Category Archives: Dressage

The Discipline of Riding Dressage

Discover Dressage Joins COTA to Advance Dressage While Fighting Breast Cancer

Team members include Kerrigan Gluch, Sarah Roda, Elena Schiefele and Sophia Schults. Photo by Lily Forado.

When Challenge of the Americas (COTA) organizer Mary Ross approached Kim Van Kampen, the founder of Discover Dressage, to join in COTA’s fight against breast cancer, Van Kampen thought it was a great idea.

The March 9 Challenge of the Americas features teams of top international dressage riders competing in Grand Prix freestyle quadrilles to benefit breast cancer research, and Discover Dressage is a non-profit organization with the mission to inspire American youth to discover the sport of dressage and support healthy competition.

“When Mary talked to me about ideas for the Challenge, I told her I had a quadrille ready to go,” said Van Kampen, owner of Hampton Green Farm, known for the breeding and promotion of the PRE horse. “For USPRE week, held recently in Wellington, Florida, the girls put together a quadrille on four great geldings and had a lot of fun. I thought adding them to the exhibition line-up before the competition would be an excellent way to support the Challenge. Our all-female musical quadrille made up of talented young women will help create awareness among young people about breast cancer.”

The team of Kerrigan Gluch, Sarah Roda, Elena Schiefele and Sophia Schults will ride their own PRE horses or those owned by Hampton Green Farm. They are coached by Maria Lithander.

“It’s very different to ride as a team and it presents unique challenges, but it’s also really fun and rewarding,” Elena Schiefele said. “Since one in eight women develops breast cancer, I think breast cancer research is important not only to those whose lives will be saved, but also to their families and everyone else affected by it.”

Team member Sophia Schults agreed. “Having the opportunity to participate in such an amazing event is unreal and being able to help support such a great cause is a huge honor. The support that both the sport of dressage as well as breast cancer research gains from this event makes a huge difference and I feel very lucky to be a part of both causes.”

Rider Kerrigan Gluch said they had fun creating an entertaining routine and she’s excited to perform it for a worthy cause. “This is my first time being involved with something like the Challenge, so I am very eager to see how it goes. This sport is mostly geared towards competition, so I think it’s great to associate it with breast cancer research. I think good riding, entertaining music, great people – all for a good cause, makes for an awesome night.”

Challenge of the Americas:
challengeoftheamericas.com
facebook.com/ChallengeoftheAmericas

Ashley Holzer Is Untouchable in the Freestyle on Rising Star at AGDF

Ashley Holzer and Havanna 145. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL — February 23, 2018 — On Diane Fellows’ rising superstar mare Havanna 145, Ashley Holzer (USA) recorded back-to-back wins in week seven of the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida. They won the Grand Prix Freestyle CDIW, presented by NetJets, under the lights with an impressive 78.2%, with two judges — the British judge Stephen Clarke and the judge from Luxembourg, Christoph Umbach — awarding the pair over 79%. The freestyle highlighted AGDF week seven, which continues through Sunday, February 25.

Holzer’s student, Canada’s Brittany Fraser, finished second on All In, with local rider Shelly Francis and Doktor slotting into third. The class was dogged by increasingly heavy rain, with last-drawn Holzer bearing the brunt of the weather.

Although Havanna, by Hochadel, is only 11, Holzer kept some elements of the freestyle floorplan fairly simple, but still produced 19 one-time changes on a straight line, a half pirouette into extended canter, and finished with a flourishing passage zig-zag.

“We’re so lucky to have horses who work so hard for us even when the weather conditions are bad,” said Holzer, 54. “Luckily the footing here is so good; you can still give it gas, no matter how wet it is.”

Holzer, who found her music by googling “emotional uplifting music” which Tamara Williamson then crafted to fit the floorplan, continued: “The best thing about tonight was that Havanna came out after a strong performance last night and she again tried her hardest. Thomas [Baur, AGDF director of sport] saw her a year ago and told me she’d do it — and he was right. She’s a good egg and she tries her hardest; every time I ask her to try harder, she says, ‘OK’. It’s testament to her incredible upbringing and character.

