Juan Matute, Jr. Collects Third Win of the Weekend in the FEI Intermediaire-1 Freestyle at AGDF 5 CDI 3*/4*
Monday, February 10, 2014
Of the one-handed canter pirouette, Matute, Jr. commented, "If I had been able to pull it off, it would have been a fantastic movement. It's hard because [Don Diego Ymas] is such a big horse. To be able to collect him so much from the most extension in the extended canter to the most collection, so that's a lot of difficulty. He didn't interpret what I wanted to do, I'm not sure what happened, but we weren't able to pull it off today. But we tried. It's okay, it happens."
Second place finisher Szepesi was also quite satisfied with her test with Hattrick. Third time was the charm for the pair, with Sunday's test being their best of the season.
"The first one I did at the national show, artistically I hit all my markers and it was great, but technically we had some things we needed to work on. The next one I did at the CDI, technically it was really great, but then I missed a lot of my markers and music. This time, I really feel like technically it was all good and everything was right on as far as hitting the music and being on the beat," Szepesi remarked.
She continued, "The test today was just plain fun. Especially after the Prix St. Georges and I-1, trying to be very technically correct. Today I just wanted to enjoy the music and enjoy the test. He was great. He was easy to ride and a lot of fun."
Szepesi particularly enjoys her music, which has also been a crowd favorite. Put together by Karen Robinson, her routine includes Maroon 5's hit "One More Night" as well as "Into the Wild" by L.P. and "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons.
"My favorite part of the freestyle is in the trot work when we come around when the [music lyrics] go '1, 2, 3, 4, somebody left the gate open,' and we do the extended trot. That's a lot of fun and definitely just the canter music. When I'm listening to it off the horse, I just want to get up and dance. I get a lot of positive feedback from the audience. A lot of people watching, that I don't even know, come up to me and tell me what a pleasure it was to watch the ride," Szepesi smiled.
Hattrick has been a solid partner for Szepesi since he was imported as a five-year-old by part-owner Michelle Doucette. Now 13, Szepesi described the gelding as a solid and reliable partner.
"He's just so consistent and reliable. If I stay focused, he's just right there. There's never anything. Even if he looks at something, he's right there and he knows he's got a job to do. I feel like he's always right with me and always reliable. I'm never nervous, like 'Oh this is coming up, I don't think we're going to pull it off,'" Szepesi detailed.
Their nearly ten year partnership has not been without bumps in the road. A week after he debuted at the Prix St. Georges and I-1 level, he foundered and was out of the ring for an entire year. It took Szepesi another two just to get him back to the level he was at previously. Now that they're back in action and schooling grand prix, she hopes to show the gelding at I-1 or grand prix by the end of the season.
The FEI Intermediaire-1 Freestyle was followed by the FEI Young Rider Freestyle, which was topped by Canada's Tanya Strasser-Shostak and Action Tyme. The pair earned a score of 69.958%.
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