Robert Dover And Rainier Win USET Grand Prix Freestyle
Starting off with a brassy "If My Friends Could See Me Now," Robert Dover and Rainier owned by Jane Forbes Clark wowed a standing room only crowd at the FEI ring today as they danced their way to victory in the $2,000 USET Grand Prix Freestyle, a Qualifying Competition for the USET Grand Prix Championship and the 2004 Olympic Selection Trials. The judges were tightly in unison on their marks: Lorraine MacDonald at H, 15.4; Maryall Barnett at C, 15.7; and Joan MaCartney at B, 15.65, for a score of 77.917%.
The 13-year-old gray Oldenburg gelding (Rolando x Figaro) showed powerful transitions including piaffe to extended trot directly back to piaffe on the centerline to start off the test. "That's a difficult thing for most horses to do,"said Dover. "The work in the canter is also quite difficult because the way the rules are now you can't just develop a pirouette out of a half-pass, so I had to go half-pass in canter to two straight strides directly into double pirouettes, directly into flying change at every other stride or every stride. I did one of each. The final pirouette in piaffe on the centerline is also a difficult movement."
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Dover's Freestyle Choice
The majority of Dover 's freestyle music was from “Breakfast At Tiffany's” and featured “Hubcaps And Taillights” for the piaffe/passage tour. Dover choreographed the ride. “Marlene Whitaker had done the music for it,” said Dover . “It is a re-make basically off of music that I've had for 25 years.” Horns dominated the all-instrumental tracks, with one vocal, a charming, “That's All!” – which ended right on time to the final salute for a big finish.
Dover scored three wins in the USET/Olympic Grand Prix qualifiers this weekend aboard his two mounts, Rainier and FBW Kennedy. “I'm just totally elated with the whole weekend,” he said. “I'm really thrilled with the way the horses are going and the quality level of the two horses. I'm very thankful to Jane Clark for giving me the chance to have these great horses.”
The sole competitor in the USET Grand Prix Freestyle was Ruth Hogan-Poulsen of Plainfield , VT , riding her own Armando. The duo scored 63.958% for second place.
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Catherine Morelli And BeSe Win USET Intermediaire I Freestyle
In the $1,500 USET Intermediaire Freestyle, a Qualifying Competition for the USET Intermediaire I Championship, Catherine Morelli riding BeSe for owner Diane Rosenberg took the victory . The judges' scores were 13.95 at H, 13.625 at C, and 13.52 at B, for a total of 68.167%.
“Fantastic!” said Morelli, when she heard her score. BeSe is an 11-year-old Dutch gelding by Flemmingh that Morelli has been partnered with for three years.
“I was very happy with my ride, considering that when I went in he was squealing and trying to buck because I had hacked up with his barn mate and all of sudden they got attached,” said Morelli, 60, of Bedminster , NJ , and Wellington , Florida . “I thought it was going to be a disaster, but then when he went in the ring he settled down and listened to me.”
She noted that the only mistakes were a miss in the three's and one pirouette was not as fluid as she would have liked. “Overall I was very happy that he stayed with me and kept his attention on me, despite the crowd. A year or two ago that would have really sent him,” she said with a laugh. “His whole attitude is getting more trusting and more relaxed and he's working harder.”
Morelli and BeSe have scored well throughout the qualifiers for the USET I-I Championship. In the Prix St. Georges on Thursday they placed third with 66.583% and in Friday's I-I, they placed second on 67.833%. Morelli attributed the second place finish to ‘pilot error'. “I was so mad at myself because it felt like it was one of the best tests he's ever done and then I put the Prix St. Georges test on the end. Instead of extended canter I was supposed to trot and do extended trot.” Morelli noted that not only did she lose points for going off course, but also BeSe thought he was finished after the salute. “I had to go back and do it right,” explained Morelli – she picked up the test again from the point of error. “It wasn't that good. I was thrilled that he still got such a good score, which means the judges thought it was as good as I felt it was.”
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Catherine Morelli And Lucky BeSe
The win and the good ribbons are a tribute to Morelli's work with a horse that was a challenge for her in the beginning. “When I first got him he bucked me off. I had to start from scratch getting him to trust me. He's very much a one-person horse,” said Morelli. “When he trusts you, he'll work for you. I didn't know if I could deal with his temperament, but then there was so much that I liked about him. Sometimes he tries too hard and then I have to show him that it's okay just to be normal and not try so hard, because then he gets all in a frazzle. He's getting more sensitive but he also relaxes once he trusts you and he gets calm. That's a good quality, a good combination.”
BeSe, who's original KWPN name is Luckybese, is headed for Grand Prix under Morelli's guidance. He has started the ones, piaffe and passage. Morelli plans to move up to I-II at the end of the season. Be Se is by Flemmingh out of Wabatsje (by Palfrenier).
Also competing in today's USET I-I, Hokan Thorn riding Karaat placed second with 66.292%. Ruth Hogan-Poulsen aboard Mon Cheri earned third place on a score of 64.183%. Angel Ozer riding Loki completed the class with her score of 61.625% for fourth place.