Team USA-1 held onto its lead from day one to emerge victorious from team competition in the CDIO Nations Cup at the Global Dressage Festival (GDF). USA-1 was crowned team gold medalists with an overall score of 423.543. Team USA-1 comprised Adrienne Lyle and Wizard, Silva Martin and Rosa Cha W, Tina Konyot and Calecto V, and Shawna Harding and Rigo.The silver medal went to Canada-1, whose roster included Brittany Fraser and All In, Belinda Trussell with Anton, Chris Von Martels and Zilverstar, and Megan Lane and San D'or. Canada-1 finished second with a final cumulative score of 414.488. Team Spain achieved a podium finish with a team composed of almost entirely small tour horses, earning bronze with a total score of 412.632. Juan Matute Jr. and Don Diego Ymas, Paula Matute and Tarpan Ymas, Carlos Munoz and Klouseau, and Marta Renilla and Presumido competed for Spain.
The CDIO Nations Cup competition featured riders from nine teams, including two U.S. teams and two Canadian teams, as well as teams from Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Colombia, and Spain. There are also individuals participating from Puerto Rico and Georgia. Individual medals will be presented after Friday's FEI I-1 Freestyle and FEI Grand Prix Freestyle competition, part of the week's featured "Friday Night Stars" event. GDF 7 also hosts CDI 3* competition. Between CDIO and CDI 3* competition, 15 countries from around the globe are represented during Week 7 of the GDF.
American Chef d'Equipe Robert Dover said that both USA teams came in to competition to win it and he's looking forward to continuing to guide American teams to victories at Nations Cups across the globe. "Of course, I came into this with not only the hope, but the expectation, that America would lead. I'm not a good loser at all. I like winning and so when America goes out, no matter where we are in the world, we're going in to every arena with the idea of winning and of course doing our best. I was very proud of all of our riders, not only on this team but our B team as well. I'm looking forward to the next Nations Cups where America will be representing as well," Dover commented.
President of the Ground Jury Cesar Torrente (COL) was also excited to see the success of the format for Nations Cup competition, which served as a test for the Pan American Games. "First of all, this was such a very interesting experience for the judges. Especially because this is going to be the format for the Pan American Games, so it was a wonderful opportunity to see how it works. I think the judges, as a panel and as a team, agree that it's going to work," Torrente explained. He continued, "It's a wonderful opportunity for the countries of the Americas to progress through the levels, and I just hope that next year we have some more representatives from Latin American countries."
Team Spain had only having one large tour horse on their team, but still fought their way to the podium for the bronze medal finish. "Just being here next to these amazing riders is already a dream. To be sharing a podium and look to the left and see all of these people is just incredible. I remember when I was a little, I would look up to them and watch videos and say 'I want to be like them.' It's just incredible. I have no words," Paula Matute expressed. Paula Matute's brother, Juan Matute Jr., was the high scoring Spanish rider, placing second in the FEI Intermediaire-1 in with a score of 70.569%. After winning the FEI Prix St. Georges on Thursday, his scores were a significant contribution to Spain's medal, but Matute Jr. isn't one to let that get to his head. "It feels great [to contribute such high scores]. I think we all did a great job on the team. We all played our part for the CDIO competition. My score is just one more score for the team, it's no better or worse. It's just one more score that adds up to the total," Matute described.
Following the CDIO Nations Cup competition, the CDI 3* kicked off with the FEI Prix St. Georges. Lisa Wilcox won the class with Galant, a seven-year-old Belgian Warmblood owned by Jacqueline Shear. The pair rode into first place with a score of 68.772%. The FEI Prix St. Georges took place under the lights of The Stadium, and Wilcox couldn't have asked for a better CDI debut for the gelding. "He just broke through! I'm exceptionally proud. It couldn't have gone any better, as far as I'm concerned, the first time out," Wilcox grinned. Wilcox knew she could ask for more from Galant after noticing how solid he felt in the ring. "I can ride more expression when I feel like he's got the confidence to do it. I see a lot of future in this horse. I see a grand prix horse," Wilcox expressed. She continued, "He's an absolute pleasure. To know you can count on him this early in his career [is wonderful]. The mistakes we had, it's not because he wasn't in it. That's what makes a good show horse." Another strong indicator of Galant's competition potential is his lack of concern for the increased atmosphere of showing under the lights. "It's always an interesting atmosphere under the lights, but it didn't bother him. I was just so impressed that he could go in that and not blink an eye and pay attention and do his job," Wilcox remarked.