Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir (SusanJStickle.com)
US Teams Take Gold, Silver in First U25 Nations Cup on America Soil
Wellington, Fla. – The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team earned a silver medal in the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup™ CDIO3* on Thursday. The U.S. team gave a collective effort for a team total of 432.661. Canada took gold with a score of 434.538, and Spain earned bronze with a score of 397.690. In the first U25 Nations Cup in the United States, the U.S. teams claimed gold and silver.
“I want to congratulate all our super Grand Prix riders and our winning U25 riders at the Stillpoint Farm Nations Cup this week. We had a bit of bad luck in the Grand Prix the first day but came back to be very close to the Canadians, who I also congratulate on a very special victory,” Dover said. “A special shout-out to the winners of both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir, another really exciting combination that is proving to be worthy of being deemed ‘rising stars’ and adding to America’s depth! Friday night is the individual championship and we are excited and hopeful.”
The U.S. combinations performed the FEI Grand Prix test to begin competition on Wednesday. In their first test in a Big Tour Nations Cup, LaGoy-Weltz (Haymarket, Va.) and Lonoir produced a solid score of 72.940%. She and the 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding have been training with Olympic bronze medalist Debbie McDonald and have had a strong start to their 2017 competition season.
“[Lonoir] is very honest and trying really hard. It is exciting to see the work Debbie and I have been doing with him start to reflect in the scores. It is exciting because I know there is still lots of room for improvement,” said LaGoy-Weltz.
Despite going off-course during the canter, Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Doktor, Patricia Stempel’s 2003 Oldenburg gelding, put in a respectable test for a total of 69.720%. Lisa Wilcox (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Galant anchored the U.S. team. The 2004 Olympic bronze medalist guided Jacqueline Shear’s 2006 Belgian Warmblood gelding to an acceptable 70.560%.
Arlene “Tuny” Page (Wellington, Fla.) and Woodstock, her 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding, executed a quality test; however, the combination was eliminated pursuant to FEI Dressage Regulation 430.7.6 when blood was found during the equipment check from Woodstock biting his lip.
The U.S. went into Thursday’s FEI Grand Prix Special down by 2.307 with an overall score of 216.220, when a 1.5% bonus was factored in for the Grand Prix scores counting towards the team results.
LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir did not let up from Wednesday’s FEI Grand Prix test. The blossoming combination exhibited a smooth test to score a 71.804%. Francis and Doktor and Wilcox and Galant improved from their first day scores with a 70.451% and 69.686%, respectively.
“A good friendly competition pushes us all to be better and provides an opportunity for us to develop depth. It’s such a great group of people that we have here in Wellington, and it is great to be able to come together with our country-mates, create that team [atmosphere], and be in a pressure situation. It’s a huge benefit to all of us, and we’re grateful for the organizers for making it happen,” said LaGoy-Weltz.
U.S. U25 Teams Find Success in FEI Nations Cup™ CDIO-U25
Represented by two U.S. teams with three combinations, these up-and-coming athletes collected valuable team experience in the U.S.’ first U25 Nations Cup competition. Competing with riders from Canada, the U.S. team of Anna Buffini (San Diego, Calif.), Sean Sierra Keasler (Wellington, Fla.), and Kerrigan Gluch (Wellington, Fla.) topped the podium with an overall score of 137.763. The second U.S. team of Kaitlin Blythe (Rougemont, N.C.), Molly Paris (Charlotte, N.C.), and Genay Vaughn (Elk Grove, Calif.) took the silver medal with a total of 134.315. Canada followed with the bronze with a score of 132.079.
“We have to thank George Williams, our US Equestrian Youth Coach, for bringing this forward to Thomas [Baur]. The fact that these athletes had a chance to experience a team situation like this was fun to watch. It’s good for our sport and our country, and it is exciting to see us growing,” said US Equestrian Development Dressage Coach Debbie McDonald, who served as the Chef d’Equipe of the gold medal team.
Buffini rode a harmonious test with her own Sundayboy, who will be retired after week 11 of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). She and the 1999 Dutch Warmblood gelding led the gold medal-winning U.S. team with a score of 70.500%.
“I came to Wellington partly to compete in the Nations Cup, and I set a goal to come here. It’s like nothing else; to have the same support, be in the same barn aisle, just be encouraging to each other. You can’t just count on yourself; [the team is] counting on me, and I’m counting on them. I love that this is preparing us for the future,” said Buffini.
Keasler (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Lux Stensvang, a 2002 Danish Warmblood gelding, finished with a 67.263%, followed by Gluch (Wellington, Fla.) and Hampton Green Farm’s HGF Brio, a 2005 Andalusian stallion, with a score of 62.158% for the gold medal team.
By Dana Rossmeier, US Equestrian Communications Department