Naima Moreira Laliberte of Outremont, QC and her 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding Statesman had some good results at Madrid Horse Week in Spain, Nov. 24-27. The pair, who are trained by Ashley Holzer in North America, but while based in Europe work with Spanish rider Jordi Domingo (whom she originally bought Statesman from), placed 7th in the FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix on Friday, scoring 68.848. He ‘behaved in the presentations’ Naima posted proudly. Then on Saturday they moved up the leaderboard, placing 6th in the Grand Prix Freestyle with 74.980%. “I had so much fun riding this freestyle last night,” she said on her Instagram page. Describing the powerful soundtrack of her test which gives her “goosebumps”, she said. “This classical piece was composed and tailored for Statesman by the French composer Jacques Trupin.”
Frederic Wandres and Duke of Britain FRH produced a brilliant Grand Prix Freestyle performance to clinch victory in Saturday’s Freestyle. The German pair already showed their strength when winning the Grand Prix on Friday by a considerable margin. They strutted their way to the top of the scoreboard once again with a personal-best result of 84.830% to clinch the all-important maximum 20 qualifying points on the road to the 2023 Final in Omaha, Nebraska, next April.
Runner-up was Wandres’ compatriot Helen Langehanenberg partnering the mare Annabelle while The Netherlands’ Thamar Zweistra lined up in third with the young stallion Hexagon’s Ich Weiss ahead of French athlete Morgan Barbançon in fourth place with Sir Donnerhall ll OLD.
German riders have now won three of the four legs staged so far this season and Wandres is in seventh place on the series leaderboard from which the top nine will qualify.
Wandres and Duke of Britain FRH brought the sport to a whole new level, with all five judges ranking them first and awarding multiple 8s and 9s and even a maximum 10 for music and interpretation. He pointed out that while he knew he and his horse were in great form, he never takes anything for granted.
“Like any competitive person you always have your expectations but you never know how you will end up because the others are also fighters, like Helen, she will always fight hard. I knew after the Grand Prix yesterday we had a little bit of a comfortable situation because we showed already in a very good way. Today I changed a little bit the lines of the Freestyle, the music was the same but there were some different new lines with a higher degree of difficulty, and it worked out very well and we came out with a personal-best!”
Talking about the relationship he has established with Hof Kasselmann’s Duke of Britain, he said, “We know each other inside out, and unless there’s a bomb exploding next to the arena we know we can show what we can show and bring out the highlights ‒ especially in the piaffe!”
~ with files from Louise Parkes/FEI Communications