Frederic Wandres (GER) wowed the judges in Thursday’s FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, Florida. He and Bluetooth OLD earned a score of 74.913% and secured their ticket for Friday night’s CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle.
“I thought that this World Cup qualification was maybe the strongest so far. Also, with a field [of riders] like this. I’m very happy,” said Wandres.
In their previous two outings during Week 3 of AGDF, Wandres and Bluetooth OLD were first in both the CDI4* Grand Prix and the CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle. “Overall, it’s good now that he can show consistency in a test like this.”
He added, though, that the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding can be “a little shy” in the arena. “[I] have to figure out how much pressure I can give him so that it doesn’t turn in the other direction. It’s about getting self-confidence for him so that he gets a good feeling. Sometimes it’s like with a little kid, you say ‘Come! Don’t be shy! Do it!'”
“A Dream of Mine”
In second was France’s Morgan Barbançon aboard Bolero, who earned a 71.782%. “He’s a bit of a special guy,” she said of the 17-year-old KWPN gelding. “He hates indoor [arenas], so that’s why I decided to bring him over here.”
This year is Barbançon’s first season showing in Wellington. “It’s always been a dream of mine to come over here,” said Barbançon. “I never really had the chance because I had too many horses at home and the organization [of it all] was just insane. But this year, I sold 5 horses at the end of , like emptied the stable, and I said, ‘Well, I have three Grand Prix horses, why not just fly these guys over?’ So, I just booked a flight and came over.”
Holzer: Building Confidence
Rounding out the top three was USA’s Ashley Holzer with Valentine, a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare. The duo racked up 71.174% from the judges. Holzer was immensely proud of Valentine’s performance today after their “debacle” at the 2022 FEI World Championships where Valentine “totally lost her confidence” and was “overwhelmed by the atmosphere.”
“I’ve been slowly trying to get her confidence back,” Holzer said. “It’s just thrilling to feel her go in there [today]. I know she’s still a bit nervous, and I know she’s still wanting to look up at the tent, so there were a few bobbles. But, in general, she was really with me and she really was not frightened to the point of an out-of-body experience.”
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Thanks to Vita Flex for our coverage leading up to the 2023 FEI Dressage World Cup Finals, including rider interviews, competition reports, photos, videos and more!