In an already thrilling week 8 of the 2022 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL, Saturday’s competition continued to deliver high-quality sport. Alice Tarjan (USA) and her own Serenade MF put the exclamation mark on the day, donning the blue ribbon sash for the Grand Prix Special CDI4*, presented by Mission Control. AGDF 8 concludes on Sunday, March 6, while the circuit continues through March 27.

From the 14 starting combinations, Saturday’s winning presentation mirrored that of Thursday’s qualifier, but all top three competitors improved upon their scores. Canada’s Naima Moreira Laliberté entered the stadium with KML Inc’s Statesman, a 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Sandro Hit x Brentano II, for a lovely test scoring 70.851% to finish in third place. Last to go was Benjamin Ebeling (USA) and Indeed. Ebeling continued his successful week, guiding Vantage Equestrian Group II LLC’s 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Hofrat x De Niro) to a second-place finish with a score of 71.276%.

None could match Alice Tarjan, however, who laid down a beautiful test for a 73.149% to resoundingly lead the way with Serenade MF, a nine-year-old American Hanoverian mare by Sir Donnerhall I x Don Principe that Tarjan purchased as a foal and has brought along herself.

“I’m happy, but I’m also kind of surprised,” admitted Tarjan. “You know the horse has the ability to do it, but you don’t expect her to do it so soon maybe.”

Serenade MF was the youngest horse in the class, and this week marked the mare’s first CDI competition. While she has an obvious talent for the movements, her even-keeled character has been her strongest asset.

“The horse is the most reliable of all the horses I have. She goes in and does the job every time, and she’s so honest,” continued Tarjan. “She has the ability to do all the movements pretty well too. The pirouettes and the piaffe are good, and she has a nice trot and canter to start with.”

On Thursday, Tarjan was tempered in her excitement about the day’s success noting that everything is a work in progress. Today, she explained that is actually what she enjoys most.

She said, “I just love training the horses and riding them. I go home and try to build on what we have here. I’m really happy with how she showed here. It’s probably the best show that the horse has had. It’s getting better every time out, and you learn something.”

Tarjan’s other two grand prix mounts in Donatella M and Candescent are by comparison more complicated and hotter rides. Serenade MF is unaffected by the environment, which Tarjan feels the benefits of in her tests.

“[Serenade MF] is just so consistent. She’s so low key!” laughed Tarjan. “She couldn’t care less and is so easy. I would bring that horse anywhere in the world.”

More information and results here.

Results: FEI Grand Prix Special CDI4*, presented by Mission Control

1. Alice Tarjan (USA) on Serenade MF, her own 9yo American Hanoverian mare by Sir Donnerhall I: 74.574, 75.106, 71.170, 72.979, 71.915, 73.149

2. Benjamin Ebeling (USA) on Indeed, Vantage Equestrian Group II LLC’s 14yo Dutch Warmblood mare by Hofrat: 71.064, 70.957, 72.872, 68.936, 72.553, 71.276

3. Naïma Moreira Laliberté (CAN) on Statesman, KML Inc’s 15yo Hanoverian gelding by Sandro Hit: 70.213, 70.426, 70.319, 71.064, 72.234, 70.851

4. Katie Duerrhammer (USA) on Paxton, Kylee Lourie’s 11yo Westphalian gelding by Dante Weltino OLD: 67.128, 70.638, 67.021, 67.553, 70.426, 68.553

5. Sarah Tubman (USA) on First Apple, Summit Farm’s 12yo KWPN stallion by Vivaldi: 69.149, 68.723, 66.064, 66.064, 70.319, 68.064