Wellington, FL - Dressage made its return to the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival today with the opening class in the WEF Dressage Classic, the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3*. Canada's Belinda Trussell and Anton, owned by Robyn Eames, won the class with a score of 70.638%. Todd Flettrich (USA) and Otto, owned by Cherry Knoll Farm, were second with a 68.723%, while Lars Petersen (DNK) and Beemer, owned by Global Dressage Sales LLC, were third with 68.383%. Trussell was very happy with today's result in the Grand Prix thanks to their personal best score; they improved on the 68.6% from their last competition. "He's getting better and better," Trussell said of Anton.
"It's his second year of grand prix and he's feeling really comfortable in the ring. My goal this winter was for my expressions, more engagement, and more world-class performance. He really is doing that. He's ready and that's what our goal has been. This is my highest ever grand prix score. To reach that 70% is great."
Trussell has qualified for Friday night's Musical Freestyle, and it will be their first time competing together in freestyle. Trussell beamed, "It's to Riverdance. Tamara Williamson put it together. I have to go home and study my computer tonight! I'm looking forward to it." She added, "I've never ridden him under lights before either, so that'll be another first for him. Sometimes out here (schooling) with the jumping (in the next ring) he gets nervous, but once he's in there, it's like he knows, 'This is my little dressage ring.' That's been paying off really well. I hope tomorrow night he'll feel the same."
Anton, a 10-year-old Saxony gelding by Antaeus xx Melit, is described as a "really kind horse," by Trussell. She went on to say, "He has a quiet confidence about him, not in your face confident. He has so much heart. He would never intentionally let me down; it would be a miscommunication that would happen if we had a mistake. He's so genuine, just a genuine, honest horse."
Trussell is competing for the first time this year in Florida and was thrilled to have 30 competitors in the Grand Prix class. "In Canada, we're happy to have ten in the grand prix and that would be a good class," she smiled. "Thirty is fantastic. In Florida, we've had that at almost every show, which is amazing. I'm enjoying it a lot!"
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 Freestyle on Friday at 7 p.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.
Tomorrow's classes include the FEI Intermediaire I starting at 1 p.m. and the FEI Musical Freestyle under the lights in the International Arena at 7 p.m.
For more information, please visit www.equestriansport.com .
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