First Win for Günter Seidel On Equirelle Put 3-Time Olympian Atop Global Dressage Festival Prize Money Earnings

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Günter Seidel on Equirelle at the Global Dressage Festival. © 2021 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 2, 2021–The first Grand Prix Freestyle performed by Günter Seidel and Equirelle that earned the partnership victory at the Global Dressage Festival boosted the rider to the top of the winter circuit’s prize money earnings.

Günter describes the 12-year-old KWPN mare as “challenging,” a characteristic she displayed when spooking in the Grand Prix apparently at the sight of a camera to post 63.391%, their lowest of seven Grand Prix score.

The duo came back two days later to capture the freestyle with their highest result to date and give the three-time Olympian for the United States his first Big Tour win in almost five years. It also earned him $10,000 to move to the top of Global’s prize money list after two of seven CDI’s over the winter.

Equirelle was first competed by Günter for owner Louise Leatherdale and Leatherdale Farms of Long Lake, Minnesota in late 2019 and made her Big Tour debut in Wellington’s international arena a year ago.

“There’s a lot of quality in the horse…,” said Günter of Cardiff, California, but “challenging in the her temperament.”

The win in the CDI4* may, he said, help the confidence of Equirelle (Florett AS x Donnerhall) that was competed by the Netherlands’ Kyra Klinkers at the World Young Horse Championships at age seven in 2016 and at Small Tour two years later.

“I’m not saying she’s going to win everything now, but hopefully it gives her and me a little more confidence to go on and build on this a littler more,” said the 60-year-old rider. “It’s fun to be back in the ring in a big class.”

Günter Seidel and Equirelle. © 2021 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Asked how he felt about being back at Big Tour, he laughed and quipped, “I never left.” He coaches several riders, including the successful youth rider Anna Buffini of nearby San Diego who is competitive at Grand Prix on Davinia la Douce acquired last year from Germany’s Anabel Balkenhol.

“You’re right,” he said, “I haven’t been competing big Tour. I feel ready. I’ve been around and I’ve been riding. It’s not like I’ve been away from the sport. It’s not a big step. It’s nice to be in the big classes again, for sure. I love that.”

Günter is typically low key about his own talent and successes despite competing on three Olympic teams that won medals, at three World Equestrian Games, including team silver in 2002 and bronze in 2006, as well as five World Cup Finals over two decades.

To think of Equirelle as a team horse in the short term is premature, he said, with selectors expected to pick horses that are consistent and seasoned

“I know she has the quality, but I think making a team this year would be too early,” he said.

“Having said that,” he laughs, “if she all of a sudden gets 80% and they said ‘go,’ of course I would go. But that’s most likely not going to happen.

“I think she can really be a team horse at some stage, but in its time.”