Tag Archives: Laura Graves

Laura Graves and Verdades Mark Historic Night in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO 3*

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Juan Matute Jr. Sweeps Small Tour with Win in FEI Intermediaire I CDIO 3*

Wellington, FL – April 1, 2016 – Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades made history tonight at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), as the pair earned an 82.800% from the judging panel for the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO 3* presented by Stillpoint Farm, the highest score ever earned at the facility in international competition. Graves and Verdades were followed by their Nations’ Cup teammates Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) and Goerklintgaards Dublet, who also scored above 80%, with an 81.325%. Belinda Trussell (CAN) and Anton finished in third place with a 76.350%.

Competition at AGDF concludes Saturday with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDI 1*, presented by YellowBird Farm, the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*, presented by Harmony Sporthorses, and the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, presented by Harmony Sporthorses.

Graves and Verdades sent the crowd into a roaring cheer after they halted for their final salute, performing a fluid, harmonious, and accurate test. Graves and Verdades have been one of the United States’ strongest combinations for nearly two years and tonight, the pair not only added a facility record to their accolades this season, but also reached a new personal best in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle.

“It’s amazing. It’s obviously a goal we have every time we go into the arena, and it was an incredible atmosphere here tonight,” said Graves. “I could not ask for a better high to end our season with, team gold, individual gold, and a several personal bests. It’s very exciting, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of this year with the amazing Team USA we’re creating.”

Graves rode to her new freestyle with Verdades for only the second time so far this season, earning a massive 82.800%, while Graves noted there are still places of improvement in the test. When asked what the most challenging or technical part of her test would be, Graves commented that she tailors the difficulty of the choreography to the strengths and weakness of “Diddy”.

“Your first year at Grand Prix you’re learning what your strengths are and what your horse’s strengths are. The more times you do that, the more you learn, the faster you learn, and the better you can make decisions,” she explained. “This new freestyle is very similar choreography to our last, but we did put in the risk where we felt comfortable, with where this horse could succeed.”

Watch Laura Graves and Verdades set new AGDF record with an 82.800% in Nations’ Cup Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO 3* here!

“You want to add difficulty in a way that you’re not going to over-face your horse or actually make your choreography look difficult,” she continued. “The biggest risk for us is taking the two-tempis on the circle and then going into the one-tempis. We do it twice. It’s a lot of counting, but he’s pretty honest. You have to play on your horse’s strengths and make them feel confident where they’re weak.”

Graves’ music change was inspired by her love for the movie “Rudy,” which provides the musical soundtrack for her freestyle. The message derived from the famous movie is something that Graves personally connects with. She explained, “My final centerline, which is my favorite part of the entire freestyle, is to the music they play when they finally put Rudy in the game and let him play.”

Perry-Glass has amassed impressive scores in her first year at Large Tour with Goerklintgaards Dublet, but tonight, the pair hit a new stride, scoring a personal best of 81.325% to take second place behind teammates Graves and Verdades. It was an emotional night for Perry-Glass, as her effort and determination to reach the top levels of the sport have made her a breakout star on the AGDF circuit this season.

“First I want to thank all of the sponsors, Adequan®, Stillpoint Farm, Tim Dutta and The Dutta Corporation, my coach Debbie McDonald, my mom,” Perry said, wiping tears from her eyes at the press conference. “I’m so blessed. I couldn’t have asked for a better year.”

Perry-Glass and “Dublet” have worked towards reaching a point where they both felt comfortable and confident in the ring as they experienced Grand Prix for the first time together. Exceeding all expectations, the pair has become a strong and consistent force in Large Tour competition.

“I think at the beginning of the season I went into the ring knowing that this was my first season at Grand Prix and I never went into my rides thinking I’m going to go for it,” she explained. “When I would come out of the ring, Robert [Dover] would say to me that I needed to go there a bit more. It was a certain sense of progression through the season. Dublet and I really formed a relationship where we’re having a conversation in the ring.”

“He knows and trusts me enough to push him. He showed that tonight. I put my leg on a little bit and he said ‘How high?'” expressed Perry-Glass. “I think things are only going to get better for us, and I believe in that. I think that we both are very patient and in it for the long haul. Keeping him happy and healthy is my goal right now.”

Representing Canada, Trussell and Anton secured their first-ever individual medal in Nations’ Cup competition, while they too reached a personal best score tonight. With several consistent performances in Large Tour this season at AGDF, Trussell was thrilled with their end to the circuit, as well as with their freestyle under the lights.

“I’m so excited to be on the podium. It has always been a goal for me to try to be an individual medalist and to do that I’m thrilled. This was my first time to be an individual medalist,” noted Trussell.

“Anton was a little bit wound tonight and he gets a little bit tight, but also more expressive, so that’s nice. He was really again with me. I’m always so blessed with this horse that whenever he gets like that, he still stays with me. It’s thrilling to be here, and I’m proud to be representing Canada alongside these two great Americans. This is a super show, and I can’t thank Tuny [Page], Stillpoint Farm, Adequan®, and all of the sponsors enough for making this what it is.”

Judge Stephen Clarke of Great Britain believes that dressage in the North America, but especially in the United States, is on the upward swing, as he was incredibly moved by the performances of the top three competitors.

“During that class, the hair on the back of my neck was standing up. It was just fantastic,” commented Clarke. “I think the level was amazing, and you guys just really went for it. We saw such harmony, risk-taking, and really a high degree of difficulty, with beautiful musical interpretation. It just was a super class. For me it was very fun to judge.

“That is what is so exciting for the sport because worldwide, every country you go to, it’s getting better and better. Here, I think the progress to have these really young riders suddenly coming with such beautiful riding and artistry, it’s really a joy to watch. I think this country is very exciting at the moment,” he continued.

Representing Stillpoint Farm and also finishing in fourth place in the individual portion of competition, Arlene “Tuny” Page commented on Stillpoint Farm’s continued support of the FEI Nations’ Cup competition at AGDF, and what it was like to ride for Team USA throughout the week.

“Stillpoint Farm is one of the many sponsors and many people who put not just their money and their expertise, but their time and effort, into this. It takes that kind of teamwork to make a venue like this work and bring the kind of atmosphere to this place. I’m very proud to be in that group. Many of them are here celebrating tonight and for us it’s a great opportunity to be a part of it. I’m very grateful.”

As for her ride aboard Woodstock in tonight’s class, Page finished the evening with a 75.925%, adding another personal best score to tonight’s historic competition at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

“I’m thrilled with my horse tonight. He was very honest and very brave out there. I’m happy for our personal best, but most importantly, I have a happy, healthy horse who was very consistent throughout the week. That makes me feel very good moving forward towards Europe,” expressed Page.

It has been a year of massive growth for the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, as entry numbers reached record highs, and the quality of horse and rider combinations shows more promise with each year. Allyn Mann, representative for Adequan®, noted that historic milestones, as seen tonight at AGDF, are not possible without an array of people who help to bring the show together.

“It really comes down to being part of a much bigger picture for us. Laura, Kasey, Belinda, these are the true stars and their horses are just amazing animals,” stated Mann. “For Tuny, to be up here as a fourth place finisher and personal bests for all four of our riders sitting here, how cool is that, to end a show the way that we did with tonight? We’re just a piece of the puzzle. We’re very honored to be a part of this. I love this community and all of these owners, riders, and their horses. I feel so blessed to be here.”

Adequan® has sponsored a number of special awards this season recognizing the owners, riders, and grooms who are truly the backbone of the sport. Tonight, Adequan® recognized Elizabeth Juliano of Havensafe Farm, owner of Horizon, ridden by Adrienne Lyle, who earned the AGDF 10 National Show High Score award for their 77.059%. Jane Wareham was awarded with the FEI Prix St. Georges Owner Award for Svalegards De Luxe and rider Lars Petersen’s win in the FEI Prix St. Georges CDI 1* presented by YellowBird Farm. Laura Graves, owner and groom for Verdades, accepted the Grand Prix Freestyle Owner Award presented by Adequan®, as well as the Groom’s Initiative Award presented by Michael Stone, President of Equestrian Sport Production on behalf of Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners.

Thomas Baur, Director of Sport at AGDF, has been an essential component of AGDF and its success over the past few seasons. Baur announced that Graves and Perry-Glass now hold record scores for the facility and in the history of the competition.

“That was really an amazing last night. Thank you for this season,” said Baur.

Juan Matute Jr. Sweeps Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup Small Tour Competition with Win in FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDIO 3*, presented by Stillpoint Farm

The young Juan Matute Jr. (ESP) took a clean sweep of the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup Small Tour competition this week, as he piloted Dhannie Ymas to three consecutive wins, and captured the individual gold medal for this year’s FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDIO 3*, presented by Stillpoint Farm, with a score of 74.550%. Katharina Stumpf (AUT) and For My Love finished in second place with a 70.925%, while Raul Corchuelo (COL) and Beckham earned the bronze medal with a score of 70.900%.

