Tag Archives: dressage

US Para Dressage Qualifies for Paris 2024 with Their World Championship Bronze in Herning

Roxanne Trunnell, Kate Shoemaker, Rebecca Hart, Beatrice de Lavalette, and Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline. Photo courtesy of U.S. Equestrian.

Wellington, Florida – August 24, 2022 – Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team continued to prove themselves at another world event with multiple medal wins at the Orifarm Health FEI Para Dressage World Championship held in the BB Horse Arena. The 2022 ECCO FEI World Championships were held August 6-14 in Herning, Denmark. This was the ninth edition of the Games, which are held every four years and run by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI). These championships which were formerly the World Equestrian Games included jumping, dressage, para-dressage, and vaulting. Eventing, driving, and endurance will be held at a later date. The Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team included Roxanne Trunnell and Fortunato H20, owned by Lehua Custer; Kate Shoemaker and her own Quiana; Beatrice de Lavalette and Sixth Sense, owned by her parents Elizabeth and Nicolas; Rebecca Hart with El Corona Texel, owned by Rowan O’Riley; and Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline. The team had top scores earning them a team bronze, an individual silver, and an individual bronze. They have now qualified the United States for a team berth at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Kate Shoemaker of (Wellington, Fla.) and Quiana earned a fantastic score in the FEI Para Dressage Grade IV Freestyle, receiving an 80.275 percent. For Shoemaker and her 2014 Rhinelander mare, this was a personal best, winning them the FEI Para Dressage Grade IV Freestyle silver medal. Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Fla.) and El Corona Texel had some new experiences, but the veteran duo secured a bronze medal in the Individual para-dressage championship test grade III. They provided excellent scores for the team helping to secure the team bronze medal. In Grade II, Beatrice de Lavalette (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Sixth Sense did quite well, placing 4th in both her Grade II Individual and Team tests. Roxanne Trunnell (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) rode her new mount Fortunato H20. The pair had a great showcase and Trunnell was quite proud of the six-year-old Oldenburg stallion, scoring the pair’s personal best of 76.447 after only a very short time together.

In 2018, the trio of Shoemaker, Hart, and Trunnell made history with their unprecedented four medal wins for para dressage at the World Equestrian Games held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina, United States. In 2021, at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the same trio secured a team bronze medal, Trunnell earned two gold medals, and the fourth current team member in Denmark, Beatrice de Lavalette, was an individual at that 2020 games.

Trunnell noted, “I cannot believe that Fish (Fortunato H20) handled that show as well as he did. The atmosphere at a big Championship is very different from any kind of show he had ever done. It was a big question mark whether he could keep it together for the whole event. He not only kept it together, but he scored above a 75% in only his second International show. Lehua Custer, Karin Flint, Andrea Woodard, and I all took a chance on Fish, and it paid off. Fish is definitely a superstar in the making and we’ll be back for more dancing down the centerline in the future.”

President of the USPEA Tina Wentz was alongside the riders and U.S. staff while in Denmark. She remarked, “The World Championships at Denmark exceeded our expectations and was truly a team effort. Watching each athlete, horse, trainer, and groom give 110% toward producing their best performances was a joy. Beginning at training camp under the leadership of Michel Assouline the athletes showed improvement each day leading up to the first day of competition. The goal was to secure a Team spot for Paris 2024, but the cherry on top was their team bronze, and individual silver and bronze. This definitely would not have been possible without everyone pulling together to help the athletes succeed including their sponsors and horse owners Karin Flint and Rowan O’Riley, Elizabeth & Nicolas De Lavalette, Deena & Craig Shoemaker, Lehua Custer, their trainers, Andrea Woodard, Nicole Wego-Engelmeyer, Jennifer Baumert, and Shayna Simeon, grooms Lillie Durbin, Molly O’Brien, Esteban Quintero, Rafael Hernandez Carrill, along with Chef d’Mission Will Connell, Team Leader Laureen Johnson, Chef d’equipe Michel Assouline, Team Vet Meg Mullins, and team Physio Joanna Frantz. A huge thanks to these and everyone who supported and worked hard to produce this tremendous result. I can’t help but think how proud both Hope Hand and Jonathan would be with the Team’s performances.”

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org.

