Tag Archives: Shelly Francis

Graves and Francis Primed to Compete for US in 2018 FEI World Cup Dressage Final

Laura Graves and Verdades. Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Paris, France – Two strong dressage combinations will represent the U.S. in the 2018 FEI World Cup Dressage Final at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France, April 13 and 14. Coming off high scores at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), both Laura Graves and Shelly Francis, and their horses, are prepared and ready to compete.

Meet the Athletes

Olympic bronze medalist Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) will look to defend her FEI World Cup Dressage Final second-place finish in 2017. She and Verdades, a 16-year-old KWPN gelding she owns with Curt Maes, were undefeated in their showing at the 2018 AGDF. The combination topped the leaderboard in the Grand Prix CDI-W and Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W during week three, the Grand Prix CDI5* and Grand Prix Freestyle CDI5* during week five, and the Grand Prix CDI-W and Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W during week eight. Earning one of their highest scores ever, an 84.975 percent in the CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle, Graves and Verdades are hoping to squeeze every point they can out of their tests in Paris.

“Omaha was an especially important event for us,” said Graves. “It is always terrific to ride in your home country, but this is my third World Cup [Final], and we’re here in Paris and honestly, just as excited. Hopefully, we are better than last year; hopefully we are better than we were yesterday. That is always our goal. It is also the first time [Isabell Werth] and I will be head-to-head since Aachen last year, where we were able to come out on top in the grand prix special. A lot of top competitors are here from other countries. We are certainly going to give it our best shot.”

Graves and Verdades were a valuable combination in The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team’s silver-medal finish and gold-medal finish in the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ Germany, at CHIO Aachen, and the FEI Dressage Nations Cup The Netherlands, respectively, in 2017.

Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) will show at her first FEI World Cup Dressage Final with Danilo, Patricia Stempel’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding. The combination placed second in the Grand Prix CDI-W and Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W during week one of the 2018 AGDF. Francis and Danilo placed second in the CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle during week three of the 2018 AGDF with a 77.72 percent, earning Danilo’s highest freestyle score ever. The combination then posted a personal best score for their grand prix special test of 73.979 percent when they won the Grand Prix Special CDI4* during week 10 of the 2018 AGDF, then placed second in the Grand Prix CDI4*.

Although a new face to the Final, Francis is a veteran and skilled competitor, selected as the traveling reserve with Doktor for the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, as well as with Pikant in 1996 for the Atlanta Olympic Games and in 1998 for the WEG in Rome.

Competition Information

Competition for the Final begins Friday with the FEI Grand Prix at 9:30 a.m. EST. Saturday’s FEI Grand Prix Freestyle begins at 8:00 a.m. EST, with its results determining the FEI World Cup Dressage Champion. Watch the live stream on FEI TV.

View more information about the 2018 FEI World Cup Dressage Final.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Shelly Francis Is Back on Top with Personal Best Performance in Week 10 at AGDF

Shelly Francis and Danilo. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL — March 17, 2018 — Shelly Francis (USA) and Danilo went one better than in the grand prix to clinch the Grand Prix Special CDI4*, presented by Mission Control. She and Danilo scored 73.979%, a new personal best in this test for the pair, who are ranked 42nd in the world. Week 10 of the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida, is the largest dressage show ever held outside Western Europe. AGDF continues through March 31.

“When you’re really riding and pushing a bit and trying to make everything perfect, you kind of feel it’s not your best ride because you’re sweating more than the horse,” said Francis, who is based in Loxahatchee, Florida, and was contending with a pair of stiff new riding boots. “But he did feel good; I just have to relax a little and trust him. We had a little mistake at C when he thought halt and rein-back, like in the grand prix, when I was trying to make passage. Other than that, he felt straight up.”

Francis has been riding Patricia Stempel’s 14-year-old gelding since he was eight.

“Patricia was riding him and doing a nice job, but then she suggested I show him a bit, which was her mistake, because now he’s mine!” laughed Francis. “He kept getting better and better, though I did have to take it a little slow. He has a funny little edge in there that can come alive at the snap of a finger, so I’ve been trying to figure out how I can use a bit of that edge without getting too much. It’s really starting to come together this year. He used to get nervous in the ring about being by himself, but now he’s starting to enjoy it and he feels happier.”

Francis partially attributes Danilo’s improved performances to his well-rounded regime, which includes a broad variety of work, such as hacking and playing games.