“I’ve been in this game long enough to be so grateful every time I win,” she added. “We all know you can win one day, and then maybe not the next day. I’m just so excited to be on this mare in such great company.”

Fraser rode her own and Marc-Andre Beaulieu’s 13-year-old All In to 75.85% — their highest ever score at the level. Fraser has had the Tango gelding since he was five, climbing the ranks together, and they have been competing at grand prix for three years.

“He’s a sensitive horse so you’d think the rain would bother him, but he does not care,” said Fraser, 29, who was riding to music by Joost Peters. “I had a little mistake in the twos, but each time I ride the freestyle, I get a higher score so I’m really happy about that. He’s finally saying, ‘OK, I know my job and I know what to do’. He’s trying harder and harder.”

Holzer was quick to praise her pupil’s riding, saying: “That horse has huge gaits and it’s taken a few years to be able to control them. The fact that she can make the collected movements so closed and then go huge in the extensions is really testament to her great riding.”

Francis, who was riding to a Marlene Whitaker soundtrack and floorplan, said: “Doktor felt like he warmed up well and started off good but he doesn’t like the rain; he’s wimpy about that. He’s a fireball and we had a little accident of miscommunication in the twos, but he was really trying. He’s a good little horse and we’ve had a long road together.”

Both American riders are hoping to be on the eight-strong squad making the trip over to Europe to pit themselves against the world’s best riders ahead of selection for the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, in September of this year.

Allyn Mann of circuit title sponsor Adequan® was one of many to praise the AGDF venue, saying: “It’s exciting to be part of this and on the journey. The whole team here does the most wonderful job so that we can all turn up when the conditions are less than ideal and still see some wonderful dressage.”

It’s becoming an extremely familiar sight: Heather Blitz (USA) and Praestemarkens Quatero spearheading the small tour prize-giving, sporting the winner’s rug. And so it was, again, in the Intermediate I CDI3*, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, as they led the class of 16 starters, scoring 70.784%. A mistake and an unscheduled flying change coming out of the first pirouette couldn’t knock them off the top spot, so accurate, powerful and consistent was the rest of the test. This victory takes their tally to 10 wins from 11 FEI starts for the nine-year-old Quaterback x Rohdiamant gelding.

As per the prix st georges (PSG) the previous day, Canada’s Diane Creech gave Blitz the closest run, finishing just 0.19% in arrears on Louise Leatherdale’s 15-year-old Rubin Royal gelding, Robbie W. Melissa Taylor (USA) rose from 10th in the PSG to finish third on Ansgar, Nicole Polaski’s 13-year-old gelding by Special D.

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

Dufour Destroys the Opposition with Sensational Performance in Gothenburg

Photo: Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour and Atterupgaard’s Cassidy. (FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst)

Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour (26) and Atterupgaard’s Cassidy brought the Swedish crowd to their feet with a spectacular performance to win the eighth leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017/2018 Western European League in Gothenburg (SWE). The pair that claimed individual bronze and team silver at last summer’s Longines FEI European Championships in the same city pinned reigning series champion Germany’s Isabell Werth (48) and Swedish star Patrik Kittel (41) into second and third in the Grand Prix, and they did it again. But this time their winning margin was even more emphatic as the dynamic Danish duo earned a whopping score of 88.200.

That was put into perspective when multi-medaled Werth (Emilio) said: “There is no shame in finishing second on 85 percent!” while Kittel (Delaunay OLD) was ecstatic about his mark of 83.615 that put him in third – “an all-time personal best for me!” he said. Dufour could hardly believe what she had achieved.

“I was nervous because this was the first time for us to do this Freestyle floor-plan. Cassidy can be spooky because he’s a very sensitive horse, but today he was so calm. He was with me every moment of the way and I’ll never forget that standing ovation!” — Cathrine Dufour DEN (1st)

The Swedish spectators held their breath as the Danish partnership performed in complete harmony before exploding with excitement when the horse and rider drew to a halt. Dufour said that Denmark’s Princess Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein has helped her really raise her game over the last few months. “Rune Willum was my trainer for 15 years and he was like my second father, but in December I started working with Nathalie, and now she is my rock!” she explained after posting her second personal-best score of the weekend.

