The final week of competition at the 2022 Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, has began on 24 March 2022 and the day brimmed with grand prix action with four Grand Prix classes scheduled for the day. Four winners — two at four-star and two at three-star level — were crowned.
Lyle and Salvino Extend Winning Streak
The day’s highest score came courtesy of 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games U.S. team silver medalist Adrienne Lyle. She rode Salvino in his third Grand Prix test of this 2022 season and scored 78.566% for the victory in the Grand Prix 4* (for freestyle). They commanded many eights, and a sprinkling of nines — for piaffe and in the walk section. This is the pair’s second CDI of the year, and they remain unbeaten in all three of their starts since the Olympics, having claimed double glory in five-star week of AGDF 2022.
Fellow Olympians filled the remaining two podium steps. Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu (CAN), who was last to go, snuck into second with a 71.500% ride on her long-time partner All In, while seven-time Swedish Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén claimed third with her relatively new ride Devanto (71.261%).
“Salvino’s proving to be so consistent,” said Lyle of Betsy Juliano’s 15-year-old stallion son of Sandro Hit. “His body feels really powerful and full of energy, so I’m thrilled. He’s always had a lot of power, but he sometimes struggled with the balance in the trot extensions, so I feel like we’re really able to unleash and go full power, which is fun.”
The class was moved to the Van Kampen Covered Arena as storms swept the Wellington area.
“I’m thankful that they chose to do this because in this weather, with the thunderstorms and the rain, the last thing we want to do is take a chance on sloppy footing for these horses,” remarked Lyle. “The horses have to be able to go in any venue, so it doesn’t really matter to me. He’s an absolute gentleman who loves to show and loves to be the center of attention.”
Lyle will contest the CDI4* freestyle under lights on Friday night, the first time in almost three years that they have ridden to music in a CDI. The last was at Aachen, Germany, in July of 2019, where the pair scored 83.56%.
“I’m looking forward to doing a freestyle tomorrow night, which I haven’t done for a long time with him, because all up to Tokyo we were focused on the special because that was the test for the team medal. I’m really excited to ride it here because it’s such a fun venue,” said the 37-year-old.
Lyle, who is from Idaho and trains with Debbie McDonald, is gunning for a place on the shortlist of riders who will travel to Europe to try to claim a place on the U.S. team at the ECCO FEI World Championships in Denmark in August.
Koschel and Dünensee on the Rise
A partnership less than five months in the making emerged triumphant in the Grand Prix 4* (for special). Germany’s Christoph Koschel topped the class of 10 starters, riding Dünensee to 70.609%, the only plus-70% score in the class. It was also held in the Van Kampen covered arena.
“My horse was a little scared getting in there with the judges’ tables and everything, so maybe he was not as good to ride like in the Nations Cup, but I had not so many mistakes,” said Koschel of the 13-year-old gelding by Dancier.
“I was really happy with the piaffe. He wanted to piaffe all the time, but he didn’t want to passage so that was a little expensive, otherwise the score would be even higher,” he explained. “We are quite a new combination, and I’m very happy that Devon Kane of Diamante Farms has given me the chance to ride this horse. I think it’s a great horse for the future.”
The horse is for sale, so Koschel will consult with his owners about his next competitive steps.
“First we’ll do the Special and then we see if we keep the horse a little longer or if she wants to sell him soon,” he explained. “He still needs some show experience and mileage in the ring for sure, but he’s really ambitious to do it. He wants to go forward, and he wants to fight for the rider.”
The Canadian rider Naïma Moreira Laliberté clinched second place, riding the 15-year-old Statesman to 68.152%. Her compatriot Diane Creech posted 67.457% to claim third aboard Chrevis Christo.
Julio Mendoza and Jewel's Goldstrike on Track for Paris
In the Grand Prix 3* (for freestyle), presented by Summit Farm, riders from South America took two of the three podium places. Ecuador’s Julio Cesar Mendoza Loor posted a new career high score of 72.348% riding Jewel’s Goldstrike. The gelding by Bretton Woods x Scandic was awarded a high mark of 77.7% from British judge Peter Storr and were the unanimous winners across the five judges.
At 11 years old, Jewel’s Goldstrike was the equal youngest starter in the class of nine. This was the horse’s second ever CDI — the first being in GDF 10 — and marked his first international win. The horse, who is owned by Mendoza and his wife Jessica, was commended for his high quality piaffe and passage, despite his inexperience.
Christoph Koschel bolstered his successful day, picking up second from final draw on the 12-year-old Lusitano stallion Favorito (67.717%). Colombian rider María Alejandra Aponte González clocked a new personal best of 67.283% on the 18-year-old De Niro son, Duke De Niro, for third.
Holzer and Valentine In the Blue
Another unanimous winner posting a personal best scooped the winner’s sash in the Grand Prix 3* (for special). Ashley Holzer (USA) rode her own 12-year-old Sir Donnerhall mare Valentine to 73.63%. All five judges awarded the pair over 73%. This was the horse’s third CDI of the year, and her first win in 2022.
Belgium’s Laurence Vanommeslaghe rode her own 15-year-old Blue Hors Hotline gelding Havalon into second with 70.63%. Katie Duerrhammer (USA) rounded out the podium, guiding Paxton, Kylee Lourie’s 11-year-old Dante Weltino gelding, to 68.587%.
-- GDF press release, edited by Eurodressage
Photos © Sue Stickle
Scores: 2022 CDI Wellington