“I get them fit enough and then I don’t work them all the time, because I feel they get mentally bored,” added Francis, who does not have a regular trainer. “I train with myself mostly, which works pretty good so far. Once in a while I have to kick myself around, but I’m a visual learner and I watch all the top riders. I’m a bit of an odd biscuit that way, but I did a lot of training in past years with great people like Johann Hinnemann, and now I have my own methods of training. I’m 59 — not 20 anymore — so I train my horses from all the things I’ve learned.”

On April 1, Francis will make the journey over to Europe with her two top horses, Danilo and Doktor. She will be based in Warendorf, Germany for the summer — her sixth consecutive summer in Europe.

“I have good friends there, I love that little town and area, and I get my own nice little apartment so I can do all my own cooking and not gain weight, like when living in hotels,” she added. “This year, Danilo gets to do the World Cup Final in Paris, which I’m really excited about. I’ve never been to Paris, so I’ll get perfume, croissants, brie, pate and some really good wine.”

Winner of the grand prix, Canada’s Brittany Fraser (All In) had to settle for second in the Special, while her fellow Canadian Jill Irving filled third on Degas 12, who is by De Niro, the same sire as Danilo.

Megan Lane (CAN) finished fifth in the four-star special on San D’Or, but sat atop the leaderboard in the Grand Prix Special CDI3* riding her own 17-year-old Caravella to 71.617%.

It was the first win in a year for the KWPN Contango x Riverman mare, who was bred by Jill Irving. Caravella and Lane have progressed up the ranks together, starting out at under-25 grand prix in 2012, and encompassing the 2015 Pan American Games and the Rio Olympics in their extensive career accolades.

Belinda Trussell (CAN) was second on Tattoo 15, her own 15-year-old Westfalian gelding by Tuareg, with 70.34%. Third was home rider Anna Marek on Diane Morrison’s Dee Clair who, at 10 years old, was the equal youngest horse in the class. Their 69.34% was the Sir Sinclair mare’s best score since starting international grand prix in early 2017.

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

US Dressage Team Returns to FEI Nations Cup CDIO5* Compiègne

Kathleen Raine and Breanna.

Compiègne, France – The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team returns to FEI Nations Cup™ CDIO5* Compiègne where they will take on seven teams vying for podium honors May 18-21. Full of Nations Cup veterans, the U.S. team of Shelly Francis, Arlene “Tuny” Page, and Kathleen Raine are poised to challenge the standards in the Grand Prix ring this weekend. Jennifer Hoffmann and XXXL Rubinio NRW have withdrawn for veterinary reasons. Chef d’Equipe Charlotte Bredahl-Baker will lead the team as they compete in the following order:

Kathleen Raine and Breanna:
Raine (Murrieta, Calif.) and Breanna, her own, Jennifer Mason, and David Wightman’s 2000 Hanoverian mare, look to continue their 2017 success after a win in the Burbank World Cup Grand Prix. Most recently, the combination placed third in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special CDI3* at the Dressage Affaire in March.

Shelly Francis and Danilo:
Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Danilo, Patricia Stempel’s 2004 Hanoverian gelding, are poised for success at CDIO5* Compiègne after a successful showing during the 2017 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). The pair won the FEI Grand Prix CDI3* and FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3* during week 10, followed by the FEI Grand Prix CDI3* during week 11. Francis has a strong list of Nations Cup accolades that she brings with her to CDIO5* Compiègne, including a team gold medal at CDIO5* Compiègne in 2016 with Stempel’s Doktor.

Arlene “Tuny” Page and Woodstock:
Page (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Woodstock bring a wealth of Nations Cup experience to CDIO5* Compiègne. She and the 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding were part of the team gold-medal efforts during the 2016 Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup.

Grand Prix TV will live stream the FEI Nations Cup CDIO5* Compiègne, with the Nations Cup Grand Prix live stream beginning Saturday, May 20, through Sunday, May 21.

By Julian McPeak, US Equestrian Communications Department

Francis and Matute Impress in AGDF 10 FEI Grand Prix Competition

Shelly Francis and Danilo. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

 Wellington, FL – March 16, 2017 – Week ten continued on Thursday, March 16, at the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL with victories for Shelly Francis (USA) in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corp, and Juan Matute Guimon (ESP) in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm.