The result has moved her up to 12th place on the Western European League leaderboard from which the top nine will qualify for the Final in Paris (FRA) in April. Dufour is hoping to make the cut even though she doesn’t intend to compete at the last qualifier in ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) in two weeks’ time, but Werth will definitely be at the Dutch fixture with Emilio whose confidence and character continues to grow. “Give us one more year to make his canter as good as the piaffe/passage and you will see what more we can do!” said the happy German rider who intends to defend her title at the French finale with her top ride, the Olympic and European gold-medal-winning mare Weihegold.

She’ll be the toughest nut to crack, but Dufour showed that the winds of change are blowing once again through the top ranks of international Dressage and that she and her fabulous chestnut gelding are a major force to be reckoned with.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Ashley Holzer Posts New Personal Best on Promising Mare in Week Seven of AGDF

Ashley Holzer and Havanna. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL — February 22, 2018 — Ashley Holzer, who switched nationalities a year ago to ride for the USA instead of Canada, heard the American anthem ring out after she topped the FEI Grand Prix CDIW, presented by NetJets. Holzer and Havanna 145’s victory came under the lights, marking the opening day of week seven of the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

The charming, bouncy mare is only 11 years old and their winning 72.826% represents a new personal best for the pairing who have only been at international grand prix since April of 2017.

“She’s an incredible mare; she always fights for you,” said Holzer, who will now contest the showcase freestyle class on Friday night. “People always told me that when you get a mare that’s amazing, they’re really amazing. I’ve had a few mares who weren’t so amazing, so I didn’t really believe them, but she has changed my mind. She’s a huge trier; every day I get on and have a great ride.”

When Holzer and owner Diane Fellows went to try the daughter of Hochadel almost a year ago at the previous rider Jessica von Bredow-Werndl’s barn in Germany, the plan was for Fellows to ride her.

“When we tried her it was for Di,” said Holzer, “and Di said she had to have her because she was like riding a dream, but I told her she didn’t really need a fancy grand prix horse. She suggested I ride her for a few years, and then she takes over. Havanna has exceeded every expectation in the short time we’ve had her.”

At 11, there is still plenty of time for the horse to gain ring experience, but her potential is already evident.

“She’s so green, but she just keeps trying for you. I came into the piaffe and she got a bit stuck, but she’s so smart that I asked her to move a little forward and stay in piaffe, and she said, ‘OK’. At the end I thought, ‘My horse rocks!’” added Holzer, who hopes to make it into the top eight to join the American squad in Europe ahead of selection for the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) on home soil in Tryon in September.

However, Holzer has a few more aces up her sleeve as she will shortly debut three brand new grand prix horses, all of whom she plans to campaign in Europe this summer.

“It’s amazing to me that at my age [54] I can still get on and go round this ring and have the best, most fun time. I watched [American winter Olympics skier] Lindsey Vonn’s speech when she had finished her last downhill race and she said she can’t keep going because her body can’t take it, and she was crying. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, how lucky am I that I get to keep going?’ I feel very fortunate and everything felt pretty nice tonight.”

Loxahatchee-based Shelly Francis finished 1.1% adrift with Doktor, while Canada’s Brittany Fraser posted her third plus-70% grand prix test score at this year’s AGDF on the 13-year-old All In to finish third.

It was extremely tight at the top in the Grand Prix CDI3* class presented by Chesapeake Dressage Institute, with home rider Olivia LaGoy-Weltz on the 14-year-old Lonoir (by De Noir x Loran), coming out on top. The rider, who trains with Debbie McDonald, had been trending on over 74% mid-way through the test, but mistakes in the canter zig-zag produced a smattering of twos from the judges, bringing the score down.

The fact they finished with 71.652% was testament to LaGoy-Weltz’s sensitive, quick-thinking riding that rapidly refocused her horse’s attention. Second-placed Arlene ‘Tuny’ Page was only 0.2% behind riding Woodstock — particularly impressive given that she was riding with a fractured heel. Canada’s Jill Irving was the third and final rider over the 70% barrier, finishing with 70.609% on Degas 12.