United States Para-Equestrian Association Remembers Organization President Hope Hand

Hope Hand at the Tryon CPEDI3* in Mill Spring, NC. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Newtown, Pennsylvania – June 29, 2022 – Hope Hand, USPEA President, passed peacefully surrounded by family at age 73 on June 12, 2022. Surviving is her husband, Stanley Hand, daughter Amy Cappozzoli and son in law Eric and their children, Parker and Lincoln, a brother, Charlie Kean and sister-in-law Pamela Kean, and her westie, Finley.

Sleep may be the only thing Hope Hand did not do well, and it would be no wonder since she gave 110% of her boundless energy and time to Para Equestrian Sport and Para Dressage. Constantly promoting, recruiting, educating, and encouraging everyone she met as she traveled at her own expense to all US International and National Championship competitions and to numerous Para Dressage symposiums, clinics, and Centers of Excellence. Hope not only knew every US Para Dressage athlete from emerging to elite, but recruited many of them, and was available 24/7 to all to advise, encourage, and educate them on their journey to be the best. Hope is well known in the equestrian world globally for her tireless work in advancing Para Equestrian sport and has served on numerous boards and committees, all in the pursuit of bringing competition excellence to the US in Para Dressage.

Two-time Paralympian Barbara Grassmyer and close friend of Hope remembered their time together. “Hope and I traveled many miles together. We were competitors first then became close friends. It was always an adventure when traveling with Hope. From flat tires in Germany to her being carried up two flights of stairs to the train by my Dad and the Mayor of the small town in Germany. She had a big smile and thrived on the adventures we had together. While we were in England, we decided to go to a safari park. While driving through the monkey area, a few came through the sunroof, making us laugh. Hope had a heart of gold and made sure everyone around her had a fantastic time. She became my mentor and then when my parents couldn’t make the international trips, she became my show mom. While I was horse shopping, I called her to tell her I found my dream horse. She didn’t like it when I informed her that Mibis was a chestnut mare. She came to love Mibis almost as much as I did. When Hope retired from competition, she took on yet another role as president of the USPEA. Without Hope the United States Para Dressage program would not be where it is today. In 2021, we had a watch party for the Tokyo Paralympics. We all stayed up all night cheering on the USA team. We both had tears of happiness when the team won the bronze and Roxie Trunnell won the gold medals for the United States. I enjoyed my time with the Hand family especially when I stayed with them for two summers before the Athens and Hong Kong Olympics. Their family was my family, and I watched her daughter Amy grow up, I watched Hope become a grandmother to two grandsons, and I met many of Hope’s dogs over the years. Hope was one amazing lady who never took no for an answer. She is greatly missed by her west coast family.”

Hope’s list of accomplishments and committee representations were always to help promote and grow the sport of Para-Dressage. Her achievements are as follows:

  • Established and served as President of the United States Para Equestrian Association 2010-2022
  • FEI Para Dressage Technical committee 2016-2020 & 2006-2010
  • USEF IDC member 2013-2022
  • USEF Para Dressage Sports Committee Vice Chair 2013-2022, Chair 2006-2013
  • Para Dressage Centers of Excellence panel 2017-2022
  • Path International Advisory Board 2018-2022
  • USEF Board member 11years 2002-2013
  • USDF Para Dressage Committee Chair 2006 up to restructuring ~2013
  • Instrumental in helping with the transition of Para Dressage into the USEF and FEI in 2006
  • Para Dressage Athlete representing the US at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics serving as Team Captain, 1999 World Dressage Championships Denmark earning a bronze, 1997 British Invitational earning a gold and bronze, and the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics
  • 1997 Bradshaw Challenge Cup at the Festival of Champions, competed with fellow team members Steffen Peters and Guenter Seidel
  • Spearheaded the first Para Dressage group fundraiser – webathon in 2010
  • Initiated clinics with high profile AB dressage clinicians stand alone and after CPEDI3* for PD riders, including Debbie McDonald 2011, Mette Rosencrantz 2012, and more
  • Initiated clinics/symposiums with FEI Para Dressage judges/trainers Hanneke Gerritsen 2011, Carlos Lopes
  • Worked to secure two spots for Para Dressage in Able-Bodied dressage clinics 2009-2011 with top clinicians Sue Blinks and Robert Dover
  • Has attended all US CPEDI3* to meet with new riders, parents, and clinicians for education information and recruitment.
  • Production of Para Dressage promo videos 2009 & 2011
  • Instrumental in the development of Para 101 for athlete education
  • Consistently works with show secretaries and regional dressage areas to include Para dressage classes at their licensed shows, and developed education sheet for how to include classes working with USDF
  • Recruitment of Para Dressage sponsors
  • Instrumental in working with show secretaries & USEF to hold CPEDI3* in the US
  • Initiated Train, the trainer program with FEI 5* judge & trainers Hanneke Gerritsen working with Carlisle continued developing symposiums for Train the trainer & developing HP athletes 2012-2014
  • Instrumental in working with USDF to establish Para Dressage year-end awards
  • Working with USEF to include Para Dressage in NAJYRC, and sponsor 2015 & 2016
  • Established & Developed the Para Dressage mentor program through USPEA
  • Worked with US Pony Club Association to mainstream Para Dressage riders

