Wellington, FL - February 16, 2010 - Todd Flettrich rode Cherry Knoll Farm's Otto to consistent placings at the Wellington Classic Spring Challenge CDIW in Wellington, FL, on February 12-14, 2010. Competing in the main arena at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center, Flettrich and Otto showed in Saturday's FEI Grand Prix de Dressage finishing third with a 67.319% and continued on to another third place finish on Sunday in the Grand Prix Special with a score of 67.792%. Otto is a 13-year-old Danish Warmblood that Flettrich has worked on forming a good partnership with over the last year.
Competing in the Grand Prix de Dressage Flettrich and Otto received a 67.319% following scores of 66.170% from the Judge at E: Whitham, 67.234% from the Judge at H: Yukins, 68.298% from the Judge at C: Clarke, 67.447% from the Judge at M: Fore, and 67.447% from the Judge at B: Ernes.
In the Grand Prix Special Flettrich and Otto scored an overall 67.792% with marks from the Judge at E: Ayers 68.333%, Judge at H: Kruger 65.417%, Judge at C: Fore 67.917%, Judge at M: Whitham 67.708%, Judge at B: Jena 69.583%.
"The nice thing was that the foreign judges scored me higher in the Special, which is a nice compliment," Flettrich stated. "Otto did everything that I asked him, which is really nice. I made a few mistakes. The first day I made a mistake in the one tempi, and I had a mistake in the zig-zag, but I personally thought that it looked and felt more like a partnership, especially when I looked back at the video. We were more together and I think that we are just getting to know each other more and more over time. I feel like we are not too far from a 70% now; we are getting closer."
In the Grand Prix Special Flettrich explained that he felt a little hesitation in the first piaffe from the walk, which is not normal for Otto. "I thought that everything was very good, but I think that we could have had a little more expression throughout the whole test," he said. "The warm up was super, but I think I lost a little bit at the halt. He landed square, but I lost his attention a little bit and then I was too cautious about getting the connection to have more expression from the beginning."
Unusually low temperatures cooled things down throughout the weekend and affected many of the horse's performances, but Flettrich thought that Otto handled the cold weather well and was still wonderful. "He did exactly what I asked and our partnership is definitely getting better and better," he smiled. "The scores weren't much higher than the last time, but it was different judges and different opinions, and everyone was very complimentary."
Although he had a few minor mistakes in the tests, Flettrich feels confident in his improvement with Otto and was very happy with the weekend's scores. "I think that we are getting there. We are getting better at each show and we are consistently getting scores of eights in the piaffe and passage. The nice thing is that we are already getting scores of 67%, so we still have room for improvement."
Todd Flettrich is based in Wellington, FL, has earned his USDF Silver and Gold Medals, and is a graduate of the USDF 'L' Judge Program. Flettrich competed at the North American Young Riders Championships (NAYRC) four times and won the Individual Gold Medal and Team Silver in 1991. Flettrich served as Region 1 Coach and Chef d'Equipe at NAYRC from 1988 through 1994. His student Catherine Malone won the Individual Gold in 2005. Flettrich's current mounts are owned by Cherry Knoll Farm.