Irving had further reason to be cheerful when fellow Canadian Brittany Fraser rode her horse Soccer City to a 70.392% unanimous victory in the Prix St Georges CDI1*. The 11-year-old gelding by Sir Donnerhall x Weltmeyer is being competed by Fraser while Irving concentrates on her two grand prix horses, Degas 12 and Arthur.

Heather Blitz (USA) bolstered Praestemarkens Quatero’s thus-far stunning record, having won nine of his 10 FEI small tour starts. The latest was a 72.255% victory in the Prix St Georges CDI3*, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center. Imported three years ago, the Quaterback x Rohdiamant nine-year-old stallion is proving remarkably consistent at the 2018 AGDF under Blitz, 49.

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

Diamond Year for CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show

CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show returns to the private grounds of Windsor Castle from 9-13 May as the iconic Show celebrates its 75th year.

This renowned equestrian event was launched in 1943 to support ‘Wings for Victory’ – a war time campaign to raise money to purchase Hurricanes and Spitfires for the Royal Air Force. Since this first Show, the event has grown in international prestige to become the UK’s largest outdoor Show, with Her Majesty The Queen, the Show’s Patron, attending every year since its creation.

Over the 75 years the Show has maintained its objective to raise funds for charity. ABF, The Soldiers Charity is supported every year and an equestrian charity is chosen to support by the Committee annually. This year the equestrian charity is the Free Spirit Horse Memorial.

The original Show, which required competitors to hack to the Showground as there was no petrol to spare, took place on only one day. Since 1944 the Show has expanded dramatically in terms of length, spectator attendance and competitors. One of the first competitors was HM The Queen who successfully competed in the Single Private Driving Class driving Hans, a Norwegian Pony, to victory in 1944. Other members of the Royal family have also competed including HRH The Prince of Wales, HRH The Princess Royal, Zara Phillips, and most notably, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh who introduced international carriage driving to the Show in 1972, in which he also competed (and won the Horse Teams class in 1982 with HM The Queen’s team of Bays).

From 1943 onwards, the Show has grown both in size, now hosting over 120 Showing classes, and in stature, placing itself firmly on the international competition circuit, with its augmented status as a 5* event. Royal Windsor Horse Show is now the only Show in the UK to host international competitions in Show Jumping, Dressage, Driving and Endurance.

The annual event now hosts the Rolex Grand Prix, the pinnacle of the week’s calendar, with a prize fund of €300,000, compared to a top prize of £15 in Show Jumping classes in 1944. The increased number of entries is a sheer reflection of the Show’s popularity and prestige, seeing 3,300 entries in 2017, including many of the world’s best riders, compared to 884 entered horses in 1950.

Mr Clive Lidstone, one of the 300 original founding members of Royal Windsor Horse Show, said:

‘I’ve attended the Show every year since it was first created in 1943, where I actually competed in the Gymkhana. I left school early to get there that day. It’s brilliant to see how much the event has grown over the years, not just in size but globally, attracting many of the world’s best competitors.’

Nowadays, more than 55,000 spectators travel to Windsor annually to catch the world-class equestrian action, growing from a noted 8,000 spectators in 1944.

At the event the Organisers are putting in place a series of displays and exhibitions both in and out of the arena to commemorate the 75th anniversary.

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show, or to book tickets, visit www.rwhs.co.uk. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966290 internationally. Windsor residents should call the Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743589.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

National Competitors Take to the Ring at AGDF 6

Devon Kane and Sir Galanto. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – February 20, 2018 – The 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) continued in week six with national competition on February 16-18. Friday’s national grand prix at AGDF 6 saw local rider Devon Kane’s big tour horse Sir Galanto return to the ring — and to winning ways — following an injury. The 13-year-old by Stedinger x De Niro topped the grand prix with 67.717%. The 2018 AGDF continues in week seven with CDI-W competition and more on February 22-25.

