Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén & Don Auriello Win Wellington World Cup Freestyle, Laura Graves & Verdades 2nd

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Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén on Don Auriello celebrating victory in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Freestyle. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén on Don Auriello celebrating victory in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Freestyle. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 16, 2016–Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén and Don Auriello won the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday night but some spectators in the packed stadium made it clear America’s sweetheart combination of Laura Graves on Verdades should have been scored higher.

Six-time Swedish Olympian Tinne and the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding that she rode at the 2012 Olympics, the 2014 World Games and the 2013 and 2015 European Championships scored 80.450 per cent for the victory in their first show since the Europeans in Aachen, Germany last August.

Laura of Plymouth, Florida, who described her ride on Verdades as the “best Freeestyle we’ve ever ridden,” was awarded 78.250 per cent, well below the Freestyle results for the pair at the World Games in 2014 where they placed fifth and the Pan American Games last summer where she won silver.

Charlotte Jorst of Reno, Nevada was third on Kastel’s Nintendo on 74.375 per cent.

The judges–four Europeans and one American–were unanimous in placing the top two pairs in the competition with 15 starting combinations from nine countries in the first of the seven CDIs that make up the Global winter circuit at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex.

Natalie Lamping, the judge at C, said that both top combinations showed a lot of positive aspects.

However, she said, “Laura’s ride had a little bit of tension in places and the piaffe at all times was not the best she can do. Tinne’s horse was more relaxed and at the top of their game at the moment. Both did a fabulous job.”

Several in the crowd of more than 2,000 spectators did not agree and made their feelings known when the scores were posted for Laura and Verdades, the last in the night’s lineup.

Laura Graves and Verdades performing in the Global Dressage Festival World Cup Freestyle. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Laura Graves and Verdades performing in the Global Dressage Festival World Cup Freestyle. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The dressage ground were filled for the performance that was delayed for 24 hours because of severe weather and was staged at the same time as the popular Battle of the Sexes jumping competition as part of the Winter Equestrian Festival in another arena on the show grounds that also was packed.

Tinne, aiming Don Auriello for the Swedish team for what would be her seventh Olympics in Rio, said the horse she started in Big Tour in Florida five years ago has become more balanced in his body with his extravagant gaits and is able to handle the work better.

“If you put youself into the game you have to accept the game, to be a part of sport. Sometimes it is against you and sometimes for you. We all know that it’s not up to us.”

She did not compete Don Auriello in Wellington in 2015 but rode in a handful of top competitions in Europe ahead of the championships where the pair placed sixth overall.

Top ranked comnination of Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén and Don Auriello. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén and Don Auriello. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Laura, who won the U.S. Grand Prix Championship on her 14-year-old KWPN gelding in this same arena a month ago, did not complain about the results.

“Every time I ride like tonight I felt like it is a big step for us,” she said, “learning to ride a hot horse in a hot atmosphere.

“I felt he was really on fire. We made a couple of mistakes, the footfalls were not always where they should have been.

Laura said she is taking some riding lessons, working on a steep learning curve with events that are happening rapidly.

“You have to be brave in not letting go,” she said of her ride. “It can be overwhelming… it can be a bit like a bomb. Instead of defusing it you have to learn to keep it lit and not be afraid.”

Asked about the scores, she said: “This is sport. I try not to get emotional about the scores. We’re all out here to win. It felt like the best Freestyle we’ve ever ridden. We finished second. It’s our sport. We get along with it.”

Results:

Grand Prix Freestyle
E: Christensen – DEN H: Saleh – FRA C: Lamping – USA M: Ringmark – SWE B: Lehrmann – GER
Rider Ctzn Horse E Rk. H Rk. C Rk. M Rk. B Rk. T Pl.
Vilhelmson-Silfven, Tinne SWE Don Auriello 79.750 1 80.375 1 78.500 1 82.125 1 81.500 1 80.450 1
Graves, Laura USA Verdades 77.500 2 78.125 2 76.500 2 79.625 2 79.500 2 78.250 2
Jorst, Charlotte USA Kastels Nintendo 74.500 3 75.250 3 74.250 3 72.875 5 75.000 4 74.375 3
Matute Jr, Juan ESP Don Diego Ymas 72.500 5 75.000 4 69.250 6 75.375 3 75.875 3 73.600 4
Gundersen, Mikala DEN My Lady 73.500 4 74.375 5 72.875 4 74.125 4 73.000 5 73.575 5
Brooks, Jacqueline M. CAN D Niro 69.875 7 71.875 7 69.500 5 68.750 9 69.625 6 69.925 6
Klimke, Michael GER Don William II 68.625 8 70.250 10 68.125 8 71.250 6 69.125 7 69.475 7
Ebeling, Jan USA FRH Rassolini 68.500 9 72.000 6 67.125 9 69.375 8 68.500 8 69.100 8
Layne, Kelly AUS Udon P 67.250 11 71.750 8 68.875 7 68.625 10 67.125 9 68.725 9
Rizvi, P.J. USA Unlimited 67.250 12 68.625 11 66.375 11 70.250 7 66.875 11 67.875 10
Manfredi, Maria Florencia ARG Bandurria Kacero 65.500 13 71.500 9 64.875 14 67.750 11 66.750 12 67.275 11
Fraser, Brittany CAN All In 67.875 10 67.125 12 66.375 12 66.375 13 67.125 9 66.975 12
Irving, Jill CAN Degas 12 70.000 6 66.125 13 66.000 13 66.500 12 65.750 14 66.875 13
Losos de Muniz, 3016  DOM Dondolo Las Marismas 65.125 15 64.125 15 66.750 10 65.000 14 66.125 13 65.425 14
Sprieser, Lauren USA Ellegria 65.500 14 64.250 14 64.125 15 62.750 15 64.250 15 64.175 15