Sarah Lockman Debuts First Apple at Grand Prix for Victory at Wellington’s Global Dressage Festival

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Sarah Lockman riding First Apple in the debut Grand Prix for the Pan American Games gold medal partnership. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 6, 2020–Sarah Lockman and First Apple, the Pan American Games individual gold medal partnership, performed their debut Grand Prix Thursday, to win the Adequan Global Dressage Festival national level competition.

Sarah and the 10-year-old KWPN stallion scored 70.217% from the two-judge panel in the pair’s first competition since their Small Tour ride at the Pan Ams in Lima, Peru last July. The pair placed first in the Prix St. Georges, the Intermediate 1 and the Intermediate Freestyle at  Lima, while Canada took team gold.

“So many emotions!” declared Sarah after the ride Thursday.

“It’s such a special experience not only to go down centerline on a horse for their first Grand Prix but Apple us not just another horse–he really is a once-in-a-lifetime partner so that makes it even more special. I feel honored to be able to sit on such a special and talented horse.

“I was so proud of the improvements we have made and the strength and confidence he has gained in the Grand Prix work in just the last few weeks.

“We know this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ for him and there is so much more in there.

“Today was great… he was there for me and had great energy. Some unfortunate costly small errors here and there–mostly rider errors–that we need to get ironed out. But I know the sky is the limit and scoring over 70% with mistakes is great and I’m so proud of him and us and so thankful to my team.”

Sarah Lockman and First Apple in the pair’s first Grand Prix, a national performance at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Sarah, based in Murietta, California, got the ride on First Apple in late 2018 after the horse was developed to Small Tour by Patrick van der Meer of the Netherlands for President Stables.

First Apple was bought by Gerry Ibanez as an American team prospect for the 31-year-old Sarah, based at Summit Farm in Murrieta. Gerry died unexpectedly in November. However, the family decided to maintain support for Sarah at least through the 2024 Olympics.

Sarah said she will compete First Apple again on Sunday “as now I think it’s just practice and getting those details all ironed out.”

“I’m very thankful to my coach Scott Hassler and, of course, Debbie (McDonald, U.S. team coach) for all the help in getting there.

“I know Gerry would have been proud and I can’t wait to get in there again on Sunday and have another go at it.”