Laura Graves and Verdades Wow Spectators with Freestyle Victory in First “Friday Night Stars” of the AGDF Season

Jan 11, 2019 - 11:56 PM

For immediate release
Deirdre Sullivan for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc

Wellington, FL – January 11, 2019 – The Adequan® Global Dressage Festival concluded its second day of competition on Friday, January 11, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, with the “Friday Night Stars” FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, presented by Wellington Agricultural Services. Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades wowed the crowd with their freestyle and won the class.

Week one of the AGDF, the Lloyd Landkamer Memorial, will conclude on Saturday, January 12, with the FEI Intermediate I Freestyle CDI3* presented by Triple Crown Nutrition. Competition will resume on Thursday, January 17, for week 2 of the AGDF.

Laura Graves and Verdades debuted their new freestyle music to win the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, presented by Wellington Agricultural Services, at AGDF 1. ©Susan J Stickle

Graves and Verdades, her 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Florett AS, came out on top with an 83.220% in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, presented by Wellington Agricultural Services.

Graves said, “I wasn’t what sure which music I was going to do tonight. In the end, I’m very, very glad I chose to do my new music. I don’t know what else I would have been saving it for. I’m just glad that the timing worked out; I haven’t ridden to it yet. It’s supposed to be about the same as my last one, so I just crossed my fingers and hoped that it worked out and it did. I’m so lucky that Terri Gallo just takes whatever idea that I have.”

Speaking of her test, Graves explained, “[I had] a big mistake in my final pirouette. I came at him a bit strong in the spur. And then in the piaffe fan, which we haven’t touched since Aachen last year, I was a bit greedy and selfish in the warm-up. He let me know that he knows his job. He gives such a good feeling when he does go well that any little bump in my hand or my leg is shocking to me.”

Shelly Francis (USA) came in second with a score of 79.280%. Francis rode Danilo, a 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding by De Niro owned by Patricia Stempel. Commenting on her freestyle Francis said, “I made little changes in some of the music. Just little ones, but I left the choreography mostly the same. A couple of years past he would get nervous and kind of get a bit dumb. Now he just gets a little bit of extra energy into it and I need an extra half halt instead of going, ‘It’s okay.’ He is really maturing, but he took me awhile.”

Shelly Francis and Danilo took home second place in the freestyle.
Shelly Francis and Danilo took home second place in the freestyle. ©Susan J Stickle

“He’s just a horse you need to take your time and don’t rush him,” she said of her 2018 FEI World Cup Finals partner. “He’s just really understanding the job and puts up with more. Sometimes in the grand prix I’m afraid to ask for a little bit more, and be kind of steady, but he lets me ask for more now. I just have to get braver. He’s getting much more honest and consistent.”

Click to watch the video of Shelly Francis and Danilo. Courtesy of Richard’s Equine Video.

Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven (SWE) came in third with a score of 77.710%. Silfven rode Don Auriello, a 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Don Davidoff owned by Lövsta Stuteri. Silfven described that she “really had a great feeling tonight. He just loves this atmosphere. He needs that. He’s used to competitions now and he really loves the atmosphere that comes in the evening with the music. So I had a great feeling.”

Judge at C Hans Christian Matthiesen, commented, “It’s wonderful to be back, and judge. An atmosphere like this, it’s really, really special. And then it’s just nice to be back and see some of these combinations that I’ve seen before, judged before, and then see them strive in this sometime difficult atmosphere when it gets so intense with all the spectators. It’s very special. I must say that I think they did really, really good. We had top performances today.”

Third place went to Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Don Auriello.
Third place went to Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Don Auriello. ©Susan J Stickle

Jose Gomez, the President of the sponsorWellington Agricultural Services, noted, “It’s a pleasure to be working with Adequan and the Global Dressage Festival. I’m very happy to be a part of the initiative to go green and help out the environment here. It’s what we stand for and we are very happy to be here and be a sponsor.”

“It’s a wonderful start to another season, year eight for us,” added Allyn Mann, the Director of Strategic Partnerships at Adequan®. “It’s a wonderful community of people that love this dressage world and I have to give thanks that we can do this and will continue to do it for much longer.”

