CORRECTION–Tina Konyot & Calecto Win Wellington CDI3* Freestyle In Entertainment Event Of A Capella Group, Puissance

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Tina Konyot and Calecto V riding their Freestyle at the Wellington CDI3*. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Tina Konyot and Calecto V riding their Freestyle at the Wellington CDI3*. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 15–With a Yale University a capella group providing crowd-wowing songs throughout the evening, the Wellington CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle was won by the American combination of Tina Konyot and Calecto V in a highlight event of the CDI-packed Palm Beach circuit Friday.

Tina of Palm City, Florida and the black stallion performed to their signature Black Horse in a Cherry Tree song while the ride by the Olympic partnership of Jacqueline Brooks and the gray gelding D Niro to their assortment of Canadian-created music featuring Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah ignited the biggest cheers from the crowd of 1,000 spectators on a balmy Florida night.

Tina and the 15-year-old Danish Warmblood (Come Back II x Bahera x Rastell) were scored at 74.625 per cent while Jacqueline and D Niro, a Swedish Warmblood (D-Day x Alitalia x Napoleon 625) were second on 71.425 per cent.

The Wellington-based Danish rider Mikala Gundersen on My Lady, that she has been competing at Grand Prix for a year, was awarded 69.800 per cent for third place.

The event began with an exciting puissance competition that with two entries only could have turned into a disappointment but Great Britain’s Tim Gredley and Unex Valente and Germany’s Johannes Ehning and Salvador V made it an exciting start of the event at the Global Dressage Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex.

The wall was built to 7ft. 6ins.(2.28m) when Johannes threw in the towel. But Mark Bellissimo, Chief Executive of Equestrian Sport Productions that organizes the event, added a $10,000 bonus if Tim and his mount cleared the wall. The pair tried and knocked off two blocks from the top line. Instead of giving up, he made a second attempt. Although it was unsuccessful, he won the admiration of the crowd.

Great Britain's Tim Gredley just missing a clear jump at 7ft. 6 ns. (2.28m) in the Puissane at the Global Dressage Festival. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Great Britain’s Tim Gredley just missing a clear jump at 7ft. 6 ns. (2.28m) in the Puissane at the Global Dressage Festival. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The Yale Spizzwinks(?), formed in 1906 and America’s oldest underclassmen a capell group, performed during breaks throughout the night–opening, drag breaks, awards and an encore in the sold-out VIP club.

After the Freestyle, Tina Konyot said that Calecto that has been her partner in competition for the U.S. team at the 2010 World Equestrian Games and the 2012 Olympics, was not nervous despite the atmosphere.

She has been preparing the stallion for the final World Cup North American League Final in two weeks that will determine which two riders will receive an invitation to the Final in Gothenberg, Sweden late next month. The pair already have one of two scores required, and the highest of any pair so that another performance similar to Friday night would reserve the pair a place in the starting lineup in Sweden.

“I’m comfortable with my planning right now,” she said. “I may need to apply a little more pressure to have him peak at the right moment. But I’m happy with where we are.”

Jacqueline Brooks said that she was careful about the shows she competed D Niro in when seeking to qualify for the Canadian team at the Olympics last year, preferring smaller daytime shows with fewer spectators as the Freestyle was not a requirement for team selection.

Since the Olympics, she said, her plan has included bigger venues such as the Toronto Royal Fair, Dressage at Devon in Pennsylvania and the Global Dressage Festival.

“I had no idea how he would be, but he probaby enjoys it more,” she said.

And if Tina and Calecto or Olympic team mates David Marcus and Chrevi’s Capital who may be atop the North American League standings after the last of eight qualifiers decide not to go to Sweden, “I’m ready to go and I feel he’s ready to go.”

Mikala Gundersen and My Lady in the Wellington CDI3* Freestyle. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Mikala Gundersen and My Lady in the Wellington CDI3* Freestyle. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Mikala Gundersen would not talk about whether My Lady, a 13-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Michellino x Itterstern), was still affected by the Grand Prix performance Thursday that suffered some “disturbance” in the warm up.

My Lady, she said, “does not have a lot of experience” and became “very upset… she was terrified” by the warm up of another horse that she would not identify.

But dressage-news.com witnessed the horse and rider as Van the Man ridden by Cesar Parra of the United States. The pair did not compete in the Freestyle but are scheduled for the Grand Prix Special Saturday.

(An earlier version reported that Cesar Parra had received a verbal warning from the CDI Steward. The CDI Steward reports that no verbal warning was issued.

(Dressage-news.com regrets the error.)

“I felt sorry for her having to go through a little drama before going into ring,” she said, “so she lost her confidence.”

Unidentified person stopping Van the Man ridden by Cesar Parra from running into another combination after the awards ceremony during the Wellington CDI3* Grand Prix.
Unidentified person stopping Van the Man ridden by Cesar Parra from running into another combination after the awards ceremony during the Wellington CDI3* Grand Prix.

Friday nght’s ride, she said, was “very nice” but she “made some major mistakes and I got behind the music… he got hectic and nervous.”

She said her goal is take My Lady to Europe for two months after the Florida winter circuit to compete in the Danish championships but she will consult with Danish team coach Rudolf Zeillinger on the possibility of competing at other shows.

“I think My Lady is still a little bit green so gets distracted,” she said, “I just have to go out there and play with the big boys.”

RESULTS:

FEI Grand Prix Freestyle
E: Lopes – POR H: Ahman – SWE C: Gribbons – USA M: Judet – FRA B: Foy – USA
Rider Nation Horse E % H % C % M % B % . T % Pl.
Konyot, Tina USA Calecto V 72.625% 71.875% 76.750% 77.000% 74.875% 74.625% 1
Brooks, Jacquline M. CAN D Niro 71.750% 67.500% 73.125% 71.500% 73.250% 71.425% 2
Gundersen, Mikala Munter DEN My Lady 68.750% 69.375% 68.625% 71.750% 70.500% 69.800% 3
Meisner, Cheryl CAN Paganini 66.500% 66.875% 67.250% 68.250% 68.250% 67.425% 4
Irving, Jill CAN Pop Art 69.125% 66.125% 65.625% 68.875% 65.875% 67.125% 5
LaGoy-Weltz, Olivia USA Rifallino 65.375% 62.375% 64.500% 65.750% 64.750% 64.550% 6
Creech, Diane CAN Devon L 61.875% . 62.250% . 63.500% . 64.375% . 67.250% 63.850% 7