USA’s Leslie Morse & Tip Top Win Exquis World Dressage Masters GP Special
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 6–Leslie Morse and Tip Top 962 won the Exquis World Dressage Masters Grand Prix Special at Palm Beach Saturday, the second WDM victory for the American couple who won at Hickstead, England in 2009.
Blustery winds in the warm South Florida weather claimed a victim when Germany’s Ulla Salzgeber could not get her 10-year-old mare, Wakana, go forward into the arena for the start of the ride and although she was the hot favorite to win the class she had to excuse herself before saluting, reducing the field to seven from the scheduled eight combinations.
Leslie Morse of Beverly Hills, California, and Tip Top scored 65.708 per cent with Canada’s Belinda Trussell and Anton in second place with 65.167 per cent and Elisabeth Austin and Olivier third on 64.875 per cent.
Elisabeth of Williston, Vermont, at age 25 was the youngest rider in the €100,000 (US$140,000) Exquis World Dressage Masters with €30,000 (US$42,000) going to the Moorland Grand Prix Special.
Lelsie Morse, who had not been happy with their Grand Prix ride on Thursday, was ecstatic about the win the Special.
She had not competed Tip Top since returning from Europe last summer after winning the Grand Prix Special at the Exquis World Dressage Masters in Hickstead.
They were penalized for going off course, but otherwise she was pleased with how the 16-year-old stallion performed.
Because of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in September, she said, “this was my goal, to be invited to come here. This was a big thing; this was my big trip. Now we go back and do some other CDIs and prepare for our Selection Trials.”
Asked whether she thought he was getting to old, Leslie said, “Heck no, he’s just getting better. We’re just getting the hang of it now.”
Ullsa Salzgeber said she had not been able to prepare the mare properly although she had arrived two weeks early for the event. She said that U.S. quarantine rules meant the horse had to remain in quarantine and could be schooled only in the quarantine practice arena for most of the time and could not walk around the sprawling Palm Beach International Equestrian Center with its intensive hunter/jumper competitions. Only in recent days, could they school in the International Arena where the competition was staged.
“I know that the next time not to bring a mare,” she said, “but to bring a gelding.”