Francis and Danilo, a 2004 Hanoverian gelding (De Niro x Annabella x Andiamo) owned by Patricia Stempel, took the winning spot earlier in the day in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corp, earning a score of 70.020%.

Commenting on her ride, Francis said, “I’ve really been working with this horse because he’s always had so much talent, but always has these little bobbles in the ring where he gets a little behind the leg or he gets nervous. I’m trying to keep him calm, and reminding him to get a little in front of the leg has been tricky. He is kind of evening out now; I’ve been working him a lot so that he gets more comfortable with giving me a better piaffe. Last year, he would quit frequently; this year he feels much more honest, and even though the piaffe is not as expressive as what he can really do, he stayed there steadily. I want to be able to get him comfortable enough in the arena where I can press him a little more and ask him to be more expressive throughout the test.”

The pair has been making steady progress this season at AGDF, continuously working their way up the leaderboard.

“Overall I’m happy with how he is coming along,” continued Francis. “He’s been consistent so far this season with trying to stay more honest for me in the ring.”

Second place in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corp, was awarded to P.J. Rizvi (USA) and her own Breaking Dawn, a 2001 KWPN gelding (Akribori x Eveline x L. Ronald), with 68.200%. Third place went to Anna Marek (USA) and Dee Clair, a 2008 KWPN mare (Sir Sinclair x Rolls Royce) owned by Diane Morrison, with a score of 68.020%.

Juan Matute Jr. and Quantico Ymas

Juan Matute Guimon (ESP) and Quantico Ymas, a 2006 Hanoverian gelding (Fighting Fit x Hauptstutbuch) owned by Juan F Matute, bested the competition in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm, with 68.660%. This is Matute’s first Grand Prix victory of the 2017 season.

“Overall my horses feel fresh and happy,” said Matute of his rides. “The temperature is lovely so we get the perfect weather with the combination of the coolness but we have the sun, so it’s not too cold. Quantico is a hot horse, so with the extra factor of the weather, sometimes the weather can create a little bit of chaos or it can create a great test with lots of energy, like today. I think that we had a couple of mistakes here and there and can of course continue improving, but overall the energy was there and the horse was really willing to work and give me his best. There were many times that I had great feelings.”

Quantico Ymas has been with Matute since he was two years old. “The philosophy in our house when it comes to this sport is to buy the horses young and build them up. If they are good and have enough quality to stay with our team, we compete them, and if not, we sell them.”

He described of his horse, “Quantico was a very challenging horse. He has jumping bloodlines, but for some reason with him, I’ve always had a special connection. I love all of my horses and have a great connection with them all, but with this horse it’s different and it’s difficult to explain. Although he was challenging a couple of years ago, he eventually understood that the more we work together, the better and more fun it can be.”

The second-place award went to Arlene Page (USA) and Dr. House 2, a 2005 Oldenburg gelding (Don Schufro x Rinerfa JS x Krack C) owned by Page, with 67.600%. Capturing third place in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm, was Shelly Francis (USA) and Doktor, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding (Diamond Hit x Gurena x Renoir I) owned by Patricia Stempel, earning 67.220%.

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

US Dressage Team Earns Silver Medal in CDIO5* Aachen

The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Aachen, Germany – The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team had solid performances throughout the Lambertz Nations Cup at CHIO Aachen. Led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover, the team of Katherine Bateson-Chandler, Shelly Francis, Arlene “Tuny” Page, and Steffen Peters garnered the Silver medal with a total score of 437.139. Saturday’s final placing also clinched the inaugural FEI Nations Cup™ series title for the U.S. Germany had a dominant performance in the eight-nation field, taking the top three places in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special and earning the Gold medal with a total of 492.598. Denmark finished with the Bronze medal on a total of 430.418.

“I could not be more proud of our team here in Aachen,” said Dover. “It’s great when you consider that there are some of the best countries in the world selecting their teams for the Rio Olympic Games here and our team placed second, a team who included our traveling reserve and other super combinations that are not on our Olympic team. I am so proud that of all of them they stepped up to the plate.”

Coming into this sixth and final Nations Cup event in the 2016 series, the U.S. needed to secure a placing ahead of Sweden, who was four points ahead of the U.S. on the leaderboard, to secure the title. Dover was extremely pleased with this weekend’s outcome. “We set a goal right from the beginning to win this series. Winning the first event in Wellington was exciting, but we anticipated that win. At Odense we had a nice showing with some of our greener combinations. Then going on to Compiègne, we thought, ‘Yes, we have a strong chance’, but when we won that it really got me excited and planning. After a second-place finish at Rotterdam the idea was to come to Aachen and place second or third and beat Sweden, but to actually place second with this group, that was really exciting.”

