Wellington, FL - March 19, 2010- At the WEF Dressage Classic, the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3* ran under the lights in the International Arena. It was Canada's Belinda Trussell and Anton, owned by Robyn Eames, who took their second victory of the show with a score of 73.900% in their very first freestyle together. Todd Flettrich (USA) and Otto, owned by Cherry Knoll Farm, were second with a solid score of 73.000%, while Jacqueline Brooks (CAN) and Balmoral, owned by Mary and Eric Brooks and John and Anne Welch, were third with a score of 71.550%.
The tenth week of the FTI WEF is sponsored by Equine Couture/TuffRider and runs through Sunday, March 21. The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 4, 2010, and they will be awarding almost $6 million in prize money through the circuit.
The WEF Dressage Classic CDI 3* dressage competition is the highlight in the International Arena this week on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with FEI Grand Prix Special on Saturday at 8 a.m. The FTI Great Charity Challenge, a pro/am relay competing for a targeted $500,000 in money to be distributed to 24 Palm Beach county charities, is on Saturday, March 20, with festivities starting at 6 p.m. The $75,000 Equine Couture/TuffRider Grand Prix, CSI 2*, is on Sunday, March 21. It is scheduled, weather-pending, to be held at The Stadium at 3 p.m.
Flettrich, of Coatesville, PA, was the highest placed American rider in both the Grand Prix and the Freestyle when he placed second with Otto, a 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding by Rambo xx Rampal. Flettrich and Otto have been paired together for a little over a year. Flettrich noted, "It's taken me a little time to get to know him. He's a very special grand prix horse, but those special horses are a little bit more sensitive. I love him to death." Those in horse sport know that teamwork is a major part of any victory. Flettrich expressed, "I would not be half the rider without Cherry Knoll Farm and Margaret Duprey, Otto, and Oded Shimoni. It's the whole team."
Flettrich was happy to be the highest placed American in the two grand prix classes thus far at the CDI 3*, and also commented that this was the first time that he and Otto had done their freestyle, and the first time that they had entirely run through their routine. He said, "I do believe that we can work out a few small things and he can be first place. I just want to keep making it look more and more confident and better."
Trussell, who is from Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, rode Anton for the first time under the lights and in their first freestyle tonight. She beamed afterwards, "Considering all of that, I'm thrilled. I'm thrilled with the score and the placing; it's fantastic."
Trussell and Anton, a 10-year-old Saxony gelding by Antaeus xx Melit, performed to a freestyle choreographed by Tamara Williamson to the music of "Riverdance." She commented, "It's fun and I like it. It's really upbeat, and I want to get the crowd involved in the kur, so that it's exciting and you can't wait for the next movement. I hope that that's what it portrayed. It is really fun to ride to the music."
With her two wins this week and strong scores, Trussell is a solid competitor for Canada's dressage team. She said of her wins, "It's a huge accomplishment for me personally, to be in Florida for the first time and on this young horse. It's so exciting. It's something that you work so hard for, for so long. It's a wonderful feeling, like you're on a cloud."
Tomorrow's classes include the FEI Grand Prix Special starting at 8 a.m., the FEI Intermediaire II at 10:50 a.m., and the FEI Intermediaire Freestyle at 12 p.m.
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