Marcus Orlob & JJ Glory Day. Photo © SusanJStickle.com
International action for the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) 2023 season in Wellington, Florida wrapped up on Sunday, March 26. The grand champions were crowned in both the Lövsta Future Challenge Young Horse Grand Prix Series and the Buffalo Wild Wings Future Challenge Young Horse Prix St. Georges Series. 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.
Competition was extremely hot in the small tour ranks, with the top three in the field of eight starters all scoring over 71% — particularly impressive as these are young, green horses at the level.
It was the 41-year-old German-born American rider Marcus Orlob who rode Alice Tarjan’s JJ Glory Day (by Kastel’s Grand Galaxy Win x Deemster) to victory with a commanding 73.705% — including a high score of over 75% from one judge. At seven years old, Glory Day was the youngest horse in the class — the only seven-year-old — and the only stallion. This was just his second ever Prix St. Georges test.
“I’ve had this horse for three years and since then I’m quite amazed by him,” said Orlob, who is based between Annandale, NJ and Loxahatchee, FL. “Every time I ride him it’s a joy. He wants to work. I thought a couple weeks ago I would do this just for fun and he was really afraid the first time.
“Now I think he did quite a clean test and the judges seemed to like it, so I’m really happy. The changes are more confirmed [than they were a few weeks ago], and he was more mature, with better balance and straighter.”
Mares Rule Big Tour Final
In the big tour ranks, competitors qualified by riding an Intermediate II test, but for the final they rode the Young Horse Grand Prix test — which was a bit of a surprise for the eventual winner, Bianca Berktold on Imperial, when she double checked the night before.
“It’s smart to read the emails they send you thoroughly because I thought I was doing a regular Grand Prix, and last night at 8pm I realized it was a young horse Grand Prix and that I’d never ridden a young horse Grand Prix myself and I had to Google it — but Imperial showed up and went in and was amazing.”
The 10-year-old mare (by Charmeur x Vivaldi) belongs to Berktold and she has trained her up the levels. The pair, who scored 69.973% to secure this year’s title, won five small tour CDI classes at the 2022 edition of AGDF.
“I’ve had her since she was two and a half, so it’s been a work in progress,” added the 40-year-old. “I am so lucky to have her and she’s still green at this level, but she’s coming together nicely. She really has a talent for piaffe and passage and the lateral work is really easy for her, so it’s an incredibly talented horse.”
For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.