Five countries were represented in the top 8 placings at the The FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades added another win to their week, as the duo scored a 74.667% to best the class. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) and Benetton Dream finished in second with a 72.412%, while Belinda Trussell (CAN) and Anton captured third place receiving a 71.431%. In the FEI Grand Prix Special 3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, Steffen Peters (USA) and Rosamunde took home the victory. Competition for AGDF 5 concludes tomorrow with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDI 1*, presented by Kirk Arabians.
Graves and Verdades topped the FEI Grand Prix CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, on Thursday and chose to compete in today's FEI Grand Prix Special class. While their test was not as exact or powerful as may be typically expected from the duo, it was an example of an established partnership that is continuing to grow with time. The judges recognized the maturity of their effort, awarding it a 74.667% for the win. Graves reflected on the experience of coming back to the ring after their last difficult competition.
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Benetton Dream, ownd by Lövsta Stuteri, represented Sweden with excellent style, earning a 72.412% for a solid test that featured sweeping half-passes and a strong piaffe-passage tour. Vilhelmson-Silven noted that this is only the second time that the 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion has done the Special and was pleased with his performance.
"I've very, very pleased with my horse tonight. I've never had such a good feeling in the ring on him actually as we did today. He got really on when [the crowd] applauded Laura coming around the arena. He had much more power than [we] had before and it was a nice feeling. It was a nice feeling and he was going together with me in a nice way. Just a great feeling," she said. "It was the second time that we've done the Special and it was the highest score that we've gotten so I'm happy. He got a little bit difficult when we did the trot extensions, especially when he's that hot. He stumbled a bit because he went for too much, but other than that it was a good feeling."
She reflected on the time it has taken to establish a partnership with her stallion, that came from an active breeding career in Germany and maintains a full studbook at Lövsta Stuteri in Sweden. She explained, "I had him here two years ago. He came from Germany and was a breeding stallion so he may seem a little bit further behind in his training for his age. He's been breeding a lot in Sweden too, so he's had double work. This year we're going to decrease the breeding so that I can focus on showing him a little bit more."
"He has a great feeling, but he's a big horse and a stallion, so for sure he gets a little bit nervous and that can show in many ways, but that's why I was happy with today because he wanted to go on my aids," she commented. "We've been working with a lot of different things, but really most to get him stronger so that he can perform the movements but also getting him to want to work with me, not to have to put pressure on him to do it by himself. He's really getting together with me and that's the great feeling with him. That takes time and that's what it takes to build confidence and get to know them."
Belinda Trussell rode Anton, owned by Robyn Eames and Marc Trussell, to third place after an already successful campaign at AGDF so far this season. Trussell noted that Anton's natural capacity for piaffe makes the Grand Prix Special a great test for him.
"Anton, his gift is his piaffe and it's just a dream to ride it actually. I sit there and cluck and he piaffes. That's his highlight, and he's just so consistent. He loves to do it, so that is really nice and in the Special, going from walk to piaffe is not difficult for him. It's a nice feeling. I feel confident with this test and I like it because it is so forward moving. It's nice to ride."
She was pleased that Anton settled down a bit from his anxiety during the Grand Prix. Unlike Vilhelmsom-Silfven's mount Benetton Dream, who gains energy and enthusiasm from applause, Anton can become tense, which can negatively impact his performance.
"He was difficult this week and was pretty nervous from the Grand Prix. I really am happy that he went in there and was more relaxed tonight than he was earlier in the week," she continued.
Final Results FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms
Place, Rider, Nationality, Horse, Horse Information: Judge E%, Judge H%, Judge C%, Judge M%, Judge B%, Total %
1. Laura Graves (USA), Verdades, 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Florett AS x Liwilarda x Goya owned by Laura Graves: 76.275%, 73.824%, 75.882%, 73.922%, 73.431%, 74.667%
2. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE), Benetton Dream, 2004 Hanoverian stallion by Brentano II x Rotkäppchen x Rotspon owned by Lövsta Stuteri: 72.647%, 71.373%, 73.333%, 74.118%, 70.588%, 72.412%
3. Belinda Trussell (CAN), Anton, 2002 Saschen Warmblood gelding by Anteaus x Shirley x Melit owned by Robyn Eames and Marc Trussell: 73.431%, 70.098%, 73.235%, 69.902%, 70.490%, 71.431%
4. Lara Griffith (GBR) Rubin al Asad, 2002 Hanoverian gelding by Rubin Royale x Wandergirl x Wanderbursch 2 owned by Dr. & Mrs. Bechtolsheimer: 71.569%, 71.667%, 68.333%, 68.922%, 68.431%, 69.784%
5. Allison Brock (USA), Rosevelt, 2002 Hanoverian stallion by Rotspon x Lore x Lauries Crusader xx owned by Fritz & Claudine Kundrun: 71.471%, 68.922%, 69.608%, 68.431%, 68.039%, 69.294%
6. Arlene Page (USA), Woodstock, 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Havel x Mirania x Contango owned by Arlene Page: 68.725%, 68.725%, 70.686%, 70.098%, 68.039%, 69.255%
7. Katherine Haddad-Staller (USA), Mane Stream Hotmail, 2002 Oldenburg gelding by Michellino x Rederna x Havel owned by Rowan O'Riley: 64.608%, 67.941%, 67.549%, 67.157%, 67.451%, 66.941%
8. Christian Zimmerman (PLE), Cinco De Mayo, 1999 Holsteiner gelding by Coriander x Ipsa x Alcatraz owned by Christian Zimmerman: 68.627%, 66.176%, 65.980%, 67.451%, 66.176%, 66.882%