In Thursday’s CDIO5* Grand Prix, Peters (San Diego, Calif.) and Four Winds Farm’s Legolas 92 anchored the U.S. team with an excellent test, receiving a score of 77.324% from the Ground Jury of Maribel Alonso (MEX), Susanne Baarop (DEN), Stephen Clarke (GBR), Eduard de Wolff van Westerrode (NED), Peter Holler (GER), Thomas Lang (AUS), and Gary Rockwell (USA) to finish in fourth place. Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Patricia Stempel’s Doktor demonstrated their partnership with a steady test to score 72.200% for 12th place. Page (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Woodstock had a consistent test, marred only by a mistake in the two-tempi changes, scoring 68.971% to finish in 23rd place. Bateson-Chandler (Wellington, Fla.) was the first down centerline for the U.S. aboard Jane Clark’s Alcazar and had a solid test, aside from issues in the piaffe and collected walk, to post a score of 66.314% for 32d place.

The U.S. Team put forth a determined effort in Saturday’s CDIO5* Grand Prix Special to earn the Silver medal. Peters and Legolas 92 were the final ride of the day and they did not disappoint with impressive piaffe and passage work and lovely canter half-passes. The Ground Jury of Maribel Alonso (MEX), Stephen Clarke (GBR), Eduard de Wolff van Westerrode (NED), Peter Holler (GER), and Gary Rockwell (USA) rewarded the pair with a score of 76.627% to put them in fourth place.

Peters was very pleased with the maturity Legolas 92 exhibited, stating, “The first huge relief was when we came in, the announcer said a few things about Legolas, and he did not react whatsoever and that is the exact reason why we were here. I still felt like at Rotterdam, in the Grand Prix, that we were still a little on edge during the first minute of our test, but now he has proven that he can deliver for the team and this is exactly what the plan was. He did the piaffe movements very nicely, as well as his changes, and did beautiful canter pirouettes. Thursday and today the judges gave him a really high mark for his collected walk and that is a gigantic accomplishment. It’s those little things that most people who don’t know Legolas that well don’t appreciate, but I am just stocked about those tiny little things.”

Page and Woodstock had a much improved performance in the Grand Prix Special, producing an accurate and rhythmical test. They nailed their tempi-changes and demonstrated lovely passage work, scoring 71.451% to finish in 13th place.

Francis and Doktor gave another consistent performance to help the U.S. Team. They demonstrated solid piaffes and executed brilliant passage work. Francis and Doktor scored 70.647% to finish in 17th place.

Bateson-Chandler withdrew Alcazar from the Grand Prix Special following a case of colic on Friday.

Complete Rider Results

Complete Team Results

The top 18 individuals, including Francis, Page, and Peters, will move forward to Sunday’s Grand Prix Freestyle.

The U.S. is also being represented this week at CHIO Aachen in dressage, driving, and show jumping. On Thursday evening, the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping tied for the Silver medal with France in the Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup. On Saturday afternoon, the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team finished in sixth place in the CICO3* Nations Cup. The U.S. Driving Team is in second place after the first phase, competition continues Saturday with the marathon phase, and concludes on Sunday with the cones. Find out more on USEFNetwork.com.

From the USEF Communications Department

USEF Names US Olympic Dressage Team for Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Clockwise from top left: Laura Graves, Steffen Peters, Allison Brock, and Kasey Perry-Glass.

Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has named four athlete-and-horse combinations to the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team and one traveling reserve athlete-and-horse combination for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. One direct reserve horse has also been named. A direct reserve horse would be an automatic replacement should the original horse on which the athlete was named need to be substituted. Dressage competition at the Olympic Games will take place August 8-15, 2016 at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The following athlete-and-horse combinations will compose the Team (in alphabetical order):

Allison Brock (Loxahatchee, Fla.) with Claudine and Fritz Kundrun’s Rosevelt, a 2002 Hanoverian stallion

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

Kasey Perry-Glass (Orangevale, Calif.) with Diane Perry’s Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding

Steffen Peters (San Diego, Calif.) with Four Winds Farm’s Legolas 92, a 2002 Westphalian gelding

Direct Reserve
Four Winds Farm’s Rosamunde, a 2007 Rheinlander mare

The following combination has been named as the traveling reserve:

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

Further information regarding the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team selection process can be found on USEF.org. All nominations to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.

