Category Archives: Dressage

The Discipline of Riding Dressage

Tokyo 2020 Team and Individual Quota Places Confirmed by FEI

Following concerns raised about FEI Jumping Events in France and Syria where Olympic and Longines Ranking points were on offer, the FEI has investigated events at both Villeneuve-Loubet (FRA) and Damascus (SYR).

The investigation into the three events at Villeneuve-Loubet in December 2019 has established that, contrary to the FEI Rules (Article 110.2.3 of the FEI General Regulations), two competitions counting for the Olympic and Longines Rankings were added at each event after the respective Definite Entries deadlines. The updated Schedules for these three events were submitted to the FEI by the French National Federation and were mistakenly approved by the FEI.

As a result, and in accordance with Article 112.3 of the FEI General Regulations, the FEI has retrospectively removed these additional competitions, meaning that athletes who participated will lose their ranking points from these competitions. The Olympic and Longines Rankings have been updated accordingly.

Additionally, the FEI has established that three of the six events at Villeneuve-Loubet in January 2020 also had two classes counting for Longines Rankings points added after the Definite Entries deadline, again contrary to the FEI Rules. As a result, these additional competitions have been removed and athletes that participated will lose their ranking points for these competitions.

The FEI also reviewed the events that took place in Damascus (SYR) between October and December 2019, and while it was clearly established that there was no breach of FEI Rules and Regulations regarding FEI Calendar entries, the event Schedules or the number of events run, the investigation revealed an irregularity with the prize money at three of the events.

The events held in Damascus on 24-27 October 2019, 31 October to 3 November 2019, and 13-17 November 2019 had total prize money that exceeded the limit for a CSI2* and the Schedules for these events were erroneously approved by the FEI. As a result, the FEI has removed one FEI competition at each of these events in order to bring the total prize money within the specified limit, but this has no impact on the Olympic Ranking for Olympic Group F.

The FEI has also reallocated one of the two Jumping team quota slots from the Olympic Jumping Qualifier for Group F in Rabat (MAR) in October 2019, following adverse analytical findings in two members of the Qatari team, Sheikh Ali Al Thani and Bassem Mohammed. Both athletes tested positive for Carboxy-THC, a metabolite of Cannabis, which is a prohibited substance under the FEI’s Anti-Doping Rules for Human Athletes (ADRHA).

The FEI Tribunal issued a partial decision regarding the disqualification of the individual results of the two Qatari athletes on 15 February 2020. As a result, Qatar loses its team quota place for Tokyo and this has been reallocated by the FEI to Morocco.

The FEI has now confirmed the team and individual quota places across the three disciplines of Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with three nations – Luxembourg (Dressage individual), Pakistan (Eventing individual), and Israel (Jumping team) – qualifying for the Olympic Games for the first time. The new formats have opened the door for more nations to compete at the Games, with Jumping going up from 27 in Rio to 35 in Tokyo, Dressage increasing from 25 to 30, and Eventing rising from 24 to 30. In total, the number of flags has risen from 43 in Rio to 48 in Tokyo.

Latvia’s individual quota slot for Jumping would mean a first Games start after a 32-year absence, having last competed in Seoul 1988. The Czech Republic and Hong Kong, which have both qualified for an individual place in Eventing, are planning to return to the Games for the first time since Beijing 2008.

The deadline to achieve the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) is 1 June, after which the FEI will confirm approval of the FEI Certificates of Capability to the National Federations. The final athlete/horse combinations for the three disciplines will be announced on 6 July 2020.

The Olympic equestrian events get underway the day after the Opening Ceremony in Tokyo on 24 July. Dressage will be the first discipline to hold its competitions (July 25-29), followed by Eventing (31 July to 3 August) and then Jumping (4-8 August). The competitions will take place at the Bajikoen Equestrian Park and the Sea Forest Cross Country venue.

