Kane and Komsi Komsa Win Developing PSG/GP Horse finals at 2024 Global Dressage Festival

Mon, 04/01/2024 - 10:22
2024 CDI Wellington
Tinne Vilhelmson and Kane at the 2024 Global Dressage Festival :: Photo © Sue Stickle

Tinne Vilhelmson and Nicholia Clarke became the winners of the national Developing PSG/GP Horse show circuit of which a finals was held on the last weekend of competition at the 2024 Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida.  Vilhelmson won the Developing PSG horse finals with Kane, while Clarke bested the field in the Developing GP Horse finals with Komsi Komsa.

After three thrilling months of competition including seven CDI shows, the curtain came down on the final day of action of the 2024 Global Dressage Festival (GDF) 2024 season in Wellington, FL, on Sunday, March 31. This year, the largest dressage circuit in the world boasted 2000 entries in the national rings and 550 CDI entries, with 22 different nations represented.

Kane Wins Developing PSG Horse Finals

Sweden’s seven-time Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén added another notch to her dressage belt to cap a tremendous season with her talented string of horses when she stood grand champion in the Future Challenge young horse Prix St. Georges series. 

The 56-year-old rode Lövsta Stuteri’s impressive nine-year-old Kane (by Dream Boy x Krack C) to 72.706% and the unanimous win from the panel of five judges. The USA’s Ben Ebeling partnered ACR Enterprises and Hof Kasselmann’s nine-year-old Escolar daughter Escona   into the reserve champion spot with 70.971%. Jennifer Williams and her own striking gray nine-year-old Babylon Berlin (by Bordeaux x United) slotted into third with 69.794%.

These classes aim to identify and nurture talented, up-and-coming young FEI quality horses, giving them exposure to benefit their development with the biggest of world stages in mind — without the pressures of a CDI.

Vilhelmson Silfvén only recently started riding Kane, who used to be a licensed stallion. This was just their third test together, but the partnership’s future is already looking very promising. The rangy bay has a beautiful front end, and Vilhelmson Silfvén showed him in a soft, elastic frame with her customary quiet riding.   

“It was a good ending to the season,” she said. “We’ve had Kane since he was three and he was a breeding stallion at ours, but last year we gelded him because he was a little bit too much of a stallion. We thought he would be a great competition horse, so we decided to give him a future like that. He also has a much happier life as a gelding because he was a bit too worried as a stallion and too unhappy. Now he’s the sweetest and loveliest horse to have around and he’s happy going out in a big field.”

Kane showed once in 2023 under Caroline Darcourt, who works for Lövsta Stuteri, and he has been to stallion shows, but he lacks formal competition experience. 

“He owns the arena and gives a great feeling,” continued Vilhelmson Silfvén. “I’m glad I rode him in the warm-up class yesterday as he was a little bit too excited, and today he was perfect. I had small mistakes because he was more sensitive than I prepared for, but maybe that’s just the lack of routine together in the competition arena. And in an arena like this it’s different from riding in a small show, but I had a good feeling.”

Her win was fitting given the many years she, and Lövsta Stuteri’s owner, Swedish entrepreneur Antonia Ax:son Johnson, has spent promoting developing horse classes around the world. 

“I’m really for these developing horse series,” added Vilhelmson Silfvén, who rides half a dozen horses a day. “It’s really good to have the possibility to do a national test in the international arena. Everybody comes together—the judges and the rider—it’s all about trying to educate horses in a good way. It’s a great way to educate the horses and get them in the big arena.”

Vilhelmson Silfvén and her team now prepare to fly back to Europe for a rest and then to begin the summer competition season in this exciting Olympic year. She plans to return for GDF 2025. 

Komsi Komsa Wins Developing GP Horse Final

In the  developing grand prix horse final, in which horses performed the Young Horse Grand Prix test, the champion’s sash was claimed by Nicholia Clarke (USA). She rode the Komsi Komsa Syndicate LLC’s nine-year-old KWPN gelding Komsi Komsa (by Apache x Osmium) to 68.657%. The top three finishers all came from the first three rides in the class, with fellow American Tina Konyot finishing second on the former wild child J Everdale with 68.368%. Australia’s Kelly Layne filled third on Living Diamond, posting 67.183%.

The classes, which are open to horses from eight to 11 years old, are intended to provide the opportunity for riders to bring their up-and-coming international quality horses into a championship-type environment without the pressures of a CDI, like having to stable away from home. All qualifying rounds, held throughout GDF 2024, used the FEI Intermediate II test, so the final was a step up in difficulty. 

Nicholia Clarke on Komsi Komsa
Clarke, who is based in Montana for summers and Wellington for winters, said: “I”m thankful for the opportunity Lövsta provides for all of us to showcase our horses and give them a chance to be in this environment. I’m thrilled with how Komsi Komsa handled everything. 

“I felt like this series would be a great way to move up at the end of the season, to try a few I2s, and we were wondering whether he was ready for the grand prix,” added Clarke, who trains with Debbie McDonald. “With these young horses we’re all wondering how they’ll handle the CDI ring, so we gave it a go and it feels great to come out on top. 

“I bought him from Amelie Kovac as a four-year-old, so we’ve been on a journey together which makes it all that much more rewarding. We have a strong partnership, but he’s hot and sensitive, so I’ve learned a lot and this is the icing on the cake,” she concluded. 

Reserve champion Konyot has also been on quite a journey with J Everdale, an Everdale x United gelding whom she began riding three years ago to help his owner sell him after he had deposited a number of riders. The two clicked and are now knocking on the door of grand prix.

“‘He was a bit of a naughty boy but it’s a blessing to be here in this situation,” said Konyot. “In Europe there is the Louis D’Or Cup, and this is such a huge bonus for these young horses to get into an electric environment without any pressure. 

“With ‘Grover’ it’s been a journey with ups and downs — sometimes excusing myself, sometimes getting through the test. But he’s talented, with a lot of blood and a lot of fun. Today I had one big spook, but I’m very proud of him.”

Layne has long been a fan of the developing young horse classes, and she rode Living Diamond — who belongs to her 17-year-old Young Rider student Eva Levy — in the Prix St. Georges series last year.

“I absolutely love this series,” she said. “This is the sixth horse I’ve put in the final, and I’m so proud of that. Living Diamond is really green, but I was so impressed with how he handled it all. He stuck with me the whole way. We knew we couldn’t get the one-time changes, but he had such a good crack. He’s the sweetest horse.”

Antonia Ax:son Johnson of series sponsor Lövsta Stuteri said: “Around 20 years ago Tinne said to me that we really needed something to help the young horses going to grand prix, so we started the series in Europe and then we brought it here because Wellington is one of my paradises on earth. 

“This year we’ve had 48 entries, which is terrific. It’s all about the love of horses and giving them the opportunity to step by step develop and to grow and to understand what it is to compete. Giving them time shows how much we care about the horses. And the riding was beautiful because nobody was pushing their horses as they had the opportunity to develop them over all these weeks. The horses seemed happy and quiet, and that’s what we’re looking for and aiming for.” 

-- GDF press release by Alice Collins, edited by Eurodressage

Photos © Sue Stickle

Related Links
Scores: 2024 CDI Wellington
Two Franklin Get and One Come Back Kid Stand Out in First Lovsta Future Challenge Qualifier of 2024
Marcus Orlob and Ashley Holzer Win Last Qualifiier for Developing PSG/GP Tour at 2024 CDI Wellington
Benjamin Ebeling and Eva Levy End Third Week of 2024 Global Dressage Festival on a Win