Tina Wentz who serves as interim President of the USPEA is also a mom of Jonathan Wentz who was a Para Dressage rider that rode on the U.S. Team 2010-2012. Wentz noted, “I had the incredible privilege of working alongside Hope since the time she first formed the USPEA, and I have yet to figure out how she was able to do the work of ten every single day, always with a twinkle in her eyes. I met Hope because of my son Jonathan. Hope and Jonathan, also a Paralympic equestrian, shared the same competitive spirit and independent mindset of never considering their disability but in developing their abilities. They saw themselves as parallel to able bodied athletes and fiercely promoted that to others. Para means parallel.”

Wentz continued, “The board of USPEA and all who knew and loved her will strive to continue her vision of Para truly being parallel, with ALL athletes focused and working together to improve their ability in equestrian sport and life. Hope was a remarkable and irreplaceable individual that I am so thankful to have known as a kindred spirit and friend. And I know she’d say to all of us don’t stop now, you must carry on!”

A memorial service is being planned later this year. Details will be published once confirmed. Follow United States Para Equestrian Association (USPEA) on Facebook to up to date on information.

USPEA accepts tax-deductible donations, and they may be sent to USPEA c/o Ellie Brimmer, USPEA Secretary, 12359 Westhall Pl, Wellington, FL 33414.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org.

Swiss Rider in the Lead after the First Day of Equestrian Festival Baborówko 2022

Felix Vogg (SUI) and Cartania. M&R Photo.

Baborówko, May 26th, 2022 – The first out of five days of international competition Equestrian Festival Baborówko is already behind us. The first parts of the dressage trials were played out in the CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S, CCI2*-S, and CCI1*-Intro.

After the first rounds of the highest subsidized class of the show – the CCI4*-S, for the prize of the Patron of the event, Mr Roman Roszkiewicz – the leader is Switzerland’s Felix Vogg riding Cartania. The highest placed Polish athlete is currently Robert Powala riding Quirino Del Castegno.

In the CCI3*-S, for the Kuhn Maszyny Rolnicze Trophy, the top of the leaderboard belongs to German riders. Anna Lena Schaaf is in the first place with Lagona Old, followed by Antonia Baumgart with Ela Lou and Julia Krajewski riding Chintonic 3.

In the 2*-S, for the trophy of Badix, the best result currently belongs to Janneke Boonzaaijer (NED) with Intermezzo Dea. Jerome Robine (GER) lies in second with Coby R, and Jan Matthias (GER) is in third riding Ibsen 27.

The leader of the CCI1*-Intro, for the trophy of Canter Club, is Malin Petersen (SWE) with Dancer Monkey 7, followed by Antonia Baumgart (GER) with Juna R and Lotta Lamberg (FIN) with Come In Like a Rose.

The dressage trials will continue in the CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S, CCI2*-S, and CCI1*-Intro. We will also begin the rivalry in the CCI4*-L for the prize of Lotto, where the athletes will have a chance to qualify for the World Championships, and in the CCIYH2*-S for young horses, for the trophy of Kunowo Stables.

More information and the program can be found at: www.festiwal.baborowko.pl.

