American para dressage riders kicked off the 2023 competition season with the CPEDI3* Wellington on 26 - 28 January 2023. Beatrice de Lavalette (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Sixth Sense, Elizabeth and Nicolas de Lavalette’s 2010 Oldenburg gelding, won first place individually in the CPEDI3*.
Along with de Lavalette, the team included Rebecca Hart (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and El Corona Texel, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Rowan O’Riley; Kate Shoemaker (Wellington, Fla.) and Solitaer 40, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding owned by Kate, Craig, and Deena Shoemaker; and Roxanne Trunnell (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Fortunato H2O), a 2016 Oldenburg stallion owned by Lehua Custer.
All four athletes were on the U.S. Para Dressage team that won the team bronze at the 2022 World Para Dressage Championships in Herning, Denmark, last summer.
Eleven in Five Grades
This marked the team’s first international competition since that world championship, and while the U.S. fielded the lone team at this year’s CPEDI3*, it served as an important experience where all combinations earned good scores from the international judging panel.
Eleven riders in total competed in this CPEDI across all five grades and levels. For the first time the new test names were used, which led to quite a bit of confusion amongst spectators.
“It’s a great start of the season, with all four team riders scoring above 71% in the Grand Prix A, and a great finish for them too, all scoring above 77% in the freestyle,” said U.S. Para Dressage Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline. “The future is bright for the one- and two-star riders Adalie Tuman, Skyler Wroblewski, and Elle Woolley; they all had good rides and decent scores in their first international appearance.
A Good Team
“We’re such a good team,” de Lavalette said of her teammates, adding that while they all live nearby, their busy schedules mean that they don’t get to see each other much outside of competition. “We’re such a cohesive team and we support each other. We really care about each other, so it’s a really nice little team that we have here.”
Of her own rides, de Lavalette said that the judging was tough but fair.
“It’s a good thing, because the tougher the judges are, the more I work on something and improve it, so I don’t mind that,” she said. “The first day, I’m always a little careful about how I ride him, but it was still a good ride. It was clean. He didn’t get tight and start passaging—we’ve been working on that a lot lately. He was really good, and I’m really proud of him.”
-- USEF press release, edited by Eurodressage
Scores: 2023 CPEDI Wellington