The 2018 Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, opened the winter season at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center with Swedish competitor Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén and the 15-year-old Paridon Magi posting a new personal best of 75.87% in the Grand Prix CDI-W. This weekend's show is the first of seven weeks of CDI competition, running through 31 March 2018.
“It was the best ride I’ve had on him and I was happy that he was open minded and really working with me,” said Vilhelmson-Silfvén of her 2017 European Championship partner. She first came to Wellington for the winter in 2011 and was so impressed that she has come back every year since.
“It’s such a super preparation for my horses and the best way to keep them in the winter,” added Vilhelmson-Silfvén, who was second in this class last year. “I gain so much to have them train over here. To have the opportunity to compete again and again, as much as you like, is fantastic.”
It was seven months ago when Shelly Francis (USA) and Doktor (by Diamond Hit) last set foot in a competition arena, but the pair were on form to win the MTICA Farm-presented Grand Prix CDI 3* with 72.543%, earning over 71% from all five judges. The duo, who are ranked 54th in the world, were last to go, and took over the lead from the penultimate competitor, Susan Pape (GBR) on Don Noblesse (by Dancier).
“Doktor was a bit tight to begin with, chewing and clanking his teeth, so I had trouble finding the rhythm in the early trot work, but I was pleased with him,” said the 59-year-old of Pat Stempel's 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding. “He’s been a bit of a project; I didn’t do the award ceremony with him because I usually put ear plugs in, but as I was last to go I didn’t have time. Some people might think I’m a chicken but I’d like to live a bit longer; he runs flat out in there.”
pair has been together since Francis found the horse at Michael Klimke’s barn in Germany. They now progress to the grand prix special on Saturday, where Francis plans to “press for a little more”.
The Prix St Georges — the day’s opening class — was clinched by Heather Blitz (USA) on her own nine-year-old Danish warmblood Praestemarkens Quatero (by Quaterback x Rohdiamant). At only his second FEI show, the chestnut gelding logged 71.961%, and was the unanimous winner across the three judges.
Spain’s young talent Juan Matute Guimon stormed the under-25 CDI Intermediaire II class with 72.599%, winning by over 6% from first draw. The long-legged Don Diego Ymas, a 15-year-old black Hanoverian gelding by Don Frederico x Wolkenstein II, took Matute Guimon to the 2016 and 2017 European Under 25 Championships.
Jennifer Baumert (USA) on Elizabeth Juliano’s Handsome was the only rider to crack the 70% barrier in the day’s second prix st georges class — the CDI1* Prix St Georges — finishing on 70.637%. The 13-year-old Hanoverian son of Hochadel (out of a mare by Weltmeyer) beat Lemony’s Nicket — ridden by Michael Klimke — who sold to the US for the then record price of €900,000 in Verden, Germany, in 2011 — in to second place.
By Alice Collins for AGDF, edited by Eurodressage
Photos © Sue Stickle
Scores 2018 CDI-W Wellington