USA Olympians Successful in Wellington Freestyles–Günter Seidel & Equirelle Take CDI4*, Jan Ebeling & Indeed Capture CDI3*

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Günter Seidel and Equirelle performing in the Global Dressage Festival CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2021 Ken Braddick/Dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 31, 2021–American three-time Olympic team medalist Günter Seidel rode Equirelle to victory in the Global Dressage Festival CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle Sunday in the first musical performance for the partnership and the rider’s first Big Tour win in four years. Fellow Olympian and Californian Jan Ebeling on Indeed took the CDI3* Freestyle.

Günter of Cardiff, California and the 12-year-old KWPN mare scored 75.830% for the pair’s performance to a Neil Diamond medley of tunes that he borrowed from previous rides that brought loud cheers of support from the relatively sparse crowd of spectators at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex. The “Coming to America” centerline finale was a big hit.

Canada’s Lindsay Kellock, a 2019 Pan American Games team gold medal rider, placed second on Sebastien on a score of 74.575%. This was the first international competition the partnership since hose sports were halted due to coronavirus last March.

Canada’s Lindsay Kellock on Sebastien in the Wellington CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2021 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Germany’s Michael Klimke on Harmony’s Diabolo was third on 65.435%.

Günter, on the U.S. bronze medal teams at the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens in 2004, said he was “a little conservative and kept everything fairly easy” on the first Freestyle for Equirelle, owned by Louise Leatherdale and Leatherdale Farms of Long Lake near Minneapolis.

“She’s a very hot horse and has had her issues in the ring, so I wanted to use this test to give her some confidence out there,” he said. “The more it went along the more secure she seemed to get, and she was really fun to ride, most of the test was very pleasing for me.

“I know there’s quality in there, but sometimes that’s hard to show because she can get tight or scared, but it was nice to see that she can hold it together. It was not easy for her with the wind, but I was very happy with her.”

The “issues” were on display in the Grand Prix two days earlier when Equirelle spooked at a photographer for a result of 63.391%, their lowest of seven Grand Prix scores over the past year.

But he described her as “a very generous horse” who doesn’t want to make mistakes.

He doesn’t expect to be a contender on the U.S. team for the Tokyo Olympics “but I feel like she will be a very good horse in a few years.”

“I am going to use the shows here just to get her seasoned and get her more confident in the ring,” said the 60-year-old rider. “If it backfires and she starts to get nervous I will back off, but if she keeps going like this, we will keep competing here this winter.”

Günter coaches other riders including the rising star Anna Buffini, of San Diego, California, who is in Wellington competing FRH Davini la Douce that she bought from Anabel Balkenhol who competed for Germany at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky and the 2012 London Olympics.

Anna was successful in both Young Rider and Under-25 divisions and at the age of 26 is in her second year at Big Tour with success in California and Florida.

Jan Ebeling and Indeed celebrating victory in the Wellington CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2021 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

U.S. Olympic rider Jan Ebeling on Indeed won the CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle for their first Big Tour victory and a personal best score of 72.550%.

Jan of Moorpark, California and Indeed, a 13-year-old Danish Warmblood mare, are wrapping up two years of their Grand Prix partnership.

The pair placed second in the Grand Prix Friday behind Germany’s Frederic Wandres and Rebroff. Rebroff, a 12-year-old Rhinelander gelding, died in his stall at the Global show grounds the following day.

Results:

CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle

Judges: Elke Ebert Kjell Myhre Anne Prain William Warren Mariano Santos Redondo
Pl. Score Nation Athlete Horse E H C M B
1. 75.830 USA Günter Seidel Equirelle 75.825 78.100 74.775 73.175 77.275
2. 74.575% CAN Lindsay Kellock Sebastien 74.700 74.125 75.575 74.125 74.350
3. 73.850 GER Michael Klimke Harmony’s Diabolo 71.650 74.800 75.075 72.050 75.675
4. 71.615 GER Christoph Koschel Eaton Unitechno 69.250 71.525 69.450 72.200 75.650
5. 66.415 GEO Joanne Vaughan Al Martino 10 64.600 68.225 67.875 66.200 65.175
SC. NED Jaron Verheij Dutch D-Day
SC. NED Ivo Juhrend Cover Girl

CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle

Judges: Elke Ebert Kjell Myhre Anne Prain William Warren Mariano Santos Redondo
Pl. Score Nation Athlete Horse E H C M B
1. 72.550 USA Jan Ebeling Indeed 73.125 72.75 70.725 71.275 74.875
2. 70.525 USA Nora Batchelder W Gangster Girl 70.55 70.075 69.7 70.05 72.25
3. 67.170 USA Cedar Potts-Warner JP Orion 64 67.9 67.225 67.25 69.475
4. 66.020 USA Jacqueline MacDonald Malcarat 65.4 67.1 67.725 64.85 65.025