FEI contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Vanessa.Randin@fei.org
+ 41 78 750 61 73

Sarah Lockman Crowns a Bumper Week of Wins in AGDF Week Six

Sarah Lockman and Balia. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – February 16, 2020 – National dressage competition continued apace in week six of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Three combinations picked up tickets for the Future Challenge developing horse finals — which take place in the main Stadium Arena in week 12 — two in the small tour class presented by Summit Farm, and one at big tour, which is sponsored by Lövsta. The lucky recipients at small tour were Sarah Lockman and Heather Blitz, with the big tour qualifying slot going to Jan Ebeling.

It was a bumper week for USA rider Lockman and her mount Balia. The pair topped Saturday’s open Prix St. Georges with over 74%, and followed up with a win in the Future Challenge class at the level on Sunday with 73.603%. The eight-year-old German-bred mare by Belissimo M out of a Florestan dam is owned by the class sponsor, Summit Farm. Lockman bolstered her success by also topping the USEF developing Prix St. Georges class riding her own horse, Dehavilland, by Diamond Hit, to another plus-73% score.

“Balia’s still young and green and we missed a couple of the changes, so if it was a clean test, I think it could have been over 75%,” said Lockman, who is based in California and is spending the season in Wellington for the first time. “It’s been a really great week for both my younger horses. Dehavilland needs ring experience, but I’m really proud of Balia, who we bought from Helgstrand here in Wellington when she was five. She’d only been here about two days.

“Balia’s been a lovely addition to our string of horses,” she added. “She’s also part of the USEF developing program, so they have their eye on her. And I’ve owned Dehavilland since a foal, so it’s really special to have seen him come up from an ugly duckling with a big head and ears — his nickname is Donkey — to his score from today which puts him at number one in the country.

“It’s been a really great start to the season,” added Lockman, who debuted the 10-year-old stallion First Apple, her Pan American Games individual gold medal ride, at grand prix level the previous week, scoring over 70%. “It’s especially good for the young horses to have a horse show available every weekend here. They spend an hour doing their thing, then we go back to my trainer Scott Hassler’s barn and the horses go back out in the field.

“I feel really lucky,” concluded the 31-year-old. “Not many riders have such a pipeline of horses coming through. I feel fortunate to have Summit Farm so behind me in my career and all the help I’ve had from Scott, who has been there since the very beginning with these horses. I feel like I’m set up for the future.”

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

Delightful Dalera Gives Birthday-Girl von Bredow-Werndl Another Win in Neumünster

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB. (FEI/Stefan Lafrentz)

When Jessica von Bredow-Werndl won the third leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League with TSF Dalera BB in Stuttgart (GER) in November, she described herself as “over the moon!” But she was even more thrilled as she celebrated her 33rd birthday with a superb performance from the 13-year-old mare who pinned reigning champion Isabell Werth and Emilio into runner-up spot.

“This was a Personal Best for Dalera and me! She’s a rockstar, and the cutest horse in the world! She was amazing today – in piaffe and passage she was just breezing along, so I could breathe, relax, and enjoy myself. There was such lightness, and it felt so easy and harmonious. I didn’t have to ask her for anything; all I had to do was just lead her through the test,” said von Bredow-Werndl after posting the winning score of 89.640.

Helen Langehanenberg and the evergreen 18-year-old Damsey FRH slotted into third ahead of von Bredow-Werndl’s brother, Benjamin Werndl, who finished fourth with the exciting 11-year-old Famoso, while the first of the visitors to get into the line-up was The Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen who steered Zephyr into fifth place.

It was another of the powerful German contingent, 26-year-old Sonke Rothenberger, who led the way at the halfway stage when putting 79.285 on the board. But series double-champion Cornelissen overtook him when eleventh to go of the 15 starters, with a test that oozed energy and bounce as she racked up some maximum 10s along the way for a mark of 82.150.

Then 2013 champion Langehanenberg put Germany back in charge, starting out with a 9.5 for walk and collecting consistently high marks as she moved the target-score up to 85.220 with Damsey FRH. At 18 years of age, it seems this stallion loves his competition outings as much as ever. “He still feels so fresh!” said Langehanenberg who is also targeting the final leg of the WEL series in ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) next month.

