Canadians Justin Ridgewell, Gloria Schriever and Pia Fortmuller grab wild cards to 2021 Final
The experienced Betsy Steiner (USA) rounded out the very final class of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) season, held at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Sunday, March 15. She and Whitney Bailey’s Swiss W won the FEI Intermediate I Freestyle CDI3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation with a commanding 75.592%.
All but one of the 11 starters broke the 70% barrier and U.S. 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 told Terry that 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 AGDF 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.
“Global is amazing,” she added. “It’s unique and it offers everything. It really prepares people for big international competition. My horse loves this venue and there’s nothing else like it anywhere.”
Action continued in the big and small Future Challenge qualifier classes, although the final has been postponed from the cancelled week 12 of the 2020 AGDF to the first week of the 2021 AGDF (January 6-10).
The USA’s Sarah Lockman headed the Summit Farm Prix St. Georges Future Challenge class of eight starters with 68.456%, but as she is already qualified with Balia from week six, the ticket passed down to second place Justin Ridgewell (CAN) and Jolene. The nine-year-old daughter of Jazz scored 68.088%. The second ticket to the finals went to the third placed combination of Stewart Underhill (USA) riding Deimos 4, a nine-year-old gelding by Demirel, who scored 67.132%.
Wild cards for this class went to Gloria Schriever (CAN) on Hilton OC for their 70.368% third-place finish in week three and to Sweden’s Karin Persson, who finished third in week six riding Giuliano B to 70.294%.
In the Lövsta FEI Intermediate II Future Challenge, Ashley Holzer (USA) bagged the single qualifying ticket, riding Valentine to 74.044%. Her own 10-year-old Sir Donnerhall mare has been a prolific winner at AGDF, winning 11 of her 14 CDI starts there in the 2019 season alone.
Wild cards for the big tour final went to Canada’s Pia Fortmuller and Nancy Smith (USA). Fortmuller rode Kartsevo Goldfinch to second place and 68.162% in week five, while Smith’s ticket came from her runner-up finish in week eight, Palm Beach Dressage Derby week, riding Damon’s Design HW to 66.102%.
Michael Klimke (GER) and Harmony’s Diablo topped an uncontested FEI Intermediate II CDI3* 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 AGDF, 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.
This concludes action in week 10 of the AGDF — the final week of the 2020 circuit, as weeks 11 and 12 have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus. The 12-week circuit returns in January 2021. For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.
FEI Intermediate I Freestyle CDI3*, presented by The Dutta Corp
1. Betsy Steiner (USA) on Swiss W, H Whitney Bailey’s 13yo Baden-Württemberger mare by Sir Oldenberg: 75.15, 76.125, 75.5, 75.592
2. Jami Kment (USA) on Gatino Van Hof Olympia, her own 9yo KWPN gelding by Apache: 73.175, 72.75, 74.75, 73.558
3. Cesar Parra (USA) on GK Don Cesar, his own 10yo Westfalian gelding by Desperados: 72.775, 74.875, 71.875, 73.175
4. Katie Johnson (USA) on Paxton, Kylee Lourie 9yo Westfalian gelding by Dante Weltino: 74.4, 73.5, 69.875, 72.592
5. Yvonne De Haan (USA) on Winter, Jacek J De Haan’s 17yo Danish Warmblood gelding by Farrington: 75.4, 68.75, 72.375, 72.175
6. Ariana Chia (CAN) on Fiderflame, her own 10yo Oldenberg gelding by Fidertanz: 70.25, 74.75, 71.125, 72.042
7. Pablo Gomez Molina (ESP) on Furst Fiorano Ymas, Yeguada de Ymas S.L.’s 13yo Westfalian gelding by Furst Piccolo: 70.925, 70.75, 72.625, 71.433
8. Karen Pavicic (CRO) on Totem, her own 9yo Hanoverian gelding by Totilas: 71.625, 69.25, 71.75, 70.875
9. Kathy Priest (USA) on Damon’s Fantasy, her own 9yo Oldenburg mare by Damon Hill: 70.825, 71.75, 69.625, 70.733
10. Katlyn Flett (USA) on Zen, her own 16yo KWPN gelding by Riant: 71.7, 70.125, 68.875, 70.233