Lövsta Future Challenge Qualifying Series Kicks Off at 2022 AGDF

Monday, January 17, 2022
Posted by Alice Collins for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc



The first week of the 2022 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, Florida, wrapped up on Sunday, January 16, with the opening qualifiers of the Lövsta Future Challenge Young Horse Grand Prix Series and the Summit Farm Future Challenge Young Horse Prix St. Georges Series under brooding skies. Both classes aim to identify and nurture talented, up-and-coming young horses. Grand finals for both classes will be held during AGDF 11. The AGDF circuit hosts seven weeks of CDI competition and runs through April 3.

Photo - Frederic Wandres (GER) claims the Lövsta Future Challenge FEI Intermediate II with plus-74% on Harrods 3, qualifying for the final. (©SusanJStickle)

Germany’s Frederic Wandres capped a week already replete with winner’s sashes - both courtesy of his Grand Prix horse Bluetooth OLD — with victory in the Lövsta Future Challenge Young Horse Grand Prix Series competing in the FEI Intermediate II test. He rode the nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding Harrods 3 to 74.352%.

Wandres, who successfully competed Harrods at last year’s AGDF in Prix St. Georges, said: “I felt already last year that there is so much talent in him, and we just have to bring it into the arena now, which is sometimes not that easy. At home you feel what your horse can do, but to bring it inside is something else. But I’m super happy with him and he feels fantastic.

Step by Step

Kelly Layne (right) and runner-up Shannon Dueck. ©SusanJStickle
Kelly Layne (right) and runner-up Shannon Dueck. ©SusanJStickle

“For competing in the Intermediate II, you have to train all of the exercises step by step,” he continued. “Then you have to bring it all together, like a puzzle, and connect it. The piaffe-passage, the whole pirouettes, and the changes, that takes so much energy out of the horses — more than you expect sometimes. You have to do it step by step over the winter and then try to bring it together. The horse is getting more power by doing it.”

With threatening skies that would open up at the conclusion of competition, Wandres was confident that Harrods would be solid no matter what.

“He can handle nearly all kinds of weather. I thought the connection of the whole test was good. I had a small mistake in the two tempis, but that can happen to a young horse. I felt he was in front of me and willing to do everything,” added Wandres, who praised the Hochadel gelding’s good temperament. “I love him, and I think he’s exactly where he has to be.”

Kelly Layne (AUS) filled the runner-up spot with a 72.381% test on Ellen Trouillé’s 10-year-old Foundation gelding, Fernando. She went one better in the Summit Farm Future Challenge Young Horse Prix St. Georges class, winning it from last draw with 67.734% on the nine-year-old Safira 66. The mare is another owned by Trouillé, who bought her at the Hanoverian auction in Germany.

Like Flying a Kite

“She’s always been scared about things on the ground and nervous even of the rider, so you have to be really careful,” explained Layne, who competed Samhitas at the Tokyo Olympic Games. “Safira is super sensitive to ride, and you have to be gentle. I just coaxed her round out there today to give her a good experience, and I’m thrilled that we are the winners. It wasn’t really expected, but I think that’s the quality of horse I’m sitting on. I can’t believe in my life that I get to sit on a horse like that. She’s like flying a kite, and it feels like you’re going to lift off any second.

“The feeling she gives in general, like when she trotted out of the halt, is that you’re on an international horse and you feel that right away,” added Layne, who has been riding the Spörcken daughter for two years. “I was really happy with my trot half-pass to the right — it was awesome! The left is normally the good one, but she was a little bit looking and I pushed too hard, and she cantered.”

Layne has ridden five different horses in the Summit Farm Future Challenge Series and appreciates the opportunity for young horses to compete against one another at AGDF.

Superstars of Tomorrow

“I love it,” she confirmed. “It’s a great avenue for the young horses, and we love the prize money at the other end because it makes it exciting and helps get people’s support to want to put their horses in these classes. We always follow these classes because these horses are the superstars of tomorrow.”

Canadian rider Shannon Dueck filled second place on the youngest horse in the field, scoring 66.882% on her own seven-year-old mare Angelika MW, by Franziskus. Both Layne and Dueck have qualified their mounts for the final during AGDF 11.

Christina Vinios (USA). ©SusanJStickle
Christina Vinios (USA). ©SusanJStickle

The next round of the Summit Farm Future Challenge and the Lövsta Future Challenge takes place on January 30 in week three of AGDF, with the finals on March 25.

Christina Vinios (USA), who is based at Five Rings Farm in Wellington, continued her winning streak with the 18-year-old Del Gado gelding Deauville in the pair’s first international show. They are now two for two, having scored 66.206% in the Intermediate II CDI2* class.

This was Vinios’s first international show since 2016 — when she campaigned Folkestone OLD at small tour — and her first big tour CDI.

Red Letter Week

Another American rider having a red-letter week is Ali Potasky, who topped the leaderboard at small tour for the third time at AGDF 1. On board Kathy Priest’s nine-year-old Irintha, Potasky chalked up 73.455% in the Intermediate I Freestyle CDI2*, with one judge awarding over 77%. This is the Everdale mare’s first international show.

Today’s action wraps up week one of the 12-week 2022 AGDF. International competition resumes in week three (January 26-30) with a CDI4* show as well as competition in the national arenas. For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.