Graves and Perry-Glass Bag Friday's 5* Victories at 2017 CDI Wellington
Laura Graves and Verdades captured another stunning victory in the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, on Friday, February 10, during the fifth week of competition at the 2017 Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, FL. Earlier in the afternoon Kasey Perry-Glass won the Grand Prix Special 5* class on Gorklintgaards Dublet.
Graves topped the board for the freestyle with a winning score of 82.000%. Issues in the tempi changes on the half circle prevented the score from climbing higher.
“We are preparing for FEI World Cup Finals and even though we don’t have an indoor environment to do that,” Graves said, “we have this awesome Global Dressage Festival to pack on Friday nights and still get a huge atmosphere for our horses and to practice in, and that is a very lucky thing to have here.”
This was Graves and Verdades’ first win in an Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5* competition. On her ride, Graves said, “The adrenaline is so high when you come out of the arena. You’re so in the moment that when it’s over, you kind of think, ‘What just happened?’ But he was great. He really feeds off of the atmosphere. He’s a highly sensitive horse, and he never lets me down.”
Placing second to Graves was Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven (SWE) and Paridon Magi, a 2003 Swedish Warmblood gelding (by Don Primero x Napoleon) owned by Lövsta Stuteri, with a score of 77.450%. The Swedish rider rode her beautiful Cees Slings' composed freestyle "Putting on a Ritz."
“I was pleased today with the feeling of Magi,” said Vilhelmson Silfven. “He had a super warm-up and I think that when you get into this arena with this atmosphere, it’s just fun to ride. I had some small mistakes, but a very nice feeling, so overall I’m very pleased.”
Steffen Peters (USA) and Rosamunde, a 2007 Rhinelander mare (by Rock Forever x Fidermark) owned by Four Winds Farm, took third place with a 77.325%. The mare produced an improved performance in the freestyle from the Grand Prix.
“I had a different strategy today,” Peters said of his changed routine from Thursday. “This morning I worked her (Rosamunde) for about 45 minutes, and I walked her around all day. I had my doubts after yesterday’s Grand Prix if she could handle an atmosphere like she would have to at the FEI World Cup [Finals], and tonight she proved that she might have the potential to qualify. I’m super happy. There was one 80 already in there. She had a clean test that was much more relaxed then the Grand Prix, and in this atmosphere, I’m stoked.”
Devon Kane spoke on behalf of Diamante Farms, one of the founding sponsors. “We are very, very grateful for the riders who show up and for the owners who send the riders and everything in between that make this show so special,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for us. We feel very blessed and privileged to be able to sponsor here. It’s pretty phenomenal.”
Judge Gary Rockwell spoke about the CDI 5* competition in Florida. “I think it’s a huge thing for this spot and for all of Florida, and it’s attracting the best horses we have,” he said. “It’s fun to see these horses and riders progressing and getting better and better. We enjoy judging it. When the horses are good and the quality is good, the judging is easy.”
A ceremony was also held Friday night to celebrate the official retirement of Lars Petersen’s (DEN) Grand Prix mount, 1998 Danish Warmblood mare, Mariett, owned by Marcia Pepper.
Perry-Glass Wins the Grand Prix Special 5*
Earlier in the day, 2016 Olympic Bronze Medalists Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) and Goerklintgaards Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (by Diamond Hit x Ferro) owned by Diane Perry, won the Grand Prix Special CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, with a 73.569%.
“I had a little bit of a rough start with my Grand Prix, so to come back and to ride an almost clean test was good. I’m holding onto this winning cooler very tightly, because I’ve wanted one so badly! We definitely improved the extended trot. We did not break this time, and I felt like I was able to call up a little more power from him today. We had a few connection issues in the half-pass, but that’s just something that we are always working on with him. He has really good piaffe and passage, and I felt like he was pretty honest with that today.”
Second place was awarded to 2016 Olympic reserves, Shelly Francis (USA) and Doktor, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding (by Diamond Hit x Renoir I) owned by Patricia Stempel, with a score of 73.255%.
Francis commented, “I made a point with the cooler weather to ask for a little bit more and for him to be a little perkier because yesterday he was a little blah. He felt a lot better today. We had a few little moments like with the one [tempis] where we could have covered a little more ground, but it was nice and steady so I just left it alone.”
Lisa Wilcox (USA) and mount, Galant, a 2006 Belgian Warmblood gelding (by Escuro) owned by Jacqueline Shear, rounded out the top three with a 72.196%.
“What I’m going for right now are just mistake free tests,” said Wilcox. “There are so many more years on that horse that I don’t want to push too much right now and end up with mistakes that intimidate him. I want him to go in, really enjoy that arena, feel confident, feel successful, and then I think toward the end of the season I can start to power him up in there. I think just that gear alone is pretty nice to ride. I see a lot of fun in the future.”
Jorst Wins 3* Freestyle
The FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3* was won by Charlotte Jorst (USA) and Nintendo, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood stallion (by Negro x Monaco) with a score of 73.075%.
Commenting on her freestyle, Jorst said, “I was very excited to be back out there. I haven’t ridden that freestyle since the FEI World Cup [Finals]. It felt really great to get back out and get Nintendo back out there. He loves his freestyle and loves this music, and so do I, so it’s always a highlight for us to get to do it.”
Continuing the USA sweep were second place finishers Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) and Lonoir, a 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding (by De Noir x Loran) with a 72.950%.
Explaining her choice in music for her freestyle “Ain’t Misbehavin”, LaGoy-Weltz said, “I liked the genre, and it kind of swings to him. We used similar music in the small tour – it was based off of that – so we just upgraded that to start out with for him, since it’s familiar and he goes well to it.”
Third place was awarded to Dawn White-O’Connor and her new dancing partner, Steffen Peters’ Olympic mount Legolas 92, a 2002 Westfalian gelding (by Laomedon x Florenstan II) owned by Four Winds Farm. They received a score of 72.850%.
“He was really good in there today,” said White-O’Connor. “He was really relaxed, so I was happy with that. Sometimes that’s not always the case, but he was really good about it. There were a couple miscommunications because he knows that freestyle really well. There were a few places where he would start a little before or after me, but that’s just some stuff that we have to work out in getting to know each other.”
Press release by Carly Weilminster, edited by Eurodressage - Photos © Sue Stickle
Scores 2017 CDI Wellington
Graves Posts Historic High Score in 5* Grand Prix at 2017 CDI Wellington
Jorst and Nintendo Win 3* Grand Prix at 2017 CDI Wellington
Hickok Wins 3* Grand Prix Special at 2017 CDI Wellington