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Endel Ots and Bohemian Win TerraNova CDI3* Freestyle 

Endel Ots and Bohemian debut their winning Grand Prix Freestyle. Adrienne Lyle and Lars Van De Hoenderheide capture Grand Prix Special.
Endel Ots and Bohemian
Endel Ots and Bohemian earned the top score at the B&D Builders CDI3* FEI Grand Prix Freestyle at TerraNova Equestrian. ©Susan J. Stickle Photography

May 4, 2024—The stakes were high on Saturday at the TerraNova Dressage III CDI3*. It was final the observation trial for riders seeking a coveted slot on the squad to travel to Europe. There the riders will compete for a place on the U.S. Olympic dressage team for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. New combinations came to the fore in the freestyle ranks.  

The judges awarded the day’s top score—75.67%—to Endel Ots (USA) and Zen Elite’s Bohemian to lead an all-American field in the B&D Builders FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3*. Kasey Perry-Glass piloted Diane Perry’s inexperienced 12-year-old Heartbeat WP (by Charmeur x Ferro) into second place with 72.615%. Adrienne Lyle on another Zen Elite-owned horse, Helix, finished in third, by just 0.05 percentage points. 

Kasey Perry-Glass piloted Diane Perry’s inexperienced 12-year-old Heartbeat WP (by Charmeur x Ferro) into second place at the TerraNova Dressage III CDI3*. ©Susan J. Stickle Photography
Kasey Perry-Glass piloted the inexperienced 12-year-old Heartbeat WP into second place at the TerraNova Dressage III CDI3*. ©Susan J. Stickle

Helix won Friday’s qualifying Grand Prix, but an afternoon storm was brewing during the 12-year-old Apache x Jazz gelding’s performance in Saturday’s Freestyle. A couple of spooks and a kick-out in the two-time changes brought his score down to 72.56%. All three podium riders were making their CDI Freestyle debuts on these horses. 

The competition was at the TerraNova Equestrian Center in Myakka City, Florida, May 2-5, 2024.

First Ever International Grand Prix Freestyle

The 14-year-old Bohemian (by Bordeaux x Samarant) strutted to a technically complex floorplan including two-time changes on a half 20-meter circle seamlessly into a diagonal of one-times as well as a full piaffe pirouette on the final centerline. To beaty, modern music with French lyrics and a touch of Queen, Ots rode Bohemian with bold power and harmony. They were rewarded with a high score of 79.35% from the judge at E, Christof Umbach. This was a momentous occasion for Ots, who was performing his first ever international Grand Prix Freestyle—on any horse. 

“That was a really fun experience and a little surreal,” said Ots, whose music was crafted by his long-time trainer Albrecht Heidemann and Terry Gallo. “We wanted something a little bit different, nothing too overpowering and something fun, so in the walk we have Bohemian Rhapsody, which is a nod to Bohemian, and then a French touch — hopefully for Paris. This is only our third show and I’ve been riding him for three months now, so I couldn’t ask anything more.”

Ots and Bohemian: An Instant Connection

Ots felt a connection from the very first time he laid eyes on Bohemian, who under his former rider, Denmark’s Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour, was fourth at the Tokyo Olympics and the individual freestyle silver medalist at the 2021 European Championships. 

“Heidi [Humphries, owner of Zen Elite Equestrian] said she wanted me to go and sit on him, so I flew over and within five minutes I fell in love with the horse,” added Ots. “I couldn’t be happier with how he’s adjusting to me more and more and I’m adjusting to him. I have tremendous respect for him and what he has done. 

“People like Heidi—who don’t put pressure on you, who want the best for you and for the horse, and who support riders like me and Adrienne — are few and far between, and such a god send,” added Ots, who was competing at TerraNova for the first time and was impressed by the beauty and atmosphere at the venue. 

For complete results of the Grand Prix Freestyle, click here.

Grand Prix Special

In the Zen Elite Equestrian Center CDI3* FEI Grand Prix Special, it was another U.S. clean sweep of the podium. Adrienne Lyle captured the winner’s blanket with a 71.723% riding Lars Van De Hoenderheide with whom she was fourth in Friday’s grand prix.  

Endel Ots and Bohemian debut their winning Grand Prix Freestyle. Adrienne Lyle and Lars Van De Hoenderheide capture Grand Prix Special.
Adrienne Lyle and Lars Van De Hoenderheide won the Zen Elite Equestrian Center CDI3* FEI Grand Prix Special at the TerraNova Dressage III CDI3*. ©Susan J. Stickle Photography

The 13-year-old gelding by Negro had a few glitches in his test, most notably mistakes in both lines of one-time changes, and some tension in the collected walk. Despite more mistakes than in the previous day’s qualifying Grand Prix, Lyle managed to up Lars’ score, testament to the horse’s all-round ability — collecting a nine for the two-time changes, and another for his entry. 

Marcus Orlob piloted Alice Tarjan’s 10-year-old Desperado x Metall mare Jane to second place with 69.872%. She was the youngest of the 13 starters. Theirs was another test sheet with a wide range of marks. There were 4’s for the entry up to a 9 for collected trot. The long-time leader, first-drawn Sarah Tubman, finished in third with 68.745%. She rode Summit Farm’s 14-year-old First Apple (by Vivaldi x TCN Partout).  

“It was a very hot day here for the Special. And I think it caught Lars off guard as he’s from Europe and not used to it,” explained Lyle. “But we still had some really good stuff out there. He’s been consistent and delivered all season. And just to have our qualification requirements done now and have it go so successfully, I’m thrilled with both Lars and Helix. 

“It’s a very exciting time for team U.S. at the moment as we have so many new combinations. This is only the beginning of what we’re going to see from them. The scores and performances are only going to get more solid,” added Lyle. She also described the TerraNova facility as “phenomenal” and plans to return next season with more horses. 

For complete results of the Grand Prix Special, click here.

Intermediate 1

Saturday also featured the CDI1* Intermediate 1, presented by Laughlin Tanner Group at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. Lars Petersen (USA) improved on his second-place finish in the Prix St. Georges to claim the winner’s sash. He rode Kastel Denmark’s 9-year-old Sezuan x Sir Donnerhall gelding, GPF’s S-Express, to 68.823%. 

Catherine Malone (USA) also climbed a place. She steered her own 11-year-old Lusitano gelding Johnny Walker CLB (by Diamante Negro Do Juliana) to 68.147%. It was tight it was at the top—three of the five judges’ marks were identical for Petersen and Malone. Portugal’s Tiago Ernesto rounded out the podium on another Lusitano. He rode Interagro Farms LLC’s 13-year-old Hectar Interagro to a new personal best of 67%. It is the horse’s first year at this FEI level.

For complete results of the Intermediate 1 class, click here.

Competition continues on Sunday, May 5, with National USEF classes. These are available to watch free online at https://www.terranovaequestrian.com/streaming.

Release by Alice Collins for TerraNova Equestrian Center

Thanks to Sentinel Horse Nutrition for our coverage of the 2024 Paris Olympics. This includes rider interviews, competition reports, horse spotlights, photos, videos and more.

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