Kane, of Diamante Farms, said: “He had some time off over the summer and this was his second show back this year. I wanted to use the opportunity to get him more solid before stepping back into CDIs in two weeks’ time. It was a busy show with a lot going on, especially with the jumpers on the Derby field, so it was a great opportunity to test Galanto’s focus.”

She was delighted with how the stallion, which came from a small barn in Germany on Valentine’s Day three years ago, coped with the atmosphere.

“Everything felt great — we had a little miscommunication in the one-tempis, but the piaffe/passage was stronger than ever. I had his focus and attention, plus energy that I could use to my benefit. He has such softness, but you have so much power available all the time; it’s quite a fabulous feeling.”

Kevin Kohmann, who is German but also based at Diamante Farms, won Friday’s prix st georges on Melanie Pai’s 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding Fritz San Tino with a fantastic score of 74.853%.

Denmark’s Signe Kirk Kristiansen picked up two blue grand prix special ribbons on the talented Her Highness O, a 15-year-old Hanoverian mare by Hohenstein x Weltmeyer. Kristiansen bought the mare from Caroline Roffman three years ago, but an injury to a hind leg shortly thereafter appeared to be career threatening.

“I’ve had her for three years, but it was two years before the first show because of the injury,” said Kristiansen. “I gave up ever riding ‘Hannah’ ever again and tried breeding her, but we didn’t succeed. Then she came sound, and now she’s happy and fit.”

Kristiansen, who is based in Palm Beach Point for the season and home in Denmark over the summer added: “We got our best score [68.51%] this week. In the past we’ve had a problem with the piaffe at X where she spooked every time, but now she’s settling really well with that. I’m so honored to ride her; I didn’t educate her myself and I feel very lucky to have a horse like her who is older and wiser. She’s energetic but feels safe, which for me is the perfect combination as I’m not so brave, but I love her energy. I am learning so much.”

Lisa Wilcox was unbeaten in two starts on the chestnut stallion Gallant Reflection HU, by Galant Du Serein x Rhodiamant. They won the intermediate II with over 71% before logging 68.375% in the developing grand prix class — an impressive feat for a horse who is only nine years old. He is owned by Horses Unlimited, who bred the licensed stallion.

“We spent a year working on his piaffe/passage after the developing prix st georges championship and I’m thrilled with his progress,” said the Olympic rider who has ridden ‘Reef’ since he was five. “The plan is to let him do the national championships this season, then graduate to CDIs at grand prix next year. Our goal long-term is Tokyo. Reef is amazing and has so much potential, I really love him. He’s incredibly smart and talks to me — he whinnies when he sees my car. He has a lot of talent and is a ton of fun.”

Betsy Steiner was a double small tour winner on Swiss W, Whitney Bailey’s 11-year-old mare by Sir Oldenburg, topping both the prix st georges and I-I classes they entered with over 71% — more than 4% clear of the chasing pack in both.

Steiner, who is based at White Fences Equestrian Center with her daughter Jessie, said: “Swiss is extraordinary. She’s the love of my life. She’s very sensitive and can be hot, but in a positive, workmanlike way that you can turn into brilliance. She’s so intelligent that she’s made me into a better rider and trainer by showing me new and better ways to do things. If there are ever mistakes in our tests, they’re mine.”

The mare’s FEI passport is yet to arrive, but once it does, Steiner plans to launch her small tour CDI career.

“We’re also working on a very exciting new I-1 freestyle for her with Terry Gallo [who also does Laura Graves’ music],” she added.

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

Langehanenberg Steals the Limelight on Home Ground in Neumünster

Photo: Helen Langehanenberg and Damsey FRH. (FEI/Stefan Lafrentz)

The extraordinary ups and downs of sport were highlighted once again when Helen Langehanenberg (35) and Damsey sealed a superb victory at the seventh leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017/2018 Western European League on home soil in Neumünster, Germany. At the previous round in Amsterdam (NED) three weeks ago, the 2013 FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion had to retire when her 16-year-old stallion got his tongue over the bit and their performance fell apart. However, it was perfect harmony every step of the way as their strong score of 83.800 pinned compatriots Dorothee Schneider (49) and Sammy Davis Jr into runner-up spot while Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann-Andersen (27) and Blue Hors Zack slotted into third.

