Category Archives: Adequan Global Dressage Festival

Steffen Peters Conquers the Grand Prix Special in Week 3 of AGDF

Steffen Peters (USA) and Suppenkasper. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – January 25, 2020 – It was Steffen Peters (USA) and Suppenkasper’s fourth test and their fourth win of the season in the atmospheric main arena at the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

This time, the all-conquering pair claimed glory from the 15 starters in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Blue Hors, with 75.702%. They received over 77% from two of the judges on the panel of five. The new combination of Denmark’s Agnete Kirk Thinggaard and Blue Hors Zatchmo finished second on 74.851%, with Canada’s Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu third on All In (72.064%).

Of Four Winds Farm’s elastic, uphill gelding Suppenkasper, Peters said: “Our warm-up system has been pretty good; we’ve been working him two hours before the test and then today I only did 15 minutes right before going into the ring.

“He stayed calm and I came in in a nice rising trot. Again he did a very clean test and that’s what we want for the team: consistency. The passage felt better and clearly there was a huge improvement in the right pirouette, which didn’t work out so well in the grand prix; actually, both pirouettes worked out beautifully today.”

Watch Steffen Peters’ winning test here. Courtesy of Richard’s Equine Video.

The next task for the Olympic team bronze medallist is to accustom his latest superstar to the unique pressures and atmosphere posed by the Friday night freestyle classes under lights at AGDF.

“I talked to Debbie [McDonald], and now it’s time to turn up the power just a tiny bit. So I wanted four solid tests in this arena to settle him down for the freestyle, because that’s a gigantic hurdle for him in this arena — and of course there is a lot to stake for the World Cup qualifier,” added Peters, referring to the freestyle scores needed to qualify for the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in April.

Peters has a plan to help Suppenkasper: “Here in Wellington we are staying at Five Rings Farm — probably the finest equestrian facility I’ve ever seen in my entire life — and they have an amazing sound system, so now at home we’re going to practice the clapping, the music, and the national anthem, because even that seems to get him going. He’s so ready to go, now it’s just a question of desensitising him a bit to the music and, with a little bit of good luck, we can do a hell of a freestyle in here.”

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

LaGoy-Weltz Nails Back-to-Back Victories with Plus-80% Personal Best Freestyle at AGDF

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz with Lonoir. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – January 24, 2020 – The 15-strong FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, presented by U.S. P.R.E. Association, produced a flurry of personal bests. One horse after the other rose to the occasion in front of packed crowds for the evening class under lights in week three of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Honors were reserved for the last-to-go combination of Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) and her 16-year-old Lonoir who pulled off a spectacular new personal best of 80.495%, breaking the magic barrier for the first time. Juan Matute Guimon of Spain finished second, with the rainbow of flags from different nations on the podium being rounded out by Canada’s Lindsay Kellock.

LaGoy-Weltz had revised her previous floorplan with the son of De Noir and increased the level of difficulty, resulting in some very impressive transitions, like extended canter into collected walk to a Simon & Garfunkel-themed soundtrack.

“We tried to choreograph it to make 80% possible,” said LaGoy-Weltz, who is back in the international ring with Lonoir after an 18-month absence following a farrier issue. “We spent months setting it up for the highest degree of difficulty possible and then I just hoped we pulled off the technicality and the judges like the music.

“He can be incredibly hot, but he came out and handled the warm-up and the applause super well. This whole weekend for me, having not been in the ring for such a long time, I feel like we really achieved what we set out to. He’s a super horse and we are just tapping into what’s to come. Overall it was the perfect night.”

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

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz Is Back with a Bang in Week 3 of AGDF

Lonoir and Olivia LaGoy-Weltz.

Wellington, FL – January 23, 2020 – After a break of 18 months, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) and her long-time partner Lonoir came back to the competition arena to claim the FEI Grand Prix CDI-W, presented by U.S. P.R.E. Association. They led the 19-strong class with 73.435% on the opening day of CDI action in week three of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

This was the 16-year-old De Noir gelding’s first international show since Aachen in Germany in July 2018, and he won with more than 3% in hand over Lindsay Kellock (CAN), whose 70.087% on Enterprise Farms LLC’s 14-year-old Sebastien was good enough for second place. Spain’s Juan Matute Guimon, who is a regular at AGDF, filled third on his father’s 17-year-old gelding Don Diego, by Don Frederico. The class was a qualifier for the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W under lights on Friday night, which will also feature demonstrations from Blue Hors and the US P.R.E. Association.

LaGoy-Weltz had already been considering a very quiet 2019 for Lonoir in preparation for their Tokyo 2020 Olympic campaign, and the decision was finally taken out of her hands after a farriery issue in December 2018 put him out of action.

“He had a bad shoeing session and his foot growth was completely stunted; when the foot is that aggravated, it takes a long time for it to start growing again,” explained LaGoy-Weltz. “He has asymmetric feet anyway, with one very flat and one upright. So I think the competition break was meant to be and we really wanted to come back from the time off better than ever.”

Their triumphant return proved that the notoriously electric horse has benefitted from the break, but he still looked lively and fresh in the prize-giving.

“He’s been a very sturdy horse and I think we’re tapping into his best now,” added LaGoy-Weltz. “I have a feeling it’s going to have paid off big-time. He feels fresh and amazing and happy to be in there. I’m happy that we could just go out there and clock out a clean test for 73%.

“He’s always been very hot and we’ve always tried to make it quiet, and now I finally feel really ready to try and ride him more on the edge. That may make for some spectacular things and some mistakes also, but I think we’re really ready to take those risks and feel like all the training and maturity is coming together.”

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

Roxanne Trunnell Kicks Off Para-Dressage CPEDI3* Grade I in Week 3 of AGDF

Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton. ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 22, 2020 – Paralympic hopeful Roxanne Trunnell (USA) dominated the FEI Para Team Test Grade I CPEDI3* class to kick off the third week of competition of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Trunnell and Flintwood Farm LLC’s Dolton received a score of 77.738%, winning by a margin of 7.44%. The USA’s Sydney Collier finished second on a score of 70.298% with All in One, owned by Going for Gold LLC.

During the first week of AGDF competition, Trunnell received the highest score of her career (83.167%). This week, she hopes to beat that score and commented that she’s “hoping to get into the 80s again.”

That same night was also Dolton’s first time competing under the lights. “The scoreboard kind of bothered him during the freestyle that first week, but he’s over that now. This week, I’m hoping to keep him up in the bridle more and keep him really marching, which he did really well today,” Trunnell admitted.

This is Trunnell’s fifth consecutive year competing in Wellington: “I love the weather here; it’s usually good and it’s so handicap friendly,” Trunnell concluded.

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

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.