle with the Havana music and she came to that last piaffe and really sat down and started to swing in her back,” Holzer recalled. “I’m very happy that she was able to settle at the end. She started to feel really good so that was exciting. The passage half-pass felt nice for me.”

Second place went to Heather Blitz (USA) riding Semper Fidelis, a 13-year-old Oldenburg mare by Sir Donnerhall owned by Rowan O’Riley. They scored 76.705%. Anna Marek (USA) and Dee Clair scored 71.650% for third place. Dee Clair is a 11-year-old DWB mare owned by Diane Morrison.

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