April 24, 2016 - The second day of the FEI CDI 3* presented by Adequan® at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) concluded with Ashley Holzer (CAN) and Dressed In Black securing another victory, this time in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3* presented by Adequan® with a score of 71.502%. James Koford (USA) and Don Principe finished in second place with a 66.100%, while Nora Batchelder (USA) and Bahai earned a 66.050% in their second FEI competition together for third place. Competition at TIEC concludes tomorrow with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDI 3* presented by Adequan®, beginning at 2:45 p.m.
Holzer and Dressed In Black performed their first FEI Grand Prix Freestyle of the season, riding with poise and confidence in the George H. Morris Arena. The test was a good experience for both horse and rider, while Holzer admitted she made a few rider errors, which impacted their score.
"I would say that I have not ridden this freestyle routine many times and I was just really trying to navigate my way through and he doesn't know the pattern that well yet," said Holzer. "He hasn't ever been out into anything like this and I was just trying to keep him calm and steady through it."
Dressed In Black has come into his own over the course of the past few months and Holzer is pleased not only with the progression in technique and understanding, but also with his willingness in the ring. The impressive 2005 Westphalian stallion (Dresemann x Sweetheart) owned by Holzer and Dr. Diane Fellows, has made a triumphant return to competition and Holzer will look to continue their progress over the next few months.
"There were some mistakes in the twos that were not his fault. What's amazing to me though is that he goes into that ring, which has all of that feeling and electricity and he really tries hard. He's doing the very best he can for where he is right now in his fitness level. I'm just very proud of him.
James Koford and Don Principe have a longstanding partnership, as the two have been working together for more than seven years. Koford noted that gaining experience, no matter the tenure of the relationship, is still very important to the pair.
"He's been my buddy for a long time. This is his eighth year at Grand Prix so we've had this freestyle since he was nine or ten and now he's seventeen. We pretty much have it down pat," laughed Koford. "It's always fun to ride a freestyle in this atmosphere though. The setting is beautiful and the crowd was very enthusiastic. I'm very pleased with how it went."
In just their second FEI CDI competition together, Nora Batchelder and Bahai finished their Grand Prix Freestyle choreography with a score of 66.050%. Batchelder of Williston, FL, and the 2004 Hanoverian mare (Baroncelli x SPS Rose) rose to the occasion and handled the mare's anxiety in the large arena well during their test.
"This is our second CDI together and it's been great to ride in this venue. It's just unbelievable and the footing is incredible. The first test yesterday, she was a little bit worried with the atmosphere and the flags, but she was more confident today," commented Batchelder.
"This is our third time riding the freestyle and the music gives her a bit of confidence. I was proud of her because she definitely stepped up to overcome some of what she was nervous about yesterday. It was a great way to finish the weekend," she continued.
Adequan® has been a longstanding supporter of dressage for a number of years and served as title sponsor for this week's inaugural FEI CDI 3*. Allyn Mann of Adequan® was on hand throughout the week and discussed the presence and importance of their sponsorship at the facility, as it generates interest and ultimately expands the sport.
"This goes all the way back to the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival and the relationship between Mark [Bellissimo] and myself. Both of us really believed that venue would be something special. Coming to Tryon and seeing this beautiful facility, knowing that we're dealing with the same footprint for the sport, is very special," said Mann. "This will be a wonderful place for the dressage world to come and it will be a game changer for the community."
Renowned judge Linda Zang (USA) also commented on the competition at TIEC this week and expressed her excitement with the possibilities and opportunities the facility offers competitors of all levels.
"I think that we had a great group of riders here this week and I was very glad to see a lot of Canadian combinations in this group. This will become a great stop for people traveling from the south back up north after the winter season," elaborated Zang. "I think we'll see more and more riders here. I'm hopeful that there will be a lot more American riders who can swing through as well. This venue will encourage more CDI competitions outside of Florida and California, which I think is fantastic."
Chris Von Martels and Divertimento Win FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*
Chris Von Martels (CAN) piloted Divertimento, owned by Lövsta Stuteri, to their first FEI CDI win together in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3* presented by Adequan® receiving a 70.490%. Karen Pavicic (CAN) and Don Daiquiri finished in second place with a 69.745%, while Megan Lane (CAN) and Caravella rounded out the top three with a 69.218%.
Von Martels and Divertimento have continued to solidify their partnership and displayed a continued sense of growth and understanding in the ring. Von Martels expressed his excitement with the progress and noted that he felt like this was the best the two have performed together.
"I was very delighted with him today. He was very with me and I think today was even more electric in the stadium than yesterday, because there were more spectators here this afternoon," said Von Martels. "He was really in tune with me and waiting on my aids."
"I really believe that this was the best test I've ridden on him in the way our relationship has gone so far. I'm very happy. I think this is my fifth show with him and each show you learn something new and take something else away from it. Now, I really would like to keep these nice, clean and accurate tests, but add a bit more power and brilliance where I can," he continued.
Karen Pavicic and Don Daiquiri picked up second place with a strong showing, receiving a 69.218% from the judging panel. Pleased with their performance, Pavicic felt as though she entered the ring with more horse behind her leg today than yesterday in the FEI Grand Prix.
"He was much better today than yesterday. I was happier with my ride overall and I still would like to have a little bit more energy and brilliance within the movements. I was going for a clean test and he felt more energetic and in front of my leg," she elaborated.
"I'm overall really happy with this week. A big thank you to Mark Bellissimo and his team for this, also a huge thank you to Adequan® for their support. Without their sponsorship, shows like this wouldn't be possible," she noted. "It's so impressive and I will come back here with every opportunity for sure."
Lane, who also placed third in yesterday's Grand Prix, felt that improvements made in the day prior, carried over to today's class with her own Caravella. The duo produced a harmonious and balanced test, only hindered by a small mistake in the one tempis.
"Honestly, I feel a lot of the same sentiments as Chris. I went for a little bit more energy today and had an unfortunate mistake in the one tempis, but she gave me everything I asked of her in terms of the cadence," explained Lane. "There are improvements in the piaffe for sure, which I was really pleased with throughout the show."
"She reacted really well to this stadium and this atmosphere. This was a great show for us and we were able to execute a lot of the concepts we've been focusing on in our training," she continued.
Lindsay Kellock (CAN) and Royal Prinz, owned by Teresa Simmons, won the FEI Intermediaire I CDI 3* presented by Adequan® with a score of 67.684%. Jessica Jo Tate (USA) and Kynynmont Gunsmoke's Gideon, owned by Pamela Liddell, finished in second place, receiving a 66.368%, while Emily Miles (USA) and Sir Sherlock, owned by Leslie Waterman, earned third place with a score of 59.263%.
Competition at TIEC will conclude tomorrow with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle presented by Adequan® beginning at 2:45 p.m. For more information on TIEC, please visit www.tryon.com.