Teams from the US have taken out the top two spots at the Wellington Nations Cup CDIO 3*, with Canada third.
Part of the event of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), ten teams competed in the Nations Cup at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Team USA 1 finished first with a total of 219.313 points. Team USA 2 was second with 208.675 points and Team Canada 1 rounded out the top three teams with 205.346 points.
Following the close of Friday’s competition, a protest was filed by the Chef d’Equipe for Team Europe with the Appeals Committee for Mikala Munter Gundersen (DEN) of Team Europe on the judging of her ride. There was a meeting on Saturday morning at 9:30 am with the FEI Representative, President of the Ground Jury, the FEI steward, the three members of the Appeals Committee – Lorraine MacDonald (CAN), Marian Cunningham (PER), and Sandy Hotz (USA) – the Team Europe Chef d’Equipe, and Mikala Munter Gundersen.
Lorraine MacDonald of the Appeals Committee said: “We agreed that it was handled in a rider-friendly manner. It was an unfortunate situation, but the appeal was a non-appealable situation. The final decision rested with the President of the Ground Jury, Linda Zang. It ended in an amicable situation where everyone was clear with what happened, and the judges’ final decision was upheld.”
Judges for both classes yesterday were: Anne Gribbons at E, Joan Macartney at H, Linda Zang at C, Evi Eisenhardt at M, and Mirabel Alonso at B.
Team USA 1 included Prix St. Georges competitors Kimberly Herslow and Rosmarin and Caroline Roffman and Her Highness O, in addition to Grand Prix competitors Heather Blitz and Paragon and Shelly Francis and Doktor. The team put in remarkably high scores throughout Friday’s competition, including the high scores for both classes of the Nations Cup competition. Herslow and Rosmarin earned the top score of the FEI Prix St. Georges CDIO 3* class with an impressive 72.079%. Blitz and Paragon finished first in the FEI Grand Prix CDI-O 3* with a 71.021%. Blitz had another 3% added to her grand prix score with the new format of this Nations Cup competition to contribute a total score of 74.021% for the team competition.
For the first time in Nations Cup history, teams consisted of both Prix St. Georges and Grand Prix level horse and rider combinations as a precursor to raising the level of competition at the Pan American Games. While Friday’s competition served as a test for the newly formatted mixed teams, riders across the board agreed it was a success while working through the growing pains of new rules.
Roffman, who competed at the Prix St. Georges level for Team USA 1 and had a score of 69.684%, was eager to take part in team competition again and was pleased with the outcome of the new format. “I think it’s a great experience to be on a team and get that experience in such a fun atmosphere and at a great showgrounds. It’s wonderful to do and I think it’ll make a great format, however they end up working it out. It certainly worked well, I think,” she said.
Team USA 2 consisted of Cesar Parra and Van the Man (total 72.043% grand prix score), Susan Dutta and Currency DC (total 65.915% grand prix score), Justin Hardin and Wyatt Star (68.395% Prix St. Georges score), and Christopher Hickey and Witness Hilltop (68.237% Prix St. Georges score).
Team Canada 1 was thrilled with their team’s top three finish and was eager to be a part of developing the sport in the Americas. Their team consisted of Christilot Boylen and Dio Mio (70.395% Prix St. Georges score), Brittany Fraser and All In (66.079% Prix St. Georges score), David Marcus and Don Kontes (total 68.872% Grand Prix score), and Evi Strasser and Action Tyme (64.021% Grand Prix score).
“I’m probably the only one here that can actually remember when the Pan American Games were all Grand Prix and also when it changed to Prix St. Georges,” Christilot Boylen said. “I think this is a wonderful start and I think after some discussion, this format could be wonderfully conducive to developing dressage in the Americas.”