American Olivia LaGoy-Weltz picked up her third first place prize in the FEI Intermediaire-1 presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty during the CDI 5*/3* at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) 12, hosted at The Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Tomorrow's competition will conclude an incredibly successful circuit for the third annual AGDF. LaGoy-Weltz rode Rassing's Lonoir, her 10-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Lorani x De Noir), to the top of the class with a 73.421%. Second place went to Canadian Chris Von Martels and Zilverstar, who scored a 70.833%. Christopher Hickey, also of the United States, took home the third place prize for a score of 70.789% with Ronaldo.
LaGoy-Weltz was pleased to see "Lono" improve from Friday's FEI Prix St Georges class and stay with her during the test on Saturday morning. "I guess the I-1 is our lucky charm! He was good today. He was still hot, but we managed the warm-up a little bit differently," LaGoy-Weltz shared. "The last few minutes before we go in is really tricky with him. [It's important to make sure you're] not getting him over the top before you go in, because when we go in, he kicks it up another ten notches all on his own."
She continued, "Today, after we took the boots off and I did a canter and a halt and a trot off, he wanted to get hotter. I just kind of put him in a passage and let him passage and piaffe and let him do that until [he quieted down]. It made him have to slow down, but still have some place to put the energy. It was great, considering that I don't actually train that [movement] that much!"
LaGoy-Weltz was also grateful for the advice offered to her by many of the world's top dressage professionals that are in attendance at the AGDF. The supportive atmosphere has been one of the biggest benefits for LaGoy-Weltz over the last several months. "That was really great, yesterday, when I came out. Everyone was just giving me advice. Try this, put an ear bonnet on, do that. Everyone's really supportive, which is really nice. It takes a village," LaGoy-Weltz remarked. Of her test on Saturday, she smiled, "It's pretty fun to improve your score by 10%! And the 76% from one judge was really exciting. It's like, 'Alright, we are heading in the right direction,' even if it's just from one judge."
In the short-term, continuing in that direction means qualifying for the Festival of Champions in Gladstone, NJ. LaGoy-Weltz acknowledged that Lono had matured significantly over the course of the AGDF, but he still has a lot of work to do. "The fitter he gets and the more correct he gets in his body, the hotter he gets in some ways. Just because he has a much bigger range of motion," LaGoy-Weltz explained. "We have a lot of work to do on collection and straightness and consistency this summer."
Collection will be the biggest focus for LaGoy-Weltz, who joked that Lono "does the hula" in his lead changes. "He likes to do everything big, so teaching him to do everything small [and collected] and be comfortable in that [is a priority]. Now he has to learn to be in the canter where is he is in the trot [mentally and physically]. Where he can put that heat into collection," she described. Lono's long-term plans are less well-known, but as he begins to offer high level movements on his own, LaGoy-Weltz has started to lean towards allowing him to continue advancing.