Betsy Steiner and Swiss W Win Final CDI Class of 2020 Global Dressage Festival Season

Mon, 03/16/2020 - 09:13
2020 CDIO Wellington
Betsy Steiner (USA) and Swiss W are the final winners down the center line for GDF 2020, claiming the FEI Intermediate I Freestyle CDI3* with over 75% :: Photo ©️ Susan Stickle.

The experienced Betsy Steiner (USA) rounded out the very final class of the the 2020 Global Dressage Festival (GDF) season, held at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida, on Sunday 15 March 2020.

She and Whitney Bailey’s Swiss W won the Intermediate I Freestyle 3* with a commanding 75.592%.

All but one of the 11 starters broke the 70% barrier and US riders filled the top five slots in this class. Jami Kment and Gatino Van Hof Olympia claimed second with 73.558%, and Cesar Parra finished third with 73.175% on GK Don Cesar. The 10th week of AGDF and the 2020 season concludes today due to the Coronavirus.

Steiner, who rode for the USA at the 1990 World Equestrian Games in Stockholm, has been coming to AGDF “since the beginning of time”, but this was her first CDI win of the 2020 season.

“I’m amazed, but not shocked because she’s truly a wonderful horse,” said Steiner, who is based in New Jersey and runs a training business with her daughter Jessie. “Swiss puts out so much and she loves showing. You can sit back and enjoy the ride and you see her legs coming out in front of you. She’s an amazing horse, she’s my soulmate and dream horse.

Steiner rode the 13-year-old by Sir Oldenburg to music by Terry Gallo. “She’s always done all my music and she’s a genius,” she said. “I Terry her I loved the sky theme music from Outlander, so we incorporated that and added the Celtic music for the trot and a mash-up of Amazing Grace for the pirouettes and Fight Song for the canter. I come down the center line and start the changes as Fight Song comes on and Swiss lights up; the music is fun for her.”

Steiner found the mare accidentally while horse shopping for a client in Munich, Germany, in 2015, and told owner Whitney Bailey that she was too good to pass up.

“She’s been mine ever since,” enthused Steiner, who is 69. “She’s so intelligent and logical that she’s made me a better person and a better, more thoughtful trainer. She’s super close to grand prix now and she’s great for me at this point in my career. If I would have had her earlier on, she’s so talented I would probably have pushed and pushed her, but now I do it according to what she wants.

“I think she’s going to be my best grand prix horse. She has everything. She’s drop dead gorgeous, she has the power, she’s got beautiful rhythm, she’s got a great mind and she wants to do the work. I’ve had some wonderful horses, but I think she might be my best so far: the full package.”

The 2020 GDF season has been an invaluable stepping stone in Steiner and Swiss’s path to the top level, as she has also competed in the national rings, where competition is held every week.

Klimke and Diablo Win Inter II

Michael Klimke (GER) and Harmony’s Diablo topped an uncontested Intermediate II 3* but they did so in convincing style, and were rewarded with 70.353%. Harmony Sporthorses’ 10-year-old Desperados gelding is no stranger to the main ring at GDF, having competed here more than a dozen times since his debut in 2018. This is the horse’s first season at big tour and they earned a nine for the final halt from the judge at H, Luxembourg’s Christof Umbach.

Text by Alice Collins - GDF press release
Photo © Sue Stickle

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