However, von Bredow-Werndl’s effortless performance with Dalera would be the winning one of the day, the fluency and quiet understanding between horse and rider presenting a lovely picture that saw them pick up lots of 10s and leaving them just shy of the 90 percent mark on a score of 89.640. For the second time this season, superstar Isabell Werth had to settle for second place behind her team-mate.

In Stuttgart von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB pipped Werth and Weihegold, who have won the last three FEI Dressage World Cup™ Finals. And von Bredow-Werndl did it again, this time with the mare she steered to team gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA and to team gold as well as Freestyle bronze at last summer’s FEI European Championships in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. No wonder she has the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in her sights with this horse now.

“I won’t take her to the Final because I have Tokyo in mind, but I’ll bring Zaire to ’s-Hertogenbosch and decide if she will go to Las Vegas,” said the German rider who closely watched her brother, Benjamin Werndl, as he steered his rising star Famoso through a lovely balanced test to slot into fourth place on a mark of 85.165 when last to go.

As Benjamin pointed out afterwards, the Neumünster crowd is a bit special, and this competition was of the highest level.

“Here you are a bit scared to make a mistake, because the crowd is so knowledgeable, they will see it right away!” he joked. “Our sport is getting better and better all the time, so the competition is really tough. There are new riders coming up all the time and you think they can’t get better, but they do, so it’s really super!” he added. He shared the lead on the Western European League table with his sister, and although she has nudged ahead, his 65 points leave him more than comfortable in the race for a place at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2020 in Las Vegas in April.

Gothenburg in Sweden stages the penultimate leg of the Western European League qualifying series, with the last leg taking place in ’s-Hertogenbosch in The Netherlands on 14 March.

Result here.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Announcing the Para Dressage Virtual National Judging Program

USPEA is pleased to announce the 2019-2020 virtual Para Dressage Judging Program. To kick off the pilot program, one FEI Para 3* International Judge, Adrienne Pot, has graciously agreed to view video submissions and provide official score sheets for each test entered.

The Para Dressage Virtual judging program is the first step in tackling the huge geographical challenge in the US. It takes ongoing monitoring and regular assessment to improve performance in any sport, and we trust this great opportunity provided to you by USPEA will encourage you to pursue the sport of Para Dressage and allow you to achieve your goals, whether it be competition or just for the pure joy the horse can contribute to your well-being.

The Emerging National Virtual Judging Program is being offered to the riders as a first step into competition with an emphasis on using the Introductory Tests to work up the levels of their Classified Grade.

Eligibility

Athlete

  • All athletes, 12 years old and over, with a permanent, measurable, physical disability are welcome to enter a FEI Para Dressage Test of Choice (Introductory, Novice, Team, Individual, Freestyle) in their Classified Grade.
  • Riders must either have a National or FEI Classification riding at their grade level to participate in the program.
  • This Program is only for the Emerging Para Dressage Athlete for Classified Grade athletes wishing to compete at the National level. The National Program is to compliment the USEF Developing/Elite Program and not to replace or compete with the International Program.

Horse

Horses must be a minimum of six (6) years of age. The age is counted from the 1st January of the year of birth. Recommend horse be braided.

Dress

  1. All Athletes must be neatly and correctly dressed at all times.
  2. Protective Headgear must be worn by Athletes at all times when mounted.
  3. Black or brown boots or stout riding shoes with heels must be worn. Plain black or brown half-chaps or gaiters to the knee may be used.
  4. For On-Line Video Competitions, breeches shall be worn; jackets are optional, but recommended.
  5. Stock or tie: optional, but recommended. White, off-white, or same color as coat.
  6. Gloves: white, off-white, or same color as coat.
  7. Riding boots: black or same color as coat.
  8. Safety vests (including inflatable) are permitted.
  9. Spurs are optional. Spurs must be made of metal. The shank must be either curved or straight, pointing directly back from the center of the spur when on the Athlete’s boot. Spurs must not be offset, unless allowed as a compensating aid and noted on the FEI Classification Master List. The arm of the spur must be smooth and blunt. If rowels are used, they must be blunt, smooth, and free to rotate. Metal spurs with round hard plastic knobs (‘Impulse’ spurs) or “Dummy” spurs with no shank are allowed.

