USA Veteran & Pair New to Big Tour Capture Top 2 Places in Wellington CDI3* Grand Prix
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 17, 2016–USA veteran Shelly Francis on Doktor won the CDI3* Grand Prix Thursday for their second straight victory by a narrow margin over the new Big Tour partnership of Olivia LaGoy-Weltz on Lonoir at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Great Britain’s Olympic double medal winner Laura Tomlinson was third on Unique with a personal best score.
Shelly Francis, who rode for the United States at the 1998 World Games and has competed Doktor on both sides of the Atlantic for the past three years, scored 70.180 per cent. Shelly of neighboring Loxahatchee and the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding won the World Cup Grand Prix Special here three weeks ago that was their first career victory.
Olivia of Middleburg, Virginia and the 12-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding scored 69.940 per cent in only their second CDI Grand Prix after a successful career at Small Tour and was a traveling alternate for the U.S. team at the Pan American Games in 2015.
Great Britain’s Olympic team gold and indivudual bronze medal rider Laura Tomlinson on Unique scored 69.100 per cent that was their best result since starting their Big Tour career here a year ago and that took them to some top European shows before returning to Florida this winter.
Shelly credited Doktor to keep going while she had a bad migraine and was very nauseous on what was again an unusually warm 90F/32F day. She hopes to make the U.S. squad with Doktor and Danilo, both owned by Patricia Stempel, of about eight combinations to go to Europe for the selection of the American team for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Olivia said that Lonoir had “kind of found his own” in the Grand Prix and now it was a matter of tying it together. At the end of the Global circuit, she plans to take Lonoir to the inaugural CDI at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina.
Laura Tomlinson said that Unique is a different horse than when the 12-year-old Holsteiner mare arrived for the second winter circuit in Wellington. This was the first time the duo had been able to perform Grand Prix in a row that “helped massively.”
She said she is thrilled with Unique’s rideability–“she’s really trying hard for me.”
Laura’s plans are to go back to Europe Sunday with the Hagen, Germany, Horses & Dreams on the schedule for April. The pair are among several combinations vying for the fourth place on Britain’s Olympic team that appears likely to be made up of Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro, Carl Hester on Nip Tuck and Fiona Bigwood on Orthilia likely to fill three of the four spots on the team.