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