USA Team Partnership of Shelly Francis & Danilo Win Inaugural Ocala World Equestrian Center CDI Grand Prix Freestyle

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Shelly Francis on Danilo at the World Equestrian Center CDI3*. © 2021 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

OCALA, Florida, April 17, 2021–Shelly Francis and Danilo became the first international Grand Prix Freestyle victors at the World Equestrian Center in winning the 3* Saturday night and the first win in the new hometown for the partnership that has posted top finishes in musical performance at premier European shows.

Shelly and the 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding were awarded 75.065% for the win, the first for the U.S. team pair since the CDI4* Freestyle at the 2019 Horses & Dreams at Hagen, Germany that was a year after winning the CDI4* musical performance at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany. Shelly moved from the Wellington area to Ocala last year.

Catherine Haddad-Staller of Califon, New Jersey on Frankie, a 12-year-old Hanoverian mare that was bred by the rider, placed second on 73.530% in the first Big Tour Freestyle for the partnership.

Mikala Münter of Wellington, the former Danish team rider who now competes under the Stars and Stripes, was third on Salsa Hit on 71.945%.

The Freestyle was to be held outdoors at this spectacular facility but moved indoors because of weather concerns. Riders representing more than a dozen nations had rave reviews of what is the most amazing equestrian show grounds in the Americas and possibly the world.

Shelly Francis competed for the United States at the World Equestrian Games in Rome in 1998 and returned to the top of the sport 14 years later with the support of Patricia Stempel as the owner of Doktor and Danilo. She competed both horses on Nations Cup teams on both sides of the Atlantic, and rode Danilo at the World Cup Final in Paris in 2018.

“He’s starting to feel like his old self,: said Shelly who moved to Ocala last year but returned to Wellington for a few shows this winter. “He feels happy and like he wants to do it, so I’ll keep going.

” Next year if he feels spunky like this, maybe I’ll make an attempt for World Cup again. I won’t push him hard, and he’ll let me know.”

Ashley Holzer and Havanna in the World Equestrian Center national Grand Prix. © 2021 Lily Forado

Ashley Holzer of Wellington, Florida rode Havanna to victory in the national Grand Prix on a score of 72.065%.

The ride was Ashley’s second this year on the 14-year-old Hanoverian mare owned by Diane Fellows. The pair had not competed since mid-2019 on a U.S. Nations Cup team in the Netherlands.

Laura Graves and SenSation HW captured the national Prix St. Georges on a score of 68.676%, a day after the pair made their competition debut. Laura of Geneva, Florida took over the ride on the eight-year-old owned by Carol and Scott McPhee a year ago as a possible successor in the show ring to her Verdades on which she became world No. 1, the first American to do so.

Laura Graves and SenSation HW in World Equestrian Center national Prix St.Georges. © Lily Forado

Results:

CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle

Judges: E: Kari McClain H: Cesar Lopardo-Grana C: William Warren M: Agnieszka Majewska B: Maria Colliander
Place

1.

Horse

Danilo

Rider

Shelly Francis

E

77.400% (1)

H

74.275% (1)

C

73.625% (3)

M

74.125% (1)

B

75.900% (1)

 Total
75.065%
2.

Frankie

Catherine Haddad Staller

76.325% (2) 70.300% (4) 74.250% (1) 72.550% (2) 74.225% (4)
73.530%
3.

Salsa Hit

Mikala Munter

68.875% (7) 70.550% (3) 74.125% (2) 70.850% (4) 75.325% (3)
 71.945%
4.

Degas 12

Jill Irving

69.225% (5) 70.775% (2) 72.125% (4) 71.925% (3) 75.400% (2)
 71.890%
5.

Faro SQF

Nora Batchelder

75.225% (3) 69.325% (5) 71.875% (5) 70.250% (5) 71.700% (5)
 71.675%
6.

Dee Clair

Anna Marek

73.800% (4) 67.300% (6) 70.125% (6) 69.825% (6) 71.150% (6)
 70.440%

Fiti AL

Amina Bursese

67.450% (8) 66.575% (9) 68.625% (8) 66.100% (9) 70.050% (7)
 67.760%

Cover Girl

Ivo Juhrend

69.200% (6) 66.775% (7) 66.375% (9) 66.875% (7) 69.300% (8)
 67.705%

Deja Vu Tyme

Evi Strasser

66.500% (10) 66.625% (8) 68.750% (7) 66.450% (8) 68.975% (9)
 67.460%

Malcarat

Jacqueline MacDonald

66.950% (9) 62.775% (11) 63.750% (12) 65.450% (10) 67.525% (10)
 65.290%

Benidetto

Stacy Parvey-Larsson

65.650% (12) 65.150% (10) 65.450% (10) 63.625% (13) 65.425% (11)
65.060%

Bon De Niro P

Pamela Aide

63.875% (13) 61.625% (13) 64.750% (11) 64.100% (11) 64.175% (12)
 63.705%

Fidelio

Krystalann Shingler

66.375% (11) 61.975% (12) 62.375% (13) 63.925% (12) 63.550% (13)
 63.640%