Heather Blitz and Paragon (SusanJStickle.com)
Lexington, KY – The focus of U.S. dressage this week will be firmly on The Stadium in Wellington, Florida for the Wellington Nations Cup CDIO3* presented by Stillpoint Farm. Held in conjunction with the 2013 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, America’s only CDIO will run April 11-14. The United States will look to secure a repeat victory after claiming top honors in 2012. The home nation will be represented by two teams; each composed of two Grand Prix (Big Tour) combinations and two Prix St. Georges (Small Tour) competitors.
A total of 10 teams composed of riders from the United States, Australia, Austria, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Germany and Venezuela will vie for top honors in Friday’s Nation Cup. This competition holds added significance as it is being used to test the proposed format for the 2015 Pan American Games. Team placings will be determined by the scores earned Friday, with Big Tour riders performing the FEI Grand Prix Test and Small Tour combinations riding the FEI Prix St. Georges Test. Those in Big Tour competition will receive a bonus of three percentage points for receiving 58% or higher in the FEI Grand Prix Test to be added to their team total.
On Saturday, competitors return to The Stadium to begin their quests for individual honors. The top finisher will be crowned by combining his/her scores from the Freestyle, performed Saturday, and Sunday’s test of either the FEI Intermediaire I for Small Tour riders or the FEI Grand Prix Special for Big Tour riders.
USA I Team
Heather Blitz, Shelly Francis, Caroline Roffman and Kimberly Herslow look to help USA I Team stand atop the podium in Nations Cup competition. Blitz (Wellington, FL) and Francis (Loxahatchee, FL) represent the home nation as they go head-to-head with other Big Tour competitors. Blitz rides her own 2011 Pan American Games Team Gold and Individual Silver medalist Paragon. The pair, who is competing in its second year at the Grand Prix level, has earned many top results over the last 12 months. Francis makes a return trip to CDIO Wellington, after representing the United States in 2012. She has moved her partner from last year’s competition, Patricia Stempel’s Doktor, up to Grand Prix this year and the pair has been earning competitive scores and gaining valuable experience throughout the Florida circuit.
Roffman (Wellington, FL) and Herslow (Stockton, NJ) round out the USA I Team in Small Tour competition. Roffman is no stranger to CDIO Wellington competition, having represented the U.S. at the Nations Cup in 2012. She will ride her own Her Highness O this week, who is her winning partner from the 2012 USEF National Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage Championship presented by the Dutta Corp and Performance Sales International. Herslow will look to showcase the partnership she has built over the years with Kiroli Enterprises LLC’s Rosmarin. The pair stepped up to the Prix St. Georges level in May of 2012 and has been steadily improving.
USA II Team
The USA II Team also boasts a formidable line-up of Cesar Parra, Susan Dutta, Chris Hickey and Justin Hardin. Parra (Whitehouse Station, NJ) and Dutta (Wellington, FL) will represent the U.S. on the Big Tour. Parra, a member of the Gold medal-winning U.S. team at the 2011 Pan American Games, will ride Michael and Sarah Davis’ Van the Man. Dutta will ride Tim Dutta Inc.’s Currency DC.
Hickey (Colora, MD) and Hilltop Farm Inc.’s Witness Hilltop make their second Nations Cup appearance after helping the U.S. claim victory in 2012. The veteran pair will again compete in the Small Tour competition. Rounding out the USA II Team is Hardin (Long Valley, NJ) and Judith Cardella’s Wyatt Star. The pair who stepped up to the Prix St. Georges level in 2012 will look to showcase its improvement over the last 12 months.
Additional U.S. riders will participate in the Wellington Nations Cup CDIO3* presented by Stillpoint Farm on composite teams with competitors from other nations.
The USEFNetwork.com presented by SmartPak will live stream all the action of the Team competition on Friday. For the live stream, video, photos, news and more, visit: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2013DressageNationsCup/.
To learn more about the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, visit: http://www.globaldressagefestival.com/.
Follow the 2013 U.S. Dressage Team here.