Sweden’s Patrik Kittel 1st, Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén 2nd in Florida World Dressage Masters Grand Prix
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KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Jan. 25–Sweden’s Patrik Kittel had what he described as his best ride ever on Watermill Scandic H.B.C. for the victory and a personal best score of 77.681 per cent with his Olympic team mate Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén on Don Auriello as runnerup in the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach Grand Prix Friday.
The score for Tinne and the horse she started at Grand Prix at this same Florida show grounds two years ago was awarded 76.851 per cent.
Steffen Peters was the top ranked American in third place with Legolas placing third on 75.149 per cent in the first CDI for the pair since April last year when he was focused on Ravel as his Olympic mount. Heather Blitz and Paragon, the U.S. Olympic team reserve at the London Games, placed fourth om 74.064 per cent.
The fifth annual Florida CDI5* attracted a large number of spectators in a festive atmosphere on a sunny and hot day, the temperature was 77F/25C when the first combination entered the covered arena. The event has developed into a celebration of dressage in North America.
Before the start, though, one of the main attractions, Edward Gal of the Netherlands withdrew because of illness, a case of heavy duty ‘flu picked up at the Amsterdam World Cup event a week ago. He had been scheduled to ride Interfloor Next One, the horse rode at WDM in Florida in 2009 and is now 18 years old.
And the American Olympic combination of Tina Konyot of Palm Cty, Florida, and Calecto V was eliminated, reportedly for blood from a spur mark. Calecto stumbled during the test and Tina’s leg may have nicked the horse’s side.
Patrik and Scandic were the stars of the Grand Prix.
Gary Rockwell of the United States, chairman of the ground jury, described their performance as “the best I’ve ever seen Scandic.”
Patrik, a two-time Olympian, agreed.
“It’s the best ride so far in the Grand Prix,” he said. “Since the Olympics, I’ve been working on lot of things. It’s the small things I can work on. Now, instead of just being glad to be in the class among the top places, I am in a position to work on small things. The canter is much better.”
Tinne, who is based in Florida for the third year as the rider for Antonia Ax:son Johnson’s Lövsta Stud Farm that has stables in both Sweden and Wellington, Florida, joked: “If I have to be beaten, I’m happy to be beaten by Patrik.”
Steffen Peters of San Diego, California, won the last two World Dressage Masters Freestyles and was asked how he felt being in third place in the Grand Prix.
“Honestly, it’s nice to be the underdog again,” he said, “we’ll See how it ends up tomorrow.”
Since arriving at his barn 13 months ago, Legolas, owned by Akiko Yamazaki as a successor to her Ravel as a top mount for the United States, Steffen has competed successfully in four California CDIs and was also the U.S. Grand Prix Champion.
“Strength is not the problem,” he said. “It’s relaxation, to stay calm. I’m not too worried about his strength it’s his mind. I’m really, really happy he stayed as relaxed as he did.”
1. Patrik Kittel SWE Watermill Scandic HBC 77.681%
2. Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén SWE Don Auriello 76.851%
3. Steffen Peters USA Legolas 75.149%
4. Heather Blitz USA Paragon 74.064%
5. Lars Petersen DEN Mariett 71.809%
6. Adrienne Lyle USA Wizard 71.362%
7. David Marcus CAN Chrevi”s Capital 70.660%
8. Hans Peter Minderhoud NED Withney van t’ Genthof 69.872%
9. Mikala Gundersen DEN My Lady 68.447%
10. James Koford USA Rhett 66.383%
11. Jacqueline Brooks CAN D Niro 66.362%
12. Cheryl Meisner CAN Tango 65.404%
14. Silvia Rizzo ITA Donnerbube 2 65.255%
15. Diane Creech CAN Devon L 64.106%
Eliminated – Tina Konyot USA Calecto V