In the usual course of dressage events we watch the Grand Prix Freestyles at the Global Dressage Festival stadium. But yesterday the culminatation of the Grand Prix classes was held in the International Arena at the Wellington International showgrounds. This is usually the arena for the big jumper competititons. But this week the jumps were moved to the side and a dressage ring was set up.
I was quite excited at the prospect of seeing a group of 12 top riders and their horses. The first rider in was Codi Harrison an her horse Katholts Bossco.
Codi’s final score was 72.855 . I knew we had higher scores still to come. The next rider was Caroline Chew from Singapore on Tribiani. Sadly the horse had blood in his mouth before the end of the test and the Judge at C , Stephen Clarke, stepped out of his judging stand and came over to Caroline.He pulled a large hanky out of his pocket and wiped the horse’s mouth then showed her the blood. It was just bad luck for Caroline. The horse may have bitten his tongue and that was the cause of the blood. Nonetheless blood on the horse means elimination.
The next rider was Korean Dong Seon Kim on Galleria’s Rosetti.
As I watched this horse I realized that all of the horses I would be seeing were top athletes and all very talented! Dong’s score was 73. 320. He went into first place.
The next rider was Canadian Chris von Martels on Eclips. I was impressed at how good the piaffe and passage were. Clear and precise. Below Eclips shows the reach of his half pass. Impressive!
Chris scored 71.025 and I think he may have been a bit disappointed with that score.
The next rider was Anna Marek on Firefly.
They showed great expression in the extended canter.
The next pair were Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Devanto . Having competed in 7 olympics Tinne is not phased by the atmospehere in any venue.
Devanto is a big horse with impessive movement. Her score? 75.385. The scores were going up and there were still riders who were capable of even higher scores! Next in was Ashley Holzer on her horse Valentine. Valentine is another mover with scope! Look at this half pass!
A good score and into first place for Ashley but I knew there was more to come! Sarah Tubman and First Apple were next in and gave us more expansive half passes as well and excellent piaffe and passage.
They scored 77.580. the horse and rider who came next were the ones I had been looking forward to seeing. Frederic Wandres and Bluetooth. They have won all the Grand Prix classes they have entered in this winter season at the Global Dressage Festival. Would they win this one too? Well the piaffe passage transitions were seamless and the rythmn was absolutley consistent. It was a beautiful test.
When the scores came up from the five judges there were gasps and also sounds of approval from the audience. All five judges had him in First Place. He was our winner.
This was a grand evening of dressage. For Frederic Wandres and Bluetooth this is their sixth win in the Grand Prix! Click below to see video of the ride.
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