The Florida Dressage Classic CDI-W, presented by the USPRE Association, started yesterday at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). With 18 entries in the $6,000 FEI Grand Prix, victory went to Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) and Don Auriello, owned by Lövsta Stuteri and Antonia Ax:son Johnson. Yesterday's competition marked the first day of the second CDI competition in the AGDF, which runs through April 14. Despite inclement weather and an hour-long delay, Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello rode a strong test for first place. The 11-year-old bay Hanoverian gelding by Don Davidoff x White Star and his rider received a score of 75.511%. Taking second place was Heather Blitz (USA) with her and Robert McKean's Paragon (Don Schufro x Loran). Blitz and the 10-year-old chestnut Danish Warmblood gelding received a 71.128% from the judges. Vilhelmson-Silfven also received third place honors riding Divertimento (Di Versace x Ferragamo) owned by Antonia Ax:son Johnson. With a score of 70.574%, the 11-year-old bay Westfalen gelding and Vilhelmson-Silfven secured the yellow ribbon.
It rained heavily as Vilhelmson-Silfven began her test with Don Auriello. Reflecting on the circumstance, Vilhelmson-Silfven was very impressed with the way he handled the situation. "I have ridden him in the rain before and I'm extremely impressed with how he coped today. I lost a bit of focus; it's almost better if it is already raining as you begin the test. The mistakes that were made were my fault completely. Overall, I was super happy," she stated.
In the middle of Blitz's test a lightning storm blew through, pausing the class. After an hour wait, she finished the second half of her test. Having that long of a break, Blitz commented, "It was a challenge stopping in the middle of the test. At least the clouds came so the temperature was cooler, which was great for when we warmed up again. He is getting stronger but doesn't quite have the best stamina yet, so having to do essentially two warm-ups and two tests worried me, but the breeze and cooler temperature definitely helped. So I just had to get my focus back and pretend I never left the ring. I liked the mood we were in when we started, so I was disappointed to have to stop. But when we resumed I was happy we didn't have any mistakes; I don't know if the break helped us or not."
With tomorrow's Freestyle, each rider has a different plan. Vilhelmson-Silfven will ride Divertimento, who she believed was relaxed today, with a brand-new routine. She plans to ride Don Auriello in the FEI Grand Prix Special on Saturday. "I'm excited to do that class as I don't get to do that test often enough. I've been riding in the World Cups since the Olympics. So I'm excited about getting to showcase another test with him," she said.
Blitz plans to ride Paragon tomorrow night, with it being the fifth time she has done her freestyle routine and she is "going to attempt to nail it." She added, "I hope to have the same precision of the test with the music as I have had in the past. I want to have more power in piaffes and more precision in the pirouettes. The more electrifying the atmosphere, the better he is. Because he's still green, if he gets too electric he doesn't know what to do with it, so I'm looking forward to seeing how he goes tomorrow night."
Facility Used Until April
"With such a strong lineup this week, it is exciting to see more and more people coming to AGDF. They are getting to experience an amazing facility in addition to having greater competition opportunities," expressed Michael Stone, President of Equestrian Sport Productions.
The Florida Dressage Classic CDI-W started with a PRE-Show Party at the Global Pavilion. It welcomed Spanish dressage riders Juan Manuel Munoz and Daniel Martin Dockx. The PRE-Show Party was an annual Paella dinner and Spanish festival hosted by the United States PRE Association. All participants and exhibitors of the Florida Dressage Classic CDI-W had been invited.
In the Open division of yesterday's Prix St. Georges-Open class, first went to George Williams (USA) riding Elizabeth Juliano's Riccidoff (by Riccione) with a score of 65.000% and second went to Ryan R. Yap (USA) riding Elizabeth Cronin's Shadou (by Salamander) with a score of 62.895%.
In the Prix St. Georges - AA class, first went to Sylvia Gugler (AUT) riding Dietmar Gugler Reitsportzentrum GmbH & Co.KG's Heinzi 9 (Harvard x Donatelli) with a score of 62.105% and second went to Megan Glynn (CAN) riding her own mount Everybody's Darling (Dimension x Rubinstein I) with a score of 61.974%.
Winning the USEF Third Level with a score of 70.000% was Ilse Schwarz (AUS) riding Gaye Scarpa's Don Joseph (Don Kennedy).