Belinda Trussell & Anton Win Wellington CDI-W Grand Prix Special
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 16, 2014–Belinda Trussell rode Anton to a personal best result to win the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI-W Grand Prix Special Sunday and the Canadian rider had to hold back tears in the first victory since the horse returned from two years out of the sport with a feared career-ending injury.
“This win for me today was extra special. He feels really, really good–better than before the injury,” Belinda said after taking the Special with a score of 72.431 per cent that was higher than any Grand Prix or Special result since she and Anton began showing at international Grand Prix five years ago.
Shelly Francis of Loxahatchee, Florida who is riding Danilo in his first Grand Prix season placed second on 69.686 per cent while Ashley Holzer, the Canadian Olympian based in New York City, rode the green Tiva Nana to third place on 68.196 per cent.
Belinda and the Saxony gelding (Antaeus x Melit) that she has been riding since he was six years old–he is now aged 14–were on the Canadian team at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010 and the pair posted numerous top three finishes on both sides of the Atlantic with the 2012 Olympic Games in London as a goal.
Then late in 2011 Anton, owned by Robyn Eames, was diagnosed with a rare injury, a lesion in a bone, that some veterinarians believe may be the result of trauma while others are not sure of the cause.
Either way, Belinda told dressage-news.com, “we did not expect to have him back. It was maybe 50-50.
“Now, he’s even better than before the injury. I tried not to cry when I got that score.”
In the two years Belinda was off the international circuit–Anton is her only international Grand Prix mount–she focused on the daily routine.
“I found when I came back you realize how much you miss it,” she said. “I love all the details, I really missed it.”
Belinda has her sights set on a second world championship. She hopes for an invitation to the big money CDI5* in Wellington in two weeks then two CDIs in Toronto where she will attempt to qualify for the Canadian team for the WEG in Normandy, France in summer.
Shelly Francis said that although she has Doktor as her confirmed Grand Prix mount for the American selection trials she hopes to qualify Danilo as well to be at the Tim Dutta U.S. championships in Gladstone, New Jersey in mid-June.
Ashley Holzer said that Tiva Nana although 14 years old has barely shown and gets nervous when alone in the competition arena.
“She has huge talent,” said Ashley who also competed in the first Grand Prix her stallion Dressed in Black in the national division of this same show.
“She just needs to come in and know she’s going to be just fine. At times she’s unbelievable… at times she’s believable.
“I have to acclimate her to be by herself. I have to work on her separation anxiety.”