Tag Archives: Adequan Global Dressage Festival

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.

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.

Stunning Turnaround for Foco Loco W in Opening Day of Week Five at AGDF

Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – February 7, 2018 – The FEI Grand Prix CDI3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, marked a watershed moment for the winner, the Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz. Her performance with Foco Loco W was worlds apart from their 2016 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) experience at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida, where they were eliminated in their first grand prix test.

For this test, there were no wobbles and the pair logged 71.087% – the only combination out of 15 to score over 70% – in the class, which served as a qualifier for Friday afternoon’s three-star freestyle to music. It was the horse’s first ever international win.

Losos de Muñiz, who first sat on Foco Loco three years ago while she was visiting a yard to look at another horse, had major spooking issues with him in the ring between 2014 and the 2016 Rio Olympics, and despite the horse’s talent, their scores hovered around the low 60s.

“When I got him I had all the faith in the world in him,” explained Losos de Muñiz, who spends summers in Northern Spain and winters in Florida. “He was super difficult and I wasn’t able to manage him. He was an orphan foal, and some of his problems could stem from that.”

She sent him to Danish Olympian Andreas Helgstrand’s barn for a couple of weeks to sell, but when she visited and rode him again, Helgstrand told her that he didn’t understand why she wanted to sell him and wouldn’t be able to find a more talented replacement horse, so she should persevere. Losos de Muñiz decided not to sell him, and spent five months in Spain getting to know – and trust – him again. After Spain’s Borja Carrascosa competed the 13-year-old Belgian warmblood gelding after the Rio Olympics – proving that he was capable of over 70% – Losos de Muñiz took over the competitive reins once again, and has scored over 70% in all three of the horse’s international grand prix tests.

“This win was better than making the Olympics,” said Losos de Muñiz, 50. “When I landed that last halt from the sky high passage, I knew we’d nailed it. We’ve had so many problems over the last few years, but he stayed with me in there. I was stubborn to stick with him, but there’s no better feeling than knowing that I was right to keep going. He has so much power it’s hard to describe and, when you can control it, it’s a pretty amazing feeling.”

Losos de Muñiz plans to campaign Foco Loco at the next CDI in Wellington in two weeks.

“I really want to confirm that this wasn’t just a fluke,” she added.

In the Prix St Georges CDI3*, presented by Rowan O’Riley, only one combination achieved the magic 70%: Jennifer Baumert (USA) and Handsome, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Hochadel x Weltmeyer. Their 71.118% was in a league of its own and topped the 13-strong class with relative ease. The horse, Handsome, is owned by Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano, who also owns Adrienne Lyle’s top ride, Salvino.

Baumert and Handsome have a busy week ahead, as they will also contest the three-star intermediate 1 and intermediate 1 freestyle classes in the next few days. The pair is so far unbeaten in their three starts at this year’s AGDF.

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

Week Three of AGDF Wraps Up with a New Small Tour Star Proving Unbeatable

Heather Blitz’s Praestemarkens Quatero impresses to finish the week with his third win, in the Intermediate I Freestyle with 73.6%. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 28, 2018 – Local rider Heather Blitz made it three victories from three starts in week three of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), an annual 12-week dressage circuit at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

The smile on Heather Blitz’s face when talking about Praestemarkens Quatero is a clear indication of how highly she rates the nine-year-old, winner of the Intermediate I Freestyle CDI3* class, presented by Triple Crown Nutrition, with 73.6%. And it’s with good reason.

“I knew his dam by Rohdiamant while I was living in Denmark and suggested to his breeder, Inger Recht, that she use the stallion Quaterback on her,” she explained. “I moved back the US, but when ‘Q Ball’ was six, they asked if I’d like to try him. When I sat on him he felt like he was already my horse; like putting on a familiar pair of jeans.”

Their small tour freestyle began with halt to canter, and included extended canters down the center line into tight pirouettes, flying changes on tight, curving lines and shoulder-in performed on the center line. The only blip was a stride of canter in the trot half-pass right, but they were on the beat of the music throughout and it was more than enough to convince the judges to award victory to the pair.