Saddlery

FEI Rules can be found here: https://inside.fei.org/fei/regulations/para_dressage.

FEI Dressage Tests

FEI Para Dressage Tests may be found here: https://inside.fei.org/fei/your-role/organisers/p-e-dressage/tests.

Gr. I, II, III must ride in 40 x 20 meter arena.

Gr. IV, V must ride in 60 x 20 meter arena.

Video Procedure

The camera must be placed at “C” (far end of ring/arena). If the zoom feature is used, the horse may be no larger than ¼ of the screen. The recording should start approximately 5 seconds before the rider enters the arena. In an indoor arena, the rider may already be in the arena, and the recording will start 5 seconds before the judging of the class begins. The recording should finish approximately 5 seconds after the class ends or after the final salute at the end of the test.

  • It is recommended that you film with your back to the sun.
  • Make sure the camera is steady and the horse in the center of the frame.
  • Use highest quality setting on camera.
  • Set the zoom before you start and do not alter it once you have started filming.
  • Ensure the light setting is correct for the time of day.
  • Stand at C either with your back to C or behind C facing A and do not move from that spot.
  • Make sure you video from the start of the test as you turn on center line and keep videoing until after the final halt so we can see some walk work as you leave the arena (1/2 dozen steps or so).
  1. Make sure that a well-lighted ring/arena is used.
  2. Riders entering the FEI Freestyle to music test must ensure that the sound on the video recording device is switched on and that the music can be clearly heard in the video.
  3. The name of the video file should include the rider’s last name, horse name, date, Grade, and test being submitted.
  4. Videos may include more than one test providing there is a five second pause between tests, and are clearly marked with the test, date, rider’s last name, and horse name.

Please Note: If athlete submits video from competition, then athlete will not receive scores from the Virtual Judging Panel. Only comments.

How to Create a YouTube Account

Go to YouTube.com and create an account. To do this, click on the “Sign Up” button at the top of the screen. Fill out all of the requested information. An e-mail will be sent to you to confirm your e-mail address. Clink the link in the e-mail to confirm.

Customize Your YouTube Profile

You can customize your profile by clicking on your username at the top of the screen. You can choose to add a photo, video logs, favorite videos, subscribers, and friends.

Fill In the Video Upload Information

To upload a video, go to the upload page by clicking on “upload” in the upper right corner of the homepage. On this page, fill out your video information, including title, description, and tags. Tags are key words used to describe your video, i.e. Gr. Test.

Upload the Video to YouTube

The next step is to upload your video onto YouTube from your computer. Click on “Upload Video” to find the video file on your computer. Next, click the browse button to search for the file you want to upload. Double click on the file and it will appear in the text box. Click on “Upload Video”.

Please be aware that posting videos on YouTube without security settings will allow outside individuals to view your video. It is highly recommended that users set the YouTube security setting to “unlisted” (meaning only those who have been provided the link can view the video).

Video Entry Process and Checklist

Entry Due Date: 25th of each month.

Once riders have a video of themselves performing a specific test, send the YouTube video link to Hope Hand, President of The United States Para-Equestrian Association, at wheeler966@aol.com along with the trainer name, trainer email, trainer phone. If no trainer, use rider info, rider name, horse name, grade, test, and detail on rider classification (non-classified, classified National, or International). When you are uploading your video, please ensure your video and entry meets the following requirements.

