Shelly Francis & Danilo, Month Before World Cup Final, Post Personal Best to Win Wellington CDI4* Grand Prix Special
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 17, 2018–America’s Shelly Francis and Danilo, just four weeks before their World Cup Final debut, won the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI4* Grand Prix Special with a personal best score Saturday.
The result of 73.979 per cent for the second victory on this winter circuit was on the horse originally bought as a five-year-old for the owner, Patricia A. Stempel.
Now, the Hanoverian gelding is 14 years old and has become the prime international mount for Shelly who is heading to her first championships since she was on the United States team at the World Equestrian Games in Rome in 1998.
Shelly, now 59 years old and based at Patricia Stempel’s equestrian center in neighboring Loxahatchee, rides Doktor and Rubinio also owned by Patricia, in addition to Danilo.
She tentatively plans to stay in Europe for the sixth year in a row after the Paris World Cup a month from now to be part of the squad of Americans competing for a a place on the United States team for the World Games at Tryon, North Carolina in September.
Brittany Fraser, the top ranked Canadian on the word standings with All In, placed second on 68.723 per cent with fellow Canadian Jill Irving on Degas third on 67.872 per cent.
Shelly said she didn’t think the ride was her best because she “was sweating more than my horse. But he did good. He did everything. I guess I have to relax.”
After Danilo was bought, she initially hacked out the horse once a week “to keep him honest.” Then, Patricia suggested Shelly ride the horse to prepare him for thew next level.
“He just kept getting better and better,” Shelly said.
“Patricia said, “why don’t you show him and see how he is?’
“That was her mistake,” she joked. “Now he’s mine. He’s started to come together this year.”
Danilo has overcome “quitting” being so green in the arena by himself.
“Now he’s starting to enjoy it. He feels happier with it.”
Shelly trains by herself based on ears of experience, describing herself as “a bit of an odd biscuit.”