Imported to the U.S. in early 2015, Praestemarkens Quatero has been in trying with Blitz in Florida and the two have been building a strong rapport. That bond appears rock solid as they have won eight of their nine CDI starts.

“Q Ball is extremely powerful with a big personality and always wants to give 120%. But the power works in his favor, and he now trusts that I know what I’m doing. His confidence is growing with each test,” added Blitz, 49, who credits work out of the saddle including yoga, Pilates, weight lifting and cardio, for her ability to “keep up with the youngsters in the sport”.

Their next stop, after a couple of rest weeks, is the CDI in Tryon, North Carolina in mid-April, where Blitz will also be coaching her pupil, Paralympian Annie Peavy, who will contest the CPEDI the same weekend.

Second-placed Eliane Cordia van Reesema (USA) was also riding a nine-year-old, her own Cristallo gelding, Codiak, who scored 71.725%. Canada’s Tom Dvorak finished in third on Ribot with 71.25%.

In the amateur division Intermediate I CDI class, Sonia Zügel and Hemingway (her own 14-year-old by His Highness) claimed the blue ribbon with 63.647% ahead of Amanda Lopez’s two rides, who both finished on 63.059%. She took second on Taranco and third on Quantum, split on collectives alone.

This concludes week three of the 12-week 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) – an annual circuit at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Florida, that boasts seven CDI competitions. The next is the showcase contest, the CDI5*, which runs February 8-11, and features top names including Laura Graves and Adrienne Lyle.

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

Adrienne Lyle Showcases Her New Shooting Star in Week Three of AGDF

Adrienne Lyle and Salvino. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 27, 2018 – Adrienne Lyle picked up another winner’s blanket for Salvino when winning the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Horseware Ireland, at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). This was added to the one they scooped two days previously for winning the grand prix at the home of the ADGF, Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Lyle and the 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion (by Sandro Hit x Donnerhall), owned by Elizabeth Juliano, chalked up 75.234%, which would have been even higher had it not been for a jog in the walk, eliciting fives from all five judges. The stallion’s energy and ability, both for his extraordinary ability to collect, yet to relax just a moment later, drew many admirers, and higher yet scores could well be on the horizon.

“We’re pretty green still in the special as he hasn’t done too many of them, but the effort he’s putting in in the ring is phenomenal, and it’s now just a matter of smoothing it out and him understanding what we want and when, because he’s always so eager to offer it all up in there,” said Lyle, who trains with Debbie MacDonald and was quick to praise her input in their stellar progression. “Every time he goes in there, he tries harder and that’s very special.”

Despite being a stallion, ‘Vinny’ leads a normal home life, going in the paddock, hacking, doing cavalettis and riding around the jumper fields. His temperament and ability in the ring mean he could be a very valuable addition to senior teams over the coming years.

“The most exciting thing about him, and I’ve heard this from a couple of judges too, is that there’s not one thing that’s a weak point and could only be a seven. As he gets stronger, we’ll see where the scores go. But there’s not one thing where he’s plateaued yet – or even come close to plateauing,” added Lyle, 33.

The partnership was formed almost three years ago, though they have competed in only four CDIs to date as Lyle spent the first year gelling with the horse in training. The main aim for the season is the upcoming FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina in September, though Lyle has not ruled out contesting an FEI World Cup qualifier class. Their next show will be the CDI5* AGDF show (February 8-11), where a host of top names will be competing.

Canada’s Megan Lane improved on her third-place finish in the grand prix, sneaking ahead of Shelly Francis (USA) and Doktor. Lane rode her own 17-year-old Caravella (by Contango x Riverman) to 72.383%. Caravella was bred by Jill Irving, who also contested the class, riding Degas 12.

Locally-based rider Heather Blitz (USA) once again dominated the small tour ranks with the up-and-coming nine-year-old Praestemarkens Quatero, topping the Intermediate I CDI3* class, presented by Triple Crown Nutrition. She has been riding the gelding by Quarterback for three years, but only launched his international career earlier this month, in the opening week of the AGDF. Every judge but one rewarded their I-1 test with over 70%, and they finished on 70.824%. Their third and final class of the week will be the Intermediate I Freestyle CDI3*, where the pair will seek to emulate their winning form from week one, where they toped the class with 75%.

