A strong Canadian presence in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 4* in Tryon Stadium on Sunday resulted in a win for Chris von Martels (CAN) and Eclips, earning a 79.095%. Narrowly behind with a 79.025%, Lindsay Kellock (CAN) and Sebastien, the 2006 Rheinlander gelding (Sandro Hit x Feine Dame Good Hope’s x Fidermark) Kellock owns with Enterprise Farm Equestrian LLC, claimed reserve. Julio Mendoza Loor (ECU) danced to third and a score of 73.115% with Rosali, the 2005 Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Hors Romanov x Mosegårdens Ratina x Ragazzo) owned by Aileen Daly. Canadian Jill Irving was 4th with Arthur (72.860%) and Evi Strasser was 6th aboard Déjà Vu Tyme (68.605%)

Von Martels and the 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Apache x Kebora x Olympic Ferro) owned in partnership with Barbara Soederhuizen were aiming for a fun experience rather than a pressure-filled ride, which paid off after a strong weekend of competition under their belts. “He’s amazing. He’s my dream horse, and today we just went in with a fun expectation and to try to solve a few little rideability things that I’ve felt in the Grand Prix.

“I tried a few things with a different approach and that worked out for me,” von Martels recapped. “He’s great… he is always a horse that gives 200%, and I really believe in him. Today he showed everybody that he can do it.”

After placing third in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 4* on Friday, their Freestyle performance culminated in a win for Eclips, whom von Martels described as a showoff: “One of the reasons I chose to come here was because it is a real international atmosphere. Our horses do get used to competing just in the one arena at [the Global Dressage Festival], which definitely has a lot of pros, but they also need to of course see different places. My horse proved he is fine, and actually I think he enjoys a big venue like this. He’s a little bit of a showoff horse, so he likes to have some atmosphere around him.”

From here, von Martels will go back to Wellington, FL for a few weeks and start making plans for training camp should he be selected to represent Canada in Tokyo later this summer. Though von Martels has competed at TIEC before, it’s been a while, and returning has been a positive experience, he reiterated. “It’s been a great week. Despite the weather yesterday, we have a beautiful sunny day today, and the horses are happy to be in this beautiful venue. The last time I showed here was right before the Rio Olympic Games, and I am always reminded of what a nice facility this is, and the show organizers are great. It’s good to be here.”

Click HERE to watch Chris von Martels and Eclips ride to a score of 79.095% in the FEI Grand prix Freestyle CDI 4* at TIEC, courtesy of Richard’s Equine Videos!

Adrienne Lyle and Salvino Duplicate their Friday Score for FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 4* Win

Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Salvino replicated their Friday score almost perfectly to claim the win in Sunday’s FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 4*, earning a total score of 77.936% (after posting a score of 77.913% for their previous win). Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) and Rassing’s Lonoir, a 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding (De Noir x Lorani x Loran) owned in partnership with Mary Anne McPhail, once again claimed second place, this time on a score of 75.149%. In third, Katie Johnson (USA) and Quartett, the 2008 Brandenburger gelding (Quaterback x Donnerwunder x Dream of Glory) owned by Kylee Lourie, scored 71.553% for a personal best. For Canada, Naima Moreira Laliberté and Statesman were 4th with 70.979% and Tina Irwin and Fancy That were 5th with 70.702%.

“We got almost the exact same score!” Lyle recapped of her second winning ride at the venue over two days with the 2007 Hanoverian stallion (Sandro Hit x Dynastie x Donnerhall) owned by Betsy Juliano LLC. “For me, that is a huge thing to be consistent, especially when you’re vying for a team spot. He was able to go out and put in another solid test with no mistakes and that’s huge for us. I feel like he tried really hard today.

“I think moving forward, this is the beginning of what will hopefully be a long summer,” Lyle predicted. “We will start to work more on fitness now so that we have just a little more stamina, by the time you get to the last day of the show like this with all the travel and everything, but I couldn’t have asked for more from him. He tries so hard, and he’s so honest.”

Building stamina for travel situations is one of the main reasons Lyle chose to compete at the Tryon Spring Dressage 1 CDI 4*, since this weekend marks “the first time we’ve shown outside of Wellington in a long time,” Lyle revealed. “It’s been a couple years, I think. It’s great to be back on the road and remember all the stuff that goes into traveling… and competing away from home, so I’m thankful we came and could have this experience.”

After a successful weekend extending her winning streak with Salvino to four CDI 4* victories in a row, Lyle had two people in particular to thank and one student to congratulate: I would like to thank my owner, Betsy Juliano, and my longtime coach, Debbie McDonald, who are always awesome.” Lyle concluded, “I’m super excited for Katie Johnson who’s been a student of mine for years, and this is her personal best. This is her first year doing the CDI Grand Prix and she just had the most beautiful and harmonious test today. I’m so excited for her.”

View all CDI results from Tryon Spring Dressage 1 here.