Sweden Takes Command in Compiègne

Antonia Ramel (SWE) and Curiosity. (FEI/Laurent Zabulon)

Heading into the final day of competition at the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ in Compiègne (FRA), it was apparent it would take a monumental shift in momentum for Sweden to relinquish its grasp on the lead. Still, the dominance with which the squad of Juliette Ramel (Buriel K.H.), Antonia Ramel (Curiosity), and Patrik Kittel (Touchdown), led by Chef d’Equipe Jo Bena, executed victory was eye-opening. When Kittel and Touchdown received an 82.025 percent score for their Freestyle, it left Sweden’s final margin of victory at 32 points. Spain (48 points) finished second, with Belgium (51 points) third.

The win marked the third for Sweden at Compiègne in the last five years, having also triumphed in 2018 and 2021.

“We were a bit ahead of the others this time, and I’m very happy about that. They are doing so well in the ring and also in their training, and it looks very promising for the future,” said Chef d’Equipe Jo Bena (SWE).

Each point was equal to an athlete’s placing, with lower numbers reflecting top performances. All athletes competed in Saturday’s Grand Prix before splitting across Sunday’s Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle tests, with the three best results tallied. No Swedish rider received a point tally in double digits, with all three making the podium in at least one test. After recording just 10 points from the Grand Prix, Sweden was even more dominant on Sunday, adding just six points to their score. While Kittel was the highest placing Nations Cup rider in the Grand Prix Freestyle, Juliet Ramel finished second in the Special (75.277%), with Antonia Ramel just behind her in third (72.043%).

“The horses have done very fault-free tests, and if there have been small faults, we have still be able to pick it up with high points,” Kittel said. “I think that’s what I’m most happy with. The thing is: the horses have all just been there for us through the entire weekend.”

Sweden put forth a squad of veteran riders — each an Olympic veteran — but the horses brought forward were mixed in experience. Touchdown had only performed two previous Freestyle tests at the CDI5* level and had never before contested a CDIO event. Curiosity, formerly trained in jumping, is also new to the level, having represented Sweden in one previous Nations Cup event at Aachen (GER).

“He’s been with me for a long time,” Antonia said. “He was in the beginning a jumping horse, which he did until he was six. I’ve educated him on my own, and I’ve had him now for seven years.”

With three appearances in the Olympic Games and a bronze medal from the European Championships, Buriel K.H. stood tall as the equine veteran of the group. The gelding performed with remarkable consistency, recording just 3 points in the Grand Prix (75.391%) and two points in the Grand Prix Special.

“He’s an amazing character. He always has my back,” Juliette said. “I’ve had him since he was 7; now he’s 16. So we’ve had a long partnership.”

Sweden’s win put them atop the standings for the 2022 FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ season with 15 points. Spain sits second with 13 points, two ahead of Belgium (11 points). The FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ returns 23-26 June in Rotterdam (BEL).

“It means a lot [to start the season strongly]. It’s always good to have a victory in a five-star Nations Cup to start with, and then we can go on with the rest,” Bena said. “And we have been lucky and also good, I would say, [in previous years], because we have won in Compiègne before. We like it very much here.”

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Rodolpho Riskalla: “You can do the job even if you’re disabled”

Rodolpho Riskalla (BRA) riding Don Henrico at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games (© FEI/Liz Gregg)

The April edition of The Para Equestrian Digest is now out!

This month, Paralympic & World Championship medallist Rodolpho Riskalla (BRA) provides his views of what businesses can do to provide a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities.

About The Para Equestrian Digest

The FEI launched The Para Equestrian Digest in February 2022.  The online magazine was created for Para Equestrian athletes and the people connected to the sport so they can share – in their own words – their personal experiences and disability stories. Every month, the Digest will put the spotlight on an athlete or project in Para Equestrian sport with the aim of improving disability awareness and inclusion.

Previous editions of The Para Equestrian Digest: https://www.fei.org/stories/lifestyle/my-equestrian-life/para-equestrian-digest

March 2022: US Paralympian and 2021 FEI Against All Odds Award winner Beatrice De Lavalette talks about mental health and how she coped with losing both her legs in the airport terrorist attack in Brussels (BEL) on 22 March 2016.

February 2022: Five-time Paralympic gold medallist and two-time European Para Dressage champion Natasha Baker (MBE, OBE) talks about ableism and what can be done to change people’s attitudes towards disability.