Susan Pape (GBR) continued her run of success with the nine-year-old stallion Harmony’s Eclectisch, winning the Intermediate I CDI1* unanimously with 69.412%. The victory means the new partnership – formed at the end of 2017 – are unbeaten in both their international starts after choosing to make their international debut at AGDF.

Two of the three horses in the amateur Prix St Georges CDI class were ridden by American rider Amanda Lopez, and they filled the top two spots. She claimed a 64.167% victory on her own Quantum, a 14-year-old Swedish warmblood by Quite Easy.

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

Laura Graves Posts Highest Ever AGDF Score in Week Three

Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 26, 2018 – Laura Graves and Verdades comfortably captured the FEI World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle presented by US P.R.E. Association with a mesmerizing performance on her own and Curt Maes’ 2016 Rio Olympic team bronze medalist, Verdades. The pair’s emphatic 84.675% is the best score ever given at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF).

Ranked fourth in the world, Graves and Verdades’ floorplan exudes complexity, and includes passage half-pass, two-time changes on a curve melting into one-times and ultra-steep trot half-passes.

“He is such a hot horse that I rode him three times today,” said Graves, 30, who trains with Debbie MacDonald. “We brought him out at lunch time and with the wind he was a little crazy and we were a little concerned as we know what he can be like. But I am excited about this score – and the score from the grand prix [79.63%].”

Graves crafted the test, which carries a high degree of difficulty, for the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy when she was unexpectedly selected.

“I was thrown into the fish tank that year, so I studied all the other riders’ floorplans. And the music comes from Rudy, a football movie about an underdog kid,” said Graves, who admitted that she had actually arrived at the show without her music and had to have a new copy burned.

Although this was their third highest score ever, Graves will be altering the floorplan ahead of the CDI5* AGDF show (February 8-11).

“He’s such a clever horse that he guesses what’s going to happen, which is why we’re going to change it,” she explained.

The podium order was unchanged from the previous day’s grand prix: Sweden’s seven-time Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén filled second on Lövsta Stuteri’s 15-year-old gelding Paridon Magi (by Don Primero) with 79.05%, while home rider Shelly Francis partnered Patricia Stempel’s ever-improving 14-year-old Danilo, by De Niro, to third place with 76.15%.

Vilhelmson Silfvén had to ride in one of the rain squalls that passed over.

“Magi felt extremely electric, and it’s hard to ride outside when there’s a lot of wind – the rain is okay – but generally the test felt really good. He’s a fun horse to ride in the freestyle because you can do difficult things on him,” she said.

Francis said: “I’m so happy with my horse; he’s getting much more honest in there. He’s hot, but he’s now using the hot to come to work with me. We had a little mistake in the one tempis, but he came right back to me.”

All three riders are aiming to qualify for the FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Paris in April and, ultimately, the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon in September.

American judge Janet Foy, who was presiding from C, said: “Two of us judges here are also judging at the World Cup final – plus we’ve done other qualifiers in Europe – and these top three rides were wonderful and would fit right in in Paris.”

During the freestyle break, Danish Olympic rider Andreas Helgstrand – who has recently set up a sales barn in Wellington – gave a masterclass for spectators featuring PRE horses. American under-25 rider Kerrigan Gluch and Danish team member Mikala Münter were the test riders, with Münter riding 73-year-old Janne Rumbough’s grey international grand prix horse Junior ahead of his imminent retirement.

Heather Blitz (USA) bolstered Praestemarkens Quatero’s 2018 resumé further by landing the day’s Prix St Georges CDI3* class, presented by Triple Crown Nutrition, adding to their two small tour wins in week one of the 2018 AGDF. In this class, Blitz was the only rider to crack 70%, scoring 70.324% on her own nine-year-old Danish warmblood by Quaterback. The combination boasts six wins from their seven CDI small tour starts.