  • Have you previewed your video to ensure that it is clear and meets the entry requirements?
  • Is your video in one of the following file formats: avi (audio video interleave), mov (QuickTime-Apple), wmv (winder media video), or flv (flash)?
  • Is your video less than 2 GB?
  • Is your video file name properly saved (i.e. rider last name and test entered)?
  • “Unlisted” YouTube link (only those who have been provided the link can view the video).
  • Once your submission is completed, USPEA will forward the YouTube Video link to the International Judge for her review.

Cost

Each Test will cost the rider $15.00 paid through Athlete’s Venmo Account to be paid on the date Video is submitted for review. Athlete will then forward the Venmo Receipt and YouTube Video to USPEA at Wheeler966@aol.com.

Prior to submitting the test for judging, payment must be made.

Results

The results of each test submitted will be completed by the International Para Dressage judge and returned to the USPEA, who will forward the score sheets directly to the athlete and trainer, along with any comments made by Emerging Athlete Trainers.

Other Rules

  • The Judges’ decisions are final.
  • No communication or discussion will be entered into with the judges involved.
  • Videos of tests must not have been recorded at any official competition. Any video which is suspected of having been filmed during a competition will not be accepted.
  • If the quality of a video is considered too poor to be judged, the competitor will be given the opportunity to submit a further video.
  • Athletes may only submit 2 individual tests of choice and 1 Freestyle Test per month (maximum 3 tests monthly), as described above under Costs.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org.

Fifteen Para-Equestrian Nations Earn Team Slot for Tokyo 2020

Photo: FEI/Liz Gregg.

The identity of the 15 nations who will contest the Para Dressage Team title at this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games has been revealed. By qualifying, each country will be able to send up to four athletes to Tokyo.

Joining Great Britain, The Netherlands, and Germany, who secured their places at FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon in 2018, are the USA, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Singapore, Denmark, Belgium, Australia, and Austria. They qualified by being either in the top seven teams in the International Equestrian Federation’s world rankings (apart from those three who qualified at WEG), or the top team in either Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. As host nation, Japan will also field a full team.

Currently Russia has also qualified, but its participation in the Games is yet to be confirmed.

“Team Canada is delighted to have secured a team slot for Canada Tokyo,” Canada’s Coach and Chef d’equipe Clive Milkins said. “It is a recognition of the determination hard work, committed effort and motivation from all our grooms, athletes, and coaches involved from grass roots to international level. The hard works starts now.”

The team competition in Tokyo will be a hotly contested one. In the race for medals, USA who are currently ranked world number one, will mount a strong challenge, while Denmark has significant talent. Belgium will also be in with a shot as will a resurgent Australia and Austria. The Netherlands, currently European and World champions, will be desperate to add Paralympic gold to that pair, while the British will do everything in their power to defend the title, having won at every Paralympic Games since Para Dressage was introduced in Atlanta in 1996.

And in Tokyo, the team competition is given extra tension by changes to the format. The team medal will now be decided over two days by just three riders per country (it used to be four). Not only that, the three competing riders won’t be chosen until the Games themselves, on completion of the individual titles on the first two days of competition.

Outside of the team competitions, a host of other nations have gained slots for up to two of their top athletes, so the Games will see individual competitors coming from South Africa, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Latvia, and Brazil. There’ll also be athletes from Norway, Finland, and Mexico in the mix too. Further individual allocations will also be made as the year progresses according to the rules of the bipartite commission.

The Para Dressage competition will be held at the Tokyo 2020 Equestrian Park from Thursday 27 to Monday 31 August. Individual medals will be decided on the first two days, the team completion takes place on the Saturday and Sunday, and the whole competition rounds off with all five grades’ freestyle titles being decided on Monday.

Click here for more information on the Paralympics qualification.

Names of athletes competing will start to be announced from mid-July, on completion of nations’ individual selection processes.