“This was maybe our best result ever – Damsy felt great; he had the perfect mixture of freshness and motivation and he just performed the way every rider wants; the communication between us was really easy!” — Helen Langehanenberg GER (1st)

The atmosphere in the Neumünster arena is notoriously intense. As runner-up Schneider said, “Everything about this show is brilliant, especially the crowd who is so close that it feels like they are also riding your horse!” That didn’t stop her from posting 81.565 for second place and moving even closer to Sweden’s Patrik Kittel at the top of the Western European leaderboard. With just two qualifiers left to go, in Gothenburg (SWE) next weekend and ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) two weeks later, that’s a really good place to be, because only two German riders can join defending champion Isabell Werth at the Final in Paris (FRA) in April, and sealing one of those two spots is a battle in itself. A total of nine riders, and a maximum of three from any nation, can make the cut from the Western European series.

Spain’s Morgan Barbancon Mestre, fourth to go with Sir Donnerhall ll, caused a stir when stopped by the Ground Jury because her floorplan had been changed overnight. When this was resolved she was allowed to compete, but it was Marie Emilie Bretenoux and Quartz of Jazz from France who led the way at the halfway stage with a mark of 76.300. This, however, would be improved on again and again, Denmark’s Bachmann-Andersen presenting a lovely picture of relaxation and balance with his 14-year-old stallion that rocketed him into the lead on a big mark of 81.475 with six left to go.

Langehanenberg pushed him off his pedestal immediately, however, and Schneider then pinned him back to third, but the talented Dane has now moved into joint-fourth on the leaderboard and looks set to make a big impression at the Final. Langehanenberg winner won’t make it to Paris. “I’m expecting a baby in June, so this was our last show before that and it’s the perfect result! I hope to be back in the saddle again in July though,” Langehanenberg explained.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Katherine Bateson Chandler Scoops Final Grand Prix in Week Five at AGDF

Katherine Bateson Chandler (USA) and Alcazar. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – February 11, 2018 – It was an all-American podium in the Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty. It was spearheaded by Katherine Bateson Chandler riding Alcazar on the final day of week five of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

The top three were unaltered from the grand prix, but the winner of that class, Shelly Francis, had to settle for second place on this occasion. It was extremely close between the top two, with just 0.17% separating them. Uncharacteristic mistakes in Francis and Danilo’s test curtailed their usually high score to 69.298%. Anna Marek and Dee Clair – who at 10 was the youngest horse in the field – were third with their highest yet international grand prix score, 68.085%.

Bateson Chandler and the 13-year-old Alcazar, who is owned by Jane Forbes Clark and survived a colic operation in July 2016, were recording their first win since topping the CDI4* freestyle class at last year’s AGDF. The pair spent the summer, as they do each year, at British Olympic gold medalist Carl Hester’s barn in Britain, with Bateson Chandler even lending Alcazar to Hester for him to win the British national grand prix champion title on him in September.

“I was second in the grand prix on Thursday, and that always makes you dig a little deeper,” said Bateson Chandler, 42. “It’s been a long journey with ‘Lonzie’. I’ve been riding him since he was six and he’s been a fun horse to bring to grand prix. The biggest thing we’re always striving for as riders is to find that positive tension in the ring. You get negative tension or not enough tension and I’m finding that I’m starting to get there now with the positive tension – but it takes years.”

Although Forbes Clark was able to watch her horse win, Bateson Chandler’s trainer, Carl Hester, had to fly home before the special on Sunday.

“They changed the schedule so I ended up being a bit on my own today, but he gave me my marching orders – to make sure Lonzie is in front of the leg, to not go too fast – and to win!” said Bateson Chandler. “Carl is my go-to guy; I’m lucky to have him as a very good friend as well as a trainer. I whine to him a lot and he’s my sounding board; he’s so cool and sensible, and always has the right answers that makes sense. He gets it because he’s had his own ups and downs over the years and knows how it is to be both at the top and the bottom. I can’t thank him enough.”

The next stop for the pair is the Palm Beach Dressage Derby, which runs March 1-4 during AGDF week seven.