Juan Matute Jr. and Dhannie Ymas
Juan Matute Jr. and Dhannie Ymas

Matute Jr. and Dhannie Ymas have competed steadily in the FEI Young Rider division offered at AGDF, and the pair have now successfully showcased their talent and poise representing their home nation of Spain in Nations’ Cup competition.

“I really enjoyed being a part of this Nations’ Cup competition. We were here in 2013 and 2014 representing Spain and it’s great to come back this year and have great success as a team and as an individual,” said Matute Jr. “Dhannie and I had a great test, and I have not felt a better test from us together. It was powerful and ambitious, but he also felt relaxed. We had an error in the collected walk; he spooked a little bit, but he felt super.

“I’m proud of our performances throughout the week,” he said. “We’re evolving everyday and getting stronger, as is our bond. I’m thrilled and very excited for the future. It’s a great way to end the season, and my team is excited to fly to Europe next month.”

Matute Jr. noted that the top three horses in the FEI I-1 Freestyle CDIO 3* were started or trained by his father, Juan Matute Guimon.

“This is a very special night for our family. We have three horses on the podium that belonged to my father as young horses, and it’s a huge success for my father as a professional. I’m very proud,” he said.

Katharina Stumpf (AUT) competed as an individual in FEI Nations’ Cup competition this year aboard For My Love, which she has successful campaigned in the open divisions at AGDF this season though she competes as an amateur.

“Thank you to all of the sponsors, officials, and people supporting me. I’m very pleased with my horse, and this whole season has been fantastic for us. We’ve gotten better and better, and it is a fantastic end to the season. I’m just so happy.”

Concluding his first season in Wellington at AGDF, Raul Corchuelo (COL) and Beckham also competed as an individual pair in competition this week, showing consistency and balance through their Small Tour performances.

“This was a very special evening for me because this is my first season in Florida, and I’m very happy with Beckham. I’m thankful to his owner who supported us to get here,” stated Corchuelo. “I’ve been working with this horse for three years now. Yesterday, lol I felt that he was a little bit behind my leg and I wanted to make sure that he wanted to do it today, and he did.”

Thomas Baur, Director of Sport at AGDF, commented on the expansion of the Small Tour competition, as well as the separation of Large Tour and Small Tour competition for individual awards, a new format that may possibly take shape for the next Pan American Games in 2019.

“For me, it’s very special because when the idea came up at the FEI General Assembly last year to split the Intermediaire I Freestyle from the Grand Prix Freestyle, I immediately jumped on board. This is also to have that idea included in the Pan American Games for 2019 and now there is a chance for other countries, outside of the USA and Canada, to go for medals,” explained Baur.

“I’m more than happy that my old friend Raul earned the bronze medal tonight because it shows that countries from Central and South America are able to go for medals,” he continued.

Neve Myburgh (GER) and Belissima 23 captured the FEI Intermediaire I CDI 1*, presented by YellowBird Farm, receiving a 72.368% to secure the win. Joanne Trout, who shows the mare in national level competitions, owns Belissima 23. Jennifer Baumert (USA) and Ramiro finished the class in second place with a 69.737%, while Jane Cleveland (USA) and Monique followed in third place earning a 69.649%.

Competition at AGDF concludes for the season Saturday, April 2, showcasing the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDI 1*, presented by YellowBird Farm, and both the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3* and FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*, presented by Harmony Sporthorses. For more information about AGDF, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 7 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations’ Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $700,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area.

Please visit
www.globaldressagefestival.com
www.pbiec.com
or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival is located at
The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
13500 South Shore Blvd, Wellington, Florida 33414

Carly Weilminster
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Graves and Perry-Glass Go One-Two in Grand Prix Freestyle at CDIO3* Wellington

Laura Graves and Verdades (SusanJStickle.com)

Wellington, Fla. – Closing out the Adequan Global Dressage Festival on a high note, Laura Graves and Kasey Perry-Glass placed first and second, respectively, in the Grand Prix Freestyle as part of the CDIO3* presented by Stillpoint Farm. The evening capped off a week of great success for The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team, who topped the podium for the fifth consecutive year in the country’s only dressage Nations Cup competition. Graves and Verdades posted their third personal best score of the week, winning the class with a score of 82.800%. Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet also added another personal best to their record, scoring 81.325% for second place. Also representing the U.S. in the Freestyle, Arlene “Tuny” Page and Woodstock scored 75.925%, tying for fourth place.

Graves (Plymouth, Fla.) and her 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding, Verdades, continued their winning ways with a spectacular Freestyle performance, becoming back-to-back double Gold medalists at CDIO3* Wellington, having topped the team and individual podiums in 2015. In a test that garnered huge cheers from the packed house at the International Arena, the pair fed off the electric atmosphere, showcasing brilliant extensions, pirouettes, piaffes, and passage. Graves added the score of 82.800% to her list of new personal bests earned this week. In team competition, Graves won the Grand Prix with a score of 76.860%, and the Grand Prix Special with a score of 78.294%.

Speaking to the feeling of marking the highest score in the history of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival tonight, Graves said, “It’s amazing. Obviously it’s a goal every time we go in the arena. It was an incredible atmosphere here tonight. I could not ask for a better high to end our season with: Team and Individual Gold medals and personal bests. Really exciting looking forward to the rest of this year and the amazing team USA we’re creating.”

Perry-Glass (Wellington, Fla.) and Diane Perry’s Goerklintgaards Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding, completed their first season at the Grand Prix level in commanding fashion. In only the second Grand Prix Freestyle of their career, the pair went into the arena with determination and were rewarded for their effortless harmony and accuracy. With a score of 81.325%, Perry-Glass not only eclipsed her previous Freestyle score, a 75.750%, but produced two personal record setting performances this week, having posted a new best score in the Grand Prix Special with a 74.882%. The pair finished second in the Grand Prix Special and the in the Grand Prix, where they scored 73.000%.

Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet (SusanJStickle.com)
Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet (SusanJStickle.com)

“I want to thank all the sponsors here tonight, my coach Debbie [McDonald], and my mom [Diane Perry] who is also my owner. I am so blessed. I could not have asked for a better year here,” said an emotional Perry-Glass. “At the beginning of the season I went in [the ring] just thinking ‘this is my first season at Grand Prix’ and never really went for it. It was a progression throughout the season and Dublet and I really formed a relationship to where I can have a conversation with him in the ring. He trusts me enough to push him enough and he showed that tonight.”

Rounding out the performances for the U.S. was Page (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Woodstock, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding. The pair, who has been having a breakout season, performed a harmonious test under the lights. Adding yet another record setting personal performance to the night, the pair earned a score of 75.925%.

Head of the Ground Jury, Stephen Clarke of Great Britain, expressed how fantastic the level of competition was this evening. “We saw such harmony, lots of risk taking, high degrees of difficulty, and beautiful music interpretation. Just really super tests.”

Belinda Trussell of Canada and Anton placed third in the class on a score of 76.350%.

Complete Grand Prix Freestyle Results

From the USEF Communications Department

Team USA Reigns at 2016 Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup CDIO 3* at AGDF

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Allison Brock and Rosevelt Continue with Consistency in FEI Grand Prix CDI 3*

Wellington, FL – March 31, 2016 – Team USA dominated the 2016 Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup CDIO 3* at Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), handily winning the competition with a total team score of 454.698. Canada finished in second place with a total score of 428.708, while Spain rounded out the top three, collecting the bronze medal with a total team score of 414.421. The Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup CDIO 3* continues Friday with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDIO 3* at 4:30 p.m. and the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO 3* beginning at 8:30 p.m. as the final “Friday Night Stars” Grand Prix Freestyle event of the 2016 AGDF season.

Shelly Francis, Laura Graves, Arlene “Tuny” Page, and Kasey Perry-Glass each represented Team USA with class and poise, with two of the four team members earning personal best scores. Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover was pleased with the team’s accuracy and finish through the two days of competition and is excited for the continued expansion and growth of dressage in the United States.

“The Nations’ Cup here in Wellington has been a tremendous competition and growing in quality each year,” said Dover. “One, I’m so thankful to the sponsors of this show, Stillpoint Farm, and of course Adequan® who is incredible, and to the managers of this show at AGDF, which is making it the mecca that it is for our sport.

“With regards to winning this competition, of course I’m extremely proud that the U.S. won this Nations’ Cup again this year, but even more importantly, I was hoping for our riders to achieve personal bests and to do better than they have been doing this season, and with each class grow more confident as we head towards Europe and the Olympics. That’s what I’m seeing from the riders both in this Nations’ Cup and the riders who were so wonderful in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3*. I couldn’t be more proud of all of them.”

Laura Graves and Verdades continued their dominance in the competition this week, picking up another major victory in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3* with a score of 78.294%, which helped to solidify Team USA’s first place finish. The duo continues to near the elusive 80% mark and seemed confident and precise in the ring in the first two days of competition.