By Rob Howell

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 4

Carina Nevermann Torup Teams Up with Brand New Ride for Triple Win in Week 5 of AGDF

Carina Nevermann Torup with Bordolino 8. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – February 9, 2020 – It was a clean sweep at small tour for the 30-year-old Danish rider Carina Nevermann Torup, who teamed up with the eight-year-old Bordeaux gelding Bordolino 8 just a week before the show. They made it three plus-70% wins from three starts when topping the FEI Intermediate I Freestyle CDI3*, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, with 73.76%. Sunday’s action wrapped up competition in week five of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

“I trained the owner, Dongseon Kim, a bit when he came over here, so I know the horse a bit from the ground, but I’d never sat on him before last Tuesday,” said Nevermann Torup, who is based in Denmark and works for Helgstrand Dressage. “It’s quite awesome that he actually won, but when you have a horse that’s well ridden, it’s quite easy to get on them. He’s an awesome horse and he gives such a nice feeling in the ring.”

This was the first time Nevermann Torup had ever ridden through this freestyle as she borrowed it from Kim.

“I just listened to the music yesterday and learned it,” said Nevermann Torup, who usually rides 8-10 horses a day and specializes in bringing advanced horses up to grand prix level. “Bordolino has so much power and I asked him for a little bit more today and he gave it to me which meant I had to make a little circle to get with the music because I ride him a little bit faster. We’re still getting to know each other so maybe in two weeks or a month it will be even better still; we’ll see.

“This show is really well organised and it was so cool to go in the ring here and to get a win on this side of the world,” she added. “Global [AGDF] is made for competition and everything has been thought about. The footing is great and everything just works.”

Bordolino may now be sold through Helgstrand, but Nevermann Torup is keen to keep training him up the levels. She brought her own horse over with her in December which she had planned to compete at AGDF, but he was quickly sold.

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

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous Top Dressage Phase in $50,000 MARS Eventing Showcase

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo © SusanStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – February 8, 2020 – Setting the score to beat in the MARS Eventing Showcase, Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous showed their partnership is still strong on Saturday, February 8, at Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

Forty combinations started the dressage phase competition, but it was Little and RF Scandalous, a 2005 Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Richardia x Lario) owned by Jacqueline B. Mars and Phoebe and Michael Manders, who took the lead with 19.40 penalties.

It was a very solid test for RF Scandalous, who is back in competition form after having off in 2019.

“She was so with me from start to finish,” said Little. “She’s just a supernatural horse that way. She came back at Ocala and was very fresh in November. Today she picked up from where she left off before. Not many horses would have a break and come back better versions of themselves than before. She’s a great competitor, and she understands the sport. The fitness is a big thing for us. We’ve been pushing on this. She’s stronger, has a stronger topline.”

The riders performed the five-star B test, which will be the one used at the 2020 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. Little noted, “Getting to ride the test we’re going to see in Kentucky is a huge leg up for our riders. I got some pointers from my test that I will use in the lead-up to Kentucky to know how to train this test better. There [are] still some points on the table that we hope to pick up in Kentucky.”

Little praised the program of high performance Eventing with US Equestrian. “We’re in a national program that’s really making a big effort to support the riders in every phase,” she said. “I felt an incredible amount from that today, and I think it’s working. The scores seem to be improving. Everything really went according to plan with the way that [U.S. Performance Director for Eventing] Erik [Duvander] and I had mapped it out.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to be here and be in this environment,” continued Little of being in Wellington. “As [the MARS Eventing Showcase] works its way into people’s programs, as riders we’re going to be able to use it better and better to our advantage. I hope that it sticks because it can really be a game-changer for our program.”

For more results and information on the MARS Eventing Showcase, along with ride times, live scoring, and the live stream, please visit https://pbiec.coth.com/article/50000-mars-eventing-showcase.

Ashley Holzer Is Unstoppable on New Grand Prix Horse in AGDF Week 5

Ashley Holzer (USA) and Mango Eastwood. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – February 8, 2020 – Ashley Holzer (USA) made her debut on the international stage with Mango Eastwood this week, the fifth week of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida. In an auspicious start to the pair’s CDI career, they led both the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Fair Sky Farm, as well as the previous day’s qualifying grand prix.

