Canada's Christilot Boylen rode Dio Mio to another victory today in the FEI Intermediaire-1 Freestyle CDIO 3* and ended up as the top individual rider of the week. American Heather Blitz collected yet another top prize for the United States during the last day of competition for the Wellington Nations Cup CDIO/CDI 3*, presented by Stillpoint Farm. The FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3* was also the final class of the 2013 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), hosted at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The Adequan Global Dressage Festival hosted five national and five international shows this season with rave reviews, record entries, and fantastic competition. Canadian Christilot Boylen had a picture perfect end to the Wellington Nations Cup CDIO/CDI 3*, presented by Stillpoint Farm. Boylen wrapped up a banner season at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), which concluded Sunday afternoon at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Boylen and Dio Mio scored a 73.789% for victory in Sunday's FEI Intermediare-I CDIO 3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty. Americans Kimberly Herslow and Caroline Roffman once again rounded out the top three. Herslow and Rosmarin were second with a 72.632%. Roffman finished close behind with a 72.263% with Her Highness O. The judges for the class were: Mirabel Alonso at E, Anne Gribbons at H, Evi Eisenhardt at C, Joan Macartney at M, and Linda Zang at B.
Boylen's top scores over the last two days of competition, which included a 75.500% in Saturday's FEI Intermediare-I Freestyle CDIO 3*, put her in first place for the weekend's individual standings for Nations Cup competition. Boylen finished with a grand total of 148.289, besting American rider Cesar Parra and Van the Man, who picked up the silver medal with 146.583 points. Fellow American Caroline Roffman and Her Highness O finished in third place with a cumulative score of 146.313. Custom Saddlery selected the FEI Intermediare-I CDIO 3* as the Most Valuable Rider class, another honor that Boylen took home. Boylen received a Custom Saddlery year-long sponsorship as well as a Custom Saddlery Steffen's Advantage saddle for her performance in Sunday's class. Dio Mio's ability to put out highly correct tests makes him incredibly hard to beat in competition. "He's a very accurate horse and he was again today. That's where it gets difficult for the others until they stop making mistakes. That's about it," Boylen stated matter-of-factly. Temperatures soared on the third day of a demanding weekend of competition, but Boylen remained confident in her horse rising to the occasion. "In the heat, there were a lot of horses I think fighting today after last night. He's very wirey and athletic. He just came out the same as ever," Boylen described. "He's a trooper," Boylen continued. "His Thoroughbred side comes through quite strongly. He's never been tired in the ring." While his Thoroughred blood gives him the endurance to outlast his competitors, Boylen acknowledged she deals with a certain amount of tension with the ten-year-old Hanoverian gelding.
Naturally, this was of no concern to her either; Boylen knows she can trust Dio Mio to always pull through for her. "Last night [during the freestyle], he walked in there and he was actually quite terrified of the [Jumbotron] screen. But there was never a question of whether he was going to go down [to that end of the arena]. He's a very honest horse, which I appreciate a lot. You need an honest horse, just like you need honest people," Boylen smiled. Boylen also felt her European base gave her an edge in competition due to the level of competition in classes with massive entries there. However, she did not count the AGDF out as a future hotbed of dressage competition and plans to return next winter. "I think it's going to build. This is definitely a fantastic base for those available in Florida. I think you're going to see more and more people [compete next year]," Boylen commented. The Champion Equine Insurance Dressage Style Award was awarded Saturday to Christilot Boylen, who won the FEI Intermediare-I with a score of 69.737%.
Heather Blitz Wins in CDIO 3* Week
Blitz and Paragon finished first in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3* with a 72.313%, narrowly beating fellow American Cesar Parra and Van the Man who finished second with a 72.208%. Shelly Francis (USA) and Doktor rounded out the top three with a final score of 70.646%. Judges for the class were: Linda Zang at E, Anne Gribbons at H, Mirabel Alonso at C, Joan Macartney at M, and Evi Eisenhardt at B. The three-day, three-test format of the Wellington Nations Cup competition provided a championship-type schedule in which riders could prepare their horses. Despite Paragon's relative inexperience, Blitz was pleasantly surprised with how the ten-year-old Danish Warmblood handled the long weekend. "He surprised me that he was plenty energetic today. I had definitely tailored my warm-ups all three days with that in mind; that he had to last for three tests. It's only (in) a CDIO that you would have the three (tests) and we're not practiced at it. We had it at the Pan Ams, but that was only small tour, so for him to have three days with piaffe and passage is big for him. He surprised me with enough energy and strength all the way up to the final salute, which is good to know," Blitz described. As a rule of thumb, Blitz focuses Paragon's warm-ups on asking more of him mentally rather than physically, working mostly at the walk to fine tune the his level of rideability. "He's not really the kind of horse that has to blow off steam. He's much more just a mental horse and if I can organize him at the walk, then it's all pretty much there. I don't spend a whole lot of time doing movements and practicing the tests. I just work on getting the right connection and then we're ready to go," Blitz explained.
Blitz was thrilled to have a blue ribbon finish to an already successful weekend at the Wellington Nations Cup CDIO/CDI 3*. She competed with Paragon as part of Team USA 1, which finished first in Nations Cup team standings on Friday afternoon. Blitz and Paragon were major contributors to the team's victory with their first place finish in the FEI Grand Prix CDIO 3* with a 70.979%. "I feel this [test Sunday] was his best Grand Prix so far. I liked the Grand Prix on Friday, but I really liked this one better. I didn't know if it would be possible to top that within just two days, but in this test today, he really only had two steps in the whole thing that weren't perfect for where is. It's a really good feeling that he started off with a bang and he ended with a bigger bang," Blitz beamed. After a banner season at the AGDF, Blitz will pack up and head to her new home base at Cutler Farm in Boston, MA. She's working on putting together a European tour, which may include plans to prepare Paragon to qualify for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy. Regardless, Blitz looks forward to returning to Florida next winter for the 2014 AGDF.