Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén & Divertimento Post Personal Best in Easy Florida CDI3* Grand Prix Victory
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Feb. 10–Fresh from a Bahamas vacation and a U.S. immigration scare, Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén rode Divertimento to a personal best score Friday to give the pair an easy victory in the Grand Prix at the Wellington Spring Challenge CDI3*.
In her second winter on the Florida circuit, the Swedish rider has become a familiar and popular figure who draws crowds to the arena as occurred Friday despite torrential rains earlier in the day that flooded rings and severely disrupted the competition schedule.
Although the 10-year-old Westfalen gelding (Di Versace x Fatima x Ferragamo) is still very excitable, Tinne and Divertimento scored 74.383 per cent in only his fourth show since starting Grand Prix in Poland last September. The result easily eclipsed their previous best Grand Prix result of 71.243 per cent at this same venue three weeks ago.
Chris Hickey of Colora, Maryland, rode Douglas Hilltop to second place with 69 per cent and Canada’s Diane Creech on Devon L was third on 68.532 per cent.
Divertimento, Tinne said, needs the experience and different environments to become settled at the Big Tour.
“It needs only two people to clap and he says, ‘Wow! I’m excited’.”
She has three Grand Prix mounts, Divertimento, Don Auriello and Favourit, all owned by Antonia Ax:son Johnson, that she is competing on the Palm Beach circuit of 11 CDIs in three months. Before coming to Florida, she had accumulated enough points with Don Auriello in the West European League that ranks her sixth in the standings with only one more competition there before the Final in ‘s-Hetogenbosch, The Netherlands, April 18-22.
Tinne plans to make her debut at the new Global Dressage Festival grounds in Wellington next week when she rides Favourit in the World Cup event, seeking to qualify on a second horse.
She, her husband and son, Lucas, aged 10, took a break to fly to the Bahamas last weekend.
On leaving the Caribbean nation, a U.S. immigration inspector asked what school Lucas was attending over the winter and he replied a public school in Wellington.
The family was informed that it was against the law on their tourist visa to attend a public school without permission and that could lead to them being sent back directly to Sweden from the Bahamas and barred from entering the U.S. for up to three years.
The inspectors allowed the family to return to Florida where they immediately enrolled Lucas in a private school.
Tinne laughs about it now, admitting it crossed her mind as they were being questioned by immigration officials she was not looking forward to telephoning Antonia to tell her her rider would not be back in Florida.
The heavy rain, more like the torrential downpours common to sub-tropical South Florida in summer, flooded both competition and warmup arenas. Some classes were delayed or moved until the weathe improved.
Last year, rain disrupted a CDI at the same Jim Brandon Center, a taxpayer-owned multi-discipline facility operated by Palm Beach County. Excavation to improve drainage at the venue was undertaken over the summer.