Ashley Holzer — who rode for Canada for many years, including at four Olympic Games — switched nationalities three years ago and teamed up with Mango Eastwood two years ago. The pair earned 74.128%, edging out compatriot Nick Wagman on Beverly Gepfer’s 11-year-old Johnson gelding Don John (73.064%), who also finished second in the qualifying grand prix. The top two spots were filled by the two youngest horses in the class.

Sabine Schut-Kery, who was first of the 15 combinations to go, rounded out the all-American podium riding Alice Womble’s 14-year-old San Remo stallion, Sanceo. They pulled off a much-improved performance to post 71.532% following a disappointing showing in the qualifying grand prix, where they finished 14th on 65.935%.

Holzer was delighted with Mango Eastwood’s performance, particularly as the horse was originally destined to be ridden by his owner, Diane Fellows: “We bought him from Jordi Domingo in Spain for Di to ride. Then I stole him from Di. He was a green grand prix horse and I thought he’d be a good schoolmaster for her, because at the time he was so quiet and steady. But as we started working him a bit more, and he got hotter and hotter and hotter instead of quieter and quieter so I said to Di, ‘I think I need to ride him now’. It’s been a bit of a journey getting him ready because he got quite spicy as he got fitter.”

Watch Ashley Holzer’s winning test here. Courtesy of Richard’s Equine Video.

The bouncy black gelding by Wynton made two small mistakes in the test, losing the clarity at the end of both canter half-passes, but Holzer was not concerned by the green errors.

“When I was half-passing he didn’t want to go to the judges’ stand,” she said. “I told him he had to keep going, but I was slow to react and he was a bit tired at that point. Had I gunned it a bit more forward from the beginning then maybe it would have been okay, but I wanted to be conservative because he hasn’t done all this before so I didn’t want to over-tax him. They were stupid mistakes and the horse was giving all he could give. He’s a lovely animal and I’m very lucky to have him.”

Holzer and her husband Rusty relocated from Manhattan to Wellington, Florida two years ago. “It was always a dream of mine to live here,” added the 56-year-old. “I love it here and Global is really the reason we moved down here. At the time, to be able to compete internationally with amazing judges on great footing, with atmosphere, was not so easy to find in North America and this is really a great place to show horses. If I can get Mango round here and under lights at night for the freestyle too, it’s a great, secure feeling to then take him to Europe to some bigger shows. We are so fortunate to have this facility and Wellington is an amazing horse community with so many generous professionals who can help you. I am learning more and more all the time — even though I’m no spring chicken.”

Mango’s next start is scheduled for the three-star grand prix classes in week seven (February 19-23), which also hosts five-star competition.

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

Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper Showcase Spectacular Freestyle in AGDF Week 3

Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – February 7, 2020 – It was the second last to go who captured the imagination of judges and the crowd alike in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, presented by Helgstrand Dressage. Steffen Peters (USA) and the 18.2hh Suppenkasper showed a jaw-dropping degree of difficulty in their winning test — including a canter pirouette into piaffe into walk — to claim the winner’s cooler with a new personal best of 83.495%. Their previous best was 80.99%, awarded in California in April 2019.

In cool conditions but under clear skies, 15 combinations battled it out in week five’s showcase class under lights at the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) finished second on Lonoir (79.365%), with Denmark’s Agnete Kirk Thinggaard filling third with 77.635% on Blue Hors Zatchmo. Both the top two horses were bought through class sponsor Helgstrand Dressage, who has recently opened a new sales barn near the AGDF venue in Wellington.

Of his test on the 18.2hh son of Spielberg, Peters said: “It felt wonderful. I knew when the music started and he was still walking — usually we’re piaffing and passaging with one hind leg going to the moon — from then on I knew there was a very good chance that he would just stand still. From there he was right with the music the entire time.