“I’ll probably do the two other shows after that at Global, too,” she added. “Then we’ll go back to Carl’s in April for the summer and make a plan with him from there. I would love to make the World Equestrian Games team, of course – that’s everybody’s goal this year – but we’ve also had a lot of fun doing Nations Cup teams. And now Lonzie’s getting quite consistent; I think he makes himself a good candidate. It’s pretty exciting for the future.”

Jennifer Baumert (USA) made it a clean sweep of the week’s small tour CDI3* classes by winning the Intermediate I Freestyle, presented by Rowan O’Riley. She rode Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano’s 13-year-old Handsome, by Hochadel, to 75.958%.

They have not been beaten in their last six competitive starts. And all 14 of the international tests in their career – which began a year ago – have been at the AGDF. Their test featured inventive lines, including both sets of flying changes on a steeply curving line. Baumert finished almost 5% clear of second placed compatriot Yvonne de Haan, who scored 71.125% on Winter. Canada’s Tom Dvorak finished third, riding Cyrus to 71%.

It was the first-drawn rider in the 17-strong Intermediate I CDI1* who clinched the winner’s sash: American rider Tina Konyot coaxed 69.657% out of the nine-year-old Diamantino II. This was only the fifth international test for the PSD Partners LLC’s son of Desperados, and his first win. It was another son of Kristina Sprehe’s stallion Desperados who clinched second: Germany’s Michael Klimke partnered the eight-year-old Harmony’s Diabolo to 68.676%. Third place went to the Norwegian rider Alexandra Gamlemshaug Andresen, who scored 68.235% on her own nine-year-old Empire B, by Sting.

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

Adrienne Lyle Captures Five-Star Win in Week Five at AGDF

Adrienne Lyle and Salvino. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – February 10, 2018 – Adrienne Lyle and Salvino improved on their Grand Prix performance from Thursday to ride an error-free test and win the Grand Prix Special CDI5*, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, on Saturday, February 10, at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF).

Lyle and 11-year-old Salvino cruised to victory with 75.319%, representing a new personal best high score for the pair. The top three in the class represented a clean podium sweep for the U.S.A. in the fifth week of AGDF at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

“I was thrilled with him today,” said Lyle, who trains with Debbie McDonald and rides the Sandro Hit stallion for owner Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano. “It means a ton to win the five-star special; this is huge, especially on a horse who we haven’t even been competing a full year at this level. In the grand prix he was running a little bit through my aids, so today we took the time to make him stay back and wait. He felt like he was right with me throughout the whole test. If he understands what you want, he always does it for you. He has tremendous potential that we’re only just beginning to tap into.”

Australian judge Susan Hoevenaars agreed, saying: “There was so much harmony and it was a joy to judge.”

The winner of the grand prix, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz, had to settle for second place on her own Lonoir, a 14-year-old gelding by De Noir, logging 72.851%.

“The goal is clean rides, but I left the ones [the one-time changes] in the warm-up,” she said. “We did a super line right before we went in, but I think we were both a bit over-heated. I was super proud of him; the quality level is coming up and everyone has full confidence that the consistency is going to fall into place. When it does, it’s going to be pretty cool.”

Third placed Arlene ‘Tuny’ Page was pleased to be able to put two sub-70% scores on Woodstock at AGDF in January behind her, and her ever-improving performances elevated her from seventh in the grand prix.

“I was happy with how my horse presented himself and with the quality of his gaits,” she said of the 15-year-old gelding by Havel. “This is only our fourth test back this season and it’s taken four rides to get him back and for him to wait for me. Now it’s a question of developing more inner calmness in the next two months as he settles into the routine again.”

In the Intermediate I CDI3*, presented by Rowan O’Riley, the U.S.A.’s Jennifer Baumert and Handsome were once again the only combination rewarded with over 70% – exactly as per their prix st georges win on Wednesday.

Baumert was also riding a horse owned by Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano, this one a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Hochadel x Weltmeyer. She was the unanimous winner for all five judges, scoring 70.941%.