Media contact:

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
vanessa.randin@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 73

Von Bredow-Werndl and Dalera Triumph, while Werth Retires Weihegold in Style

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

There’s nothing like a big win on home ground, but there’s also nothing like retiring a superstar horse in front of a wildly enthusiastic crowd, so the Freestyle finale had it all when Jessica von Bredow-Werndl steered Dalera to victory at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2022 where the sport said a rousing farewell to Isabell Werth’s great mare, Weihegold OLD.

The Leipzig Messe was electric with excitement all night, and some of the equine stars shrank under the intensity of the noisy atmosphere during the first half of the competition.

But when it came down to the wire the big names really rose to the occasion, and it was Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour who lined up second with her new young star Vamos Amigos, while Werth and Weihegold finished third.

Raised the bar

Werth raised the bar when putting a score of 85.921 on the board when fifth-last to go in the field of 17, Weihegold producing a stunning test that was full of energy and beautifully ridden by the lady long known as “The Queen” of dressage. The knowledgeable crowd was with them every step of the way, knowing that this was their last performance together as the mare was to be retired. When they came to a halt, the crowd rose to their feet with an enormous roar to acknowledge them.

Team gold and individual silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, European team gold in 2017, three FEI Dressage World Cup™ titles in a row including the last one in 2019, and team gold at last year’s European Championships in Hagen (GER) amongst their many achievements – their record has been extraordinary.

Denmark’s Nanna Skodborg Merrald followed with an impressive performance from the big-moving Atterupgaards Orthilia, who posted 81.239 for second place temporarily; next in was her compatriot, Carina Cassøe Krüth, whose ride on the light-footed, loose-limbed Heiline’s Danciera included fearlessly forward one-tempi changes. The crowd held their breath until the scoreboard showed 84.971 – Werth was still out in front.

Looked threatening

However, the last of the Danes had yet to come, and Cathrine Dufour always looked threatening when steering Vamos Amigo through a brilliant test, although clearly she wasn’t pushing the 10-year-old to the limit in extended canter. It was no wonder because, as she said afterwards, “He was a bomb today for sure!” He certainly looked explosive but contained himself to the very end and, once his rider relaxed the rein, wandered out the arena like he’d heard a crowd like this a million times. He certainly hasn’t though.

“He’s never been in a ring as full as this before; he was really brave today!” Dufour said with delight.

But the story certainly wasn’t over yet because the lady who has dominated the podiums at both the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the European Championships last summer was yet to take her turn.

Crest of a wave

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl arrived in Leipzig for this week’s Final on the crest of a wave but, as she pointed out, a little “rounder” than usual because she is expecting her second baby to arrive in a few months’ time. However, the little bit of extra weight wasn’t bothering Dalera as the pair executed yet another exquisite test that demonstrated the delightful harmony between these two.

The balance, rhythm, accuracy, and lightness, and the drama of their tempi changes all came together to present the loveliest picture, and as they pranced up the final centreline, it was clear the result was done and dusted. When their score of 90.836 was announced the crowd erupted yet again.

Winner von Bredow-Werndl said afterwards, “I just wanted to come here and of course it was my goal to show what we have shown the last couple of months, but it couldn’t have been better to take a little break now and come back soon!”

Dufour joked that she shouldn’t rush returning to the sport after her baby arrives – “Just stay away for a while!” she suggested with an enormous laugh.

The Danes had every reason to be on a high, Dufour filling second spot, Cassøe Krüth finishing fourth, and Skodborg Merrald lining up in fifth place, while Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg had to settle for sixth. It was a show of mighty strength from Denmark, and it’s a real shot in the arm ahead of this summer’s World Dressage Championships on their home ground in Herning in four months’ time.

Really fantastic

“It’s really fantastic to see how the system in Denmark has gone so well over last four or five years, and you clearly see what has been produced – riders bringing young horses to the top; the two girls that are here are really cool and they can perform under pressure, myself included, and of course we love to put pressure on the girls sitting here!” she said, looking at Werth and von Bredow-Werndl.

“But there is still some way to go; we saw that in 2020 suddenly things change, so for now we are going to keep the horses sharp, try to make a good plan, and then really just enjoy that the Championship is going to be on Danish soil. That is quite fantastic in itself, and we are looking forward to inviting everyone for a great battle and great sport,” Dufour added.

