Morgan Barbançon Untouchable in Week 5 of the 2023 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival

Sunday, February 12, 2023
Posted by Alice Collins for Wellington International


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France’s Morgan Barbançon and Habana Libre A claimed the winner’s blanket in the day’s headline class, the CDI3* Grand Prix Special, sponsored by MTICA Farm. The Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, Florida, hosts seven weeks of CDI competition and runs through April 2.

Photo - Morgan Barbançon & Habana Libre A on their way to a win in the CDI3* Grand Prix Special, sponsored by MTICA Farm. (©SusanJStickle.com)

Barbançon’s 71.66% on her own 11-year-old gelding — by Zizi Top out of a United dam — is their second highest score ever in this test. Of the 15 starters, the trio of riders on the podium remained unchanged from Friday’s qualifying Grand Prix, but the 22-year-old German sensation Felicitas Hendricks climbed a place to net second. She rode her own 12-year-old gelding Drombusch 2 (Destano x Dimaggio) to 70.362% in the pair’s debut senior international show at the level. Her compatriot Anna-Christina Abbelen, 26, piloted her 16-year-old Samarant gelding Sam Donnerhall to 69.723% and third place.

A Great Win

Morgan Barbançon & Habana Libre A
Morgan Barbançon & Habana Libre A presented as winners of the CDI3* Grand Prix Special by Janne Rumbough of MTICA Farm. (Photo ©SusanJStickle.com)

“I’m extremely happy and it was great to win,” enthused the 30-year-old Barbançon, who is spending her first season in Wellington. “Habana was a wee bit tired today but still tried. The whole passage/trot part was nice, and I was really happy with the walk. The piaffes were a little bit less [powerful] than two weeks ago, but it was cooler then and really warm today.

“I don’t normally get affected by the heat, but yesterday I already had to use a new frack [tailcoat] because it was drenched. This is the second one going to the dry cleaners. But I prefer that to the frostbite I get at home.”

Barbançon, who is based in Switzerland, has ridden and produced Habana since he was a youngster, bringing him up through the levels from young horse classes. He is one of three Grand Prix horses she has brought to AGDF.

“Havana is a big baby that tries so hard,” she continued. “It’s all about not making mistakes because when he does he gets so stressed. That’s why I don’t push him in there for the moment. I want him to figure out that it’s cool and a good experience. He was maybe too cool in there, and in those piaffes I could have maybe kicked a bit more and woken him up. He was really peace and love today — next time I can push a notch more.”

She concluded, “It’s just so nice to be here, as it’s not so many kilometers for the [horses to get to the] shows and Habana can get experience. It’s all about making him confident. He’s still a big baby, but he tries so hard for me.”

Hotly Contested

Andreas Helgstrand’s 19-year-old son Alexander Yde Helgstrand and Belantis — formerly ridden by Isabell Werth — made it two wins from two starts in AGDF 5, topping Saturdays hotly contested Intermediate I CDI1*, presented by Centerline Stables. They also won Thursday’s Prix St. Georges class. Helgstrand was also competing his mother’s horse Super Mario in the under-25s, and two wins in that division — at Intermediate II and Grand Prix — brought his tally of CDI blue ribbons for the week to four.

Alexander Yde Helgstrand & Belantis
Alexander Yde Helgstrand & Belantis, winners of the Intermediate I CDI1*, presented by Centerline Stables. (Photo ©SusanJStickle.com)

Charlotte Jorst (USA) ensured that the Intermediate I — which had 23 starters — was an extremely close contest. Helgstrand rode the 14-year-old gelding Belantis, by Benetton Dream, to 73.677%, a huge new personal best at the pair’s second attempt at the level. Jorst piloted her 10-year-old Glock’s Zonik gelding Zhaplin Langholt — a horse she bought from Helgstrand Dressage — to another new career high of 73.578%. Kristina Harrison-Antell rounded out the podium, laying down 69.902% on I Felix, by Fidertanz.

“Today the high points were the two-tempis and the extended trot and canter,” said Helgstrand, who is another rider spending his first season in Wellington. “Belantis is super talented and I really love working with him. He had some more power and energy today, but it was still controlled.

“I came here for a week last year but this year I decided to come for the season as I finished school last summer. I brought my two own horses here and I am riding some sales horses [at Helgstrand USA, in Wellington], too,” added Helgstrand.

Dressage competition in AGDF 5 concludes on Sunday, with the CDI1* Intermediate I Freestyle, sponsored by Centerline Stables, as well as the two developing horse qualifiers in the main arena: the FEI Prix St. Georges Future Challenge Qualifier, presented by Buffalo Wild Wings, and the FEI Intermediate II qualifier, sponsored by Lövsta Future Challenge. For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Click for full results from the CDI3* Grand Prix Special, sponsored by MTICA Farm