“To be invited to ride on a team is something that you just don’t say not to. I love that we’re able to put USA on top of a podium. It’s always a nice feeling to have such a strong team to compete with. It feels very secure and it takes a lot of the pressure of competing off of yourself as an individual. You’re just riding for the team,” said Graves.

Watch Laura Graves and Verdades win the FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3* here!

“We had two personal bests in both of the tests that we just did, and I could not be more thrilled. It’s been a long season for us, and this is going to be a long competition,” continued Graves. “I’ll be pleased to take him home and give him a break before we go try to be even better in Europe.”

Arlene Page and Woodstock have had a stellar season, solidifying their partnership and showing the potential the pair has together in Large Tour competition. Page, the owner of Stillpoint Farm, has been impressed with the expansion and development of the Nations’ Cup class at AGDF over the course of the past four years and feels that it is invaluable to the circuit each year.

“I’m really proud of the season that Woodstock has had this year, and it’s been a bit of breakout year for him. We didn’t have a personal best here, but we’ve had two personal bests through the season and I’m proud of that,” commented Page. “I was very proud to be selected to be on the team and very proud to sit amongst these women. It makes it very fun.”

“He was a bit more on his game today and was a little bit more up in his carriage and just in a very good place to develop a whole lot more power and expression. When you get to stand on top of the highest podium, it’s a very good feeling,” she continued.

As the breakout stars for Team USA this season, Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet have surpassed all expectations for the pair’s first season debut in Large Tour competition. Perry-Glass represented the United States in last year’s Nations’ Cup aboard “Dublet”, but in the Small Tour classes.

“I was really proud of Dublet. Yesterday was a little bit lacking expression than today, but I was able to push him harder today and (was) really working towards going for it and finding my grit,” smiled Perry-Glass, as she looked at teammate Graves, who winked back at her. “I think that I have to remind myself that this is his first year, and he’s letting me have a conversation with him in the ring and push him more. I just want to keep him happy, and that’s my biggest goal.”

Francis and Doktor have been incredibly consistent this season, rarely straying from a top five finish. Francis is an experienced and veteran competitor for Team USA and discussed her performances with Doktor over the past two days, stating, “It’s always fun to do this type of competition as a team. I had a little bit of a tough ride yesterday and I started off going gangbusters today and then had a blank moment, but, otherwise it was still a great week and it’s exciting that we get to be in first place and go up there and get that medal.”

Team Canada, who finished in second place, was led by veteran pair Belinda Trussell and Anton, who have collected a number of wins this season at AGDF, continuously showing that they’re a reliable and competitive pair for the Canadian team.

“We’re thrilled to be second again and in great company. It’s wonderful to have a CDIO in North America with as many countries that are involved here. It is a gift that we have it in our continent and haven’t had that in the past,” said Trussell. “It’s developing each year and getting stronger, and that’s exciting. My team was great, and we felt proud to have four Grand Prix horses on the team. It was a really good Nations’ Cup for us.”

As the high point rider for the Small Tour portion of the FEI Nations’ Cup competition, Juan Matute Jr. led Spain to a third place finish. Piloting Dhannie Ymas to two high scores, Matute Jr. feels confident with the progress the pair has made over the course of this season, mostly competing in the FEI Young Rider division offered at AGDF.

“My team and I are thrilled with the results. We managed to get on the podium which was always the goal,” he said. “As for Dhannie and I, I’m very pleased with the results. It’s been a great season and this week has been a great highlight for us. A 74.5% is a great score and a personal best for us. I’m super pleased and looking forward to the future.”

Allison Brock and Rosevelt Continue with Consistency in FEI Grand Prix CDI 3*, presented by Harmony Sporthorses

Allison Brock (USA) and Rosevelt proved once again that their focus on consistency and communication so far this season is continuing to pay off as the duo earned a 73.700% in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3*, presented by Harmony Sporthorses. Brock and Rosevelt were followed by Ashley Holzer (CAN) and Breaking Dawn with a 72.680%, and Lars Petersen (DEN) and Mariett who rounded out the top three with a score of 70.980%.

Allison Brock and Rosevelt
Allison Brock and Rosevelt

Brock and Rosevelt are finally feeling the results of their hard work this season, as both horse and rider have a newfound sense of confidence in the ring together. The pair have scored above 73% in their last two outings at AGDF in the Grand Prix, and Brock is thrilled with the progression the pair has made since the FEI CDI 5* at AGDF in February.

“It was very hot out there today, and he was just really good. He was really honest and trying hard. Yeah, there were small things again, but I’m just so pleased that he’s really manning up to everything,” said Brock. “He’s showing that he’s capable of manning up despite the circumstances, whether its lightning and rain like last week or hot like today. He’s just like ‘Okay, I’ll do it.'”

“I’m really proud of him and at the same time, I think he’s really proud of himself,” she smiled.

“I loved the beginning of my test. I never want to say easy, ever, but he was taking me and he basically ran away with me in he extended canter,” laughed Brock. “I was like ‘Dude, whoa,’ and normally I can really go for it and he goes beautifully and we can come back on a dime, but today I think he thought he wanted to jump!”

Over the past three months Brock has been very candid about the progress the duo has made, despite their small blip at the CDI 5*, where Brock felt the duo did not perform up to their best potential.

“It’s nice to feel that we’re at a point where he’s trained enough, he’s old enough, and he’s seen enough,” she continued. “I’m more seasoned, and I think that is where it really starts to get better as a combination.”

P. J. Rizvi, owner of Breaking Dawn, represented Holzer at the press conference and spoke with only high praise of Holzer’s relationship with Breaking Dawn and their inspiring connection with each other in the ring.

“Ashley brings an experience and a relationship, that we both have with the horse, to the ring. The horse is pretty well loved, and I think it reflects when either of us ride him,” commented Rizvi. “Her highlight today was really the passage, piaffe and the transition. He was really moving from behind.”

Rizvi, who also competes Breaking Dawn in CDI competition herself, gives Holzer the reins when she is out of town or unable to compete. Holzer and Breaking Dawn competed for Team Canada at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England and their return to the competition ring is always special for both Holzer and Rizvi.

“Her zig zags today were perfect, which are always a challenge for me in my tests. She landed with plenty of room and her zig zags and her changes were clean. It was textbook, just perfectly executed,” she continued.

“Honestly, Ashley is like my older sister and she always looks for an opportunity to show. We both have a special relationship with the horse so when I’m gone and she wants to ride him, it’s great for me.”

Competing as an amateur, Rizvi has a strong understanding of the commitment and dedication it takes to stay at the top of the sport, and has the utmost appreciation for professionals who are able to exercise the full potential in the competition arena.

“There’s nothing better for me than seeing someone as talented as Ashley bring out the best of a horse in the ring. That’s one thing that I always look at when I watch these professionals ride. I work really hard and I love this, but what they bring out, there’s nothing more special than to see someone who’s great bring something to the next level.”

Petersen and Mariett, who finished in third place, found the heat a bit difficult, as Petersen noted he felt that he had no gas by the end of the test, which he contributed in part to a long season’s end approaching, as well as the temperatures which soared to the high 80s.

“Normally, she’s not so bad when it’s hot out, but today I just didn’t feel like we had enough energy, but you know it’s that, she’s eighteen years old, and it’s the end of season. It’s probably a combination of all of those factors I think,” said Petersen.

“I thought most of our canter tour was pretty good and I was happy with it, but I think we lacked the energy we needed in the piaffe and the passage,” he noted.

If all goes according to plan for Petersen and Mariett, the duo will look to travel to Europe this spring in hopes of competing at the Danish Championships in June.

Competition continues at AGDF Friday with the FEI Intermediaire I CDI 1*, presented by YellowBird Farm, as well as individual competition in the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup CDIO 3*, with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDIO 3* starting at 4:30 p.m. and the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO 3*, the final “Friday Night Lights” of the 2016 AGDF circuit, beginning at 8:30 p.m. For more information, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 7 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations’ Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $700,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area.

Please visit
www.globaldressagefestival.com
www.pbiec.com
or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival is located at
The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
13500 South Shore Blvd, Wellington, Florida 33414

Carly Weilminster
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Graves and Matute Jr. Lead Individual Standings at Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup CDIO 3*

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Lars Petersen and Svalegards De Luxe Claim FEI Prix St. Georges CDI 1*

Wellington, FL – March 30, 2016 – The Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup CDIO 3* began today at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), showcasing the FEI Prix St. Georges CDIO 3* and FEI Grand Prix CDIO 3* in the Van Kampen Covered Arena at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

Juan Matute Jr. (ESP) and Dhannie Ymas move into the next phase of competition leading the Small Tour division, while Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades earned big marks from the judges to secure the top place moving towards the FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3*. Team competition at AGDF concludes with the FEI Intermediaire I and FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3*, while individual awards will be recognized on Friday, April 1, following the final “Friday Night Stars” FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Stillpoint Farm, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Teams competing in the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup include the United States, Canada, Spain, Denmark, Costa Rica, and Australia.

Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) and Goerklintgaards Dublet finished the FEI Grand Prix CDIO 3* in second place with a 73.000%, while Mikala Gundersen (DEN) and My Lady captured third place with a 72.240%. For computing team scores, the Large Tour combinations are given an extra 1.5 point bonus.

Graves and Verdades received a season high 76.860% and with the added 1.5 point bonus in Large Tour CDIO competition, sit on a 78.360% moving into the FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3* class. Graves is looking forward to the Special as she will expect another strong performance from Verdades.

“The last time that the show was forced inside, we had one of our lowest scores. Coming back in, especially in a team situation when everyone is counting on you as the anchor, I kept hoping that what happened last time wasn’t a normal thing and an anomaly,” said Graves. “We really wanted to conquer that today, and we did. He was just great. He gave me that same feeling that we had in the indoor before, but I was just able to ride it better this time.”

“I thought the zig-zag was great. The canter tour and the pirouettes felt super nice as well,” she continued. “We had an unusual mistake in the walk for us, but it was totally my fault. Now when things are perfect, I start to test and see how honest he is. It was a mistake; he was a little bit too sensitive for that.”

Graves quickly commented on the importance of riding in Nations’ Cup competition, especially when representing that United States in team competition is not something one can easily take for granted. With a few small steps of jigging in the walk tour, Graves felt that she and “Diddy” left a few costly marks on the table.

“The mistake today in the walk was disappointing for me because you know you’re riding for a team. If it was just for me, I probably would have laughed it off more, but he was so good everywhere else. It just proved that we need to study there more,” explained Graves. “It an unusual thing because the walk is so delicate in the show arena, and it’s always so expensive. You don’t want to have to train it in there, but it’s really the only place you can.”

Watch Laura Graves and Verdades in the FEI Grand Prix CDIO 3* here!

“It’s a real honor to compete on a team and it’s different because no matter what, you have to show up for everybody else. As much as we can sometimes want to be down on ourselves or pick on our flaws, having a team around you makes you have to stick together and stay positive,” continued Graves, who is representing Team USA for the second consecutive year in Wellington, FL.

“You have to be there for one another. It’s amazing. This Team USA we have right now goes far beyond the Nations’ Cup team that we have here. There’s all of these American riders who show up and we watch each other ride and watch each other school. It’s nice having that camaraderie before we have to take it into a little bit bigger pond.”

Juan Matute Jr. and Dhannie Ymas impressed in the FEI Prix St. Georges CDIO 3* class with a score of 71.868%. The class was also held in Van Kampen Covered Arena due to inclement weather. Raul Corchuelo (COL) and Beckham earned second place with a 69.395%, while Katharina Stumpf (AUT) and For My Love stand in third place with 67.500%.

Matute Jr. has campaigned Dhannie Ymas through the circuit this season, recording top results aboard the 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Don Crusador x Welina) in their first season contesting the upper levels.

“I’m feeling very happy and proud. We made some mistakes that we need to improve before tomorrow’s test, but overall I think I had a great feeling in the test,” explained Matute Jr. describing his test. “Dhannie felt comfortable, but he doesn’t really like the covered arena as much as outside. It’s interesting how some horses perform better in different atmospheres, but overall I was really happy.

“With this test over the season I tried to get more towards the softer aids and the lightness in the contact, just making everything a bit easier. We’re riding horses and (try to) make everything as simple as possible and look easy. Little by little I think we’ve improved that this season,” he smiled

The pair had a slight moment of miscommunication in their first pirouette, but Matute Jr. continued on through the test with poise and accuracy, leading to their impressive score of 71.868%.

“We had a big mistake in the first pirouette. He can do them perfectly, but we just had a bit of a miscommunication,” explained Matute. “He’s a young horse, just nine years old, and it’s fine. We’ve been doing Young Riders for most of the season, and I think we’ve progressed a lot.”

In his third Nation’s Cup appearance for Team Spain at AGDF, Matute has solidified himself as an incredibly talented and motivated phenom of the sport, as the international experience he continues to gain only benefits his riding and training. In 2014, Matute earned the individual silver medal in Nations’ Cup competition aboard his Don Diego Ymas, which he still considers one of the greatest highlights of his young but budding career.

“In 2013, the team was made up of me, my sister, and my father, and my mother was the chef d’equipe, so it was pretty neat that it was our whole family. We came in fifth that year, and 2014 was a huge highlight for us because I placed second individually on Don Diego [Ymas] who is now my Grand Prix horse,” he noted.

The Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup CDIO 3* team competition concludes Thursday featuring the FEI Intermediaire I CDIO 3* and the FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3* at AGDF. Individual competition will conclude on Friday, April 1, with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDIO 3* and the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO 3*, each presented by Stillpoint Farm.

Lars Petersen and Svalegards De Luxe Claim FEI Prix St. Georges CDI 1* presented by YellowBird Farm

Lars Petersen (DEN) and Svalegards De Luxe performed impressively in their first FEI CDI competition together this season, earning the win in the FEI Prix St. Georges CDI 1* presented by YellowBird Farm at AGDF with a 71.763%. Jane Cleveland (USA) and Monique finished in second with a 68.868%, while Jennifer Baumert (USA) and Ramiro finished in third place, just behind Cleveland with a 68.816%.

Lars Petersen and Svalegards De Luxe
Lars Petersen and Svalegards De Luxe

Petersen is very familiar with Svalegards De Luxe, a 2008 Danish Warmblood gelding (De Noir x Stjerne Askelund), since owner Jane Wareham purchased him as a six-year-old to bring up the levels under Petersen’s guidance.

“The horse is turning nine this year, and I got him for Jane as her horse. I’ve been riding him with her since she bought him. She’s going away for her job, and asked if I would show him for her a little bit so that’s what we’re doing,” said Petersen.

“He has good gaits, and he’s a good temperament. That was really was important for us but also nice to look at when we went to try him. Those were some of the reasons, but he was just turning six when she bought him so he was pretty young,” he explained. “He’s very talented, and I’m excited to have the ride on him for myself for a little bit.”

It was the first international competition for the pair and also Svalegards De Luxe’s first appearance back at AGDF in a substantial period of time, as he has mostly been in training with Petersen and Wareham. With correct gaits and a tremendous presence, Petersen is looking forward to watching the gelding progress through the levels over the course of the season.

“We’ll see how far he can go, but he definitely has the potential for Large Tour, for sure. I was mostly impressed that he went around,” laughed Petersen. “He hasn’t been off the grounds for nearly two years other than a national show I did with him, but that’s different.

“He was a little bit tense here and there, but that was expected and I think he handled it great. He tried very hard and I think we had some dumb little mistakes, but all of the difficult stuff he did really well,” explained Petersen, who was thoroughly impressed with his new mounts acclimation to an intense competition atmosphere. “We will start to work on the piaffe and passage a bit more and getting his topline stronger over the next few weeks and stuff like that. I really think that is the most important.”

Competition at AGDF continues Thursday with the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3* presented by Harmony Sporthorses, along with the FEI Intermediaire I CDIO 3* and FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3* presented by Stillpoint Farm. For more information and to see a full weekly schedule, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 7 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations’ Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $700,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area.

Please visit
www.globaldressagefestival.com
www.pbiec.com
or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival is located at
The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
13500 South Shore Blvd, Wellington, Florida 33414

Carly Weilminster
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Graves and Verdades Hit Season High Mark in AGDF 10 FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 4*

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar Take Top Honors in FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*

Wellington, FL – March 18, 2016 – Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades performed one of their best FEI Grand Prix Freestyle tests so far this season at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), earning a 79.475% to take a commanding win in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm. Competition at AGDF continues tomorrow with the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation, and the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm.

Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) and Goerklintgaards Dublet followed Graves to the winner’s circle, finishing in second place in their first FEI Grand Prix Freestyle test together with a score of 75.750%. Juan Matute, Jr. (ESP) and Don Diego Ymas captured a well-deserved third place finish, receiving a 73.225%.

Graves and Verdades entered the Global International Arena at The Stadium with new freestyle choreography and music, but the same consistency and fluidity for which they’re now known. Graves has worked hard to find the right gear for “Diddy” this season, and it seems the pair is right on the mark moving into an important part of this year’s season.

“You know, with as much experience as this horse has now globally, he’s recently become very sensitive to the atmosphere. We do for him what we can in relaxation, but like I was saying after the Grand Prix on Wednesday, his confidence has to come from me,” explained Graves. “I have to give him the cues, and he needs to be certain of what I’m asking him. For tonight, I thought it was a big accomplishment personally, riding through that tension and having him step up to the plate.”

