Nations Cup to be Decided by Freestyle Under Lights Saturday Night
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, April 13–The first non-championship Nations Cup in the Western Hemisphere beginning Friday became a celebration of team spirit, an experience many had never before participated in, and the first big step to extending to all of the Americas Olympic qualification at the highest level of dressage.
Although, as expected, the United States topped the first day’s leaderboard for the small tour event presented by Stillpoint Farm and included a new young talent, the top 10 combinations from the field of 30 starters on eight teams were from across the globe–North and South America, Europe and Australia–in the unusual format in which the opening Prix St. Georges determined the top five teams to move to the Intermediaire Freestyle to decide the medals.
Caroline Roffman of Wellington and on one of the two U.S. squads was the top scoring rider of the day on Pie with 70.500 per cent and team mate Christopher Hickey on Witness Hilltop of Hilltop Farm in Colora, Maryland, was second on 69.684 per cent. The 24-year-old Laura Graves, little known until Friday, led the U.S. Team II aboard her own Veradades, with 69.395 per cent. Laura is a transplant from Vermont who works with U.S. coach Anne Gribbons in central Florida.
Three riders from a European team made up of Kevin Kohmann of Germany on Klouseau in the fourth spot, and Denmark’s Mikala Gundersen on My Lady and Katharina Stumpf of Austria on For My Love who tied for sixth, Australia’s Nicholas Fyffe on Wasmut eighth and Luis Reteguiz-Denizard of Puerto Rico on Nalando was ninth.
Both United States teams, the two Latin American squads and Europe are the five teams to compete for the medals in the $35,000 CDIO3* in the Intermediaire Freestye under lights Saturday night. Australia, Canada and an Intercontinental squad of U.S. German and British riders will contest the Intermediaire I earlier Saturday.
The Nations Cup in Wellington is an ambitious three-year undertaking born at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, last year where Olympic qualification was, as usual, at small tour level. To bring qualifying to Grand Prix–same as the European Championships–Nations Cups are scheduled in Wellington for the next three years–at small tour this year, mixed big and small tour horses in 2013 and Grand Prix in 2014–leading to full Grand Prix team qualifying at the 2015 Pan Ams in Toronto for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics the following year.
The reality of a Nations Cup that has long been talked about in the Americas but never implemented outside Olympics and championships and the format–borrowed from an idea used at Falsterbo, Sweden–created an atmosphere that many riders said they had rarely, if ever, before experienced.
“This is the best ever,” said Marco Bernal who rode his Farewell IV for the Latin American I team. Marco rode Farewell at the 2011 Pan Ams where his Colombia qualified a team for this summer’s Olympics.
“This is a totally different show. Because we are a team I have stayed here the whole day to watch and support the other members compete. I am so happy and excited.”
Luis Reteguiz-Denizard of Puerto Rico cited the “great cameraderie” not only on the team but the good competition overall and the opportunity to buuld friendships.
James Koford, who had to forego competing at this year’s World Cup Final when the horse he qualified was injured, was chef d’equipe for the Intercontinental team although he had no idea what was involved when he took on the job.
“It’s been a fun group,” he said. “It’s been great cameraderie.”
Katharina Stumpf, an adult amateur from Austria who is spending her second year competing on the Florida winter circuit, said she liked the team competition “because we all support each other. There is pressure to do well for your team.”
Laura Graves, the 24-year-old on the United States Team II, was experiencing her first team competition in her first season at CDI aboard the 10-year-old KWPN gelding Veradades.
She hs owned the horse since it was imported as a weanling.
Her confident and poised ride gave no indication of the Verdades idiosycracies that Laura said she does not know what will cause the horse to react–the appearance of velcro straps, a sheep skin girth covering–so instead of trying to sell the horse she decided it was easier to keep him to compete.
For Caroline Roffman who was reserve champion with Pie (Worldly x World Lady x World Cup I) at the 2011 U.S. Developing Horse Championships, said the performance in his first season at CDI was their best ride ever.
“When you ride for a team you feel pressure not to let your team mates down,” she said. “I enjoy that sort of pressure.
“He rose to the occasion–he was in a new gear today. What he doesn’t have in ability he has in heart.”
|Class: 1 – FEI Prix St George||Ring: GDF International|
|E: Wessels – GBR||H: Foy – USA||C: McMullen – USA||M: Armando – ARG||B: Ernes – NED|
|Rider||Ctzn||Horse||E %||Rk.||H %||Rk.||C %||Rk.||M %||Rk.||B %||Rk.||T %||Pl.|
|Hickey, Christopher||USA||Witness Hilltop||67.763%||0||69.605%||0||71.053%||0||71.053%||0||68.947%||0||69.684%||2|
|Gundersen, Mikala||DEN||My Lady||65.132%||0||70.132%||0||67.500%||0||66.711%||0||65.263%||0||66.947%||6|
|Stumpf, Katharina||AUT||For My Love||66.579%||0||66.842%||0||68.947%||0||68.026%||0||64.342%||0||66.947%||6|
|Noone, Tom||USA||Fred Astair||68.026%||0||67.500%||0||65.132%||0||66.579%||0||67.105%||0||66.868%||9|
|Layne, Kelly||AUS||Don Royal||68.947%||0||67.500%||0||64.605%||0||64.868%||0||66.842%||0||66.553%||11|
|Cleveland, Jane||USA||Rodeo Queen||63.816%||0||66.316%||0||69.079%||0||65.132%||0||65.263%||0||65.921%||0|
|Bernal, Marco||COL||Farwell IV||60.921%||0||64.605%||0||68.289%||0||67.895%||0||63.421%||0||65.026%||0|
|Mc Taggart, Jessica||CAY||Ray Of Light||63.553%||0||66.447%||0||64.605%||0||64.605%||0||63.421%||0||64.526%||0|
|Berktold, Bianca||GER||Fuerst Falco||61.316%||0||64.342%||0||67.500%||0||65.263%||0||64.079%||0||64.500%||0|
|Moleiro de Muro, Irina||VEN||Sambuca||63.553%||0||64.605%||0||63.816%||0||64.211%||0||62.237%||0||63.684%||0|
|Mabragana, Mica||ARG||Cuatrero IV||63.684%||0||65.789%||0||64.868%||0||62.500%||0||61.184%||0||63.605%||0|
|Von Martels, Chris||CAN||Udon P||62.632%||0||64.737%||0||60.789%||0||66.974%||0||61.316%||0||63.289%||0|
|Hyslop, Lisa||USA||Rolling Stone||63.553%||0||63.553%||0||62.237%||0||62.105%||0||64.211%||0||63.132%||0|
|Marcus, David||CAN||Chrevi’s Capital||61.579%||0||62.895%||0||65.395%||0||63.026%||0||62.368%||0||63.053%||0|
|Myburgh, Neve||GER||Bon Renoir||63.158%||0||63.026%||0||63.158%||0||63.947%||0||60.789%||0||62.816%||0|
|Martin, Natalia||PUR||Utha Van De Begijnhoeve||54.868%||0||56.974%||0||56.579%||0||58.289%||0||54.211%||0||56.184%||0|
|Losos de Muniz, Yvonne||DOM||Dondolo Las Marismas||0.000%||0||0.000%||0||0.000%||0||0.000%||0||0.000%||0||0.000%||0|