Wizard Withdrawn from Wellington’s Last World Cup, USA’s Cesar Parra Top American in Rankings

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Cesar Parra and Van the Man at Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressge-news.com
Cesar Parra and Van the Man at Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressge-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 11-The American Olympic combination of Adrienne Lyle and Wizard on Tuesday withdrew from the final Wellington World Cup event, moving the United States’ Cesar Parra and Van the Man and Canada’s Diane Creech and Devon L as the most likely North Americans to qualify for the Final in Lyon, France next month.

Denmark’s Lars Petersen on Mariett and Mikala Gundersen on My Lady have dominated the North American League (NAL) of nine qualifiers, four in Wellington, three in Northeast United States and two in California–but they can only fill two “additional” places though that is complicated by a format that limits to three the number of riders from a single nation.

Lars and Mikala, both based in Wellington for several years, have posted the NAL’s two best average scores–76.950 per cent for Lars, 75.475 per cent for Mikala.

Adrienne had posted one of the two scores required to qualify in the NAL, 76.525 per cent, on the 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Weltmeyer x Classiker) and had indicated if the pair that represented the United States at the 2012 Olympics attained a good result in the last Wellington qualifier she most likely would accept an invitation to Lyon.

Adrienne said she decided to pull Wizard from the show after he apparently was cast in his stall overnight Monday, saying she decided “not to take a chance or put Wizard in the ring

if he’s not feeling 100 per cent at his best. He has been going so well I don’t want to do anything to compromise his performance…

“Our sights are set looking forward to trying to qualify for the World Equestrian Games, and we felt that pushing him and taking a chance for this one show was not the right decision in the long run or his interest.”

Adrienne Lyle and Wizard in the 2014 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Adrienne Lyle and Wizard in the 2014 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Tina Konyot of Palm City, Florida who also has one score with Calecto V and is entered in this week’s CDI-W, told dressage-news.com she wants to ensure the wellbeing and fitness of the 16-year-old stallion as a prospect for the American team for the WEG in Normandy, France in August. If invited to the World Cup it would mean traveling to France, returning to the U.S. for the WEG selection trials in Gladstone, New Jersey in June. Then, if successful in making the top eight, going back to Europe for the championship campaign.

“Calecto has made a major contribution to United States dressage,” Tina told dressage-news.com,”as a member of our team at the WEG in Kentucky in 2010 and then at the Olympics in London in 2012.

“Calecto is fit and healthy… in great condition. I want to make sure he stays that way, not only as a prospect for our WEG team this year, to not do anything that is not 100 per cent is best for this wonderful horse, but to make sure he gets be in the best possible condition for the rest of his life.”

California is scheduled to hold one of its two World Cup qualifiers next week in San Juan Capistrano that would be the ninth in the NAL.

However, the top California riders, Steffen Peters of San Diego and Legolas, Günter Seidel of Cardiff on Coral Reef Wylea and Kathleen Raine of Rancho Murieta and Breanne did not declare for the World Cup so the competition is highly unlikely to result in a contender for Lyon.

The combination of Cesar Parra of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey and Van the Man have shown improving results this winter. Cesar and the 12-year-old black KWPN gelding have an opportunity this week to improve on their average of 73.362 per cent. He has been competing Van the Man for two years since taking over the ride from Dorothee Schneider of Germany.

Diane Creech, who coinicdentally is coached by Lars Petersen, is also looking to add to the average of 72.737 per cent with Devon L, the 14-year-old United States-bred gelding (De Niro x Wolkenstein II) she has competed on both sides of the Atlantic.

Diane Creech and Devon L on their way to second place at the Global Dressge Festival World up Freestyle. © 2014 SusanJStickle.com
Diane Creech and Devon L on their way to second place at the Global Dressge Festival World up Freestyle. © 2014 SusanJStickle.com

The situation in the NAL has highlighted issues in the format of the only annual world championship in dressage that has developed around its roots as a European winter indoor title.

As horse sports have become increasingly international, the World Cup remains locked into the four leagues of Western Europe, Central Europe, North America and Pacific each with different rules.

Some top European riders live outside their home league while some of the best Australians, for example, are based in Europe. The current rules severely limit the opportunities of riders not living in their home leagues.

Nations are limited to three riders, the names to be submitted by the national federations.

As Denmark has two riders, Anna Kasprzak and Nanna Skodborg Merrald as numbers four and five, respectively, in Western Europe, they are almost certain to be nominated by the Danish federation which also makes the final choice on the third rider. An invitation may be extended to Lars or Mikala, both on Danish Wrmblood mares–Lars on Mariett, a 16-year-old (Come Back II x Sidney) and Mikala on My Lady, a 14-year-old by Michellino.

A similar situation applies to West Europeans in other leagues.

Lars Petersen and Mariett. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Lars Petersen and Mariett. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Tinne Vilhelmisson-Silfvén of Sweden, one of the world’s top ranked riders with Don Auriello, is atop the West European League rankings this year, a position she carved out primarily in the first half of the WEL series of eight events. However, she spends winters in Florida and thus competes in the NAL. She is able to claim full points in only one NAL show and half points in a second event.

The North American League operates on an average of the top two scores while points are awarded in the Western and Central European Leagues. The Pacific League holds a head-to-head final with the winner qualifying for the Final although they may have competed in only one qualifying event as occurred this season.

Although Canada has had no World Cup events in recent years–a qualifier, most likely at Toronto’s Royal Winter Fair, is expected to be scheduled for the 2014/15 circuit–the northern neighbor has a voice on the decision-making NAL World Cup committee equal to that of the United States.

And what has been a sore point in North America is that combinations receive only partial reimbursement for expenses incurred participating in Europe while Europeans are fully reimbursed costs when the Finals are held in the United States.

The United States has indicated it will help fund American combinations that qualify this year.