On the third day of the World Equestrian Center (WEC) September Dressage CDI3* on Saturday, September 17, 2022, Adrienne Owen (USA) and Franklin, owned by Angela Hay, earned a victory in the Intermediate 1 CDI1*
Owen and Franklin, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Up To Date, won with a score of 68.206%, which was also a personal best. Yesterday’s Prix St. Georges winners, Anna Merritt (USA) and Fox Creek’s Censational (by Cheenook), finished second on 66.66.853%.
Owen, who is assistant trainer to the previous days’ grand prix winner Anna Marek, started out in the discipline of eventing but switched full-time to dressage seven years ago. She has been paired with Franklin for a year and a half, and this is only their second CDI competition.
“He likes to show off, and the extended canter is his favorite part of the test,” said Owen. “He has this go button that is always there and ready, so it’s a lot of fun to ride. Yesterday he was a little bit wild. His extended trot yesterday, he thought should be an extended canter. We messed up that move, but today he kept it together.”
Owen plans to compete with Franklin at the November CDI3* Icaka and will be continuously working on the movements for grand prix. Franklin has enjoyed competing. Owen noted, “He definitely can feel the energy of the crowd.”
Eline Eckroth (USA) and Daphne, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare by Diamond Stud x De Niro and owned by Connie Duff, won the Intermediate A CDI3* with 64.823%. It was a great continuation of success after they scored two wins at the April CDI3* Ocala.
In the Intermediate 1 for Amateur, Olga Hartsock (USA) rode Jinta, a 13-year-old BWP mare by Dayano x Balzflug owned by Equitas LLC, to victory on a score of 64.147%. Cynthia Davila (USA) and Fayvel, her own 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Zizi Top x Houston, won the Intermediate II for Amateur on 62.853%.
Marek and Tubman on Repeat
Repeating their victories from Thursday, both Sarah Tubman (USA) and Anna Marek (USA) took home the top prizes in Friday’s feature classes. Tubman and First Apple, owned by Summit Farm, won the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3*, while Marek rode Janet Simile’s Fire Fly to victory in the Grand Prix Special CDI3*.
Sarah Tubman and First Apple, a 12-year-old KWPN stallion by Vivaldi x Partout, won the freestyle with a score of 73.675%. Kerrigan Gluch (USA) and Mejorano HGF, an 11-year-old PRE gelding by Grandioso owned by Hampton Green Farm, slotted into second place on a score of 72.620%. Third place went to Lehua Custer (USA) and F.J. Ramzes, a 12-year-old KWPN NA gelding by Juventus owned by Wendy Sasser. They scored 71.935%.
Tubman praised her partner, a horse she has been riding for more than three years. “My horse is just feeling better and better in the work every time we go in the ring,” she said. “Today we had quite a few mistakes in the test but it was a really good feeling, a really honest feeling. There was a lot of stuff that used to be a struggle that’s getting better, and things that used to be super easy that we had mistakes in. I think this is just part of the process. Every time I go down centerline with that horse, it’s the most phenomenal feeling and I have a smile on my face.”
With emphasis on the “available piaffe,” Tubman also noted that she added a piaffe in the test from previous competitions and did one-tempi changes directly into a pirouette. “That is quite difficult,” she noted. “The key is always to make sure you can still pull off your degree of difficulty and don’t overface yourself or your horse and then it becomes a hot mess. It was a super fun test with some nice highlights, but definitely some mistakes.”
Tubman plans to return for the CDI3* in November at WEC and will work again to adjust her freestyle, which was designed by Terri Gallo. “We will add some fun music,” she revealed. “I love the Journey and a little bit of Boston. We will see what else we can throw in there to make it even more of a crowd-pleaser.”
Fire Fly and Marek Continue to Grow and Lead
Dunnellon, Florida, resident Anna Marek and Fire Fly, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Briar Junior x OO Seven, won the Special with another personal best score of 70.362%. Jessica Howington (USA) and her own Cavalia, a 15-year-old KWPN mare by Sir Donnerhall, placed second with 69.085%. Patricia Ferrando (VEN) and Elvis, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding by Rousseau owned by Ferrando and Patricia Zilio, were third with 65.638%.
This was only the second Grand Prix Special test that Marek and Fire Fly have done together. “What I said yesterday that I hoped would happen, he did today in the ring,” she related. “He felt even better than he did yesterday. I could get my piaffes on the spot, and he really showed off the passage. The Special has so much passage. He felt like he really fought for me in the test and was with me the whole time.”
Marek has hopes that Fire Fly will continue to grow into a horse that could represent the U.S. in future championship competition.
“He and I came on so quickly and were getting scores of 70% with room for improvement,” said Marek, who represented the United States on a Nations Cup team in Wellington in 2020. “I’m getting to know him and see how consistent we are. He keeps getting better and better every show we go to. We have hopes of it one day.”
For more short-term plans, Marek anticipates debuting a new freestyle at the WEC November Dressage CDI3*. Working with Terri Gallo, she has the choreography and the music, but has not ridden to it yet. “Now that I know him a little bit more, we wanted to make it a little more complicated and get some higher degree of difficulty marks that I couldn’t do before,” she said.
- Text by World Equestrian Center, edited by Eurodressage - Photos by Q2 Photography.