Sarah Tubman and First Apple Win Grand Prix Qualifier for The Freestyle at WEC CDI 3*
Friday, September 16, 2022
Posted by Horsesdaily Administrator
Ocala, Fla. – The World Equestrian Center (WEC) September Dressage CDI3* began competition for international-level riders on Thursday, September 15, 2022, at World Equestrian Center – Ocala in Ocala, Fla. This marks the second of three CDI competitions at World Equestrian Center – Ocala in 2022, sponsored by Hampton Green Farm and Discover Dressage. The afternoon’s feature classes included Grand Prix for Freestyle and for Special. Pan American Games gold medalists Sarah Tubman (USA) and First Apple, owned by Summit Farm, took the Grand Prix for Freestyle CDI3* victory.
With a personal best score of 71.087%, Tubman and First Apple, a 12-year-old KWPN stallion by Vivaldi, led the victory gallop. Following them in second place were Lehua Custer (USA) and F.J. Ramzes, a 12-year-old KWPN NA gelding by Juventus owned by Wendy Sasser. They scored 69.022%. Kerrigan Gluch (USA) and Mejorano HGF, an 11-year-old PRE gelding by Grandioso owned by Hampton Green Farm, received 67% for third place.
Tubman and First Apple had their first European tour this summer, which included three top-three finishes in Achleiten, Austria, and Kronberg, Germany. They also competed in the CDI4* in Aachen, Germany, where they placed sixth in the Grand Prix Freestyle.
Tubman recalled, “Europe was an incredible experience. I walked into the warm-up ring and there are five of my childhood idols that I watched since I was a kid and I was like, ‘Oh I’m going to go down centerline with these people.’ I was able to sit and absorb the top riders in the world, watch them in the warm-up, watch how they manage tests, and watch 40 grand prix horses go in a row. The amount of intense learning and focus I was able to have there over the last two months was incredible. I got to spend a lot of one-on-one time with my coach, Lee Tubman, who is also my husband. When we’re better, the horses are better. My horse is really just coming onto the cusp of what he’s really going to be, and every show he keeps improving.”
With a few weeks’ rest after they returned to the United States, Tubman wanted to capitalize on the rhythm they established during their tour.
“We have big goals for next year,” said Tubman. “To be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure what we were going to have coming here. Today I think he surprised me a few times, being better than I thought he would be in certain moments. Some of the mistakes today were complete rider errors; a little overriding. That’s a really exciting feeling, when the horse goes in there and gives me more than I’ve had before. Now I have to learn how to ride my really incredible horse with a little bit more tact than I have been able to.”
While Summit Farm is based in California and Tubman is originally from there, they have spent the year in Florida due to the competition schedule. Returning to World Equestrian Center is “like a vacation,” said Tubman. “We love this facility. My husband and I got married here at the chapel, so it’s special for us to come back here.”