Shelly Francis & Danilo Invited to World Cup Final, 3rd American Pair Plus 1 Canadian from North America to Go to Sweden

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Shelly Francis on Danilo at the 2018 World Cup Final in Paris. File photo. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Mar. 10, 2021

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Shelly Francis, one of the most experienced and admired American riders, has been invited to compete Danilo at the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in three weeks, the third United States combination and fourth from North America.

“I’m surprised and excited to have this opportunity,” Shelly told dressage-news.com from her base in Ocala, Florida. She moved to Little Tree Farm owned by Tori Gable and Steve Fulton in OPcala after several years in Loxahatchee, an equestrian community adjoining Wellington.

“It will be Danilo’s last hurrah as he is 17 this year,” she said of the Hanoverian gelding.

She will join fellow Americans Olivia LaGoy-Weltz on Lonoir and Charlotte Jorst on Kastel’s Nintendo, and Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu on All In of Canada to give North America four representatives at the Final that has 18 combinations. Israel’s Sahar Daniel Hirosh on Whitman and Yvonne Losos De Muñiz of the Dominican Republic on Aquamarijn, also based in Wellington much of the year, will also go to the Final.

Shelly competed Danilo at the 2018 World Cup Final in Paris. She rode Pikant on the American team at the 1998 World Equestrian Games in Rome.

The international partnership of Shelly and Danilo began in 2013 in Florida and has taken them across the Atlantic most years to compete at the world’s premier events, including on seven U.S. Nations Cup teams in Europe and at Wellington. Danilo is owned by Patricia A. Stempel who also owns several other of Shelly’s horses including Doktor that was a stablemate of Danilo on trans-Atlantic competition circuits.

One of the highlights of their career was winning the CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle on a Saturday night at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany in 2018.

The highest Freestyle score of 81.840% for the pair in the Nations Cup in Wellington in 2019 put them among the top scoring American partnerships.

Shelly, 62 years old, competed Danilo, only once in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic closed many horse shows around the world.

Danilo has been coming back from an injury and the duo has had what Shelly describes as not being “our most stellar” performances at the start of 2021.

But, she said, the horse “is now getting fitter and stronger so I’m pleased to give it a go at World Cup! I feel honored and it’s very nice for his owner to see him compete on live-stream at such a fine competition.”