When asked about the Ukrainian flag she had pinned to her tailcoat, she explained, “There is an awful situation going on right now, so I’m wearing it to show support to the people affected by this crazy war.” Newly-crowned champion, von Bredow-Werndl, leaned forward in agreement and added, “We all carry that flag in our hearts.”

Flowing again

After the prizegiving, the emotions were flowing again when Werth and Weihegold entered the arena for the mare’s retirement ceremony. “When you are in a competition you are focused on that, and of course the last line (of their Freestyle) was also quite emotional and when they gave Weihe the standing ovation that was very great. But to go in with the team of people who have been around for the last seven or eight years – that was really emotional, to feel the atmosphere,” Werth said. However, she felt it was the perfect send-off in the end. “It was what you wish for a horse like her, to give her the last honour – it was just super!” she added.

Meanwhile, von Bredow-Werndl reflected on the performance from Dalera that made success possible. “There are no words! She was phenomenal – she always leaves her heart for me in that square (in the arena), and it is not natural at all, and at the same time she does it again and again. I have the feeling even now that we are not yet at the end of our journey together!” said the athlete who believes her mare has even more room for improvement, and who became the sixth German athlete to win the coveted FEI Dressage World Cup™ trophy since the first Final took place back in 1986.

Result here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Short Grand Prix Win Goes to Dalera and von Bredow-Werndl

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

It was no surprise when the reigning Olympic and European gold medallists, 36-year-old Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and her 15-year-old mare TSF Dalera BB, strutted their way into pole position in the Short Grand Prix when the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2022 got underway in Leipzig, Germany.

Drawn in prime last-to-go position, the German duo soared ahead of the opposition to post a score of 84.793, pinning Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour and Vamos Amigos into second place and their German counterparts and defending three-time champions Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD into third.

A strong test from Denmark’s Nanna Skodberg Merrald and the 17-year-old Atterupgaards Orthilia put them top of the leaderboard on a score of 75.752 when fourth to go, and that proved unbeatable until Werth posted 79.756 to go out in front when twelfth into the arena.

But then Dufour broke the 80 percent barrier with a great performance from the 10-year-old Vamos Amigos to put 80.019 on the board, only for von Bredow-Werndl to deny her the top step of the podium with her winning ride.

Freestyle

It’s now down to Saturday night’s Freestyle to decide the fate of the 2022 FEI Dressage World Cup™ title, and for Werth, this entire week is filled with emotion because her great mare will be officially retired that evening in a special ceremony. She couldn’t hold back the tears in her post-competition TV interview.

There was emotion for von Bredow-Werndl too. “As you know, I’m six months pregnant and I feel super fit and so does Dalera, but from a sporting point of view it’s a little bit sad because this is my last big competition before a break,” said the rider who has swept all before her over the last ten months.

Dufour was elated with the result she achieved from her relatively young horse. “I was surprised and super happy with his performance. He was really on fire in the ring and the audience started clapping in the first extension, and I thought, ‘No!’ because he had legs everywhere! But he’s only done a few indoor shows so the fact that he kept his mind in the right place and performed like he did today – that is really fantastic!” she said.

In the shadow

When asked if her Olympic ride, Bohemian, might find himself in the shadow of this new young star, Dufour laughed and said, “No, you don’t know how big Bohemian’s ego is!  Of course, Vamos has plenty of quality and there is way more in him, but Bohemian has more experience so far and I feel very lucky I have two horses that are currently ready for a team position – obviously with the World Championships coming up in Denmark. And I also enjoy every competition because you never know what happens,” she pointed out wisely.

Werth said she was pleased and proud of her great mare. “She did a super job, just a little mistake. I think a one-tempi was a bit short in the beginning; she was so focused and especially the highlights were piaffe/passage and the pirouettes were really good. So I’m just happy and looking forward to Saturday and it’s a pleasure for me to present her in that way. She’s done so many great competitions; from the beginning to the end she always tries to give her best and that makes her a very special horse,” she said.

Looking ahead

Looking ahead to Saturday’s Freestyle, von Bredow-Werndl said she loves her current one “and I think Dalera does too; she feels the rhythm, she knows it’s her music, and maybe that gives her even more confidence.”

