Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén & Don Auriello Win Wellington World Cup Freestyle, Laura Graves & Verdades 2nd
6 years ago StraightArrow Comments Off on Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén & Don Auriello Win Wellington World Cup Freestyle, Laura Graves & Verdades 2nd
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 16, 2016–Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén and Don Auriello won the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday night but some spectators in the packed stadium made it clear America’s sweetheart combination of Laura Graves on Verdades should have been scored higher.
Six-time Swedish Olympian Tinne and the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding that she rode at the 2012 Olympics, the 2014 World Games and the 2013 and 2015 European Championships scored 80.450 per cent for the victory in their first show since the Europeans in Aachen, Germany last August.
Laura of Plymouth, Florida, who described her ride on Verdades as the “best Freeestyle we’ve ever ridden,” was awarded 78.250 per cent, well below the Freestyle results for the pair at the World Games in 2014 where they placed fifth and the Pan American Games last summer where she won silver.
Charlotte Jorst of Reno, Nevada was third on Kastel’s Nintendo on 74.375 per cent.
The judges–four Europeans and one American–were unanimous in placing the top two pairs in the competition with 15 starting combinations from nine countries in the first of the seven CDIs that make up the Global winter circuit at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex.
Natalie Lamping, the judge at C, said that both top combinations showed a lot of positive aspects.
However, she said, “Laura’s ride had a little bit of tension in places and the piaffe at all times was not the best she can do. Tinne’s horse was more relaxed and at the top of their game at the moment. Both did a fabulous job.”
Several in the crowd of more than 2,000 spectators did not agree and made their feelings known when the scores were posted for Laura and Verdades, the last in the night’s lineup.
The dressage ground were filled for the performance that was delayed for 24 hours because of severe weather and was staged at the same time as the popular Battle of the Sexes jumping competition as part of the Winter Equestrian Festival in another arena on the show grounds that also was packed.
Tinne, aiming Don Auriello for the Swedish team for what would be her seventh Olympics in Rio, said the horse she started in Big Tour in Florida five years ago has become more balanced in his body with his extravagant gaits and is able to handle the work better.
“If you put youself into the game you have to accept the game, to be a part of sport. Sometimes it is against you and sometimes for you. We all know that it’s not up to us.”
She did not compete Don Auriello in Wellington in 2015 but rode in a handful of top competitions in Europe ahead of the championships where the pair placed sixth overall.
Laura, who won the U.S. Grand Prix Championship on her 14-year-old KWPN gelding in this same arena a month ago, did not complain about the results.
“Every time I ride like tonight I felt like it is a big step for us,” she said, “learning to ride a hot horse in a hot atmosphere.
“I felt he was really on fire. We made a couple of mistakes, the footfalls were not always where they should have been.
Laura said she is taking some riding lessons, working on a steep learning curve with events that are happening rapidly.
“You have to be brave in not letting go,” she said of her ride. “It can be overwhelming… it can be a bit like a bomb. Instead of defusing it you have to learn to keep it lit and not be afraid.”
Asked about the scores, she said: “This is sport. I try not to get emotional about the scores. We’re all out here to win. It felt like the best Freestyle we’ve ever ridden. We finished second. It’s our sport. We get along with it.”