Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.
Wellington, FL – February 25, 2016 – The FEI Grand Prix CDI-W, presented by The Axel Johnson Group, concluded today at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), featuring 50 riders from a stunning array of countries at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) and veteran partner Don Auriello, owned by Lövsta Stuteri, earned top honors in the competitive class and were the final pair to compete this afternoon, earning a 76.080%. Competition at AGDF continues tomorrow with FEI Junior, Young Rider, and Amateur divisions in the morning before hosting the FEI Intermediaire I, presented by Engel & Völkers, and the highlight “Friday Night Stars” FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by The Axel Johnson Group, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Following Vilhelmson-Silfven, Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) and Goerklintgaards Dublet placed second, after maintaining their lead for majority of the class with a 74.500%. Shelly Francis (USA) and Danilo finished with a 72.820%.
Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet (Diamond Hit x La Costa), owned by Diane Perry, seemed to have the test that could take the win in the AGDF FEI Grand Prix, right until the last rider hit the centerline. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding (by Don Davidoff x Wey o mey) would ultimately lead the victory gallop. Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello demonstrated the maturity and technical skill that have earned them international recognition, signaling a strong return to the competition ring after a very successful European tour and first CDI competition at AGDF 1 in Wellington, FL. Earning a 76.080% from the judges, the duo’s test was a stunning example of a partnership that continues to impress with balletic athleticism combined with grace under pressure, even with a small error in the two-tempi changes.
WATCH Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello win the FEI Grand Prix here!
Vilhelmson-Silfven noted, “I had a really good feeling, even in the warm-up. It was really nice. He hasn’t competed in a while and then we had the wind today, (so) he was getting a little bit nervous about standing during the halts. I always have to balance that with how much power I can put into him because he won’t stand at all. I had a mistake in the two (tempis), which I don’t know why, but overall he’s such a great horse to ride. He just loves to be here. It’s almost a bit emotional. He’s such a cool horse to compete.”
When asked about Don Auriello’s program at home, Vilhelmson-Silfven discussed the importance of keeping him as happy and fit as possible, so that he does not become overwhelmed. She explained, “I work to keep him fit and soft and elastic at home. We want to keep him eager for work and happy to come into the ring, which he is. You want to keep them feeling young and fresh. That’s really what is important, keeping that energy and making sure that they love their work.”
Perry-Glass is also due great credit for her excellent performance in the third Large Tour CDI competition of her career with “Dublet”. Their performance on Wednesday held the lead well into competition today with an impressive 74.500%. Their test was harmonious and elegant, demonstrating a controlled power that commands respect, signaling an emergence of Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet as a world-class pair.
Glass rode during the build-up to yesterday afternoon’s storms, contending with a significant weather change right as she finished her warm-up preparations.
“I felt the wind pick up after a great warm-up,” she said. “But, as long as I can keep his focus, we’re good. He stayed right with me the entire time. There were a couple of spots in the corners that he was nervous about, but we’ve been working on our focus and our trust in each other. He went through it and was really good.
“Mentally he’s really good right now so we’re not going to really push anything. We’re just going to work on the basics and keep him fresh. We’re working on that softness and relaxation. It’s really important to continue with that to bring it to the next show,” she continued.
Katrina Wüst, judge at C, commented on the duo’s performance with enthusiasm when explaining what the judging panel thought of the rides over the course of the past two days.
Wüst said, “I saw this pair two weeks ago, and they’ve made such good improvements even since then. Judges can change their impressions, of course, but you made that change go in a good direction. Your centerline passage was absolutely straight; I gave it a 9. You made great changes since then.”
Shelly Francis earned third place with Patricia Stempel’s Danilo, the 2004 Hanoverian gelding (De Niro x Annabella), and fifth place with the 2003 Hanoverian gelding Doktor (Diamond Hit x Gurena), proving that she has two of the top quality Large Tour horses in contention for the United States. She noted that today’s change in weather, from hot and humid yesterday, to cooler and breezier, posed its own problems.
“The cooler, brisker air – and if things are rattling – it makes them just tighten a little,” she commented. “I work all of the time on making them more supple and soft. They’re both excitable horses, and they may look calm, but they can get lit so fast. I’m always trying to get them a little bit more supple so I can ask for more flow and expression. It’s coming in certain places, especially with Danilo, but we’re still not showing the piaffe as much as I’d like or know he can do. He’s my greener horse and even though he’s done a few years at the Grand Prix, we started him much later to begin with. Doktor just always tries. We had a few little bobbles and mistakes; it’s little things that happen that slip out of our control, but I feel like things are coming along very well with both of them.”
All three riders discussed the importance of having a clear plan of training and direction for such a long season. To ensure that the horses stay healthy, sound, and enthusiastic throughout the rigorous qualifying season, careful consideration is needed on behalf of the riders and trainers, and it is clear that Vilhelmson-Silfven, Perry-Glass, and Francis have put a great deal of thought into their programs moving into the rest of the season. Each of their efforts continue to pay off, as each pair looks to be peaking at the right time. Don Auriello and Danilo will continue on to the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by The Axel Johnson Group, on Friday night, while Goerklintgaards Dublet and Doktor will contest the FEI Grand Prix Special, also presented by The Axel Johnson Group, on Saturday, February 27.
Lisa Wilcox (USA) concluded a banner day in the FEI Prix St. Georges, presented by Engel & Völkers, taking first place aboard Catherina, owned by Anita Fialkow, with a 70.395%, and second place aboard Gallant Reflection HU, owned by Horses Unlimited, with a 69.868%. Michael Klimke (GER) and his own Djamba Djokiba finished in third place with a score of 69.211%.
Competition continues tomorrow at AGDF with the FEI Intermediaire I, presented by Engel & Völkers, and the “Friday Night Stars” FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, presented by The Axel Johnson Group. For more information on AGDF and to see a full list of results, 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.
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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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