Steffen Peters (USA) conjured yet another winning performance from his blossoming partner, Suppenkasper, to claim the gold in the Nations Cup™ FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO3*, presented by Stillpoint Farm. This takes his tally of wins to 11 from 11 starts in the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), held at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The pair scored 81.535%, their second plus-80% freestyle score of the year. The 10th week of AGDF continues through Sunday, March 15, which is also the conclusion of the 2020 season, a decision announced earlier today due to the Coronavirus.
Right behind Peters, personal bests abounded on the podium. The Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz smashed her previous best by 2% to land an emphatic 78.91% and the silver medal on her 15-year-old mare Aquamarijn, by United. Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu (CAN) also pulled off a career high, riding All In, a 15-year-old gelding by Tango to 78.72% and the bronze. The top five riders in this class all recieved at least one score of 80% from the panel of five judges.
Many of the AGDF riders had planned to head to the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in April, but the show has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus, along with the final two weeks of the AGDF.
Peters, who rode Four Winds Farm’s 18.2hh powerhouse Suppenkasper, by Spielberg, said: “My perception is that we had a hell of a season here preparing, and we are looking forward to future World Cups. ‘Mopsie’ is young, and he proved himself here 11 times with 11 wins. Tonight we had a small mistake in the beginning in the two tempis, but the rest of the test was really good and it excites me so much that this horse actually walks, relaxed in a freestyle, and stands still. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but for him it’s huge as he wouldn’t stand still for a long time. He’s really starting to trust me, and I’m really proud of him. He’s an amazing horse and what a lucky guy I am to get to ride a horse like him.”
Judge Christof Umbach concurred: “It was a nice class to judge and I fully agree with Steffen; his horse improved a lot. Today, one of the highlights for me was the walk and maybe he doesn’t need to hide it away in the freestyle any more. The horse was really relaxed.”
Losos De Muñiz’s Aquamarijn is another who has struggled with the halts in the ring, but much of the work was powerful and impressive.
“I’m so ecstatic at the way she has come around, and after three days to still have so much horse to be able to ride in the ring,” said Losos De Muñiz, who found the mare in Holland four years ago. “Every day she’s getting better. She still has her quirks; we don’t halt. But she still amazes me all the time. When I found her it was that power that made me think, ‘If I can control this, then wow!’. It took me three years, but it’s now amazing.”
Canada’s Fraser Beaulieu, who rode to music by Joost Peters, said: “I had a personal goal to be on the podium, and I’m ecstatic that it happened. All In had so much energy tonight after two mega days of competition; I thought he’d be a bit more tired. This whole show season has been one of the best for me, and I’m extremely thankful for that.”
There may have only been one contender in the FEI Intermediate I Freestyle CDIO3*, presented by Stillpoint Farm, but it was a high quality one nonetheless, and merited the gold medal. Danish rider Carina Nevermann Torup, who works for Helgstrand Dressage, steered Jessica Howington’s nine-year-old Quaterback gelding Quinto to 72.75%. This was the pair’s third plus-70% win of the week at their first CDI show together.
In the under-25 Nations Cup division, Benjamin Ebeling (USA) fist-pumped the air at the final halt of the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIOU25, presented by Diamante Farms. He was right to celebrate: his energetic ride on Illuster Van De Kampert, which he’d finished with a piaffe fan in both directions, was rewarded with 75.13%. It was their best ever score at the level and earned the gold medal — their third of the week.
Freestyle silver went to Canada’s Camille Carier Bergeron, who moved up a place from the previous day, riding Gilles Bergeron’s 13-year-old Acordelli gelding, Acoeur. Natalie Pai (USA) scooped bronze, adding to her team silver from the opening day of week 10. All three podium finishers rode to music put together by Karen Robinson.
Individual medalists Benjamin Ebeling (center, gold medal), Camille Carier Bergeron (left, silver medal) and bronze medalist Natalie Pai. ©️Susan Stickle.
Ebeling, who was awarded a high score of 78% from the British five-star judge Isobel Wessels, said: “In my last piaffe pirouette I could tell it was a good ride. I had no mistakes and I just felt that fist pump. This is my second time riding my freestyle from Karen Robinson. The way she does it makes it easy to follow the music. This week’s been absolutely great. You can really feel that the USA comes together as a real team. Today I was so proud of my horse — it was a good way to finish.”
Ebeling had an unusual introduction to Illuster Van De Kampert. He was in a coffee shop in New York two years ago, wearing his U.S. Dressage hat, when he was approached by a lady who recognized him and told him she had a horse for him in Wellington. Later that year, finding himself horseless, he went to try the son of Spielberg.
“He was at David Marcus’ place when he was at Stillpoint Farm,” recalled Ebeling. “I loved him from the minute I sat on him and I sent dad the videos and he was head over heels for the horse. It was an amazing feeling and now we’ve made a deal with the lady I met in the coffee shop and I have the ride on him, which is unbelievable; I’m so blessed.”
Carier Bergeron was riding to her brand-new freestyle for the very first time and was bowled over by claiming the silver. “I can’t even believe it; it’s a dream come true,” she said. “I asked Karen Robinson if she could do the music really fast for me, and I got it at the weekend, but haven’t had a chance to ride to it. Acoeur felt so smooth in the test and everything just happened. There were no big mistakes, though the twos were a little sketchy as I got a little greedy there, but that’s all my fault. It’s the third day and it’s hard for the horses to perform three days in a row, but he gave his heart; he’s wonderful.”
