Sarah Tubman and First Apple Win the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3* at WEC November Dressage CDI3*

Saturday, November 19, 2022
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On the second day of the World Equestrian Center November Dressage CDI3* sponsored by Hampton Green Farm and Discover Dressage on Friday, November 18, 2022, two more grand prix victors were awarded. Emily Miles (USA) and Java Dulce rode to the top of the Grand Prix Special CDI3*, while Sarah Tubman (USA) and First Apple won the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3*, presented by MARS Equestrian.

Photo - Sarah Tubman and First Apple taking their victory lap. (Q2 Photography)

Tubman and First Apple led the field with a score of 75.665% with high scores from the judges in the two-tempis and in choreography. An addition of two-tempis on the diagonal was a gametime decision for Tubman, along with a third movement of piaffe, in order to increase the degree of difficulty.

Tubman worked on relaxation with First Apple earlier in the day as well as in their warmup for the freestyle, and the plan worked.

Super Feeling

“He gave me a super feeling in there,” she said of the 12-year-old KWPN stallion by Vivaldi x T.C.N. Partout owned by Summit Farm. “It’s a really exciting time because I feel like he’s becoming more and more of a confirmed grand prix horse, and I just have to trust that. It’s a great feeling because he really lights up in there in a really positive way, and I also think that he absolutely loves cold weather.”

Tubman appreciated the opportunity to show in the WEC Stadium Arena. She noted, “I love that they can move us to different arenas at this facility because the more chances we have to show our horses different environments, the better.”

Tubman and First Apple, along with husband and trainer Lee Tubman – the couple got married at the WEC – Ocala chapel in December 2021 – took the horse back to the basics nearly two years ago in order to work on the movements for the grand prix level after winning team silver and individual gold medals at Small Tour in the 2019 Pan American Games. Along the way, Tubman has been learning as well, as her first CDI grand prix freestyle was only this past March. In the past two months, the pair has won five of the six classes they entered.

Very Difficult

Sarah Tubman and First Apple
Sarah Tubman and First Apple (Photo: Q2 Photography)

“We started two years ago, and it was very difficult,” said Lee Tubman, who is a four-star international dressage judge. “He was a small tour horse, and there was a thought that you could go from small tour to grand prix in a matter of months, and you can’t. That was unfortunate, because that kind of delayed the progress and made it difficult for him and for her. It was very difficult for us all together because there was a significant amount of pressure on her to be successful coming off of Pan Ams.

“It took a while, but this is a fantastic bond between the three of us,” added Lee Tubman. “For me, life can’t get much better. I’ve always wanted a partner like her to be able to do things like this and be successful. She’s the person to be successful with. She has what it takes to go in there and create that kind of a performance. I just have to keep her calm and tell her a few important things once in a while.”

Really Fun

“It’s really fun to be able to do this together,” affirmed Sarah Tubman.

Second place in the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3* went to Benjamin Ebeling (USA) and Indeed, owned by Vantage Equestrian Group II LLC, with 74.925%. Anna Marek (USA) and Janet Simile’s Fire Fly were third with a score of 73.240%.

Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3* Results