Watch Laura Graves and Verdades win the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle here!

The pair now has a mutual understanding of what the expectations are in the ring, and their partnership has continued to flourish. Graves and her own 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Florett AS x Liwilarda) have become one of the most consistent Grand Prix pairs for Team USA over the past two years since their debut at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Caen, France, in 2014.

Both Graves and Perry-Glass have been in consistent training with U.S. dressage legend Debbie McDonald, with both riders referencing their strong relationship with her as a major factor in their performances so far this season.

“Debbie’s gift is that as a trainer, she can feel what you’re feeling as a rider. It takes a weight off of you that you don’t realize exists. She just gives you that feeling that you’re never alone and what you’re feeling is normal. You’re going to train through it and you’re going to, like she said to me tonight, come out on the other side. She just gives you this confidence to ride well,” explained Graves, regarding her time with McDonald.

Perry-Glass exited the ring in tears after completing her first FEI Grand Prix Freestyle aboard Goerklintgaards Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Diamond Hit x La Costa), that she has campaigned to the top of the Large Tour leaderboards all season long.

“I came out crying,” she acknowledged. “He’s just so awesome, and I’m so lucky to have him. We’re growing up together and respecting each other more and more. We’re learning from each other, and I couldn’t ask for any more.”

“I wasn’t really sure what to expect with him. Last year in the Intermediaire I Freestyle, he would get really hot and I pretty much had no control. I knew that once the music started, that was the horse I was going to have,” she said. “The consistent training with Debbie [McDonald] and the support from her has really helped his confidence and my confidence. He stayed with me the whole time and there are small places that we can clean up, but this is our first time out there and I’m so proud of him.”

As for their first freestyle beneath the lights, Perry-Glass felt their ride went just as planned and she’s motivated to continue their progress.

“Adrienne Lyle did the choreography. She’s been such a great friend and a great supporter of us. I worked with Tom Hunt, who does Charlotte Dujardin’s music. I’ve been working with him for a while, and we have a good relationship. I wasn’t sure what type of music I wanted for Dublet and I was like ‘Yes, this works!’ There are obviously some things that we will have to tweak and enhance, but I’ll start with a 75%,” she laughed.

The young Juan Matute, Jr. performed a brilliant and nearly mistake-free test about Don Diego Ymas, a 2003 Hanoverian gelding owned by Matute’s father, Juan Matute. In their best freestyle test to date this season, Matute was very pleased with their ride and felt the progress they have made this season has been defining in their career together.

“Little by little we’ve been building the confidence in the Grand Prix together and this is our second season at this level. It was a very exciting start to the season, but I think tonight is really the highlight so far,” commented Matute. “I’m very happy, and I’m very excited.”

“I enjoyed the test a lot. It was pretty much mistake-free, which is a big deal for us right now in our second year at Grand Prix,” continued Matute. “Being dynamic and being able to adapt to every situation is very important. What can I say, I’m sitting here next to these two beautiful riders, and it was just a great night.”

Betsy Juliano of Havensafe Farm, title sponsor for AGDF 10, is a successful businesswoman and horse enthusiast and has played an integral role in the growth of AGDF through the years. Drawing a strong parallel between the expansion of AGDF and the affirmation of a successful business, Juliano spoke to the successes the competition has seen this season and the promising future for the sport.

“I think that growing a business is really about evolution and that is what I see here at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, but also very importantly with all three riders here. I’ve had the privilege of watching them evolve and get better each year,” said Juliano. “That, to me, is my favorite part of being here in the winters, and I think that what Mark Bellissimo and his team have done to provide this opportunity for the riders and people like me to participate has been fantastic, and we appreciate it.”

Judge at C, Hans-Christian Matthiesen (DEN), was impressed with the top three rides and spoke candidly about the importance of AGDF to the global scale of dressage and its success in reaching young riders around the world.

“What we see tonight sitting at the press conference with these three very good young riders – this is what it is all about. This is dressage when it is at its best, in a super atmosphere that you’ve managed to create here at the Global show grounds. It’s so important to the sport,” he explained. “We can’t have enough of that. I’m so proud of you (three riders). You all did so well and have super nice horses. It’s good for the future of the sport when you have young ones coming up and just great combinations. It’s great fun and just a privilege to be here and judge.”

Adequan®, title sponsor of the entire circuit at AGDF, has maintained its position as a crucial partner and supporter of the venue since its inception. Allyn Mann of Adequan® senses a remarkable change in the sport and hopes new owners and riders will be motivated by the incredible performances seen so far this season at AGDF.

Keeping with tradition this season, Adequan® sponsored several owner awards during the evening, recognizing and appreciating the individuals who continue to help grow the sport through their support. Makenzie Rath, owner of Sholitaire ridden by Melissa Fladland, was presented with the AGDF 8 National Show High Score Award, for Sholitaire and Fladland’s score of 79.773%. Kylee Laurie was awarded with the AGDF 9 National High Score Award, for the performance of Harmony’s Duvall and Adrienne Lyle, who scored a 82.500%. Michael Collins, owner of Don Tignanello, ridden by Leida Collins-Strijk, was presented with the Prix St. Georges Owner Award for Collins-Strijk’s score of 72.289%. Laura Graves earned the Owner Award for the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, recognizing her performance aboard Verdades. Graves, who also serves as her own groom, was presented with the Groom’s Initiative Award on behalf of Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC.

“The owners are the foundation of the sport, and we honor them for everything that they do. The investments they make, the patience and love they have, so that three beautiful riders and horses like the ones we have here tonight can show up and do some amazing things,” said Mann. “We’re so blessed to be a part of this whole environment and to see how this how festival has evolved.”

“On a night like tonight where Laura, Kasey, and Juan get to be on the podium, this is the future. But without the owners, none of this can happen. Let us not forget that they are the backbone of everything that happens here and when I think of our business, they’re the ones that keep us funded so that we can do what we do. Again, thank you to Betsy, and all of the owners, for everything you do,” he continued.

Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar Take Top Honors in FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3* presented by The Dutta Corporation

Katherine Bateson-Chandler (USA) and Alcazar, a 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Jane Forbes Clark, found themselves atop the leaderboard in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation, with a score of 72.425%. Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar have been hard at work this season, also training with Debbie McDonald, to improve their presence in the arena before heading back to England to compete in Europe this summer.

P. J. Rizvi (USA) and Breaking Dawn followed in second place with a 70.600%, while Anna Marek (USA) and Unico G collected third place honors with a 67.275%.

Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar
Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar

“In my last couple of freestyles I’ve had mistakes in my flying changes. I was bound and determined today, even if I had to turn myself inside out, to not have mistakes in my changes, which I managed to pull off,” laughed Bateson-Chandler. “I was really happy with that.”

“He’s going to have a couple of nice easy days before the next CDI. To be honest, when I’m not here at the show I don’t really ride him in the ring that much. I’m lucky to have a farm with a big track and a grand prix field,” explained Bateson-Chandler, on how she keeps Alcazar fresh and ready to compete. “We’ll have a little break after the next show here and then we’ll head back to England.”

P. J. Rizvi and Breaking Dawn earned their highest FEI CDI score this afternoon with their 70.600%, which Rizvi noted is a huge accomplishment for the pair, as this is their first competitive CDI season together.

“This is so far our biggest accomplishment together. For me, the heat is brutal, but for Edward, my horse, it’s the most amazing thing because my usual struggle with him is that he’s extremely forward and we have mistakes in the changes because he gets a little bit ahead of me,” she said. “Today I felt like he was a bit more backed off, and he was really attentive to me. I was super thrilled today.”

Rizvi rides to the same music that her trainer, Ashley Holzer, used with Breaking Dawn at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. It is very sentimental for Rizvi. She said, “What we did, because Edward had a long rest period after the Olympics, is we changed the choreography to be more difficult, but used the same music. I love really funky music, but I tend to dance too much during the test, so I need very stable music. I think it suits him, and the bagpipes really accent his piaffe and passage.”

Traveling down from Ocala, FL to compete at AGDF, Marek and Unico G are finding a rhythm, which has left Marek feeling very positive about their progress and direction for the rest of the season.

“We come down about four hours to show here for the weekend and then go home. We definitely struggled with the heat a bit this week, but today I was really proud of him because I felt like I had more horse than yesterday,” she commented. “I swear though, the music always pumps him up and he’s ready to go. We had fun riding today’s freestyle, and we just made it a little bit more difficult so there were a few little bobbles.”

“I rode my first freestyle on Unico. Over the last year, we got comfortable with that choreography while I learned to ride the freestyle. We just started to change it a bit more difficult. I wanted something a bit dramatic for him. We’ve had a long road and to me it tells a great story,” she continued.

Competition at AGDF continues tomorrow with the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation, and the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm. For more information on AGDF, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 7 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations’ Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $650,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area.