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

Allison Brock and Rosevelt Capture Emotional Win in FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 4*

Allison Brock and Rosevelt. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Francis and Doktor Grab Second Large Tour Win of AGDF 10 in FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*

Wellington, FL – March 19, 2016 – Allison Brock (USA) and Rosevelt put on an impressive show at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) this week with a first place finish in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm, with a score of 74.225%. Competition at AGDF 10 concludes tomorrow with the final day of the Florida International Youth Dressage Championships alongside the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDI 1*, presented by Mike & Roz Collins.

Lara Griffith (GBR) and Rubin Al Asad collected second place honors, receiving a 71.059%, while Lisa Wilcox (USA) and Galant earned third place with a 69.510%.

Brock discussed her time away from competition with Rosevelt, owned by Fritz & Claudine Kundrun, to concentrate on asking for more expression but not compromising the accuracy of their tests. Today, Brock executed a nearly flawless test, which earned them a 74.225%, tying their personal best score in the FEI Grand Prix Special, which they also achieved at the Achleiten CDI 4* last year in Europe.

“It was pretty solid. We didn’t have any mistakes and that’s why I’m back here doing this, because of our mistakes in the CDI 5*. I wanted to show everyone that we can count our one tempis,” smiled Brock. “He was perfectly good and so I feel very good about this. To come out and ride a clean test was the important thing.”

Watch Allison Brock and Rosevelt win the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3* here!

The weather at AGDF today saw plenty of sun, but also torrential downpours right in the middle of the FEI CDI 4* class, which caught all top three finishers at some point in their tests or warm-up. Brock is typically very cautious of the weather with Rosevelt in terms of their preparation and warm-up, but the 2002 Hanoverian stallion handled the day’s adversity with ease.

“I was initially concerned about him getting overheated in the warm-up because it is so humid today, and then all of the sudden we were getting pelted with heavy rain. The good news is, we’ve never had an indoor, so I have to ride in a lot of stuff,” she explained. “He has to deal with it, so that’s not something that I’m worried about, but more so (I was worried about) being able to hold on to my reins. I thought he was very good about the whole thing though.”

“I’d really like to thank Betsy (Juliano) again for sponsoring this class and also really thank Fritz and Claudine Kundrun because they’re behind me 2,000% all of the time. I really also need to say thank you to Michael (Barisone),” continued Brock. “He’s out there all of the time and just a constant presence, such a rock for me. For him and the Kundruns, it’s nice when everything starts to come together. [Michael] was quite emotional after the Grand Prix, as we all were, and it’s just so nice when all of the hard work pays off.”

Lara Griffith and Rubin Al Asad, owned by Dr. & Mrs. Bechtolsheimer, have worked for most of the winter circuit on maintaining consistency at the Grand Prix level, which they’ve only been riding for two years together. A bit dissatisfied with the pair’s test in the FEI Grand Prix, Griffith felt that “Rufus” was much more in front of her leg today, which earned them a significantly higher mark.

“I was pretty pleased with his test today. The Grand Prix was a bit disappointing because Rufus went in and wasn’t really sure he wanted to do it, so I was a little bit nervous about the Special considering how many transitions there are,” she explained. “I didn’t have the engine there, but I trained with Laura [Tomlinson] yesterday and we sorted a few things out and he was firing today.”

“We’re lucky enough to have an indoor at home, so we typically get to stay away from the rain, but he handled it quite well and by the end of our test there was sunshine. That’s part of our sport though, so we managed it okay I thought,” she continued.

Wilcox and Galant have just moved to the Grand Prix level this year after a successful Small Tour campaign at AGDF last season, and they are continuing to gain experience and knowledge at the higher level together. Wilcox, a veteran rider for Team USA, continues to test the massive Belgian Warmblood gelding in the ring, and their expression is starting to earn them strong marks, especially in their trot work.

“I was really pleased with him today. I’m glad that I didn’t get rained on during my test because his ears are extremely sensitive and he was already throwing his head a bit in the warm-up. I thought if this happens throughout my entire test this is going to be interesting, but you know, he’s maturing every test out,” elaborated Wilcox. “To get through mistake-free is our first goal and then working on the transitions, through the collected walk to the piaffe and passage, trying to keep those as seamless as possible.”

