Germany’s 23-year-old sensation Felicitas Hendricks allowed herself to smile as she and Drombusch OLD performed their final piaffe at X in the CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by US PRE Association, as the audience clapped enthusiastically to the beat of their lively music.

The pair — unbeaten in all four of their starts at the 2024 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, Florida — added week three’s marquee ‘Friday Night Stars’ class to their burgeoning tally with a delightful 78.79% performance on January 26. AGDF, which hosts seven weeks of CDI competition over three months, runs through March 31.

Sweden’s Lövsta Stuteri riders filled the remaining two podium places, with Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén piloting the 15-year-old Devanto (by De Chirico x Lorentin) to 77.11%, and Caroline Darcourt and the 14-year-old Lord Django (by Stalypso x Londonderry) tucking in behind on 76.89%.

Hendricks and her own 13-year-old Drombusch OLD (by Destano x Dimaggio) have exploded onto the senior stage in 2024, and their freestyle was full of technical complexity: curving lines of changes, double pirouettes, passage half-pass and piaffe pirouettes. Hendricks was just 0.3 percentage points shy of her career high score with Drombusch, and would probably have bettered it but for two very small blips in the test.

“It was so much fun,” said Hendricks, who has ridden Drombusch since he was six, acquiring him through her trainer and uncle, Cristoph Koschel. “People clapping is exactly what I want to achieve with my music. I want to have good vibes and a party in the house — I’m so happy that we achieved that.

“Even though we had some small miscommunications we had a lot of highlights and they were definitely much brighter than the lowlights,” added Hendricks, whose groom Lauren McNabb was awarded the $500 Grooms Prize, sponsored by Massa Horses. “I’m always up for a challenge, and grand prix is challenging. But I’ve got a great horse by my side who makes this whole journey — learning as much as I possibly can — so much fun.”

Harmony’s V-Plus Steps on the Gas For Susan Pape

At the conclusion of the Grand Prix Special CDI4*, sponsored by Donato Farms, the British anthem rung out during the prizegiving. Susan Pape and Harmony’s V-Plus took the spoils in Saturday’s top class during Week 3 of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL. AGDF hosts seven weeks of CDI competition over three months and runs through March 31.

Pape was the unanimous choice from all five judges, finishing on 71.979%. Pablo Gómez Molina (ESP) landed second place honors riding the 14-year-old PRE Ulises De Ymas — apt during a week whose headline sponsor is the US PRE Association. In a truly international podium, Germany’s Michael Klimke claimed third, riding Uwe Kappel’s 12-year-old Domino 957 to 68.149%.

At 10 years old, Harmony Sporthorses’ Oldenburg stallion by Vivaldi was the youngest horse in the class, and his score marked a new career high at this level.

“It’s only V-Plus’s third Grand Prix Special,” said Pape, who is based in Europe but is a regular at AGDF. “In the beginning he wasn’t sure where he had to go, but he felt focussed and stayed very with me. He’s pretty amazing already, but give him a couple more months to gain strength and he will be a really nice grand prix horse. He doesn’t even technically turn 10 until August, he was born really late.”

Pape has ridden V-Plus since he was bought by her sponsors Leslie and John Malone of Harmony Sporthorses for €1.2million at the PSI Auction in December 2018.

Pape also finished second in the Grand Prix Special CDI3*, sponsored by ProElite®, riding the 15-year-old Harmony’s Eclectisch to 69.617%. It was the young gun Erin Nichols (USA) who — at just 20 years old — topped the list of 12 starters. This was her and Elian Royale’s second ever senior CDI show together and they posted a new personal best of 70.468%. Jemma Heran (AUS) rode her own 25-year-old San Amour mare Saphira Royal 2 into third with 68.787%.

Nichols was awarded over 70% from all five judges, and is drinking in the experience of moving up into the senior ranks.

“I was amazed and so excited,” said Nichols of the score she earned on the 15-year-old Glock’s Johnson gelding whom she bought through Dirk Glitz two years ago. “I knew going down that centerline I put in the best effort that I possibly could — and there are still places where I can improve. It’s been a really awesome experience moving up, and I’ve had amazing support from USEF.”

The 2024 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival will resume February 7, 2024, with both national and CDI-W competition. For more information and results, visit

Top-5 Canadian results:

CDI1* FEI Prix St. Georges – 4. Brooke Mancusi, Kalisto Sollenburg 67.696%
CDI3* FEI Grand Prix (Qual. for GPS) – 4. Camille Carier Bergeron, Sound of Silence 4 67.457%; 5. Ariana Chia, Guateque IV 66.870%
CPEDI3* FEI Para Grand Prix A Test Grade III – 2. Lauren Barwick, Sandrino 66.833%
CPEDI3* FEI Para Grand Prix B Test Grade III – 1. Lauren Barwick, Sandrino 70.889%
CPEDI3* FEI Para Grand Prix Freestyle Grade III – 1. Lauren Barwick, Sandrino 74.211%

Complete results here.