Please visit
www.globaldressagefestival.com
www.pbiec.com
or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival is located at
The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
13500 South Shore Blvd, Wellington, Florida 33414

Carly Weilminster
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Graves and Verdades Rise to Top AGDF 10 FEI Grand Prix CDI 4*

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – March 16, 2016 – Victory in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 4* presented by Havensafe Farm at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) went to Laura Graves (USA) and her own Verdades with a score of 76.28%, adding another excellent performance to their growing collection of top finishes so far this season. In a top three sweep for riders representing the United States, Allison Brock (USA) and her longtime partner Rosevelt earned second place with a 74.080%, while Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) and Goerklintgaards Dublet finished in third place receiving a 72.660%. Competition at AGDF continues tomorrow with the FEI Intermediaire I CDI 1*, presented by Mike and Roz Collins, as well as the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation.

Temperatures today in South Florida worked their way well past the 80-degree mark, but Graves and Verdades performed a smooth and relaxed test, which Graves was pleased with, noting, “He is not known to be a hot weather horse. He is such a big guy, but he really carried me through. We had a couple of mistakes in our changes, which is not typical for us, but I’m not really concerned. I was most excited with the fact that we’ve been training very regularly.”

“Every time we ride, we have eyes on us thanks to the Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize Grant that I was able to receive this year. I’m now feeling that more often than not, I’m riding my new training, not my old training. Feeling that in the ring and having the reflection in the test mirror your warm-up, or at least starting to, is really exciting for us,” she continued.

Allison Brock and “Rosie” also had a terrific day back in the CDI arena after taking a short training-focused hiatus from competition. Brock discussed her decision to take some time away from competition arena with the 2002 Hanoverian stallion (Rotspon x Lore) owned by Fritz and Claudine Kundrun. The pair focused on their communication together in hopes of bringing their performances to the next level, producing accurate and powerful tests.

Allison Brock and Rosevelt
Allison Brock and Rosevelt

“He was really good and I was a bit worried about the heat today, as I’m sure everyone was. I have not been out in about a month, and I really felt like after the last show, I thought he went better than ever, but I was taking a lot more risks which were turning into mistakes,” explained Brock. “I really decided to stay home and work on our communication and firm that up. A little bit, I’ve been in the same situation as Laura, in that we’re riding constantly with eyes on the ground and tightening things up. It’s hard to not be in the ring and then just come out, but I really felt like in this case, with this particular horse, it was in his best interest to do it like this.

“I took the risk of holding out, and it clearly paid off today. He was happy to go, he was happy to be here, and it was the first time that my warm-up carried through to my test. I’m really proud of him,” she noted.

Riding first down the centerline in today’s FEI Grand Prix CDI 4*, Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet set the tone for the large class, which had 18 entries, and led for majority of the afternoon with their score of 72.660%. While riding a bit more conservative today, Perry explained that the consistency she continues to see from “Dublet” is incredibly motivating for her, as the two are contesting only their fourth Large Tour CDI competition together.

“It feels good because I know that I can eventually push for more. This is only his fourth CDI at this level, and it’s about keeping his mind happy and healthy. I think once I feel like the right time to push for more, I can,” she said. “Today, I think our test was really consistent and very clean, but it was a bit more on the conservative side. I think that, personally, it had to do a bit with the heat and a little bit too long of a warm-up, but he felt great. I had rideability today, which is what I really strive for with him because he can be a bit looky and tense. He was with me and happy, and I just feel so honored to be sitting up here with these two.”

The camaraderie and positivity streaming through Team USA this season at AGDF has been evident and in testament to the confidence the riders have been giving each other throughout the season. Brock spoke to the stabling arrangements for this week’s competition, in which Graves, Perry-Glass, and Brock are all stabled in adjacent stalls in the same FEI barn, as a symbol of support and motivation for one another.

“It started with Lisa Wilcox, who we all love. She’s just the best person you can ever be in a barn aisle with. She’s so inspiring and has done everything, just gives a really positive energy. We all decided that after the 5* here, we needed to have a barn name to put on the entry forms. We couldn’t come up with one and Lisa said, ‘All for one and one for all,'” explained Brock. “We’re all barn mates under that name and I think that shows how we all feel about each other and what it means for us to be competing together. I think it’s an incredible atmosphere, and it’s pretty cool because it isn’t always that way. We are all about supporting each other.”

Leida Collins-Strijk (NED) and her own Don Tignanello, a 2005 Hanoverian gelding (Don Vino x Atlantica), have been nearly unbeatable in Small Tour classes this season at AGDF and capped today with another victory in the FEI Prix St. Georges CDI 1*, presented by Mike & Roz Collins, receiving a 72.982%. Collins-Strijk piloted her second mount, Zantros, to second place with a score of 71.623%. Kevin Kohmann (GER) and Fritz San Tino, owned by Melanie Pai, earned their first top three finish in CDI competition this season with a 70.833%.

Competition at AGDF continues tomorrow with the FEI Intermediaire I CDI 1*, presented by Mike & Roz Collins, along with the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation. For more information on AGDF and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 7 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations’ Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $650,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area.

Please visit
www.globaldressagefestival.com
www.pbiec.com
or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival is located at
The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
13500 South Shore Blvd, Wellington, Florida 33414

Allison Kavey and Carly Weilminster
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

USEF Names Combinations for Stillpoint Farm Nations Cup CDIO3*

Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce the athlete-and-horse combinations who will represent the U.S. at the Stillpoint Farm Nations Cup CDIO3*, which runs in conjunction with the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, March 29 – April 2, 2016, in Wellington, Fla. The U.S. team consists of four Big Tour combinations and Robert Dover will serve as the Chef d’Equipe.

The following combinations will make up the U.S. team (in alphabetical order):

Shelly Francis (Loxahatcee, Fla.) and Patricia Stempel’s Doktor, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding

Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding

Arlene “Tuny” Page (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Woodstock, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding

Kasey Perry-Glass (Orangevale, Calif.) and Goerklintgaards Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding

From the USEF Communications Department

Graves and Verdades Go Two for Two in CDI 5* Competition at AGDF 5

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Steffen Peters and Rosamunde Top FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*

Wellington, FL – February 13, 2016 – The FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, concluded FEI CDI 5* competition today at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades added another win to their week, as the duo scored a 74.667% to best the class. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) and Benetton Dream finished in second with a 72.412%, while Belinda Trussell (CAN) and Anton captured third place receiving a 71.431%. In the FEI Grand Prix Special 3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, Steffen Peters (USA) and Rosamunde took home the victory. Competition for AGDF 5 concludes tomorrow with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDI 1*, presented by Kirk Arabians.

Graves and Verdades topped the FEI Grand Prix CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, on Thursday and chose to compete in today’s FEI Grand Prix Special class. While their test was not as exact or powerful as may be typically expected from the duo, it was an example of an established partnership that is continuing to grow with time. The judges recognized the maturity of their effort, awarding it a 74.667% for the win. Graves reflected on the experience of coming back to the ring after their last difficult competition.

“Today I really wanted to ride him down and let him have another good experience. Tonight I felt like it was far from being our highest score, the most precise, and certainly not our most powerful, but he was 100% himself tonight and that was a really good feeling,” she explained. “What we did in the Grand Prix on Thursday really paid off and it’s good to feel like I have him back knowing that I could have ridden better.”

The pair seemed back to their usual selves during the Special, which Graves has noted is a strong test for Verdades. The pair, instead of focusing on accuracy and precision, decided to reach towards a more relaxed and harmonious test to continue boosting their confidence in the ring.

WATCH Laura Graves and Verdades win FEI CDI 5* GP Special here!

“This was a big confidence builder for me as a rider and a trainer, having (had a) first kind of low point since we’ve been successful. It’s always hard and it makes you question things, like what do we do and how do we move on. But it’s really true – if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger and you learn,” she explained. “Now, I know this will happen again. It’s not the first time, and it’s not the last. This is life and this is the chance you take when you go into the arena with another living being. That’s the sport.”

Graves now plans to give Verdades some down time while she discusses his competition schedule with her team. He will enjoy a lighter work schedule for a few weeks, do some work in the fields, and continue his favorite part of their training regimen – a once a week bareback hack.

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Benetton Dream, owned by Lövsta Stuteri, represented Sweden with excellent style, earning a 72.412% for a solid test that featured sweeping half-passes and a strong piaffe-passage tour. Vilhelmson-Silfven noted that this is only the second time that the 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion has done the Special and was pleased with his performance.

“I’ve very, very pleased with my horse tonight. I’ve never had such a good feeling in the ring on him actually as we did today. He got really on when [the crowd] applauded Laura coming around the arena. He had much more power than [we] had before and it was a nice feeling. It was a nice feeling and he was going together with me in a nice way. Just a great feeling,” she said. “It was the second time that we’ve done the Special and it was the highest score that we’ve gotten so I’m happy. He got a little bit difficult when we did the trot extensions, especially when he’s that hot. He stumbled a bit because he went for too much, but other than that it was a good feeling.”

