A trip across the ocean is continuing to prove fruitful for France’s Morgan Barbançon at the 2023 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). In Thursday afternoon’s qualifying event for ‘Friday Night Stars’ Grand Prix Freestyle, the Douglas Elliman Real Estate CDI4* Grand Prix saw Barbançon boast the top two scores in the stadium at Equestrian Village.
The qualifying event hosted representatives of ten different nations to close out Thursday afternoon’s competition. Sweden joined France in the lap of honor as Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén earned the third-place position. AGDF 2023, which hosts seven weeks of CDI competition over three months, runs through April 2.
Barbançon first piloted her long-time partner, Bolero, a 17-year-old KWPN gelding (Johnson x Vincent) into the International Ring at Equestrian Village and produced an overall score of 71.109% to take over the lead position halfway through the class.
“I wasn’t super happy with how I rode the trot tour because I felt it was a bit dull and it could’ve been a bit more powerful,” explained the French Olympian of her turn on Bolero. “The canter tour was super today, and he really gave it his all which I think reflected in the scores. I was aiming for a safe test with no mistakes as sometimes I can override, so I am very happy to have had a fault-free ride.”
A handful of trips later, she returned as the final entry, this time with her new rising star, the 11-year-old KWPN gelding Habana Libre A (Zizi Top x United) and topped her own score by producing a performance worthy of 72.370%.
“The big baby is becoming a big boy,” she laughed of her newer partner. “He was so motivated to go today which made for a really nice round, and it was another great ride to get him in the ring and gaining confidence. When I said go, he immediately jumped to it whereas before he would be unsure, so each day I am able to ride him more to get more out of him. To know that everything in the test can get better but he is already getting such good scores is super motivating.”
Vilhelmson Silfvén earned a 70.543% and third place for her ride aboard Devanto, a 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Lövsta Stuteri AB.
Competition at AGDF 11 will continue Friday with a full schedule of classes before the Douglas Elliman Real Estate CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle – the final ‘Friday Night Stars’ of the 2023 season – beginning at 7:15pm. For more information and to see a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.