Australia’s Kelly Layne & Livio Felluga Win Iron Spring Farm Future Stars Performance Series Wellington Qualifier

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Kelly Layne riding Livio Felluga at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida to qualify for the final of the $10,000 Iron Spring Farm Future Stars Performance Series qualifier for the $10,000 final in March. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 9, 2019–Florida-based Australian Kelly Layne and Livio Felluga won the Iron Spring Farm Future Stars Performance Series third round Saturday in the eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding’s debut performance at Prix St. Georges level.

Kelly, who is a U.S. citizen but remains Australian and continues to ride as an Aussie as she did at the 2006 World Equestrian Games, scored 69.563 per cent in the USEF Developing Prix St. Georges that is the qualifying level for the new series at the Global Dressage Festival and based on the Nürnberger Burg-Pokal German Small Tour championships.

Megan Davis and Damocles HLF, a nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding, placed second on 67.813 per cent to become the first American combination to earn an invitation to the $10,000 final of the series sponsored by Iron Spring Farm of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, Cunningham & Cunningham Livestock insurance of Goshen, New York and supported by Legacy Farm of Melissa Taylor and Lars Petersen.

Kelly on Livio Felluga and Megan on Damocles, based in Loxahatchee, Florida in winter and Stone Ridge, New York in summer, join Christoph Koschel of Germany on Shakespeare, Canada’s Diane Creech on Dublin L and Germany’s Marc Stanuschewski on Graciella to earn a start at the final in Global’s centerpiece international arena in the winter circuit finale at the end of March.

Megan Davis on Damocles HLF qualifying for the Iron Spring Farm Future Stars Performance Series final. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Kelly Layne’s training of Livio Felluga was a totally unexpected outcome of the rider’s campaign to make the Australian team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Although Kelly’s was unsuccessful in that effort, she was based in Germany for three months and connected with Ellen Trouille whose breeding center was nearby at Bienen Buttel.

Ellen later decided to send some horses to Kelly to train and compete in Wellington, where she has been based for most of the decade in which she has lived in the U.S. with her American husband. Among the horses that came to Kelly a year ago was Livio Felluga (Le Rouge x De Niro) that Ellen had bred.

“He’s got super character,” Kelly said, “always forward thinking, always willing. He’s electric to ride but you can put anybody on him; he doesn’t have any weak points.

“It was the first time going out at this level. We hoped for a score that we could qualify for this series that is absolutely amazing thanks to Iron Spring, Cunningham & Cunningham and Legacy Farm and the Global organizers that is giving us this opportunity.

“It was a big step up to this level from where we were at Fourth Level; I think it’s actually more difficult than the Prix St. Georges.

“I wanted to have a go today knowing we had few more chances if we needed them. Now I can relax as far as qualifying.

“I can’t wait to ride him in the main stadium, put him in front of top judges at the final.

“And it’s very cool to have an Australian riding a German-bred and owned horse in Wellington, Florida.”

Qualifying Future Stars Performance Series competitions remaining for this winter circuit are scheduled for:

-GDF6 Feb. 15-16
-GDF7 Feb. 20-24
-GDF8 Feb. 27-Mar. 3
-GDF9 Mar. 7-10
-GDF10 Mar. 13-17

Final: GDF12 Mar. 27-31-International Arena, Global Dressage Festival