Günter Seidel & Coral Reef Wylea in 1st USA CDI Score 70% to Win Grand Prix at Burbank
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Günter Seidel rode Coral Reef Wylea “a bit conservative” in their first international competition in the United States to win the Mid Winter CDI3* Grand Prix at Burbank, California Friday, less than three months since the horse arrived from Germany as an American championship team prospect.
Günter, the winner of bronze medals for American teams at three straight Olympics, rode the 13-year-old mare to a score of 70.021 per cent, with awards from the five-member ground jury of a high of 73.191 per cent from Gary Rockwell of the U.S. to a low of 67.234 per cent from Brenda Minor of Canada.
David Blake of San Diego, California, on Ikaros was second on 68.957 per cent with April Atwell of Topango, California and Pavarotti third on 64.766 per cent at the first CDI in California this year.
Wylea was formerly named Winci and ridden in a handful of shows in Germany by Anabel Balkenhol, the daughter of Klaus Balkenhol, the German Olympic gold medalist and former U.S. team coach with whom Günter has worked for several years.
Gwendolyn Sontheim Meyer and her Coral Reef Ranch of Rancho Santa Fe, the same Southern California community where Günter has based his horses for many years, bought the horse late last year for the German-born rider to develop as a prospect for U.S. championships teams. The only previous competition in the U.S. was a national event earlier this month.
Asked about the ride Friday, Günter told dresage-news.com, “Maybe a bit conservative, but in general good. Lots of little things to improve.”
It was, he said, hard to say how much potential is in the horse “because she always tries hard, but I think there are definitely a few more percentage points.”
Günter, of Cardiff, California, had seen the Westfalen (Weinberg x St. Jolie x Saluut) over the several years he trained at the Balkenhol center in Germany, but he was committed with other horses.
However, while seeking a potential team horse over the past two years, the 52-year-old rider was reminded of the mare. Gwendolyn Sontheim Meyer and her Coral Reef Ranch, the owner of jumpers ridden by double Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden, including Via Volo for the U.S. team at the Olympics in London this summer, acquired the horse for Günter.
If the partnership continues to develop, the hope is to go to Europe this summer.
Günter has set as a goal the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France in 2014 and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Steffen Peters of San Diego competed Vaya Con Dios to win the Prix St. Georges with a score of 72.061 per cent while Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, California, rode Descartes to second place on 68.904. Sarah Lockman of HighlandU, California, and Vinterpol were third on 68.114 per cent.