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

Laura Graves Unleashes Phenomenal New Freestyle in Five Star Week at AGDF

Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – February 9, 2018 – Laura Graves’ brand-new freestyle rocketed her and Verdades to the top of the list in the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI5*, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors. The 30-year-old American scooped the $35,400 winner’s prize under the lights in week five of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

In front of a packed grandstand and VIP pavilions, Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén was second, with local rider Shelly Francis climbing a place from the grand prix to finish third.

Graves said: “It was the first run-through of the new canter tour of our freestyle. Even though we’re not using the new FEI floorplan creator here tonight, it’s a big part of my preparation for the World Cup Final in Paris as it will be used in the final. We’ve actually taken away a bit of risk as the changes aren’t off a curved line, because you actually don’t gain as many points as you do for doubling up on the pirouettes, so it ended up being a little bit of a math equation.

“Big thanks to Terry Gallo who always steps in when I have a last minute ‘great’ idea. I couldn’t do it without her and I was super pleased with how the music turned out. We have a couple of little tweaks to work on before our next performance at Global,” she added.

“For once all the judges were in agreement,” said Enzo Truppa, the Italian judge at C. “I was particularly impressed by Laura’s half-passes, and she got very high marks from me.”

Graves and 16-year-old Verdades, who are ranked fourth in the world, scored 84.375%. That was just 0.3% lower than their winning score at the CDIW* AGDF show two weeks ago – quite a feat for a brand-new freestyle that they had barely practiced.

“I had only actually ridden through it once at home, and that was for Terry to get the timing, so I need to do my homework a little better,” she admitted.

Second-placed Vilhelmson-Silfvén said of her ride, Lövsta Stuteri’s 15-year-old Don Primero gelding: “There was quite an atmosphere tonight; it suits him very well to have that kind of surroundings, so he felt the best today that I’ve had him this season. I’m very happy.”

Francis’ horse Doktor, Patricia Stempel’s 15-year-old by Diamond Hit, was also lit up by the busy atmosphere: “He was sneezing and snorting when he realized he was doing the freestyle. Things smoothed out, but during a piaffe at one end, the audience started clapping, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, please don’t clap; he’s frightened of clapping!’ But we managed to keep it together. He was so full of energy, really bouncing off the ground.”

Allyn Mann of title sponsor Adequan® said: “It seems like a lifetime ago when the founding partners and Mark Bellissimo were thinking about how to bring dressage to this community, and I think this beautiful night is what that vision was. There was an unbelievable electricity, with all the people wanting to see the finest riders and horses.”

Amanda S. Luby of class sponsor CaptiveOne Advisors added: “We are so thrilled to be a part of the ongoing evolution of the sports of dressage and showjumping. For a local business to be associated with the journey these athletes are on was extraordinary tonight.”

In the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, Dominican Republic rider Yvonne Losos de Muñiz proved that her grand prix win on Foco Loco W was no fluke. On her own 13-year-old Belgian warmblood gelding by Sierappel, she won the class with 74.35% – including a high score of 77% from the U.S. judge, Janet Foy.

“To be honest, I’m a bit speechless still. I’m still trying to soak it all in. It’s been going so incredibly,” she said. “Two weeks ago I did well with him, and to come back and repeat it and get a little better is just fantastic. I really have no words.”

Losos de Muñiz rode to music put together by Canadian Karen Robinson.

“Tonight I was able, especially in the trot, to really hit the cues. I came in and sat back and he came up in front of me, and I said, ‘OK, here we go’. He floated around and felt fabulous. The music is really strong, but he is such a big horse that he can carry the music no problem.”

Spain’s young talent Juan Matute Guimon finished second on Don Diego Ymas (73.4%), with Canada’s Megan Lane filling third on San D’Or with 71.85%.

Of the 18 starters in the Prix St Georges CDI1*, it was Great Britain’s Susan Pape and the expressive and uphill Harmony’s Eclectisch who nosed ahead with 71.029%. Each of the five judges awarded the pair over 70%. The nine-year-old KWPN stallion by Zenon have taken their small tour classes by storm this season, winning all three of his tests so far at AGDF.

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