Pai was riding the only mare in the class — her mother Melanie’s 12-year-old Quite Easy daughter Utopie d’Ouilly, who was found in France with help from Adrienne Lyle. The pair had a week of ups and downs, topping the intermediate II but then struggling to hold form in the grand prix.
She said: “It was an emotional rollercoaster as we started off super and then yesterday was not as good — we had zero changes — but today she came back absolutely amazingly. This was her first ever freestyle, so I’m thrilled with her. This is all very new to her still as she used to be an eventer, so she’s only been doing dressage for four years. The first time I sat on her I knew she was such an honest, smart horse and it’s all worked out.”
In the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3*, presented by Premier Equestrian, Sabine Schut-Kery (USA) extended her winning form, posting an unassailable 76.415% on Sanceo. It was their second win of the 2020 season after only competing at one show in 2019. Riding Alice Womble’s 14-year-old stallion by San Remo, Schut-Kery was the unanimous winner from all five judges — two of whom awarded over 77%.
Second-placed Masanao Takahashi (JPN) was riding his first ever grand prix freestyle with Rubicon Unitechno, a 17-year-old gelding by Rubin Royal that he has been competing since early 2018, having taken over the ride from Poland’s Beata Stremler. His 74.42% represented a big step forward in their scoring capabilities. The USA’s Bianca Tota finished third on Cadento V with 72.26%.
At small tour, Jami Kment (USA) topped the podium riding Gatino Van Hof Olympia in the FEI Intermediate I CDI3*, presented by the Dutta Corp, with 70.971%. This was her and her own nine-year-old Apache gelding’s first ever international win, having been knocking at the door this season. Spain’s Pablo Gomez Molina closely tailed Kment, just 0.089% adrift on Yeguada De Ymas’ Furst Fiorano Ymas, by Furst Piccolo. The USA’s Betsy Steiner filled third with 68.941% riding Swiss W.
It was Canadian rider Pia Fortmuller’s day in the 20-strong FEI Prix St. Georges CDI1* class. She rode her own nine-year-old Fürstenball mare Frieda to a 73.578% victory — the mare’s first international win outside young horse classes. The top five in the hotly-contested class all scored over 71%, with Katie Johnson (USA) filling second with 72.108% on Kylee Lourie’s 12-year-old Quaterback gelding, Quartett. Jovanna Stepan (USA) finished third with 71.519% on her own Fuerstin Romantica, an 11-year-old daughter of Fürst Romancier.
AGDF’s Director of Sport, Thomas Bauer reflected on a spectacular 10 weeks of international competition, saying: “We had a fantastic season in 2020. Unfortunately it’s over on Sunday, but I still think it was absolutely a great season and we will be back in 2021 even better. I would like to thank all the people who work to make this event possible. Without that team, we can’t do anything and I am really grateful.”
Week 10 of the 2020 AGDF continues on Saturday with the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Peacock Ridge, which starts at 1 p.m. There is also competition in young horse ranks, as well as junior and young rider classes and the FEI Intermediate I CDI1*, presented by Adequan®. Week 10 runs up to and including Sunday, March 15, when action concludes for the season. For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.
FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO3*, presented by Stillpoint Farms
1. Steffen Peters (USA) on Suppenkasper, Four Winds Farm’s 12yo KWPN gelding by Spielberg: 81.025, 83.525, 79.8, 81.325, 82, 81.535
2. Yvonne Losos de Muñiz (DOM) on Aquamarijn, her own 15yo KWPN mare by United: 77.175, 78.5, 78.375, 80.25, 80.25, 78.91
3. Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu (CAN) on All In, her own 15yo KWPN gelding by Tango: 78.9, 80, 74.8, 79.175, 80.725, 78.72
4. Adrienne Lyle (USA) on Harmony’s Duval, Duval Partners LLC’s 12yo Danish Warmblood gelding by Rousseau: 75.975, 78.2, 75.575, 79.025, 81.525, 78.06
5. Agnete Kirk Thinggaard (DEN) on Blue Hors Zatchmo, her own & Blue Hors’ 11yo Oldenburg stallion by Zack: 77.15, 80.45, 75.4, 75.9, 80.975, 77.975
6. Naima Moreira Laliberte (CAN) on Statesman, KML S.A.R.L’s 13yo Hanoverian gelding by Sandro Hit: 77.75, 78.6, 79.025, 78.25, 75.675, 77.86
7. Katherine Bateson (USA) on Alcazar, Jane Forbes Clark’s 15yo KWPN gelding by Contango: 77.775, 75.95, 75.9, 76.5, 75.2, 76.265
8. Lindsay Kellock (CAN) on Sebastien, Enterprise Farms LLC’s 14yo Rheinlander gelding by Sandro Hit: 76.675, 74.25, 77.025, 74.825, 75, 75.555
9. Megan Lane (CAN) on Zodiac MW, Deer Ridge Equestrian’s 16yo KWPN gelding by Rousseau: 73.9, 74.7, 72.25, 74.85, 74.55, 74.05
10. Anna Marek (USA) on Dee Clair, Diane Morrison’s 12yo Danish Warmblood mare by Sir Sinclair: 73.725, 71.1, 70.65, 74.575, 72.35
=11. Carlos Salguero Ocaña (ESP) on Vangens Star-Light, Mary Hankey’s 11-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding by Skovkens Rafael: 70.775, 69.875, 73.575, 72.925, 72.875, 72.005
=11. Signe Kirk Kristiansen (DEN) on Her Highness O, her own 17yo Hanoverian mare by Hohenstein: 71.225, 71.175, 72.65, 70.475, 74.5, 72.005