The Dressage and Jumping with the Stars CDI W Grand Prix Freestyle was the perfect finale for 3 fabulous days of equestrian entertainment and Victorian rider Maree Tomkinson aboard her flashy mare Diamantina by Diamond Hit won their first Grand Prix Kur and put the world on notice that WEG 2014 is in their travel plans. Diamantina also won the Grand Prix test so went into the freestyle as the one to beat. Overcoming the "first to go" nerves, Maree put together a high quality test which had it all and kept the others following for the rest of the evening. Diamantina is very reactionary in a big atmosphere but Maree was able to coax the flamboyance whilst soothing the tensions that can cost concentration and harmony.
The musical choice well suited the mare and the themes from the Cate Blanchett movie Elizabeth the Golden Age was very appropriate as the story line depicts similar trials and tribulations experienced in the journey to Grand Prix level! The musical themes were varied and dramatic with a feminine touch which beautifully augmented this combination's talent and earned the winning score of 69.5%
Heath Ryan and his special black stallion Regardez Moi (Rubinstein) showed the Victorian crowd what freestyle dressage is all about – a personal interpretation of a story. Heath made their story about fun and the light hearted side of the sport with a musical choice from the "spaghetti western" Rango. There was a comedic refrain "now let's RIDE" that built the mood and gave the performance something different and special. On this occasion the much admired duo had to settle for second n 66.925%.
Fishermans Friend (by Fabriano) and Tor van den Berg impressed the judges with their test and we saw the extended walk shown very early in the compulsory movements. The walk was a highlight and set high expectations for a test which scored 66.425%
Fourth place went to Fiona McNaught and her tall leggy bay Ostra (by Indoctro from an Aktion mare). The music which included some "Supertramp" was catchy and highlighted the imported gelding's special talent for the piaffe/passage tour and Fiona cleverly constructed her test to showcase these elements. Fiona's Danish coach Lone Jorgensen was in the audience and would have been very proud of the score 64.850%
Stephanie Spencer riding the former Mary Hanna ride Rambo (by Flemmingh) engaged the capacity crowd with a masterful performance to a really lovely musical compilation with bells and tympany. The technical work was also pleasing and this young Western Australian rider is set for a great future. They scored 64.835%.
Not all of the GP Freestyle starters had a dream ride and the atmosphere proved to challenge some. Carolyn Wagner said of her performance on Tango V, "He worked well outside and knowing that indoors under lights can be a problem, I was hoping for a "fire drill" call so that the arena was emptied of the crowd and I only had to present to the judges. It was not to be ... and it all became too much for him tonight."
This final class was followed by a "Party with the Stars" and the celebrations and good spirits carried through until the small hours of the morning.