National dressage competition continued in week nine of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida. AGDF 2020 runs for 12 weeks, through March 29. There was action in pony divisions, youth riders, young horses, small and big tour, as well as USEF qualifiers and the Future Challenge classes.
Three combinations picked up tickets for the Future Challenge developing horse finals — which take place in the main arena in week 12 — two in the small tour class presented by Summit Farm, and one at big tour, which is sponsored by Lövsta. The worthy recipients at small tour were Sarah Lockman (USA) and Stephanie Collamb (USA), with the single big tour qualifying slot going to Alice Tarjan (USA).
Tarjan rode Donatella M, by Fürstenball, at the mare’s first show in 18 months, so she was understandably not expecting to bag a victory.
“I’m thrilled, as she hasn’t been in the ring for a year and half and we’ve just been at home in New Jersey training,” said Tarjan, who is based at White Fences in Loxahatchee while in Florida. “I bought her at the beginning of her four-year-old year, did some four-year-old classes, then third level when she was seven, and now she’s going to be nine this year.
“I wasn’t expecting this win at all, especially because she can be a bit hot and spooky and scared of other horses in the warm-up and today it was windy and cold, so I wasn’t expecting her to be this great,” continued the 40-year-old, who scored 68.456%. “She’s very honest, but we lost a lot of points today for the easy stuff like center lines and transitions, so we’ve got to get back out in the ring and smooth that out.”
Tarjan, who trains with Lars Petersen, added: “Lars was really happy as we really weren’t expecting much and did better than we thought we would. I bought ‘Corvin’ from her breeder in Maryland after seeing a video because she had really nice gaits. She’s super sweet and easy in the barn, one of the easiest I have.”
She was full of praise for the new Lövsta Grand Prix Future Challenge classes, saying: “I think the series is great, particularly for Corvin as she doesn’t have to go and compete against the more seasoned horses. It’s good to get them out and get experience without the pressure of an open class.”
Tarjan also commandingly topped an FEI Grand Prix class on Friday riding Candescent, a 10-year-old Hanoverian mare by Christ. The pair scored 74.022%
The in-form Sarah Lockman — who won internationally at grand prix this season on the lightly-competed rising star First Apple — was the leader in the Summit Farm Prix St. Georges Future Challenge class, riding Dehavilland to a 70.074% win. Kelly Layne (AUS) rode Rockpool, by Rock Forever, into second with 69.044% but they have already qualified in AGDF 8, so the ticket passed down to third-placed Collomb, who rode Fol Amour to 68.015%.
Lockman qualified nine-year-old Dehavilland, by Diamond Hit, with a score of 70.074%. She is based in California and is spending the season in Wellington for the first time, having brought Dehavilland for more experience in the competition ring. Lockman bought Dehavilland as a yearling for $2500. She also led the USEF Developing Prix St. Georges qualifier riding Balia, a horse that she has already qualified for the Future Challenge final.
Layne topped her week with a 72.553% win in the FEI Grand Prix Special riding Samhitas, which she has also been campaigning on the international circuit. In the USEF Developing Grand Prix qualifier, Jan Ebeling (USA) led the class on Status Royal OLD, by Statesman, with 67.625%.
Today concludes action in week nine of the 12-week 2020 AGDF. Week ten (March 11-15) hosts CDIO3* international dressage competition with Nations Cups teams being fielded by Israel, Japan, USA, and Canada. There is also action in the national arenas in week ten. AGDF 2020 runs for 12 weeks, through March 29. For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.