Wellington, FL - Belinda Trussell (CAN) and Anton secured another victory at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) today, continuing their consistent showing on the winter circuit this season and solidifying themselves as one of Canada's strongest Large Tour combinations. The pair earned a personal best score in the Palm Beach Dressage Derby FEI Grand Prix Special CDI-W presented by Today's Equestrian and Diane and George Fellows, on a score of 75.529%. Arlene "Tuny" Page (USA) finished in second place aboard Woodstock with a 73.431%, while Laura Tomlinson (GBR) and Rosalie B captured third place with a 72.078%.
Trussell and Anton have demonstrated the value of experience and tenured partnership this season, which has been reflective in their scores, achieving a personal best score in the FEI Grand Prix Special of 75.529% today. "His highlight is his piaffe and his passage is really good too. His transitions in and out are very easy for him," commented Trussell. "I have to say, his consistency (is a strength). He's a really solid competitor, and it's such a great feeling as a rider. You have that confidence going into the ring that your horse knows his job well." "He also was so relaxed and with me. That was a great feeling," she continued.
After their performance at the FEI CDI 5* at AGDF a few weeks ago, Trussell found assurance in the pair's ability to overcome adversity. Anton looked as poised as ever in the Global International Ring this afternoon and seemed to grow even more poised in the arena after their preparations at home.
"Those are part of the challenges of the sport. It's why we all love it. It's not easy, and you have to keep thinking about solutions. These are animals, and they're unpredictable. They have their own personalities, and Anton became afraid of the whole atmosphere and the applause," she explained. "I had to sit back and think to myself how can I help him feel confident in the ring. My feeling is, when you have a confident horse, you have everything you need.
"I tried to think of different things to help him with his sound sensitivity. It's going to be an ongoing challenge, but he was great this weekend and I didn't do the freestyle because I wanted him to be confident in the ring again," said Trussell. "I want to do the freestyle again, so that will be another challenge for us in the near future."
Arlene "Tuny" Page and Woodstock, one of her two talented Grand Prix mounts, performed another accurate Grand Prix Special test which secured them a second place finish in the competitive class. Woodstock, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Havel x Mirania) looked soft and relaxed, which Tuny said has been a steady progression throughout each of their tests this season.
"The fact is, this horse is incredibly expressive and is blessed with a tremendous amount of scope and elasticity. He has so much power. It's always a challenge to figure out how to channel that power but not take it away," said Page. "Believe me, the chicken in me occasionally says, 'You just have to tone everything down,' but then of course, you lose the extravagance that has him on a 78% before the canter.
"I'm learning how to balance out the expression that he has with a little bit more zen, if you will, in the canter, which is where he carries more tension and can be more mistake-prone," she continued. "Last year in Europe, I didn't find this kind of tension, like what I have here. For him, whatever reason, this venue is a little bit more challenging and it's been great to have him remain solid in these scores even though for him it can be a little bit more exciting for him."
Woodstock and Page are forging a strong relationship, which is improving the quality of their tests from beginning to end according to Page. With the trot work now fluid and expressive, the final piece they will look to improve will be the canter work.
"The highlight for me today, just like Belinda was saying, is consistency through the ride. The quality in the trot is almost matched by the overall quality of the canter and the horse has such talent for pirouettes, it's amazing. You want the whole thing to be on about the same score if you possibly can," she explained. "I was really pleased with that today, because he let me ride the half-passes and the flying changes much better than he did on Friday."
Tomlinson, who winters abroad in Wellington, FL, from her typical home base in the U.K., rode Rosalie B in their second competition together to earn a 72.078%. Tomlinson commented on the progress the new pair has made in just two shows together.
"I was very happy with her. It was her second show ever at the Grand Prix level and her second show with me ever. I'm thrilled with how much she's come together just since the last show," said Tomlinson. "She's much more confident in the ring, and easier to ride. I feel very happy with the way she's going and the way she's improving. We didn't actually have any mistakes today." "She's still lacking the strength a little bit, but she's obedient with it. We had a great ride together and I'm thrilled," she noted.
Competition at AGDF continues again Wednesday, March 16, with the FEI CDI 4*/3*/1* presented by Havensafe Farm and will continue through Sunday, March 20. For more information on AGDF, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.
Final Results: FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, presented by Today's Equestrian with Diane & George Fellows
1. Belinda Trussell (CAN), Anton, 2000 Sachsen Warmblood gelding by Anteaus x Shirley x Melit owned by Robyn Eames and Marc Trussell: 75.196%, 73.235%, 77.745%, 76.569%, 74.902%, 75.529%
2. Arlene "Tuny" Page (USA), Woodstock, 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Havel x Mirania x Contango owned by Arlene Page: 74.314%, 75.000%, 72.647%, 72.549%, 72.647%, 73.431%
3. Laura Tomlinson (GBR) Rosalie B, 2006 Westphalian mare by Rubin-Royal x Nordmaid x Newcastle owned by Dr. & Mrs. Bechtolscheimer: 70.098%, 71.863%, 73.725%, 70.588%, 74.118%, 72.078%
4. Lisa Wilcox (USA), Galant, 2006 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Escuro x Bellisma x De Niro owned by Jacqueline Shear: 71.569%, 71.275%, 71.078%, 70.196%, 69.902%, 70.804%
5. Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA), Rassing's Lonoir, 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding De Noir x Lorani x Loran owned by Olivia LaGoy-Weltz: 68.137%, 66.471%, 69.804%, 68.824%, 68.627%, 68.373%
6. Jill Irving (CAN), Degas 12, 2002 Hanoverian gelding by De Niro x Rosana M x Regazonni owned by Jill Irving: 68.039%, 67.549%, 68.922%, 66.961%, 69.118%, 68.118%
7. Eliane Corida van Reesema (CAN), Jewel's Adelante, 2000 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Schufro x Tangent x Phaeton x owned by Elaine Corida van Reesema: 68.431%, 68.137%, 67.059%, 69.020%, 67.059%, 67.941%
8. Sharon McCusker (USA), Wrigley, 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Son De Niro x Pinomia x Rhodiamont owned by Sharon McCusker: 67.647%, 66.961%, 67.647%, 66.961%, 68.039%, 67.451%