Wellington, FL - James Koford, of Wellington, FL, was all smiles as he won the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle in the Wellington Dressage CDI-W, presented by Magnolia Farm, on Saturday. Riding Pharaoh, owned by Hannah Hollandshook, Koford won the featured event of the 2012 Global Dressage Festival (GDF) with a score of 73.300%. Shawna Harding, of Aiken, SC, was second with Come On III scoring 70.575%. Koford's winning attitude did not go unnoticed by Janet Foy, who served as the FEI Judge at the letter "C". "What I really so enjoyed was Jim's smile during the pirouettes and the piaffe/passage parts of the test," said Foy. "You can tell he enjoys this horse and was really nice to see."
The test was also nice for Hollandshook to see. The 20-year-old was Koford's groom on Saturday, but shortly before coming to Florida she had a successful outing on Pharaoh at the Intermediare I level.
"She's a super rider and she will ride him again when he has a bit more confidence at the Grand Prix Level," said Koford of his student. "This is all good for Pharaoh. I want to prepare him for Hannah to ride in the Grand Prix classes for riders under 25-years-old. It's nice to be doing so well with him."
Shawna Harding did not have the test that she was hoping for in the Freestyle. "We had a flying change disaster this weekend, but now we know where his strengths and weaknesses are," said Harding of Come On III. "I'm looking forward to working next week with Steffen Peters and Anne Gribbons to make him a bit sharper, more serious in the ring. He's a special horse with a huge heart, so I can't fault him."
Mica Mabragana and Cuatrero IV, owned by Hampton Green Farm, won again at the GDF, this time in the FEI Intermediare I class with a score of 64.474%. The pair also took the blue ribbon in the FEI Prix St. Georges on Friday. Mabragana was pleased with the performance of her horse, "The trot had a bit more power today and I was pleased with his pirouettes." Mabragana is from Argentina, but is currently based in the United States. She trained as a working student with Lendon Gray before working for Hampton Green Farm.
International and national competition at the Wellington Dressage CDI-W culminates on Sunday, February 5. Start lists and results are available on the GDF website at www.globaldressagefestival.com under the link for dressage show information on the main homepage.