Wellington, FL - Belinda Trussell (CAN) and Anton impressed the judging panel again today in the AGDF 3 "Friday Night Stars" FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, presented by U.S. P.R.E. Association, as the pair took their second win of the week in Large Tour competition at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). Trussell and Anton earned a 75.025% to take a commanding lead in the class of 15 entries. Allison Brock (USA) and Rosevelt concluded an outstanding performance for the pair earning a score of 73.900% while fellow American Shelly Francis and Doktor collected a 73.400% for third place. Competition at AGDF continues tomorrow, Saturday, January 30, with the FEI Grand Prix Special, presented by Yeguada de Ymas, beginning at 2:15 p.m.
Trussell and Anton, a 2002 Saschen Warmblood gelding (Antaeus x Shirley) owned by Robyn Eames and Marc Trussell, have showcased their consistency in their first competition back since the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto this past November.
"Anton was really hot tonight and I was hoping to keep everything in control and keep our harmony together. He was great. It really felt like I was riding a rocket. He's such a good boy, and he loves his job," noted Trussell. "I'm so thrilled for these two wins and am sitting here in utter shock to be sitting in this company. It's wonderful to be here, and I'm so thankful to my owners and my family at home."
All smiles during their test, Trussell feels that she has truly hit the right stride with her veteran partner who has come back to competition in top form after overcoming a serious injury a few years ago. Trussell has hopes of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, later this summer.
"Post-injury, he has never felt better. It's incredible because we never thought that he would come back better and continue to get personal bests. Winning a medal for Canada last year (at the Pan American Games) was huge and hopefully (we are) going to Rio. It feels incredible," she elaborated. "I just want to enjoy each ride, and you don't know what tomorrow has to bring. You want to set goals and you think about them, but you always have to enjoy each moment and enjoy each ride. I always think about that. I get to ride him again in this atmosphere and in this stadium and I want to enjoy that, our team work, with the ultimate goal of being brilliant."
Allison Brock (USA) and the impressive 2002 Hanoverian stallion (Rotspon x Lauries Crusader xx) Rosevelt, owned by Fritz and Claudine Kundrun, continue to captivate audiences from around the globe, as the pair displays such power and presence in each of their tests. Rosevelt, who has been known to be sensitive in large environments, performed the test with tremendous ease, which Brock hopes is the next stage in their partnership.
"He was so good. I personally have been very nervous to do freestyles here because we had a bad experience last year under the lights where he was incredibly scared," she explained. "I decided to do the exhibition at Washington International (Horse Show) this past year, and he was really good. I couldn't believe how he handled that environment. I thought to myself, 'I really need to bite the bullet and do it.' So we decided to do it."
"Tonight maybe he got a little happy doing the changes, but now I can drop the reins and that horse will walk. He stands in the award ceremony. All of these things he's feeling comfortable with. I want him to trust the situation I'm putting him in, and I feel like I got that."
Francis and Doktor, another U.S. Olympic hopeful combination, performed their first FEI Grand Prix Freestyle of the 2016 season and Francis spoke positively about the outcome in this important qualifying year.
"My little Doktor was a bit nervous tonight, but he tried really hard. He's getting to the point where he's getting dependable for me in the arena. I just have to get my act together now and maybe start squeezing more a bit," said Francis, who finished in third place. "We haven't shown that much this season. Right now we're trying to get through smooth and ride the choreography a bit better. He felt awesome. He does what I want, and he's really cool with what's going on."
Judge at C Linda Zang commented on the rides she judged throughout the night and expressed her optimism and anticipation of what is to come for the sport of dressage in North America over the course of the next few years. She explained, "I think it's absolutely wonderful that we have this entire circuit in Florida because it's made our sport grow so much in the United States and in Canada. I'm sitting here just thinking what an international group of riders we have here. There were five nations represented in just tonight's freestyle alone. That's quite an accomplishment."
The U.S. P.R.E. Association took the lead on major sponsorship for AGDF 3, presenting the second "Friday Night Stars" event of the season, which has continued to expand in popularity.
"We had the opportunity to get involved from the very first year and we thought there's no better way to promote a breed for dressage than push our brand to a target audience," explained Kim Boyer, President of the U.S. P.R.E. Association. "Of course, nobody back then would have thought that it would have grown to the size that it is today. Now it's a destination for our members and visitors and we've brought in a number of Spanish dignitaries. It's almost become a mini-convention here. It's educational for us and a great opportunity to showcase our horses."
Thomas Baur, Director of Sport for the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) stated his gratitude for the team working behind the scenes who helped to successfully coordinate several ring and scheduling changes to accommodate riders after South Florida saw days of torrential downpours and inclement weather. "It was a great effort from everyone to make our changes work. I would like to especially thank our judges and e-scribes this week as this was the first CDI we've done here with electronic recording of scores. It worked quite well and we'll continue to do better, but I'm very proud of the team here this week," he said.
Allyn Mann of Adequan® discussed the company's presence around the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) venue, not only as the title sponsor of the entire circuit, but now the main contributor to the prestigious owner awards that are given during each "Friday Night Freestyle" FEI Grand Prix Freestyle event. "First off, I think we all need to thank Kim for her vision and financial contribution to build the covered arena, or else we wouldn't be sitting here tonight," he explained. "Without owners, none of us are sitting here. Thank you to all of the owners. These awards are just another way that we can show our appreciation to the people who are truly the foundation of everything we have here. Without them, none of this would be."
For a full list of results and schedule, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.
Final Results FEI Grand Prix Freestyle presented by U.S. P.R.E. Association
1. Belinda Trussell (CAN), Anton, 2002 Saschen Warmblood gelding by Anteaus x Shirley x Melit owned by Robyn Eames and Marc Trussell: 73.375%, 75.750%, 73.875%, 75.375%, 76.750%, 75.025%
2. Allison Brock (USA), Rosevelt, 2002 Hanoverian stallion by Rotspon x Lore x Lauries Crusader xx owned by Fritz & Claudine Kundrun: 73.000%, 74.250%, 73.125%, 76.000%, 73.125%, 73.900%
3. Shelley Francis (USA), Doktor, 2003 Oldenburg gelding by Diamond Hit x Gurena x Renoir I owned by Patricia Stempel: 75.375%, 73.500%, 72.625%, 74.375%, 71.125%, 73.400%
4. Juan Matute, Jr. (ESP), Don Diego Ymas, 2003 Hanoverian gelding by Don Frederico x Wie Platine owned by Juan Matute: 74.625%, 71.000%, 71.875%, 72.750%, 74.500%, 72.950%
5. Arlene Page (USA), Alina, 1998 Danish Warmblood mare by Michellino x Alberte Lindebjerg x Diamant owned by Arlene Page: 73.250%, 73.875%, 71.625%, 72.250%, 72.625%, 72.725%
6. Laura Graves (USA), Verdades, 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Florett AS x Liwilarda x Goya owned by Laura Graves: 72.000%, 71.875%, 69.750%, 74.000%, 72.375%, 72.000%
7. Kasey Perry-Glass (USA), Trostruplunds Scarlet, 1999 Danish Warmblood mare by Blue Hors Don Shufro x Ramona x Blue Hors Romancier owned by Diane Perry: 71.000%, 72.375%, 71.875%, 70.875%, 72.500%, 71.725%
8. Brittany Fraser (CAN), 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Tango x Leontine x Damiro owned by Brittany Fraser: 72.750%, 69.875%, 72.125%, 72.250%, 71.125%, 71.625%