Wellington, FL- Victory in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle 16-25 U25 CDIO 3*, presented by Diamante Farms, was captured by Anna Buffini (USA) and her own Sundayboy, a 1999 KWPN gelding (Kennedy x Eezelma), with a score of 73.525%.
The final week of AGDF competition runs from March 22-25, 2017, and features the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup™ CDIO 3* as well as the FEI Nations Cup CDIO-U25.
"This is surreal," said Buffini, "A dream of mine has always been to compete a freestyle under the lights, and to do it on Sundayboy's very last competition ever and to come out with the win, it's just unbelievable. I owe him so much, and he tried his heart out for me. I'm so proud of him. He's such a star."
This was the final competition for the pair, who also won team gold at the North American Young Rider Championships in 2014. Sundayboy will be retiring as one of the most decorated Young Rider horses in the history of the United States.
Buffini continued, "He's done all he needs to do for me, and I'm not going to ask anymore of him. He's given me his whole heart, and that's all I could have asked."
Second place in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle 16-25 U25 CDIO 3*, went to Sean Sierra Keasler (USA) and Lux Stensvang, a 2002 KWPN gelding (Lobster x Verona Stensvang x Diamond) owned by Keasler, earning a score of 72.450%.
Commenting on her experiences, Keasler exclaimed, "All I wanted to do was ride that horse under the lights. I had witnessed it, I had groomed for previous employers, I had been behind the scenes, and all I wanted to do was ride under the lights myself. A long time ago I said, 'The only way I will ride under these lights is if there is a U25 Nations Cup,' and now here I am. It was a dream that became a goal, and now it's a reality."
Kaitlin Blythe (USA) and Don Principe, a 1999 Hanoverian stallion (Donnerhall x SPS Papagena x Prince Thatch xx) owned by Maryanna Haymon, came in third with 68.575%.
"It was a magical feeling to compete here under the lights," said Blythe. "It was only my second time riding this freestyle with this horse, so it was really fun to do it here. To be able to earn a medal was just really exciting for me. My horse loves to dance, and he just gets so excited; it was fun to feel him enjoy it."
Devon Kane spoke on behalf of sponsor Diamante Farms, "We're very honored to be able to support this first U25 Nations Cup here at AGDF and in the U.S. The caliber of riding, athleticism, and competitiveness between nations has been incredible. Everyone did incredibly well, and the level of sportsmanship has really been something to take note of."
For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.
Final Results: FEI Grand Prix Freestyle 16-25 U25 CDIO 3*, presented by Diamante Farms
Place, Rider, Nationality, Horse, Horse Information: Judge E%, Judge H%, Judge C%, Judge M%, Judge B%, Total %
1. Anna Buffini (USA), Sundayboy, 1999 KWPN gelding by Kennedy x Eezelma, owned by Anna Buffini: 69.625%, 74.375%, 74.375%, 74.375%, 74.875%, 73.525%
2. Sean Sierra Keasler (USA), Lux Stensvang, 2002 KWPN gelding by Lobster x Verona Stensvang x Diamond, owned by Sean Sierra Keasler: 71.750%, 74.000%, 73.000%, 69.000%, 74.500%, 72.450%
3. Kaitlin Blythe (USA), Don Principe, 1999 Hanoverian stallion by Donnerhall x SPS Papagena x Prince Thatch xx, owned by Maryanna Haymon: 68.625%, 69.500%, 69.250%, 69.000%, 66.500% 68.575%
4. Molly Paris (USA), Countess, 2002 Danish Warmblood mare by Don x Compeed x Solos, owned by Molly Paris: 65.875%, 68.125%, 68.125%, 69.250%, 69.750%, 68.225%
5. Mathilde Blais Tetreault (CAN), Utah, 2001 KWPN gelding by Jazz, owned by Mathilde Blais Tetreault: 69.500%, 69.000%, 65.750%, 68.750%, 65.500%, 67.700%
6. Kerrigan Gluch (USA), HGF Brio, 2005 PRE stallion, owned by Hampton Green Farm: 64.125%, 66.250%, 64.500%, 69.875%, 67.250%, 66.400%
7. Tanya Strasser-Shostak (CAN), Action Tyme, 2000 Oldenburg gelding by Aktuell x Ann Lady af Hvarre x Aleksander, owned by Evi Strasser: 61.750%, 61.875%, 64.125%, 67.375%, 65.375%, 64.100%
8. Genay Vaughn (USA), Donarweiss GGF, 2001 Hanoverian stallion by Deniro x Sps Highlight x Hohenstein, owned by Starr Vaughn Equestrian Inc: 63.125%, 64.500%, 63.250%, 63.000%, 64.125%, 63.600%