The 2021 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) concluded on Sunday, April 4, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), after Alice Tarjan (USA) rode to her second consecutive victory in the 2021 Lövsta Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix Series Final. A second final was held, for the Future Challenge/Young Horse Prix St. George’s Series, with Marcus Orlob (USA) and Spirit of Joy.
The Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix Series idea, originally set up by Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Louise Nathhorst in its home country of Sweden as a talent development program, is for horses aged eight to 10 years old at the Grand Prix level.
Tarjan, who currently has four horses competing at the Grand Prix level, claimed first place on her own Serenade MF, a 2013 Hanoverian mare by Sir Donnerhall with 76.008%. Tarjan also claimed second with Harvest, her own KWPN stallion by Connaissuer, riding to a 72.938%.
“I am really happy with both of them,” began Tarjan. “They were both very good today and did their jobs, so I’m proud of them.”
Yesterday in the warmup class, Tarjan earned first on Harvest and second on Serenade. “I wasn’t expecting the flip – yesterday Harvest won the warmup and Serenade was second – it’s interesting,” she admitted. “I have a few horses at Grand Prix and everyone asks me, ‘Oh, which is the best one?’ and I never know the answer. They’ve never really gone head to head until this weekend and they each have their strengths and weaknesses, so it is interesting to see this outcome.”
Tarjan has been partnered with Serenade MFsince she was a foal and noted that she is proudly bred in the USA. “I bought Serenade as a foal from Maryanna Haymon, so she was bred here in the USA,” she remarked. “I got her when she was six months old, she won the four-year-old championships at Festival of Champions in Chicago, and she had decent placings at the five-and-six-year-old years. She’s been doing all of the Grand Prix movements for a while now. Sheis really easy to train, so by six she could basically do everything. It’s fun for her to be old enough to be able to show it off now.”
Tarjan went on, “I bought Harvest at the end of his three-year-old year, and he’s been a lot of fun to build up, too. He didn’t come along as quickly as Serenade. He’s a much bigger horse so physically it was more of a ride for me, but now that he’s well-trained it’s lighter. But it took a while to get there.”
Tarjan, who also won the 2020 Lövsta Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix Series Final held in the first week of the 2021 AGDF, elaborated on her appreciation for a Series like this one in America. “I think a series like this is fantastic,” she noted. “I’ve done the developing grand prix classes before, but this is great because the young horses don’t have to go against the CDI horses, and they get the exposure in a bigger environment and in front of a judging panel that you wouldn’t get anywhere else without having the pressure of the CDI.”
Third place in the Lövsta Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix Series Final went to Jennifer Hoffman (USA) on Rondoro Noblesse, Jennifer Hoffman and Wolfgang Himsl’s 2011 Austrian Warmblood stallion by Rosengold, after earning a 71.754%.
“Our partnership started together when he was going into his six-year-old year,” elaborated Hoffman. “A friend of mine found him in Austria. He did well in his stallion testing, but then didn’t do much. I went and looked at him, and within two days he was on my truck. He’s learned basically everything in just four years. I have to keep reminding myself because this horse is so talented, he has no holes in his training, he has so many wonderful things about him, and I just need to get him stronger and more confident in the arena. There’s nothing that is too difficult for him, so I’m really excited about this one.”
Hoffman continued, “I lived in Germany for many years and we have young horse series. You see these young horses in these bigger atmospheres and in front of these judges, so they get exposure, and then you see these horses graduating up to the team levels. It’s amazing that we have something like this here in the USA now.”
Lövsta Future Challenge has come to the U.S. with a common vision highlighting the importance of providing young Grand Prix dressage horses the best possible conditions to develop on their way to the highest levels of international sport. Lövsta Future Challenge, in collaboration with AGDF, has organized this developmental series for young Grand Prix horses. With this initiative, they have added a special “green” project to the series’ contribution.
“We started with these Series 10 years ago,” said Lövsta owner Antonia Ax:son Johnson. “It was Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén’s and Louise Nathhorst’s idea. They said we really need this, and of course they knew about the German system. The first year in Sweden we didn’t even know if we would be able to get a class together. And we have built it in dressage, and also in jumping. Last year we brought it to Wellington, because Wellington has offered us, for 10 years now, the most wonderful place to come and train and compete and is generous and hospitable. So we said we wanted to give something back.”
With every entry from the 2021 season, Lövsta pledged to donate $250 to support the charitable organization Friends of Palm Beach. Friends of Palm Beach is a 501(c)(3) organization that cleans the beaches of Palm Beach regularly to remove incoming plastics, trash, and unnatural debris and to educate the community on the effects of this on our environment and marine life. They partner with other non-profit job placement programs to help end the cycle of homelessness while also helping to end the cycle of trash in our ocean.
Ax:son Johnson continued, “We wanted it to be something more, so yesterday we were able to hand a $8,000 check yesterday for what Friends of Palm Beach is doing. It’s all very meaningful for us and it’s very important, and we look forward to continuing to develop it.”
AGDF Director of Sport Thomas Baur concluded by offering up some exciting news for the future of the Series. “We have seen great quality in these classes,” he said, “and I thank the whole Lövsta team for doing this. I think it’s really important for us to have and to give the horses the opportunity to show in the international stadium. We have talked about it, and next year we have made the decision that all qualifiers will be in the main arena, and all qualifiers will be with the international judges. I think this is really important for the USA and for the riders coming here every year.”
Marcus Orlob and Spirit of Joy Win 2021 Prix St. Georges Future Challenge Final
Earlier in the afternoon, the 2021 Future Challenge/Young Horse Prix St. Georges Final welcomed 12 young horse-and-rider combinations into the Global International Arena at Equestrian Village on the final day of competition at the 2021 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. The USA claimed all three top spots, with Marcus Orlob taking the win aboard Spirit of Joy.