It still feels like she’s improving and always giving 100% and when there are mistakes it’s because of me. She’s always on fire and always willing to do her very best.”

Dufour said she is “borrowing bits and pieces from Bohemian’s Olympic Freestyle and since I’ve only done two World Cups, I haven’t had time to make one of his very own (for Vamos Amigos). So I’ve stolen the music and played with the choreography. It’s a super high degree of difficulty, and I think the music suits really well and it tells a story about my life at the moment. I feel like I’m living the dream back home and I just enjoy every day with the horses, and I think the music sums it up really well. It’s a really powerful Freestyle and I’m just excited to ride it. He’s still young and it’s my first World Cup Final, so I’m just here to enjoy it and have fun!” she explained.

Werth is determined that Weihegold will go out in style on Saturday night.

“I hope we can show a very good test like she deserves, and it will be pleasure to be here with a loud crowd in a competition. I think it’s just great to retire her not in an empty arena; she really deserves this atmosphere, so I’m really looking forward to it and I will try to enjoy it. And of course, I have the pressure of showing her as best as possible, more than ever before because it is the last one!”

Result here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ellesse Gundersen and Kevin Kohmann Close Out 2022 AGDF National Competition with Wins

Ellesse Gundersen and Quintessential. ©susanjstickle.com.

Wellington, FL – April 3, 2022 – While CDI competition for the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) concluded last week, March 27, AGDF celebrated its official final week with exciting national competition on Friday, April 1, to Sunday, April 3. On Friday, Ellesse Gundersen (PHI) and Quintessential strutted to the top of the FEI Prix St. Georges test, and Kevin Kohmann (USA) was victorious with Five Star in the FEI Intermediate II test.

Friday’s win marks Quintessential’s first blue ribbon. While the eight-year-old has earned some other big scores this season, his 69.264% in the FEI Prix St. Georges class was enough to come out ahead of the 13-horse field.

Kevin Kohmann has had the ride on Five Star for two years. Last year they had an extremely successful season and won numerous classes, but this year Kohmann has kept Five Star under wraps to finish training for the grand prix level.

“He is the smartest horse I have ever worked with. He’s such a gentleman that he’s able to go in the ring both for me and his owner, Olga Hartsock,” remarked Kohmann of the 12-year-old KWPN stallion by Amazing Sea x Jazz.

For Five Star’s first appearance this year, Kohmann was pleased with their score of 70.587% in the FEI Intermediate II.

In Friday’s FEI Grand Prix Class, Jennifer Williams (USA) piloted Quarterline (Quarterline x Sir Donnerhall I) to 71.032% to top the leaderboard of seven other competitors. Oded Shimoni’s 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding’s test got stronger as it went, scoring eights from both judges in the changes, as well as picking up eights in the pirouettes.

Second place went to Roxanne Christenson (USA), who rode her own San Sation, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding by San City x Baroncelli, to an overall percentage of 68.804%, scoring eights in the canter tour.

Sunday’s FEI Intermediate II class saw Natalie Pai (USA) victorious with Melanie Pai’s Utopie D’Ouilly (Quite Easy x Narcos II). Pai’s test with the 14-year-old Selle Français mare was also one that improved throughout, notching several eights in the second half to finish just under 70% at 69.999%.

It was the second blue ribbon in as many days for Pai, who also was the winner of Saturday’s FEI or Equivalent Test of Choice with Inspiration PF (nine-year-old KWPN gelding by Everdale x Calido I) for their USEF FEI Prix St. Georges test scoring 65.661%.

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

Jennifer Williams and Joppe K Wins Lövsta Future Challenge Young Horse Grand Prix Series

Jennifer Williams (USA) and Joppe K ©susanjstickle.com.

Wellington, FL – March 27, 2022 – International action for the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) 2022 season wrapped up on Sunday, March 27. The grand champions were crowned in both the Lövsta Future Challenge Young Horse Grand Prix Series and the Summit Farm Future Challenge Young Horse Prix St. Georges Series.

