Frederic Wandres (GER) returned to the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, Florida, and to his customary winning ways with the elegant and powerful Bluetooth OLD. In week three’s highlight class, the CDI4* FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by USPRE Association, the pair posted a new career high score of 81.805%. AGDF 2023, which hosts seven weeks of CDI competition, runs through April 2.

Wandres and Bluetooth repeated their podium topping performance from the previous day’s qualifying FEI Grand Prix class. In a truly international podium, second-placed Morgan Barbançon (FRA) also produced a career-high freestyle score during “Friday Night Stars” on her own 17-year-old KWPN gelding Bolero (Glock’s Johnson TN x Vincent), notching up 77.895%. Sweden’s Caroline Darcourt was just 0.065 percentage points behind, logging 77.83% on Lord Django in the horse’s second ever Grand Prix Freestyle.

“I am very happy today,” beamed Wandres, who is based in Germany at Hof Kasselman but is a seasoned competitor at AGDF. “This is the first time for me this season under the lights and I am always looking forward to coming back. I was a little nervous about how it would go because with this special atmosphere you never know how the horses will handle it, but Bluetooth took it in a positive way. I had a much better feeling than in the Grand Prix; he was way fresher and forward, and it felt like one of the best tests that he has offered me.”

Bluetooth, a 13-year-old gelding by Bordeaux x Riccione, was bred by Paul Schockemöhle’s Gestüt Lewitz and is owned by Hof Kasselmann. Wandres and Bluetooth won nine of their 14 international Grand Prix starts in 2022 and have kicked off 2023 with a bang. The talented pair showed exuberance and balanced power in their freestyle — even though it was originally put together for another other Wandres’ Grand Prix horses, Duke Of Britain.

“I have another freestyle in the making for Bluetooth, which maybe we can show later in the season,” added Wandres. “I am lucky that I have three Grand Prix horses with me here, so I’ll try to rotate them. But for sure Bluetooth is the one that we are looking at for the CDI5* — and we have the two World Cup shows in mind, too.”

Barbançon was also riding to a freestyle score made for another of her horses — the stallion Sir Donnerhall II — which features the hit song “She” by Barbançon’s favorite singer, the late Charles Aznavour.

“I was really happy with my ride today,” said Barbançon, who is competing at AGDF for the first time and has brought three Grand Prix horses. “It was his first time under the lights so I was a little bit stressed about how he would react, but he coped pretty well with it.

“I love it here. I really hope I can come back in the coming years. I love the atmosphere, it’s a great experience to ride here,” she added. “I’m focusing on my young ones [Habana Libre A and Deodoro], and with Bolero I’m just enjoying the ride and having fun.”

After success in her debut freestyle in AGDF1, Darcourt found herself on the podium again with the 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding Lord Django (Stalypso x Londonderry) despite being a newcomer to Grand Prix level freestyle competition and riding to a soundtrack that was made just two weeks earlier.

“The ride beat the overall expectation I had for him — he has really shown that he wants to do it,” said Darcourt, who has worked for Lövsta Stuteri for 20 years. “The first time I thought it was beginner’s luck, and I got a little nervous about doing it again, but he really worked with me in the ring.”

Judge at C Sandra Hotz was impressed by the high standard of competition and the graceful riding she saw: “The winning test was lovely — in fact the first and second place tests were incredible, and the quality of the horses was very high, as well as the artistic impression. The atmosphere here is amazing, especially for these evening freestyles. The crowd really gets involved and excited. It’s a pleasure and an honor to judge horses and riders of this quality.”

AGDF’s Director of Sport, Thomas Baur, added: “It was another fantastic Friday night with a truly international podium — I think the U.S. riders have to step up now! The USPRE Week is always a very special week.”

Results here.

Ariana Chia 4th in CDI3* Grand Prix

AGDF regular Susan Pape (GBR) topped the ProElite CDI3* Grand Prix earlier in the day, riding Harmony’s Eclectisch to 70.826%. The 14-year-old stallion received a smattering of eights throughout the test.

“I think the extended canter was pretty good,” enthused Pape, who is based in Germany and is riding at AGDF for the eighth time. “His pirouettes were very nice, his twos were very nice, and all of his canter work is a highlight.”

Pape, along with her sponsor Harmony Sporthorses, bought the son of Zenon x Olivi when he was a rising eight-year-old.

“He was owned by a Swedish woman [Ida-Linn Lundholm] who competed him in the World Championships for young horses’ level, where he was very successful,” explained Pape, who usually produces horses up the levels herself. “At that time, we were looking for an upcoming Grand Prix horse. This time my sponsors wanted to buy me this nice horse. He’s been here [at AGDF] almost every year since then and started here in the Prix St. Georges, and we worked our way up to the Grand Prix.”

Last year, Pape and Harmony’s Eclectisch were on the long list for the FEI World Championships, and this year’s calendar climax is the FEI European Dressage Championships in Riesenbeck, Germany, in September.

“I don’t really go goal by goal, I just go month by month,” said Pape. “The selectors will decide, and we will see where we end up. The plan now is to do two more Grands Prix here and then a World Cup at the beginning of March, and then we fly home.

“I really enjoy being here,” she added. “I only have a couple of horses here, so you can spend time with them. At home we have a big business, and it’s rush, rush, rush. Here you can really concentrate on the process and that is what I really love about it — and showing here in this ring, it’s just awesome.”

In second place behind Pape, Singaporean rider Caroline Chew made her CDI debut on the well-known stallion Blue Hors Zatchmo. The 14-year-old by Blue Hors Zack x Donnerhall — who was most recently competed at the level by Danish rider Nanna Skodborg Merrald in 2022 — scored 68.261%. Jan Ebeling (USA) finished third, riding Jubi’s Tenacity to 67.978%. Canada’s Ariana Chia placed fourth riding Fiderflame, scoring 67.261%.

Results here.


Other Canadian Top-5 Finishes:


CDI1* FEI Prix St. Georges – 4. Chris von Martels / Londoncrown 70.637%
CDI1* FEI Intermediate I – 4. David Marcus / Qosmo 67.843%; 5. Shannon Dueck / Angelika MW 67.304%
CDI3* FEI Grand Prix Special – 5. Ariana Chia / Fiderflame 66.659%
CDI3* FEI Grand Prix Special – 5. Ariana Chia / Fiderflame 66.659%

National Show:
FEI Prix St Georges J/Y – 1. Sarah Corbett / Summersby 59.117%; 3. Louise Depatie / San Baltic 60.588%
FEI Grand Prix* O, AA, J/Y – 5. Jaimey Irwin / Simsalabim 66.630%
FEI Prix St Georges AA, J/Y – 3. Chloe Gasiorowski / Dimacci DC 68.088%
FEI Intermediate II O, AA, J/Y – 2. David Marcus / Quebec Bertling 67.647%
FEI Grand Prix O, AA, J/Y – 1. Mathilde Blais Tetreault / Fedor 73.478%; 4. Jaimey Irwin / Simsalabim 68.152%
FEI Intermediate I O, AA, J/Y – 1. Chloe Gasiorowski / Dimacci D 72.500%
FEI Intermediate I O, AA, J/Y – 4. Ally Dunlap / Givarro 61.764%
FEI Prix St Georges O, AA, J/Y – 1. Chris von Martels / Londoncrown 73.896%

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