Opening day of the 2024 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) delivered a poetic win for Germany’s 23-year-old Felicitas Hendricks and Drombusch OLD in the FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix, presented by Palm Beach Equine Clinic on Thursday. Hendricks and her 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Destano x Dimaggio) claimed their first Big Tour win after Hendricks made her international debut at AGDF in 2015.

The class was a qualifier for the FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix Freestyle, which takes place under the lights on Friday night during the first of the “Friday Night Stars” series.

Wellington has watched Hendricks climb the ranks, and will again watch her compete during “Friday Night Stars” for the first time in her career. She and Drombusch OLD will again perform the freestyle that won them an individual silver medal at the European Under-25 Championships this past summer.

“I’m always happy to be back here,” said Hendricks, whose AGDF career started when she was a junior and has cued many “firsts” since, including her senior Nations Cup debut – and gold medal for Germany.

Of Drombusch’s reaction to being in Florida for another season, Hendricks noted, “He got off the trailer yesterday and he knew exactly where he was. He was like ‘okay, I don’t need to be nervous; I’m home.’”

Hendricks’ test was the first of the day and delivered 70s across the board from the judges, landing her a 70.652%.

“The win was definitely unexpected,” said Hendricks. “I started with my junior wins here and now winning an [FEI] World Cup™ class here in Wellington, it’s something I never dreamed of honestly and it’s exciting.

“It was great doing seniors here because then it was a little easier going back to U25,” said Hendricks who trains with her uncle Christoph Koschel. “We tackled so many challenges, and I think last season here really paid off and we used all the things we learned.”

Great Britain’s Susan Pape and Harmony’s Eclectisch, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion she owns with Harmony Amateur Sports Foundation, danced to second with a 70.587%. Sweden’s Caroline Darcourt was third aboard Lord Django, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Lövsta Stuteri, was third on 69.478%. The only Canadian in the class, Tanya Strasser-Shostak riding Fidelis Tyme, placed 9th with 65.913%.

The FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Palm Beach Equine Clinic, takes center stage during the first ‘Friday Night Stars’ of the 2024 AGDF season at 7pm on Friday, January 12.

Click HERE for results.


Anna Marek Leads Off for Home Country

Coming off a U.S. team gold medal at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, Anna Marek and her partner Fire Fly started their campaign at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) with a win in the CDI3* Grand Prix, presented by Olympia Footing on Thursday.

The pair that was also the highest-placed individual U.S. combination in Chile were awarded a 70.652% for the victory on opening day of AGDF.

“We’re becoming more of a partnership every day,” said Marek of her 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Briar Junior x OO Seven) owned by Janet Simile. “It seems like with each show we go in, I can relax and trust that he’s going to do what I want.”

Marek noted that her number-one goal for the 2024 season is to make the shortlist for the Paris Olympic Games and travel to Europe for the first time for the selection trials.

The top three places in the grand prix were a further celebration of the nations represented at AGDF this season. Great Britain’s Susan Pape on the 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion Harmony’s V-Plus owned together with Harmony Sporthorses was runner-up with a 68.196% for Pape’s second podium of the day. Christoph Koschel (GER) and the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Eddieni, owned by Masahiro Kosaka, took third by a tight margin on a 68.109%. Canada’s Denielle Gallagher scored 67.217% with Come Back de Massa to finish fourth.

Results here.