Orlob and Jeanette Pinard’s 2014 Westphalian gelding by Sir Calypso earned a 71.715%. Spirit of Joy was the youngest horse in the class.
“I couldn’t be happier with the horse,” he said. “He’s only seven, and it was his third Prix St. Georges ever. The changes and tempi changes are a bit of an excitement for him right now. It was too bad that I had a mistake in them yesterday and then today he was afraid of X; there was a shadow or something in the footing that he didn’t like. With that said, it’s a quality horse, a fun horse to ride, and I’m very happy with him.”
Orlob has been partnered with the gelding since he was four, after he arrived from Germany after three months under saddle. “As a five year old,” he noted, “we went to Chicago [US Festival of Champions], and then last year as a six-year-old we went back and he won there, and now his team wants us to try for the seven-year-old world championships. I did one qualifier with him already and now will try one more. I hope that I can keep working with him for a while.”
Of the Prix St. Georges Series, Orlob commented, “I think that having something like this that focuses on the younger horses is great. I feel that the judges are more forgiving if you have a little bobble here or there, which helps them learn. The quality of horses in this group was quite strong, so it’s not your average Prix St. Georges. It’s really a robust competition.”
Second place in the 2021 Prix St. Georges Future Challenge Final was awarded to Jessica Jo “JJ” Tate on Romeo, Ilene Boorman’s 2012 Oldenburg gelding by Rousseau. The pair scored a 69.999% to land the red sash.
“I’ve known Romeo since birth [almost],” began Tate. “I coached Jessica Davis at the four-year-old championships in Chicago when she rode him, and the breeder who was the owner at the time, Jill Schabel. We have known each other for a long time, so that was really special. She had to sell him last fall, and he is such a perfect temperament that a client in my barn decided to purchase him, and we were lucky enough to keep him in the program. NowIlene and I share the ride. He did his first Prix St. Georges with me three weeks ago to qualify for this. I am thrilled with him and with how rideable he is, and Ilene has been an amazing owner.I’m very excited about the partnership, and it’s incredible that he is so willing to work with us both.”
She continued, “I feel so privileged to get to ride in a class with this many talented horses and experienced riders. It’s kind of like an up-and-coming class for all of these top riders in Wellington to get to showcase the horses they have coming up the line. We see everyone in the Grand Prix, so this is really cool to showcase the ones that are at home in the barn. This is a really special class.”
Charlotte Jorst (USA) rounded out the top three on Zhaplin Langholt, Kastel Denmark’s 2013 Danish Warmblood gelding by Zonik N.O.P, with a 69.754%. Jorst has been partnered with the horse for a year and a half, but just recently started riding him after he spent over a year rehabbing from an injury. “I just started riding him again in the fall,” she explained, “and we have just been going up through the levels. Ten days ago I decided to try to qualify for this future challenge, and we moved up to the Prix St. Georges to get him qualified, and here we are. It’s been really fun, and I really loved how much he improved from our warmup ride in the big ring yesterday to today. I really love the horse.”
Jorst also echoed the sentiments of Orlob and Tate, stating, “I would never have done the Prix St. Georges unless this series was offered. I wouldn’t have dared. It’s so refreshing that you are encouraged to come along from the judges, and I think that it’s extremely important. We have so many nice up-and-coming horses in the United States now, and it’s a privilege to get in there [with them]. For me it’s a game changer.”
With that, the 2021 season of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival has concluded. Equestrian Sport Productions thanks everyone for a wonderful season and looks forward to welcoming everyone back for the 2022 circuit. For more information and to see a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.
Results: 2021 Lövsta Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix Series Final:
1. Alice Tarjan (USA) on Serenade MF, her own 2013 Hanoverian mare by Sir Donnerhall: 75.526, 77.500, 75.000; 76.008%
2. Alice Tarjan (USA) on Harvest, her own KWPN stallion by Connaissuer: 69.078, 75.789, 73.947; 72.938%
3. Jennifer Hoffman (USA) on Rondoro Noblesse, Jennifer Hoffman and Wolfgang Himsl’s 2011 Austrian Warmblood stallion by Rosengold: 70.921, 74.078, 70.263; 71.754%
4. Kelly Lane (AUS) on Fernando, Ellen Trouillé’s 2012 Hanoverian gelding by Foundation: 69.473, 73.552, 71.578; 71.534%
5. Karen Pavicic (CRO) on Totem, Karen Pavicic and Thomas Baur’s 2012 Hanoverian gelding by Totilas: 69.473, 73.289, 71.184; 71.315%
Results: 2021 Young Horse/Future Challenge Prix St. Georges Series Final:
1. Marcus Orlob (USA) on Spirit of Joy, Jeanette Pinard’s 2014 Westphalian gelding by Sir Calypso: 72.352, 71.764, 71.029; 71.715%
2. Jessica Jo Tate (USA) on Romeo, Ilene Boorman’s 2012 Oldenburg gelding by Rousseau: 69.852, 68.970, 71.176; 69.999%
3. Charlotte Jorst (USA) on Zhaplin Langholt, Kastel Denmark’s 2013 Danish Warmblood gelding by Zonik N.O.P.: 69.411, 70.000, 69.852; 69.754%
4. Lindsay Kellock (CAN) on Tu le Merite, Lisa Apa’s 2012 Hanoverian gelding by Totilas: 64.705, 68.970, 74.558; 69.411%
5. Ashley Holzer (USA) on Bliss, Ashley Holzer and Diane Fellows’ 2012 Oldenburg mare by Bordeaux: 69.558, 68.529, 68.676; 68.921%