Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz & Aquamarijn Win Wellington CDI3* Grand Prix Special, Final Event of 2018 Global Winter Circuit
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WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 31, 2018–The Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz left her best performance with her Aquamarijn to their last test, pulling off a 71.596 per cent victory in the CDI3* Grand Prix Special, the final competition of the 12-week 2018 Adequan Global Dressage Festival.
Their score was a personal best for the pair in any CDI grand prix–including freestyle–and was also first ever international win for the 13-year-old Dutch mare.
Katherine Bateson Chandler of Wellington on the 13-year-old gelding Alcazar placed second on 71.234 per cent, the first 70=plus score at 2018 Global.
Canada’s Megan Lane pn Zodiac MW, winner of the Grand Prix, placed third with 68.021 per cent.
“It’s a lovely, sweet ending to the season that the last anthem is the Dominican one,” said the 50-year-old Yvonne after the awards ceremony at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. “I thought that was kind of cool.
“My other grand prix horse Foco Loco is doing amazingly and he’s the powerhouse–he’s everything I always thought he was–but Aquamarijn is turning out to be 10 times what I thought she was ever going to be. She’s turning out to be absolutely spectacular.”
Yvonne found the mare (United x Gribaldi) in Denmark two years ago while on a shopping trip for a client
“I thought she’d just be a really nice, compact grand prix horse, though I did feel that there was a little extra in there,” she said. “But she’s turning out to be absolutely spectacular. I’m only riding her at 50 or 60 per cent in the ring. I can get more at home, yet I’m not doing it in there yet because she’s such a big character that she has to really trust me and stay with me–and today she did.”
This was the fifth win at the 2018 Global season for the Dominican rider, who gave up dressage completely after a controversial decision by the FEI in 2012 which kept her out of the London Olympics. She is now back on the championship path, and flies to Europe next week with both of her grand prix horses.
Foco Loco W is headed for the World Cup Final in Paris in two weeks, and she’s been invited to compete Aquamarijn at the World Equestrian Festival at Aachen, Germany in July.
Yvonne attributes her upward trajectory with the mare to going back to basics.
“During the Wellington season we’re showing so much that there’s really no training time to go home and do the basics,” she explained. “I started trick-riding in there and that caught up with me. When we do a big prize-giving, it takes me three days to calm Aquamarijn down–she doesn’t want to walk after that. So I wasn’t getting the ‘throughness’–I was having to be a bit rougher, a bit quicker, and that’s not the smooth, nice image that we want.”
“Since the last show, I went home and, with Ton de Ridder, went back to basics, teaching Aquamarijn to wait and listen,” she said. “Today we didn’t aim for spectacular. We just went for correctness, but once she gives me that correctness, I’m able to ask for spectacular, which I could do at times today.”
She describes her success this year as “blossomed” with the coaching of Ton de Ridder, a top international trainer. “I have found someone who believes in me as a rider and trusts me as rider, which is 100 per cent. This is why it’s gone from where I was to him saying, ‘just do it.’ He believes in me and doesn’t understand why I was so lacking in confidence. I now ave people around me who talk to me as an equal, not an amateur student.”
She described Carl Hester, whom she worked with on Liebling II in her unsuccessful campaign for the London Olympics, as “amazing” but as a team rider for Great Britain as well as coach of Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro he did not have time.
“I’ve always admired Ton. I can discuss things with him. We are a team. It’s amazing.”
Both her Aquamarijn and Foco Loco are qualified for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina in September.