Two judges had the second-placed Norwegian combination of Alexandra Gamlemshaug Andresen and her own nine-year-old Empire B (by Sting x OO Seven) as the winners. This promising duo were stepping out into senior international ranks for the first time, having been on the youth circuit, culminating in the European Championships for young riders in August in Roosendaal, France. Andresen, who is just 21, scored 69.676%.

British rider Susan Pape’s Prix St Georges CDI1* winner Harmony’s Eclectisch has an equally sparse competition history, but roared to victory with a final total of 69.529%, including a high score from the M judge, Janet Foy, who awarded 74.265%.

The nine-year-old black licensed stallion by Zenon x Olivi was acquired in November by American dressage sponsor Leslie Malone of Harmony Sport Horses, having previously been owned by Andreas Helgstrand, among others.

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

Laura Graves and Verdades Stamp Their Authority on Week Three of AGDF

Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 25, 2018 – Laura Graves and Verdades ensured an electric start to week three of the 12-week 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). The American duo won the FEI World Cup Grand Prix, presented by US P.R.E. Association, in emphatic style, scoring 79.63% at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

The score would have been over 80% – achieved twice by them in this test at the 2017 AGDF – but for a leap into canter from passage just before the final halt. Graves’ riding received nines from all five judges, and the 16-year-old gelding by Florett As was bursting with energy.

“This is my first show out this season,” said Graves, 30. “I was super pleased with my horse, so for the first time back in almost six months to pick up where we left off and I think maybe improving some things, is just fantastic.

“I normally wait until the last show of the season to try something new, but this year I decided to try it at the first show. ‘Diddy’ gets so hot on the final center line so I tried bringing him back a little more but he got even hotter, and when I touched him with my leg he over-reacted,” she explained.

Graves and Verdades – who was awarded the title of 2017 Adequan®/USDF Grand Prix Horse of the Year – are fourth on the world rankings and she is gunning for the FEI World Cup Dressage Final in April and the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon in September. She also praised the scale of the AGDF.

“It’s amazing to see two full grands prix going here today, and really impressive to see so many Americans scoring well. Everyone has our eyes on Tryon and another team medal.”

Graves’ coach Debbie MacDonald had another reason to be cheerful when another of her students, Adrienne Lyle, captured the FEI CDI3* Grand Prix, presented by Horseware Ireland, on the same day.

Not only did the 11-year-old Salvino post a new international grand prix high score of 74.543% at just his fourth CDI under the USA’s Lyle, but in the meantime the rider also logged a new career best CDI grand prix score. She was awarded a nine for the final halt and for her riding from judge Janet Foy of the USA.

The charming Sandro Hit x Donnerhall stallion – now owned solely by Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano – was found in Spain, and his only FEI records before teaming up with Lyle were in young horse classes.

“We hadn’t been in the ring since Aachen [in July],” said Lyle. “We’ve been home in Idaho and then training down here. We debated a little about doing a national show as I felt it had been a long time out of the ring, but so far he’s been really good – he’s solid in his mind that way. He got a little hot going around the ring, but in a good way.

“I was really pleased with his energy and his effort and we’re getting to a place now where he can maintain the whole package reliably,” she continued. “He’s the best horse I’ve ever sat on quality-wise. He’s got an incredible ability to collect but can also relax; he’s got all the parts you need. If he understands what you want, he does it for you every single time.”

Foy, who was presiding from C, said: “The greenness lost Salvino a few marks, but it was a really, really fun test to watch and Adrienne rode it beautifully; you don’t see the aids. And there are lots of areas where the 7.5s could be nines in the future.”

Lyle and Salvino will participate in the CDI5* show (February 8-11), and the pair is crafting a new freestyle routine, with the year’s major competition aim being the WEG on home soil.

The 3* produced two WEG qualifying scores, for Israel’s Sahar Daniel Hirosh on Whitman – who scored 66.522% – and Japan’s Rio Olympics duo of Kiichi Harada and Egistar, who chalked up 66.261% on the pair’s first visit to the AGDF. The Philippines’ Ellesse Tzinberg also achieved a qualifying score on Triviant 2 in the FEI World Cup class, of exactly 66%.

