Friday night is the night for Dressage Under the Lights at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington Florida. Despite constant wind and intermittent squalls of rain it was still a very entertaining evening. Last night was the Grand Pix Freestyle for the CDI-W. I know many followers of this blog are not “horsey” people and the terms CDI and W and freestyle may be somewhat inscrutable. So here are some basic explanations. For all you dressage aficionados you can just skip this section .
CDI = Concours Dressage International. This is a high level competition that is governed by the rules of the FEI (International Equestrian Federation). There will be five judges; one on each side and three at the end of the arena.
W= World Cup qualifier. Scores here will qualify horse and rider combinations to be eligible to compete in the World Cup to be held in Paris later this spring.
Grand Prix= this is the highest level of test in dressage.
Freestyle= The FEI has required movements that must be performed but the rider and their team can choose the order, choreography and music. This is very similar to the programs in figure skating.
There were five nations represented among the 15 riders who competed last night. Eilesse Tzinberg from the Philippines riding Triviant 2.
Yvonne Losos de Muniz from the Dominican Republic on Foco Loco-W
Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven from Sweden on Paridon Magi.
As I am Canadian I am going to show you two of the Canadian Riders. Brittany Fraser on All In
and Canadian Olympian Belinda Trussell riding Tattoo 15.
The USA had several very good riders. The final rider into the arena was Laura Graves and her horse Verdades.
With some riders you can tell they are happy with their rides. Here is Canadian Megan Lane on San D’0r.
And P.J.Rizvi on Breaking Dawn. P.J. is an adult amateur rider and here she is riding with the top professionals and doing a great job. Why not smile?
Riding a Grand Prix freestyle may look easy enough but the rider is thinking and giving aides and making corrections and remembering when the next music cue is coming up and maintaining their connection both mentally and physically with their horse. It takes a lot of FOCUS.
When the ride is finished the riders , especially those who have had rides they were happy with, reward their horses with praise and a pat. Happy horse! Happy rider!
The photo above is of Laura Graves and Verdades when they finished their test. Theirs was the winning ride with a score of 84.657, the highest score ever awarded for a freestyle at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.
And last but never least……those who also stand and wait. It takes a team to get the horse and rider into the ring to compete. Here is a photo taken as Belinda Trussell went into the ring to start her test. The young couple in the blue peaked caps in the center of the photo are members of Belinda’s ‘team’.
Yes there was wind and some squally rain but despite that it was a very exciting evening of dressage. In two weeks there will be a CDI 5* and at the end of the winter season a Nations Cup CDIO competition. I’ll be there to report on them.