Galant, owned by Jacqueline Shear, has a true talent for the Large Tour movements. Wilcox finds herself always gauging Galant’s comfort zone during their tests so she has a strong understanding of where she can begin to push for more expression.

“I try to add a tick more expression in the places that I can. It kind of got me in the butt today after the right half pass, but you know, the thing is, I’m in there testing things constantly, how much I can and how much I can’t,” she explained. “It’s a lot of information for me, while he’s maturing at the same time. I’m proud of him because he lets me test and I’m thankful. I’m grateful for where he’s at already and in the ball game.”

Shelly Francis and Doktor
Shelly Francis and Doktor

Victory in the FEI Grand Prix Special for the CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation, went to Shelly Francis (USA) and Doktor, owned by Patricia Stempel, with a score of 70.569%. Canada’s Megan Lane and her own Caravella finished in second with a 69.627%, while Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) and Trostruplund’s Scarlet took home third place with a 69.078%.

The Grand Prix Special is technically the most challenging test of the Large Tour classes, featuring the only walk to piaffe transition in the big tour, twenty-four one tempi changes divided between two lines, and very demanding piaffe-passage sequences.

“I didn’t have a massive headache, which helped, but he felt pretty good today,” Francis said. “I had to get him to pick himself up a bit more and I think I had a bit too hard of a half halt at the end of the extended trot, and he picked his nose up. There was a plate that dropped at the end of the extended canter in the VIP that made him look at bit, but he was pretty steady for the most part today.”

“I felt like this ride was a bit better, and I was sitting there able to determine what needed to be different, which is more difficult when I have a migraine. We just need to continue on with our practice,” she noted.

In the final week of AGDF competition, Francis will make an appearance for Team USA on the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup CDIO 3*, alongside teammates Perry-Glass on Goerklintgaards Dublet, Laura Graves and Verdades, as well as Arlene “Tuny” Page and Woodstock. Francis indicated that she has been working all season to help make Doktor more steady and consistent, even when he is more sensitive and hotter to her aids.

“I’ve been steadily, through the whole season, just asking him to be a bit more solid. He just needs to give me an easier ride, not in the sense that I don’t have to ride, but more so that he pays attention more,” she said. “I think today, because I was asking him for a little bit more hot in the piaffe and passage, he was awake and noticing things. I’m just going to carefully keep getting him sharper as we go.”

Lane and Caravella have been top competitors for Canada over the course of this season, and Lane was eager to improve on the constructive comments she has received from the international judging panels so far this circuit.

“I was going today for a clean test with a little bit more energy, which has been a critique of my past rides. I had a little more horse than I did yesterday-the weather helped with that,” she explained. “There were multiple points that were highlights today, so I was really, really happy with her.”

Reflecting on her season so far, Lane expressed gratitude for the opportunity to compete so consistently in Florida and that she and Caravella have grown together as a pair. She elaborated, “It is a continuous learning curve, no matter what level you’re at in this sport; you’re always trying to improve your relationship.  Our relationship isn’t different, but we have grown together because we’ve been able to compete at all the shows here.”

Perry-Glass, coming off of a spectacular evening aboard her other Grand Prix mount Goerklintgaards Dublet in last night’s FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm, found herself in the top three again today with Trostruplund’s Scarlet owned by Dianne Perry. The pair has an established relationship together, and Perry-Glass felt their test today was an improvement to their Grand Prix test this past Thursday.

“Today was a lot better than our Grand Prix test. In that test she got a little bit behind my leg, so the last couple of days we’ve been working on her connection,” said Perry-Glass. “She’s one of those horses that you can’t stop riding, and that’s teaching me a lot for all of the horses I’m riding. Today, she was really good in her extended trots, which I felt were much better. Her piaffe was a little bit more honest today than it has been and the changes were great, so I think she was more honest today than I’ve had her. She’s teaching me a lot still.”

Competition at AGDF 10 concludes tomorrow with the Florida International Youth Dressage Championships along with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDI 1*, presented by Mike & Roz Collins. 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

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

Francis and Doktor Top FEI Grand Prix CDI 3* at AGDF 10

Shelly Francis and Doktor. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – March 17, 2016 – Shelly Francis (USA) and Doktor, who have been campaigning at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) circuit all season, collected a win this afternoon in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation. Competition at AGDF continues tomorrow with the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation, at 3:15 p.m. and the “Friday Night Stars” FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm, beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Francis and Doktor won with a score of 70.180%. Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) and Rassing’s Lonoir, in their second FEI Grand Prix start together, earned second place with a 69.940%, while Laura Tomlinson (GBR) and Unique took third place with a 69.100%.

