Gladstone, N.J. – The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation welcomed elite horse-and-rider combinations to their headquarters in Gladstone, New Jersey, for The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions on Thursday, May 18. The competition features four days of stacked classes as well as an “Olympian Experience” educational event led by Steffen Peters and Laura Graves to be held on Saturday, May 20.
To kick-off the first class of the festival at the historic venue, Olympian Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet, a 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, were victorious in the FEI Grand Prix class, where they earned a score of 73.7 percent.
“It’s nice to be in Gladstone at the USET headquarters,” Perry-Glass said. “They have done such an amazing job putting everything together so we thank them.
“I loved our ride,” Perry-Glass explained. “We have been working on the small things with him — fine tuning. I thought he was really focused. I worked a lot with Adrienne [Lyle] the past two weeks and it’s been fun to combine her and Debbie [McDonald] together. We’re trying now to amp him up and get a little more expression out of him because he’s got the softness and suppleness. We know there is more in there.”
The combination is coming off of a stellar year competing at the Rio Olympic Games last summer and representing the United States at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in March.
“I was worried about World Cup because it was an indoor event and he’s never competed indoors,” Perry-Glass explained. “I honestly feel like after that he got [to the USET Foundation headquarters] and he was like, ‘I know what I’m doing!’ It kind of took a lot of pressure off of us, but you always want to do good and you always want to improve.”
Riding into second place was Adrienne Lyle and the 10-year-old Hanoverian stallion Salvino with a score of 70.6 percent. This was only the pair’s second largest competition together, and Lyle was pleased with their clean test.
“I was really thrilled with our ride,” Lyle said. “He is reliable and gaining strength. It’s hot today but he still went out there and put a good effort in so I was really happy. I am so thrilled for so many reasons to get to be here.”
Rounding out the top three with a 70.4 percent was Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir, a 13-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding.
“I was really happy with Lonoir today — he’s becoming a little bit of an old hat at the test in that he’s pretty reliable,” LaGoy-Weltz said. “Now we just want to start heating him up, which is funny because for the past years we’ve been telling him, ‘Oh, good boy, quiet…quiet…’ and now he’s quiet and we want to find the fire again!
“Gladstone is such a special place and I don’t think there’s a prettier venue,” she concluded.
The top three riders all train with Debbie McDonald and though some may think that can cause extra competitiveness, all agreed that they rely on each other for support and guidance.
“We all try to support each other, and it’s just been very fun,” Lyle explained. “If momma bear is out of town, we can be eyes on the ground for each other.”
The Grand Prix, which accounts for 45 percent of the total score, was the first of three tests to determine the national champion. The Grand Prix Special (40 percent) will take place on Friday at 10:40 a.m. and the Grand Prix Freestyle (15 percent) will conclude the division on Sunday at 11:20 a.m. For more information visit dressagefestivalofchampions.org.
Grand Prix Results
1. Kasey Perry-Glass/Goerklintgaards Dublet/73.700
2. Adrienne Lyle/Salvino/70.600
3. Olivia LaGoy-Weltz/Lonoir/70.400
4. P.J. Rizvi/Breaking Dawn/68.140
5. Chase Hickok/Sagacious HF/67.520
6. Mette Rosencrantz/Marron/67.040
7. Ashley Holzer/Sir Caramello/66.100
8. Katherine Bateson Chandler/Alcazar/63.640