USA Produces Top Performance in Europe

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Günter Seidel and Coral Reef Wylea on their way to third place finish in Hickstead Nations Cup Grand Prix. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Günter Seidel and Coral Reef Wylea on their way to third place finish in Hickstead Nations Cup Grand Prix. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

In the most ambitious drive in a decade to again become a championship medals contender, the United States is producing a performance likely to place the team on the awards podium for the second straight Nations Cup competition in Europe this year.

The squad of four horses and riders that are among a group of almost 20 Americans to invade Europe this summer, produced a silver medal quality result in the Nations Cup series finale Grand Prix at Hickstead, the premier British high performance competition.

If it translates to the Freestyle on Sunday that will decide the Nations Cup, it will be two for two in medal-winning performances in the pilot series in Europe.

Günter Seidel and Coral Reef Wylea, the 13-year-old Westfalen mare that he has been competing for less than six months at international Grand Prix, led the United States squad with a score of 73.043 per cent. It was better than any the pair has previously logged with Wylea, named Winci when competed by Anabel Balkenhol of Germany and bought from his long-time coach, the German Olympic gold medalist Klaus Balkenhol.

The score for Günter and Wylea elevated prospects for the United States to take the silver medal in the competition-deciding Freestyle. The Freestyle will be the only result that counts.

However, coming after the bronze medal performance at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen. Germany a month ago–the only previous Nations Cup in the current series that the Americans have fielded a team–the results have grabbed attention even though Germany and the Netherlands have not fielded their best combinations that they are reserving for the European Championships in three weeks.

Shelly Francis of Loxahatchee, Florida and Doktor placed seventh on 71.191 per cent.

Shelly Francis and Doktor. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Shelly Francis and Doktor. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Kathleen Raine of Murietta, California and Breanna rode the first day of the competition and placed ninth overall on 70.404 per cent while Arlene “Tuny” Page of Wellington, Florida and Alina placing 14th on 69.723 per cent

Arlene "Tuny" Page and Alina. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Arlene “Tuny” Page and Alina. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

David Blake of San Diego, California and Ikaros scored 67.043 per cent but rode as an indnvidual combination.