Bluetooth Emits Winning Signal To Carry Wandres To Five-Star Freestyle Glory In AGDF 10

Saturday, March 18, 2023
Posted by Alice Collins for Wellington International


Cover - FredericWandres.BluetoothOLD©susanjstickle.com_.jpg

The International Arena at Wellington International — permanent home of show jumping’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) — hosted the CaptiveOne Advisors CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle and the CDI5* Grand Prix Special, sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty, on Friday, March 17.

(Top Photo Information and Credit:  Frederic Wandres & Bluetooth OLD, winners of the CaptiveOne Advisors CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle. Photo © SusanJStickle.com)

This show during week 10 marks a change of venue for the five-star classes at the 2023 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL, which operates out of the nearby Equestrian Village. AGDF 2023 hosts seven weeks of CDI competition over three months and runs through April 2.

Frederic Wandres is no stranger to the winner’s circle and he and the phenomenally talented Bluetooth OLD chalked up 82.31% as the penultimate combination in the class to ensure the German anthem rang out again. All five judges had the pair to win, and all awarded over 80%. Two American female athletes filled the remaining steps of the podium, with Sarah Tubman securing second — and ticking an item off her bucket list — with a 77.58% ride on Summit Farm’s 13-year-old Vivaldi stallion, First Apple. Ashley Holzer scooped third place, riding her own 13-year-old Sir Donnerhall mare, Valentine, to 76.295%.

Fredric Wandres and Bluetooth OLD winning performance HERE.  

Wandres did not shy away from a high degree of difficulty, riding 19 one-time changes on a curving line to a new 80s music compilation. Bluetooth looked confident and secure in the piaffe fans and the passage half-passes, which are both optional elements of a freestyle, but add to the degree of difficulty — and therefore risk — that a rider chooses to take. It paid off for the duo, whose balanced test was also bursting with power. This is their sixth consecutive victory at this year’s AGDF and their highest score of the season.

“Six out of six is really amazing,” said a delighted Wandres, who rides for Bluetooth’s owner, Hof Kasselmann. “It shows that the horse and I have improved a lot. We started already high, and it’s not so easy over three months to keep the level that high — you have to keep the horses happy and sound — and they’re not used to the heat.”

Frederic Wandres & Bluetooth OLD presented as winners of the CaptiveOne Advisors CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle by Olga Harstock. Photo © SusanJStickle.com
Frederic Wandres & Bluetooth OLD presented as winners of the CaptiveOne Advisors
CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle by Olga Harstock. Photo © SusanJStickle.com

 Bluetooth had an easy period after the World Cup qualifier in AGDF 8, and Wandres felt he had benefited from the break.

“He was very fresh in the Grand Prix and I had a super feeling,” enthused the delighted 35-year-old. “He’s very with me during the tests. Even though there were a lot of spectators, he was very focused and with me.

“You can always take the experience that you get here back with you to Europe and show how you have improved,” he added. “So I am looking to do that for sure and carry the results and experience into the European dressage arenas.”

Wandres’ new freestyle soundtrack was a modern twist on 80s music, and it was rewarded with a 10 from the judge at C, Stephen Clarke.

Clarke said, “It was a great evening, really good for the sport. The level was really high and we had an outstanding winner, but also three or four riders were really close together and had real highlights. The atmosphere here is electric and I think it gave a real edge.”

Sarah Tubman & First Apple. Photo © SusanJStickle.com
Sarah Tubman & First Apple. Photo © SusanJStickle.com

Tubman was especially pleased with First Apple’s piaffe, which has been a little tricky in the past, during their Terry Ciotti Gallo-made freestyle. This was also her debut five-star show.

“We have been using the freestyle to help build Apple’s confidence,” she said. “I can set the test up so it’s the best for him. Tonight I think was some of my best piaffe I’ve had in the ring and he felt super reliable. He’s a showman – he loves the lights; the more people and the more noise, the better. I was really happy to feel honest energy with relaxation.

“We’re also really excited to take what we’ve learned over the season to Europe this summer. I’m pretty new at this in this big ring; this is my first five-star, so it’s a bucket list item to be sitting here with these guys.”

Holzer’s mare Valentine has been intimidated by large venues in the past, so her two podium finishes this week in Wellington International’s atmospheric International Arena were of particular note.

Ashley Holzer & Valentine. Photo © SusanJStickle.com
Ashley Holzer & Valentine. Photo © SusanJStickle.com

“This is a really challenging venue for her and she was a little tense in the beginning, but I think the last centerline with the piaffe and passage was amazing,” she said. “She was feeling really energetic and forward. I’m excited that she’s able to come to these atmospheres now and cope. It’s been a bit of a challenge, so the more I can do it the better she gets as far as confidence is concerned. It’s great to have these venues in America.” 

For more information and results, visit: www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Click HERE for full results from AGDF 10.