On the second day of dressage competition at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) this week, Francis and Doktor entered the ring late in the order, and moved fellow American LaGoy-Weltz out of the top position, which she held for majority of the class. Displaying consistent relaxation and rhythm in their tests, Doktor’s presence in the ring is progressing, according to Francis.

“I’m hoping to improve his self-carriage a bit, so that I don’t have to sweat so much,” she laughed. “He was very good, and he’s getting much better about not making as many mistakes in the test. The pirouettes today were very good and steadier. The piaffe and passage were nicer, but today he was in between hot and tired. He felt awesome, and he’s just going better and better.”

Francis, who was suffering from a migraine during her test, said that Doktor really stepped up to the plate in the ring today and covered for her feeling a bit less on her game than usual. She explained, “I didn’t feel very good at all during the test, and he just kept on going.”

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Rassing's Lonoir
Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Rassing’s Lonoir

In just their second CDI competition at Large Tour together, LaGoy-Weltz and Rassing’s Lonoir, who were very successful in Small Tour classes last year at AGDF, proved that they’re a combination to watch at the Grand Prix level this year and are becoming comfortable and confident with the movements at Grand Prix level.

“He moved into Grand Prix at the beginning of Florida at the National level, and I’ve been thrilled with how focused he is and how relaxed he is with the work,” said LaGoy-Weltz. “It’s like he’s almost found his own and now it’s time and strength building. This is his sixth Grand Prix ever, so I’m pretty thrilled.”

Tomlinson has had a successful two weeks aboard both of her Grand Prix mounts, Rosalie B and Unique, owned by her parents, Dr. & Mrs. Bechtolsheimer. She found a confident and rideable horse beneath her today in the ring, as Unique, one of her greener mounts, concluded one of her best tests yet.

“[At AGDF] is the first time that she’s been able to do a few Grand Prix shows in a row, which has helped us massively. She was a different horse to ride today than she was when she first got here. There are still parts of the test where she looks too big and not together to show off what she can really do and get those marks that she could get,” elaborated Tomlinson. “From a rideablity point of view, I’m thrilled. It’s really the best she’s been to ride, and she’s trying very hard for me. She’s obedient, and she’s never going to say no to anything.

“I’m thrilled with our progress and I feel like we also have a lot to build on as well,” continued Tomlinson.

All three riders will head in their own separate directions at the end of circuit in just two weeks, as Tomlinson and her team depart for Europe this Sunday, while both LaGoy-Weltz and Francis will contest the final CDI of the season at AGDF before reaffirming plans for the rest of the year.

Francis and Doktor will represent the United States in the Stillpoint Farm Nations Cup CDIO 3* at AGDF in two weeks, while LaGoy-Weltz and Rassing’s Lonoir will contest their final CDI 3* Grand Prix at AGDF.

“I’m hoping that both of the horses will be able to go to Europe and do the shows there. Doktor will be on the CDIO 3* team, in two weeks and I’m really going to try and show him off a bit more,” noted Francis. “He’ll have a couple of weeks to get it together for me, and I think if I were feeling better he would have done better today.”

LaGoy-Weltz said, “I think we may go to Tryon for the CDI 3* and maybe do a freestyle. I haven’t really started working on it yet. This season we’re just going to keep working and strengthening him more through the summer for next year.”

Leida Collins-Strijk (NED) and Don Tignanello maintained their winning ways moving into the second day of CDI 1* competition. The duo won the FEI Intermediaire I CDI 1*, presented by Mike & Roz Collins, with a score of 72.289%. Tina Irwin and her own Laurencio claimed second place with a 70.368%, while Lisa Wilcox (USA) and Gallant Reflection HU, owned by Horses Unlimited, captured third place with a 68.658%.

Competition at AGDF continues tomorrow with the start of the 2016 Florida International Youth Dressage Championships in the Van Kampen Covered Arena at PBIEC, along with the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation, beginning at 3:15 p.m., and the “Friday Night Stars” FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm, at 7:00 p.m. under the lights at The Stadium. 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

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