“This is one of those freestyles that I’ve visualized for many days — many mornings, many nights, throughout dark times — and it worked out beautifully,” added the 55-year-old, whose result qualified him for the FEI World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas in April. “There were a few tears that I wiped away. I kept telling Mopsie, ‘It looks like we’re going to Vegas.’ I told him that a bunch of times, but I think I was a bit more excited about it than he was. The bottom line is that it’s a huge accomplishment and something we dreamed of every single day. It’s hard to describe what that feels like when you go through a difficult time and your horse is so therapeutic.

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

Peters rode to a new soundtrack and floorplan, but the canter music is that same as he used for Ravel, on whom he won the FEI World Cup™ Final in 2009. He will remain in Wellington and contest the CDI5* in week seven (February 19-23) and the Nations Cup show in week 10 (March 10-15) before returning home to California.

He added: “There were difficult movements tonight, but the relaxation of this horse was tremendous. It is always an amazing pleasure to ride here. It was eight years ago today at the World Dressage Masters that I won in Wellington. I’ve never won the freestyle here and the experience was amazing. I was excited to go back on the long side [after the test] to shake a few hands, and that felt really good. There are only so many of us, but there were hundreds of spectators and they made it happen. We’re only a small part of it, and it felt good to give a little bit back to them.”

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

Steffen Peters Is King of the Grand Prix with New Personal Best to Open Week 5 of AGDF

Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – February 6, 2020 – It was a head-to-head between two titans in the FEI Grand Prix CDI-W, presented by Helgstrand Dressage. The two as-yet unbeaten USA pairings of Steffen Peters (Suppenkasper) and Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (Lonoir) tussled for the top spot on the opening day’s action of week five of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

It was Peters, the last to go of the 23 combinations, who stamped his authority on the class, claiming victory with a new personal best of 76.869% on Four Winds Farm’s 18.2hh gelding by Spielberg — including a high score of 79.13% from Swiss judge Hans Voser. The test was peppered with eights and nines for a wide variety of the high-quality work.

“Every show has been getting a little bit better,” said the 55-year-old California rider, who has built the giant horse’s confidence brick by brick in the early part of the AGDF 2020 season. “I was super excited because in the walk I heard the tents flapping, but ‘Mopsie’ didn’t hear it and that’s a huge step forward because that really threw him off the first week when we competed here. The Wellington arena is the plan to give him the exposure for the future.

“When a horse is this rideable, so soft in the contact, so perfect in the frame, he goes forward at any time, he comes back at any time, he goes sideways at any time so easily — so extremely rideable — it’s a feeling that you can’t give less then a 10,” he added. “I wish the judges could experience the incredible feeling that this horse can give.”

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

Despite career-high scores, Peters feels that there is still even more to come from the 12-year-old as he continues to gain in confidence in the ring: “It’s super exciting to get a 79% from one judge. Both Debbie [McDonald] and I feel that there might be an 80% in there and it doesn’t hurt to dream about and visualise that. The goal is there.”

The top 15 combinations from this class return on Friday night to contest the FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Helgstrand Dressage, to music under lights and in front of packed stands.

Friday night’s freestyle will present unique challenges for the incredibly sensitive and reactive Suppenkasper, but Peters asserts that everyone will know right away how the horse is coping with the atmosphere: “The first halt will tell everything,” he explained. “If I get him to stand still right at the beginning of the arena, we’re starting with a huge extended trot, then coming to the piaffe. If those early movements work, I think most likely we’re in good shape. But it’s a huge hurdle.

“If it goes great, then that’s the ticket to the World Cup™ Final in Vegas [in April]. Some people say you can’t talk that way or you’ll jinx it, but I’ve learnt to dream more, visualize more — and why shouldn’t it happen tomorrow night? I have amazing memories from 2009 [when Peters won the Final on Ravel] and I look at the picture on my phone of me holding up that World Cup trophy every single morning. I have a certain routine from lots of coaches and I listen to people like Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey, and Morgan Freeman who motivate me. I go through that routine every single morning,” concluded Peters, who was on the bronze medal-winning USA team at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

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