LauraGraves.Verdades.WEB.9G1A0279©SusanJStickle.com.
Laura Graves and Verdades in their winning presentation with Thomas Baur, Allyn Mann, Keydi Giggins, Xavier Gomez, and Hans Christian Matthiesen. ©Susan J Stickle

Thomas Baur, the Director of Sport at AGDF concluded by talking about the new live scoring system found at www.GlobalDressageFestival.com. “I was waiting for that quite a long time, that we can now use modern technology for dressage,” he said. “A very, very big thank you from my side for Daniel Göhlen and Black Horse One. They did such a good job. I think it’s a major step not only for us here in Wellington, but for dressage world-wide.”

To start off the evening Jill Irving (CAN) won the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by MTICA Farm, with a score of 65.532%. Irving rode her horse Arthur, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding by Jazz.

JillIrving.Arthur.WEB.9GD11912©SusanJStickle.com.
Jill Irving and Arthur won the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by MTICA Farm, under the lights. ©Susan J Stickle

Irving is from Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. Irving said that in her test Arthur was “much more, believe it or not, relaxed than last year. He got really worried last year, stage fright and shadows and everything. He was much better this time. I feel like it’s only going to get better.” Irving’s favorite parts of her test were in the extended walk. “He was not trying to jig, which was amazing,” she said. “The last pirouette was awesome and I was pleased with him.”

JillIrving.Arthur.WEB.9G1A0178©SusanJStickle.com.
Jill Irving and Arthur in their winning presentation with Allyn Mann of Adequan®, Janne Rumbough of MTICA Farm, and judge Thomas Lang. ©Susan J Stickle

Looking forward to the rest of the 2019 show season Irving said, “It would be fun to take him to [the Pan American Games in] Peru and just keep going. I have a great freestyle with him, so if he can handle the lights maybe we can come out with a freestyle. I just go day to day. I love riding him; he’s a lot of fun. Peru would be great, but if not, maybe Europe this summer.”

Click to watch Jill Irving and Arthur’s winning round! Courtesy of Richard’s Equine Video.

Other classes of the day included the FEI Intermediate I CDI3* presented by Triple Crown Nutrition. Michael Klimke (GER) won the class with a score of 69.882%. Klimke rode Harmony’s Diabolo, a nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Desparadis owned by Harmony Sporthorses.

MichaelKlimke.HarmonysDiabolo.WEB.9GD10910©SusanJStickle.com.
©Susan J Stickle

Michael Klimke and Harmony’s Diabolo.

 

AshleyHolzerValentine.WEB.9G1W0329©SusanJStickle.com.
©Susan J Stickle

Ashley Holzer (USA) won the FEI Prix St. Georges CDI1* with a score of 67.765%. Holzer rode her own Valentine, a nine-year-old Oldenburg mare by Sir Donnerhall.

Competition at AGDF will continue tomorrow with a full schedule of classes, including the FEI Intermediate I CDI1* and the FEI Intermediate I Freestyle CDI3* presented by Triple Crown Nutrition. For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Final Results: FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, presented by Wellington Agricultural Services
Place, Rider, Nationality, Horse, Horse Information: Judge E%, Judge H%, Judge C%, Judge M%, Judge B%, Total %
1. Laura Graves (USA), Verdades, 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Florett AS x Liwilarda owned by Laura Graves: 80.800%, 84.225%, 83.650%, 82.450, 84.975%, 83.220%
2. Shelly Francis (USA), Danilo, 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding by DeNiro x Annabella owned by Patricia Stempel: 77.350%, 80.450%, 79.825%, 81.325%, 77.450%, 79.280%
3. Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven (GER), Don Auriello, 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Don Davidoff x Wey o mey owned by Lovsta Stuteri: 76.625%, 79.675%, 79.550%, 75.250%, 77.450%, 77.710%
4. Brittany Fraser (CAN), All In, 14-year-old KWPN gelding by Tango x Leontine owned by Brittany Fraser: 74.400%, 75.250%, 76.375%, 76.550%, 74.275%, 75.370%
5. Heather Boo (USA), Divertimento, 17-year-old Westphalian gelding by Di Versace x Fatima owned by Heather Boo: 66.175%, 62.450%, 63.650%, 64.125%, 66.850%, 64.650%
Photo credit: ©SusanStickle.com. These images may only be used in relation to this press release and with credit.
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