USA’s Caroline Roffman & Sagacious Post High Finish in Top Field in First Ever CDI Freestyle

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Caroline Roffman and Sagacious HF in Europe. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Caroline Roffman and Sagacious HF in Europe. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Caroline Roffman and Sagacious HF performed their first CDI Grand Prix Saturday night, placing fifth in a top field of Olympians at the Peterhof Dressur Gala in Perl-Borg, Germany and just three weeks after being runnerup as the first American combination in the World Equestrian Festival’s Under-25 division at Aachen.

Caroline, 24, of Wellington, Florida scored 74.725 per cent in the Freestyle, just 0.15 percentage points behind Germany’s Isabell Werth and Der Stern OLD. The German Olympic combinaton of Kristina Sprehe and Desperados FRH  won the freestyle with a score of 82.500 per cent, with fellow German team member Christoph Koschel and Rostropowitsch NRW second on 75.775 and Austria’s 2012 Olympic partnership of Victoria Max-Theurer and Augustin OLD third on 75.350 per cent.

The Freestyle result–the two German judges on the five-judge panel, Katrina Wüst and Dr. Dieter Plewa, ranked the pair third and the others had them fifth–was a strong recovery from the qualifying Grand Prix Friday when they scored 67.532 per cent. That was their first CDI Grand Prix.

It also was the third best CDI freestyle score in Europe of the more than a dozen American horses and riders competing there this year, surpassed only by the U.S. Olympic team riders Steffen Peters of San Diego, California on Legolas and Tina Konyot of Palm City, Florida and Calecto V.

(Günter Seidel of Cardiff, California and Coral Reef Wylea scored 77.500 per cent for second place behind Germany’s Ingrid Klimke and Dresden Mann at a national freestyle competition in Münster, Germany Saturday night.)

“It was really intimidatng,” she told dressage-news.com after the ride, “but I feel blessed to be here and be a part of this. The atmosphere was quite grand and I think both Kitty and I handled it the best we could.”

There were no major bobbles, but the right rein slipped from her hand near the end of the ride though it did not appear to have any effect.

Sagacious, she described as “content and willing.”

Spectators crowded around the intimate arena, filling the grand stand and the VIP banquet area.

The music at Peterhof was the same as used in the Under-25 at Aachen last month, created by Marlene Whitaker of Raleigh, North Carolina four years ago when Sagacious was ridden by Lauren Sammis who had won team gold and individual silver on the horse at small tour at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro. Sagacious is owned by Al Guden’s Hyperion Farm.

“It was thrilling to ride with such top riders,” she said. “I managed a congrats from Isabell Werth. I can die happy.

“Many thanks to owner Al Guden for supporting my dreams and Juan Matute for missing his family vacation to help me.”

The Wellington-based Spanish Olympian has been working with Caroline and Sagacious for several months. He is based in France with his family in the summer amd came to Germany to coach the pair at Peterhof as he did at Aachen.

“I am excited for the future and I hope to be able to be back next year,” Caroline said. “A terrific show and a great first time for me.”

The pair will go with five other American combinations to Hickstead, England to compete at the CDIO3* Nations Cup.

She will, however, not be on the U.S. team but ride as an individual at the event where the Nations Cup will be decided by the Freestyle and not the Grand Prix as is usual. The pair are entered in the CDIO and will compete in the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special but not the Freestyle as that is reserved for the eight teams in the Nations Cup.

U.S. Equestrian Federation criteria requires combinations to fulfill minimum competition requirements before being selected for CDI teams in Europe.