She reflected on the time it has taken to establish a partnership with her stallion that came from an active breeding career in Germany and maintains a full studbook at Lövsta Stuteri in Sweden. She explained, “I had him here two years ago. He came from Germany and was a breeding stallion so he may seem a little bit further behind in his training for his age. He’s been breeding a lot in Sweden too, so he’s had double work. This year we’re going to decrease the breeding so that I can focus on showing him a little bit more.”

“He has a great feeling, but he’s a big horse and a stallion, so for sure he gets a little bit nervous and that can show in many ways, but that’s why I was happy with today because he wanted to go on my aids,” she commented. “We’ve been working with a lot of different things, but really most to get him stronger so that he can perform the movements but also getting him to want to work with me, not to have to put pressure on him to do it by himself. He’s really getting together with me and that’s the great feeling with him. That takes time and that’s what it takes to build confidence and get to know them.”

Belinda Trussell rode Anton, owned by Robyn Eames and Marc Trussell, to third place after an already successful campaign at AGDF so far this season. Trussell noted that Anton’s natural capacity for piaffe makes the Grand Prix Special a great test for him.

“Anton, his gift is his piaffe and it’s just a dream to ride it actually. I sit there and cluck and he piaffes. That’s his highlight, and he’s just so consistent. He loves to do it, so that is really nice and in the Special, going from walk to piaffe is not difficult for him. It’s a nice feeling. I feel confident with this test and I like it because it is so forward moving. It’s nice to ride.”

She was pleased that Anton settled down a bit from his anxiety during the Grand Prix. Unlike Vilhelmsom-Silfven’s mount Benetton Dream, who gains energy and enthusiasm from applause, Anton can become tense, which can negatively impact his performance.

“He was difficult this week and was pretty nervous from the Grand Prix. I really am happy that he went in there and was more relaxed tonight than he was earlier in the week,” she continued.

Judge at C, Lilo Fore (USA), recognized the exceptional quality and training represented by the athletes she saw this week, ranging in nationality and international competition experience.

“The horse quality we have nowadays is just amazing and it’s exciting of course. But I think what I like very much in the whole week really, and especially with the top riders, is that everything is so much more harmonious. It’s wonderful to see how the riders and horses work with each other. The suppleness is getting better and better,” elaborated Fore. “I think the confidence of the horses and their riders is very obvious. You’re going to see a mistake here and there, but none of those mistakes were from incorrect training or a lack of understanding of the basics because you can see all of the top riders we have here have amazingly good basics and solid training under their belts. It’s very obvious and it shows itself in the test and in the confidence of the combinations. It’s fun to watch.”

Steffen Peters and Rosamunde Top FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty

Steffen Peters (USA) and Rosamunde continued their dominance in Large Tour competition at AGDF, earning top scores in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, to take the class with a 73.333%. Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) and Goerklintgaards Dublet earned another top finish, adding a second place collection for the week, while young talent Juan Matute, Jr. (ESP) and Quantico Ymas earned third place with a 69.059%.

Steffen Peters and Rosamunde
Steffen Peters and Rosamunde

Peters and Rosamunde have taken the dressage world by storm as he and the stunning 2007 Rhinelander mare, owned by Four Winds Farm, continue to make a strong statement with their efficiency in the ring.

“She’s clearly improving and the one-tempis were already straighter. The weak parts were better today and we just had silly little things. She anticipated the two-tempis a bit and then at the end, the final halt, she stepped a little bit back. Silly little things, but expensive things,” noted Peters. “The collected wasn’t quite as relaxed, but things that were very difficult for her are better. Those are minor little things and are easier to polish.”

Rosamunde has progressed quickly through the beginning of her young career and Peters plans to keep her feeling comfortable, but confident, through their training at home.

“The good thing with Rosie is that I don’t have to push her. She wants to go. There are so many situations, especially in the first few extended trots, where I’m holding her back a little bit. At home, it is just very comfortable and not stressful so she just offers so much,” he explained. “I don’t think it’s really about what you’re doing in the show arena, it’s more of what you’re doing in the warm-up and how much work you have to do at home. That’s the main thing. I always believe in keeping them mentally just as healthy as they are physically healthy.”

WATCH Steffen Peters and Rosamunde’s FEI CDI 3* GP Special ride here!

As the combination heads back to California to test the rest of the season before the pressure begins to rise with the qualifications and selections for the 2016 Olympic Games, Peters is confident that “Rosie” will continue to improve during the duration.

“Rosie needs to get stronger, and we have a nice fitness program laid out for her. We’re skipping the next CDI in California, but we’ll show her again in late March. It’s always easy to think about improving, but it’s also equally important to think about maintaining what we have. I believe in bubble-wrapping them when they’re good.”

Peters brought Legolas 92 and Rosamunde to PBIEC for the USEF Festival of Champions in December 2015 and for this week’s competition. He explained why traveling to Wellington during the winter season is not just important for his horses, but for the sport.

“This is the place to be from January to March,” he said. “Nowhere else in the world, even at the Grand Prix, do you have such a wonderful turnout. We had a great panel of judges for both the CDI 3* and CDI 5*. We have to support shows like this and on top of that, I’ve never seen anywhere in America a crowd like we had last night. When the audience is that generous, the riders need to play along and show up here.”

Perry-Glass has shot through the national rankings at the Grand Prix level with Goerklintgaards Dublet over the course of the past month and the combination continues to show improvements in their tests together with each outing.

“He felt really good in the warm up, probably the best I’ve ever felt him. He was really focused and relaxed, but hot at the same time. When I went into the ring, I felt he got a little bit hotter. There were a few mistakes in the test, but that was probably the most focused and in front of my leg that I’ve ever felt him,” commented Perry-Glass. “That was the positive thing for today. It’s just a matter of pilot errors on my end. It’s me getting used to him in the ring, and we’re going to continue working on that.”

With two horses competitive at the Grand Prix level, Perry-Glass has found herself learning more about her own riding and technique under the watchful eye of trainer Debbie McDonald. Gaining more experience in the international arena is a priority for Perry and “Dublet” who are still solidifying their partnership together at the Grand Prix.

“We are entered into the CDI-W at the end of the month and then possibly skip the Palm Beach Derby, but have put in our application for the CDIO Nations Cup and see where it goes from there,” explained Perry of her future plans with “Dublet”. “If Scarlett doesn’t get into the top eight for the traveling tour to Europe, we’re possible going to breed her because she’s such a good mare. That’s her plan and then we’re shooting for that top eight with Dublet.”

The young Juan Matute, Jr. found himself among some of the best in today’s FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, but that did not deter him from riding a beautiful test aboard Quantico Ymas for third place.

“It’s the details of the tests. I think we have all of the relaxation and the movements. I’ve been riding him now for three years. This was our first CDI Grand Prix so I was very happy with the results and really proud of our progress and our journey,” he explained. “It’s a horse that is very sensitive. He’s from a jumping line by Fighting Fit so he’s a horse that has really made me work every day and analyze my basic concepts of riding. He has a lot of talent. He’s ambitious in the ring, which helps, but today was very good.”

Ever so early in his career, Matute has found success in the inner workings of the basic movements, which has helped to increase scores and create a more secure partnership with Quantico Ymas.

“We always begin working on the passage and piaffe when they’re young, maybe five or six years old, to start developing that power from behind little by little. He’s always been a talented passage horse because he likes to sit a lot. We’ve been working little by little on our way up to Grand Prix, but really only over the past year did we start to consider moving him up to the Under 25 division and then to the Grand Prix.”

Competition at AGDF will conclude tomorrow with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDI 1*, presented by Kirk Arabians, beginning at 11:20 a.m. To see a full list of results and a weekly schedule, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 7 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations’ Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $650,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area.

Please visit
www.globaldressagefestival.com
www.pbiec.com
or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival is located at
The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
13500 South Shore Blvd, Wellington, Florida 33414

Allison Kavey and Carly Weilminster
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Graves and Verdades Return to Fine Form in FEI Grand Prix CDI 5* at AGDF 5

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – February 11, 2016 – Topping a talented field of seasoned international competitors, Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades returned to their winning ways in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). Competition at AGDF 5 continues tomorrow with the FEI Intermediaire I CDI 1*, presented by Kirk Arabians, at 8 a.m., the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, at 2:50 p.m., followed by the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, for “Friday Night Stars” beginning at 7:00pm.

Graves and Verdades were the final ride in the class of 30 entries and received a 76.440%. Steffen Peters (USA) and Legolas 92 collected second place with a 74.100%, while Mikala Gundersen (DEN) and My Lady earned third with a 71.760%.

