Belinda Trussell and Anton Leading Canadian at Wiesbaden

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Belinda Trussell and Anton. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Belinda Trussell and Anton. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Belinda Trussell and Anton led the Canadian armada in their first of four European competitions, the Internationales Wiesbadener Pfingstturnier CDI4*, finishing eighth in a highly competitive Grand Prix qualifier for the Special on Sunday.

“Anton was excellent,” Belinda Trussell of Newmarket, Ontario told dressage-news.com after posting a score of 67.660 per cent that observers said may have been the best performance so far.

“Wiesbaden has so much atmosphere and he handled it very well. For our first class this season in Europe I am extremely pleased.”

Belinda and the 10-year-old gelding had a successful Florida winter circuit before being selected for the official Canadian tour of the top contenders for the Canadian team for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky beginning Sept. 25.

Other members of the squad are three-time Olympian Ashley Holzer and Pop Art, Bonny Bonnello of Calgary, Alberta, and Pikardi, Shannon Dueck of Loxahatchee, Florida and Ayscha and Wendy Christoff of Delta, British Columbia, and Pfalstaff. Ashley based in New York and Pop Art will join the squad at the next competition, Lingen CDI4*, Germany June 4–6. The other competitions are CDIO Rotterdam in The Netherlands June 16–20, and CDIO Aachen, Germany, July 13–18.

In the Grand Prix of 18 entries, after Belinda and Anton other Canadian placings were Bonny Bonnello and Pikardi 12th on 66.383 per cent, Shannon Dueck and Ayscha 13th with 66.213 per cent and Wendy Christoff and Pfalstaff 17th with 64.085 per cent.

Shannon Dueck and Ayscha at Wiesbaden, Photo Courtesy Lorne Dueck
Shannon Dueck and Ayscha at Wiesbaden, Photo Courtesy Robert Ross

In the Grand Prix Special Monday, Belinda and Anton again led the Canadian contingent of three rides with a ninth place finish on 69.167 per cent. Shannon Dueck and Ayscha finished 12th with 65.208 per cent and Bonny Benello and Pikardi 14th with 64.458 per cent.

Robert Dover, Dressage Canada technical coach/advisor, told dressage-news.com: “I was very proud of all my Canadian riders today. They all showed great class and huge potential for being a country in medal contention.

“In particular, Belinda Trussell and Anton had a ride which, to be very honest, was far greater than the score she received.

“Once again, the integrity of our sport, also with the new rules for stewards, is concerning to me.

“What is not of concern to me is whether I have a top group of riders and horses. That I know I have!”