Olivia LaGoy-Weltz & Lonoir at Dutta Corp. USA Championships, Another Step to Fulfilling Expectations
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May 16, 2017
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir are fulfilling expectations by starting as one of the top qualifiers in the Tim Dutta United States Grand Prix Championship this week with an eye toward the 2018 World Games in Tryon.
Lonoir, that Olivia has developed from a youngster to 13 years old, “just keeps getting better… more confident, stronger and more relaxed.”
Preparations for the championship were interrupted by an injury to Olivia of Haymarket, Virginia that kept the pair out of a CDI3* warmup competition in Tryon but she has kept her focus on long term goals.
So, too, has Mary Anne McPhail, longtime organizer of the Palm Beach Derby that is now part of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, who has become a partner with Olivia in Lonoir, a Danish Warmblood gelding.
That arrangement took three years to percolate to fruition–from the time Olivia showed Lonoir in a high performance seminar at Mary Anne’s equestrian center in neighboring Loxahatchee in 2014 that so impressed Steffen Peters he wondered why he hadn’t known of the duo. Olivia and Mary Anne completed the arrangement last month.
Between that seminar and now, the partnership were among the mix of small and big tour combinations that competed in Europe ahead of of the Pan American Games in the summer of 2015 that led to being named a traveling reserve for the championships held once every four years.
The European selection tour was found by Olivia to be hugely beneficial for both horse and rider.
“He really matured a lot on the trip and he also showed us that he can handle the flying and the traveling and the different venues quite well,” Olivia said. “Equally as important the trip for me was a huge growing experience in learning what it’s like to be in that type of situation.
“You inevitably feel the pressure that we all put on ourselves to do our best and to represent our country well. It takes a lot of mental self discipline to not get in your own way if you have a less than perfect training session or less then perfect test. Those type of skills you only learn by being in those types of situations and recognizing the areas that you can improve on and then working on it. You don’t know where you need to improve if you are never faced with situations that challenge you.”
The pair moved up to Grand Prix in 2016 and Olivia said Lonoir has improved a lot since.
At the Global circuit this year, the pair emerged among the top tier, winning three and placing second twice in seven starts over two months.
“We are still developing and I think that our scores can continue to improve,” she said.
Lonoir ((De Noir x Loran) is “much stronger and more confident in the test patterns and the movements,” Olivia said. “He likes to know where he’s going, the more familiar with the tests he gets, the better the tests are getting.
“I think that goes for me, too. The more familiar I get with how I need to ride every step the better it gets.”
As a rider who works with Debbie McDonald, Olivia will be competing at Gladstone against other who train with Debbie–Olympic riders Kasey Perry-Glass and Adrienne Lyle and World Games competitor Katherine Bateson-Chandler.
“I think he’s improved a lot since last year, but we are still developing and I think that our scores can continue to improve,” said the 33-year-old rider.
“Happy, fit and confident are the top priorities for me with him. I think he knows his job pretty well now. There are still things to work on but he’s pretty trained.
“I would like to keep fine tuning everything and I’d like to get him to the next level fitness-wise but still keep him very fresh in his mind and body.”
After Gladstone, Olivia hopes they will be selected to compete in some of the Nations Cups in Europe.
After summer she would like to give Lonoir “some fun time hacking and doing hill work and having good pasture time while mixing in just the right amount of ring work.”
Although they missed competing at Tryon this spring, she hopes to get to the World Games venue either at the World Cup event in the fall or next spring after Wellington’s Global circuit with the World Games in North Carolina the goal.
The Dutta Corp. championship schedule:
Thursday, May 18
8:30 am–Grand Prix
10:30 am–Prix St. Georges
2:00 pm–Intermediate II 16-25
Friday, May 19
10:40 am–Grand Prix Special
1:00 pm–Grand Prix 16-25
Saturday, May 20
11:00 am–Intermediate I
Sunday, May 21
8:00 am–Intermediate I Freestyle
11:20 am–Grand Prix Freestyle
2:00 pm–Grand Prix 16-25 Freestyle