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

US Para-Dressage Displays Readiness in Wellington CPEDI3* for World Equestrian Games

Wellington, FL – January 25, 2018 – U.S. Para-Dressage had one of their most successful showcases at the 2018 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). After earning the Team Gold at the AGDF Week 0 CPEDI3* (Jan 4-7), U.S. riders returned to AGDF Week 2 CPEDI3* (January 18-21) for their second win. Twenty-five horse and rider combinations from the USA and Canada competed over the second week of Para-Dressage competition including riders from Grade I-V. Riders brought forward their best tests in front of the FEI Ground Jury including Elke Ebert (GER) Kristi Wysocki (USA), and Carlos Lopes (POR). Para-Equestrians performed under unseasonable Florida weather in The Stadium attaining high scores over the three days. Team USA included Sydney Collier and Western Rose, Katie Jackson and Royal Dancer, Annie Peavy and Royal Dark Chocolate, and Kate Shoemaker and Solitaer 40. The USA Team was led by Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt with US Equestrian Head of Para-Dressage Coach Development and High Performance Programs Michel Assouline. Securing the high score overall individual award was Rebecca Hart with her new mount El Corona Texel. Obtaining the reserve championship individual was Annie Peavy and Royal Dark Chocolate. The AGDF 2018 shows were a chance for athletes to earn their FEI certificates of capability for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. USPEA wants to thank all of the sponsors including Mission Control, Rowan O’Riley supporting athletes in the USPEA and US Equestrian, and Cargill. They would also like to acknowledge the staff and volunteers at the AGDF and US Equestrian for their hard work to create two spectacular CPEDI3*.

Hope Hand, President of the USPEA, added, “The above US Para-Dressage Team photo speaks ‘Success’ at all levels. With the support from US Equestrian and USPEA, our Team, which includes everyone involved, no matter how small a part you may have played, was a key contributor to the growth and success of the US Para-Dressage Program. Thank you all for making us proud to be a member of your Team. Keep sharing the ‘Joy’ with your wonderful horses, two hearts are unbeatable.”

Following the successful AGDF riders will prepare for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 Test events and CPEDI3* scheduled April 19-22, 2018, at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina (USA). Athletes will then head to the Invitational Training Event and Mock Competition, June 28 – July 8, 2018, at Wheatland Farm in Purcellville, VA. This will prepare the U.S. Team for the final endeavor of 2018 the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon September 11-23, 2018.

About selection for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018:

Horse and rider combinations have through August 13, 2018, to secure their FEI Certificates of Capabilities and earn an FEI nominated entry.

FEI Nominated Entries will be named after the Invitational Training Event and Mock Competition but no later than August 13, 2018, and based upon the procedures set forth herein, the Selectors, in consultation with the U.S. High Performance Consultant, Chef d’Equipe and Team Veterinarian, and USEF High Performance Human Sports Science and Medicine personnel will recommend a WEG Team of at least four (4) athlete/horse combinations and up to the maximum number of horses and athletes able to be nominated under FEI Rules for the Event for the “Short List/FEI Nominated Entry” subject to recommendation of the USEF Para-Equestrian Sport Committee, and the approval of the Board of Directors or an Ad Hoc Selection Group approved by the Board of Directors. Such list will be submitted to the FEI as the Nominated Entry no later than the closing date for the Short List/FEI Nominated Entry. The Short List/FEI Nominated Entry of at least four athlete/horse combinations will be named as follows in accordance with FEI Rules for Para-Equestrian Dressage Events. Each team consists of four Athletes and four (4) Horses, or three (3) Athletes and three (3) Horses. One (1) team member must be classified Grade I, II or III. A Team may not include more than two (2) Athletes from any one (1) Grade. In a team composed of four (4) Athletes the three (3) best total scores only count for the team result.

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.

To view an online version of this press release, please visit: http://uspea.org/category/recent-uspea-press-news/.