Graves and Verdades have been a force in Large Tour competition over the past two years and are one of the strongest combinations for the United States. An uncharacteristic performance at the last CDI competition at AGDF pushed Graves back to the drawing board and motivated a re-evaluation on behalf of her and her support team.

“Tonight’s performance was a big relief for us actually,” Graves said. “We’ve been pushing to a point in our training, adding power, and he’s developing so fast, I think faster than he probably was ready for. Picking up the pieces from our last show, we just wanted to give him a really good experience in here today.”

She continued, “We’re just hoping to come into the 5* this week and let him feel comfortable again. I could not be happier with how we got through today’s test and now (we are) moving on to the Special on Saturday, which is normally a good test for him. We’re hoping to just do the same so he feels really good going into the super big competitions we have later on this year.”

The pair’s test was fluid and relaxed, a reaction Graves was hoping to achieve from the notoriously hot 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Florett AS x Liwilarda). As they have progressed in the depth and understanding of their training together, Graves found herself looking back to the basics to help “Diddy” regain confidence in the ring.

“Actually today, our goal was to really ride him down. We wanted him to feel like he could stretch the whole time and just stay relaxed. That’s what we were going for. He’s developed such an idea of what he’s supposed to do at these shows now. We take his boots off, and he gets excited. He hears the audience, and he gets excited. These things didn’t used to mean much to him, but now he knows what he gets to do,” she elaborated. “He’s getting almost over-excited now. We have to make him feel confident and level him out. Tonight it was a really good experience for him. He was great.”

Alongside Graves and Verdades, their Pan American Games teammates Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 had a strong showing in their first Grand Prix competition on the East Coast this year. The experienced pair dazzled the crowd, but Peters felt that they did leave points on the table with a costly mistake.

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92

“He’s more supple now. There’s usually, especially today, less tension. The walk is more relaxed, but at the same time he does wonderful piaffe and passage work. Unfortunately today the one-tempi was expensive,” commented Peters. “He was at a 76% and it dropped us down to a 74%. I’m not sure if it would have been close enough to get to Laura, but what is exciting is that [the United States has] two horses that can do 76% and higher. Ideally, we need one more for Rio, where we average 76%, because then we have a chance at a medal. You know, it was a good show, not as good as two weeks ago, but they’re not machines. You always have the understanding that little mistakes are going to happen.”

Gundersen and My Lady were a dominating combination on the 2015 AGDF circuit last year and have returned to the Global International Ring for the CDI 5* this week in their second showing at AGDF this season.

“I don’t change much in our program with her. I keep riding every day and the treadmill is what is really keeping her super fit because she’s on the treadmill every day at an incline, and it keeps building her strength so I don’t have to ride her so hard. She goes in the cold water spa every day and this horse, she just has a really good life,” she laughed.

“We work on suppleness and through-ness every day and we work on a program where I start out riding her round and forward to help get some of her energy out and then we get to some collected work, then really collected work, but I really try to let her be,” she explained, detailing their weekly program with My Lady. “We spend a lot of time in the walk.”

Christina Vinios and Folkestone OLD served as the first American pair to take a win in Small Tour competition at AGDF this season, as the combination bested a class of 28 entries. Vinios and Folkestone OLD received a 72.842% for first place, while Leida Collins-Strijk, who has dominated the Small Tour so far this season, took home second and third place honors aboard Don Tignanello and Zantros respectively, with a 71.579% and 71.289%.

Competition at AGDF continues tomorrow morning with the FEI Intermediaire I CDI 1*, presented by Kirk Arabians, at 8 a.m. followed by the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty at 2:50 p.m. The popular “Friday Night Stars” FEI Grand Prix CDI5* Freestyle, presented by Diamante Farms, will begin at 7 p.m. preceded by The Salute to the Olympians, presented by Diamante Farms, at 6:15pm. For more information on AGDF and to see a full weekly schedule, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 7 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations’ Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $650,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area.

Please visit
www.globaldressagefestival.com
www.pbiec.com
or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival is located at
The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
13500 South Shore Blvd, Wellington, Florida 33414

Carly Weilminster
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Graves and Vinios Claim National Championship Titles at U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions

Shelly Francis and Rubinio (SusanJStickle.com)

Wellington, Fla. – National Championship competition came to a close this evening at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival grounds in the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp. In The Dutta Corp./USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship, Christina Vinios and Folkestone OLD maintained their position atop the leaderboard, placing second in tonight’s Freestyle and capturing their second National Championship title of 2015. Winning two of the three classes in The Dutta Corp./USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship was Laura Graves and Verdades, who added their first ever National Championship title to a year of remarkable success.

The Dutta Corp./USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship

A field of eight Small Tour combinations began the quest for National honors on Wednesday in the FEI Prix St. Georges Test, which contributed 40% towards their final scores. Vinios (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Folkestone OLD took an early lead, winning the class with a score of 70.632%. The following day the competitors performed the FEI Intermediate I Test for an additional 45% of their overall scores. Jane Karol (Concord, Mass.) and her own Sunshine Tour performed brilliantly to win the class on a score of 69.105%. Vinios finished closely behind Karol on day two and maintained her division lead heading into today’s Freestyle.

With mere fractions of a point separating the combinations at the top of the leaderboard, this evening’s Freestyle tests were eagerly anticipated as they accounted for the final 15% of the championship scores. A relative newcomer to the sport, Vinios and Folkestone OLD performed their pop medley Freestyle this evening for only the second time, scoring 71.000%, enough to secure the National Championship title by .200 of a point.

“It was really fun and I am so happy. I had a lot of fun with my horse this year and to end it like this is really special,” said Vinios. “It was intense, but really fun. I loved it.”

The pair has proven to be a force to reckon with, as it adds its second National Championship title of 2015 to their resume, having won the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage National Championship in August. The pair also swept the CDI Small Tour classes at Dressage at Devon in September.

Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and her newest partner, Patricia Stempel’s Rubinio, put the pressure on their fellow competitors all week. Placing second in the FEI Prix St. Georges Test on a score of 69.868% and third in the FEI Intermediaire I Test with 67.763%, the pair was wonderfully consistent in the quality of gaits presented. Showcasing great poise, the pair performed its Freestyle to music from “The Man from Snowy River,” impressing the judges to take a commanding win in the class on a score of 74.350%, moving them up one on the leaderboard to take Reserve National Champion honors.

“Rubinio felt much more with me [tonight],” explained Francis. “He really put out in the Freestyle; he tried really hard. It went well so I was happy and it was fun. He was excited about it and proud of himself.”

Finishing in third overall was Karol and Sunshine Tour. Karol rode a very determined test this evening, taking several risks that unfortunately did not pay off, scoring 64.825%.

The Dutta Corp./USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship

Earning their first ever National Championship title were Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades, who won two of the three division classes this week. The pair overcame some bobbles in day one’s FEI Grand Prix test to score a 76.460%, accounting for 45% of its championship title. On day two, in the FEI Grand Prix Special, the pair built on its lead with a fluid and dynamic test, winning with a score of 77.137%. Today the gelding showcased his great power, scoring 75.125% in a test that was not without its faults, finishing second in the class.

“He’s been feeling really good all week and tonight was a demonstration of how much horse I have now,” explained Graves. “I am still on a sharp learning curve and am still learning to ride that horse in that environment. This was our first outing [since the Pan American Games in July] and was a perfect opportunity to figure this out now going into our World Cup qualifiers. He is amazingly athletic and when he goes like that the feeling is unreal. We had some mistakes tonight, but I can’t hold that against my horse.”

Speaking to the feeling of securing her first National title, Graves said, “I’ve never been close to this position before so it’s a real honor. This is a really encouraging place to be as we begin 2016.”

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (SusanJStickle.com)
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (SusanJStickle.com)

Remaining closely behind Graves in the division standings all week was veteran competitor and winner of the last four Grand Prix National Championships, Steffen Peters (San Diego, Calif.), with his Four Winds Farms-owned mounts Rosamunde and Legolas 92. After disappointing performances for Peters on day one, he was ranked second with Legolas 92 and third with Rosamunde. Day two proved Peters’ masterful ability to rise to the occasion. Rosamunde performed beautifully through the FEI Grand Prix Special, scoring a 74.549% and moving up to second on the leaderboard. Stablemate Legolas 92 earned a 72.412% and dropped to third in the championship rankings by the slimmest of margins. Saturday garnered further positive results for Peters with Legolas 92 executing his crowd-pleasing Freestyle with music from U2 and Vanilla Ice to win the class on a score of 77.675% and take Reserve National Championship title.

“I was super excited. It was one of his best Freestyles. I am so familiar with the routine and I thought even tonight I wasn’t just with the music, but I was really with the footfall of every single beat.”

Rosamunde performed her second career Freestyle, handling the bustling atmosphere with grace to score 74.950% and place third overall.

All championship competition will be available on-demand on USEFNetwork.com.

From the USEF Communications Department