Wellington, FL - Belinda Trussell (CAN) and Anton, who have performed with impressive consistency this season, rose to the occasion once again at the AGDF 8 Palm Beach Dressage Derby. They won the FEI Grand Prix CDI-W, presented by Today's Equestrian and Diane & George Fellows, at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). Competition at the 2016 Palm Beach Dressage Derby continues through Sunday, March 6, and the highlight will be a special Saturday night FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Everglades Dressage, beginning at 7 p.m.
Trussell and Anton received a 73.700% to secure first place in the FEI Grand Prix CDI-W, presented by Today's Equestrian and Diane & George Fellows, while Mikala Gundersen (DEN) and My Lady fell just short of the win with a 72.980%. Lars Petersen (DEN) and veteran mount Mariett rounded out the top three with a 71.080%.
Trussell and Anton have been a force this season on the winter circuit, collecting two consecutive wins in week three at AGDF in both the FEI Grand Prix and the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle. The pair, who encountered some difficulties in their outing at the FEI CDI 5* only a few weeks ago, buckled down on relieving the tension Anton can carry into the ring with large crowds and applause.
"Since the last show I had with him here, I felt like I had some tension issues, so I went home and did some sound training with him," noted Trussell. "I downloaded the sound of applause onto my phone and we got some Bose speakers to play it for him. He didn't really seem concerned, but my focus was on trying to get him to relax.
"He was relaxed today and he's so steady and secure in his movements that it's a nice place to be with him. When I have that relaxation, I can have a better walk and a softer frame. All of that was the difference in jumping back from the last show to this show," she continued.
Gundersen and My Lady, who are currently ranked first for earned prize money at AGDF this season, only improve with each outing. The pair, who score consistently above the 70% mark in the Grand Prix, performed another nearly faultless test and Gundersen was pleased with their performance. "I think I had so many good movements in the test today. I don't know where I could improve, but some of the judges said to me after the class something about her mouth, but I need to look at it on the video," she explained. "She felt just very nice in the connection, and I had a very good frame.
"She's 16, and looking around we have a group of older horses up here, seniors! Two 16 year olds and an 18-year-old, but Lady just keeps getting stronger and better in the ring and this was probably the best walk tour I've ever had. Her extended walk to the collected walk and the transitions were amazing. I'm very pleased with that," Gundersen said.
Competing in the Palm Beach Dressage Derby week at AGDF is a bit sentimental for Gundersen, whose owner and friend, Janne Rumbough, was one of the first dressage riders in south Florida and was an integral member in starting the historic Palm Beach Dressage Derby years ago. "It means so much to my owner, Janne Rumbough, to do this show and it's one of the reasons that we decided to do it. It's very close to Janne, and she was part of the whole beginning of this show," commented Gundersen.
Fellow Danish rider Lars Petersen and Mariett also continued their impressive ways in the Grand Prix, notching another top three finish this season. Petersen, who commented a few weeks ago that he felt was still trying to find his rhythm with Mariett, said that he was pleased with their performance today.
"I was happy with her today. Maybe when I grow up and can figure out how to make a canter depart from passage, then I'll do better, but hey, I'm still young," laughed Petersen. "To be honest though, she was fresh and that was one of my worries competing two weeks in a row with an older horse. She felt great though, and I thought it was a good test for us." .
Competition at AGDF continues tomorrow with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle, presented by Peacock Ridge Farm, as well as the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, presented by Everglades Dressage, beginning at 7 p.m. For more information on AGDF, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.
Final Results FEI Grand Prix CDI-W, presented by Today's Equestrian and 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: 73.700%, 73.800%, 76.000%, 72.600%, 72.400%, 73.700%
2. Mikala Gundersen (DEN), My Lady, 2000 Danish Warmblood mare by Michellino x Marion x Ritterstern owned by Janne Rumbough: 76.200%, 72.900%, 74.400%, 70.800%, 70.600%, 72.980%
3. Lars Petersen (DEN), Mariett, 1998 Danish Warmblood mare by Comeback II x Zendi x Sidney owned by Lars Petersen and Marcia Pepper: 72.500%, 70.400%, 71.800%, 68.200%, 72.500%, 71.080%
4. Arlene Page (USA), Woodstock, 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Havel x Mirania x Contango owned by Arlene Page: 68.300%, 69.700%, 71.500%, 73.900%, 9.400%, 70.560%
5. Katherine Bateson Chandler (USA), Alcazar, 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Contango x Polina x Ferro owned by Jane Forbes Clark: 71.200%, 72.400%, 71.700%, 70.200%, 67.100%, 70.520%
6. Lisa Wilcox (USA), Galant, 2006 Belgian Warmbloo gelding by Escuro x Bellissima x De Niro owned by Jacqueline Shear: 70.100%, 70.500%, 70.800%, 69.900%, 70.300%, 70.320%
7. Catherine Haddad-Staller (USA), Mane Stream Hotmail, 2002 Oldenburg gelding by Michellino x Rederna x Havel owned by Rowan O'Riley: 69.700%, 69.700%, 71.700%, 67.800%, 70.400%, 69.860%
8. Jacqueline Brooks (CAN), D Niro, 1999 Swedish Warmblood gelding by D Day x Alitalia x Napolean 625 owned by Brookhaven Dressage Inc.: 68.500%, 68.600%, 69.400%, 69.200%, 68.900%, 68.940%