Joppe K’s considerable talents came to fruition in the grand final of the Lövsta Future Challenge Young Horse Grand Prix Series, which he won with 70.052% under the saddle of Jennifer Williams (USA). The horse has an exceptional competition trajectory, having won both the six- and seven-year-old young horse finals at Wellington in 2020 and 2021.

These classes aim to identify and nurture talented, up-and-coming young FEI horses, giving them exposure to benefit their development with the biggest of world stages in mind. Williams and the eight-year-old KWPN gelding by Harmony’s Rousseau had only qualified a week earlier for the final, earning their ticket at the last opportunity.

Australian Olympian Kelly Layne and Fernando, who qualified via a win in AGDF 3, claimed second place with 68.815%. Layne has been riding Ellen Trouillé’s 10-year-old gelding, by Foundation x Sandro Hit, since he was five. Alice Tarjan rounded out her busy season by taking third place on her own eight-year-old mare Jane, by Desperado NOP. Jane and Joppe K were the youngest horses in the class.

A tactical decision not to contest the previous day’s warm-up class at Intermediate II level with Joppe K paid off. The horse had been competing in CDIs at small tour until just last month.

“Because the I-2 was the warm-up and the day before the class, and there’s the halt at X [instead of at G, as in the Grand Prix, on the final center line], I decided that wasn’t wise for him, because we did his first grand prix on Thursday and I learned that he wanted to halt at X,” explained Williams. “We had to talk about that, and today he was not thinking halt.”

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén of class sponsor Lövsta said: “The thought with the Lövsta Future Challenge is to give the young horses this possibility to get into the international arena with the best judges and with the kind of different atmosphere than a smaller show. They are inexperienced, young horses, and it’s okay if there are mistakes here and there, because it should be educational. It’s not already five-star top grand prix; it’s young horse grand prix. And it should be that quality is the most important part.”

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

Christoph Koschel Reigns Supreme on New Ride in Final Grand Prix Special of AGDF

Christoph Koschel on Dünensee. ©susanjstickle.com.

Wellington, FL – March 26, 2022 – The culmination of top-level international action in the final week of the 2022 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) season came in the form of Saturday’s showcase class: the Grand Prix Special CDI4*, presented by The Dutta Corp. On the penultimate day of the final CDI week, Christoph Koschel (GER) claimed the richest purse of the day, scooping the blue ribbon thanks to a 69.957% victory on Dünensee.

Susan Dutta (USA) logged 69.255% for second place on her and her husband Tim’s Don Design DC, a 12-year-old gelding by Der Designer. Naïma Moreira Laliberté (CAN) added to her already lucrative week with a 68.915% third-place finish on Statesman, KML Inc’s 15-year-old Sandro Hit gelding.

“I had a super nice feeling today, and he was really light in my hand,” said Koschel of Dünensee, Diamante Farms’ 13-year-old Dancier gelding. “There was one mistake on the centerline in the ones that was maybe a little bit my fault; I was a little too forward, and it’s always a little bit of a risk if you want to do it too nice. We’re at the end of the season and maybe you don’t have the same energy like the first CDI, but I was super happy because he was really fighting for me in there still.”

Koschel has been riding Dünensee for less than four months and he is for sale, so his competitive future remains undecided.

“He was pretty consistent today, maybe a little lighter in everything [compared to the Grand Prix],” added Koschel. “He really lets me ride now, and then we grow more and more together. It’s now our second special and maybe fifth or sixth test together.”

Valentine Delivers Sweet Results for Holzer

Ashley Holzer (USA) made it two wins from two starts this week with Valentine, topping the Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Adequan®, just a day after winning the qualifying Grand Prix. These were the pair’s first international grand prix wins. Last to go of the 13 starters, Holzer produced a test worthy of plenty of eights, finishing with a final score of 72.17%. She relegated Katie Duerrhammer (USA) and Paxton, who scored 70.255%, to second place. Laurence Vanommeslaghe (BEL) finished third, riding Havalon to 70.106%.

Of her own 12-year-old mare by Sir Donnerhall I, Holzer said: “I was honestly really thrilled with her, because all of the hard stuff she did really well. The mistakes were little glitches of miscommunication, but that’s a long test and when she passages as high as she passages, it takes a lot out of her. On that last centerline she really was so honest for me. She’s green; she hasn’t done this test a lot and I’ve had issues with her being very spooky and getting nervous.”

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