Nick Wagman Rides Don John to Victory in Wellington CDI3* Grand Prix Special On Another Personal Best Score

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Nick Wagman riding Don John to victory in the Global Dressage Festival CDI3* Grand Prix Special on personal best score for second competition in a row. © 2021 Ken Braddick/

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 6, 2021–Nick Wagman rode Don John to victory in the Global Dressage Festival CDI3* Grand Prix Special Saturday for the second straight win on another personal best score.

The score of 77.319% for Nick and the 13-year-old KWPN gelding beat their previous high of 73.064% set at this same Palm Beach International Center arena. It was the third best Grand Prix Special score by combinations seeking a place on America’s team of three riders and horses and a reserve pair for the Olympics in Tokyo in July with Special results counting for selection.

Susan Dutta of Wellington on Figeac DC placed second on 71.447%, also a personal best on the Oldenburg gelding that she has developed over the past seven years to Big Tour and was competing in only their second Grand Prix Special.

Canada’s Diane Creech on Chrevi’s Christo was third on 71.277%.

Susan Dutta on Figeac DC in the Global Dressage Festival CDI3* setting a personal best Grand Prix Special score. © 2021

The win for Nick came two days after posting a personal best score of 74.478% to win the Grand Prix. The Special score of 77.319% was third to the best results of fellow Californians Sabine Schut-Kery on Sanceo of 77.468% and Steffen Peters on Suppenkasper of 77.340%

“This win hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Nick, shedding tears of happiness with the result that came after an hour’s delay because of heavy rain and a plunge in temperature.

“I think it’s going to take a moment to process this one! I was more concerned about the rain all day and then to go and pull off a ride like this is just…WOW!

“A lot of credit goes to him, he really pulled it together, and we didn’t let each other down… Or I didn’t let him down, that’s a better way to put it.

“I went in there, and he was really hot in the warmup because he had never been in the covered arena, and it was a little muddy from the rain, but as soon as I went into that arena, he was just totally with me. I went in and was like, ‘OK, we got this!’ For me, it’s just about trying to ride a clean test, and actually I think I pushed for a little more brilliance, and that all seemed to kind of fall into place today.”

Don John, owned by Beverly Jean Gepfer, competed in Europe in 2019, including on the U.S. teams at the Nations Cups in Compiègne, France and Geesteren, Netherlands. Nick based in San Diego, brought Don John to Wellington last year for the first time but had to pull out after one CDI.

Nick Wagman and Don John in the CDI3* Grand Prix Special. © 2021 Ken Braddick/

Nick, 47 years old, came back this year for a re-do campaign for the U.S. Olympic team when the Games were delayed for a year by coronavirus. This year’s campaign had a shaky start, though nothing serious.

“We’ve been through so much, what can I say, he’s just so amazing,” Nick said. “I’m filled with emotion, we’ve come from first level to this. I’ve had two bad accidents on him, and we’ve been through the ringer and back, and just when you think you’re back on track something else happens, so we’ve just had this rollercoaster ride, and it could all change tomorrow, but just to know that we really can do it, it feels amazing.”


CDI3* Grand Prix Special

Judges: Peter Storr Irina Maknami Elisabeth Max-Theurer Jane Weatherwax Katrina Wüst
Place Score Nation Athlete Horse E H C M B
1. 77.319 USA Nick Wagman Don John 77.447 77.979 75.319 77.66 78.191
2. 71.447 USA Susan Dutta Figeac DC 74.362 68.936 70.319 72.128 71.489
3. 71.277 CAN Diane Creech Chrevis Christo 70.745 69.787 71.064 71.277 73.511
4. 70.596 USA Jessica Howington Cavalia 71.702 71.596 70.426 69.468 69.787
5. 70.489 ESP Pablo Gomez Molina Ulises de Ymas 70.426 70.213 69.574 70.745 71.489
6. 68.915 USA Michael Pineo Farrington 69.468 67.979 68.298 70.319 68.511
7. 68.766 CAN Jill Irving Degas 12 67.766 69.574 68.191 69.255 69.043
8. 67.191 CAN Ariana Chia Fiderflame 68.723 66.17 66.064 69.468 65.532
9. 64.957 USA Michael Bragdell Qredit Hilltop 64.681 64.787 62.553 66.596 66.17
10. 61.553 KOR Dongseon Kim Diamond Royale 61.809 60.957 60.638 63.617 60.745
11. 61.447 USA Reese Koffler-Stanfield Bingo 58.723 62.553 60.851 63.936 61.17