Belgium’s Laurence Vanommeslaghe & Edison Win Wellington CDI4* Friday Night Stars Freestyle With Career Hgh Score in First Competition Circuit in USA

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Belgium’s Laurence Vanommeslaghe and Edison celebrating victory in the Global Dressage Festyiva; CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle with a career high score in the rider’s first competition season in America. © 2022 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 11, 2022–Belgium’s Laurence Vanommeslaghe competing in the United States for the first time rode Edison to victory in the CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle in a performance with Led Zeppelin heavy metal music that brought spectators packing the Global Dressage Festival Friday Night Stars clapping and cheering in celebration.

Laurence and the 13-year-old KWPN gelding that are in the second competition year of their partnership received a career high score of 79.115% that included marks above 80% from two of the judges and a spectator score of 80%.

“A very big adventure,” was the way the 40-year-old rider described her experience with horses in Florida where she had not visited before even without horses.

German team rider Frederic Wandres on Bluetooth OLD were scored at 79.045% for second place after the combination posted three winning starts earlier in their second winter season in Wellington. He plans to compete Bluetooth, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding, in the top rated CDI5* in two weeks as the horse’s last competition in Wellington this season.

Benjamin Ebeling of Moorpark, California on Illuster van der Kampert that has been his main competition mount in his second season at Big Tour scored 77.370%, just shy of their previous best result. Ben, too, intends to ride in the  CDI5* in two weeks at the adjoining Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, home of the world famous Winter Equestrian Festival of jumpers and hunters.

Germany’s Frederic Wandres on Bluetooth OLD in the CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2022 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Immediately following the freestyle, Laurence, 40, who lives near Paris, was invited to compete in the CDI5* that offers top prize money as well as being the highest rated dressage competition in the Americas.

Laurence, whose championship record is with Avec Plaisir at the 2014 World Equestrian Games and the 2015 European Championships, said  Edison was out of competition for several months recovering from an injury that led her to come to Florida with her trainer, Christoph Koschel of Germany for the first time seeking a place on Belgium’s team for the world championships in Herning, Denmark in August.

She described the crowd at Friday night’s performance as “really great as I was so delighted because I was very tense as there was a lot of public for our first international show in such a long time. I could really feel the support by the crowd; it was really pleasant. My tension went off when I could hear them.”

Edison, she said, also liked the music in the freestyle that was created by Dutch musician Joost Peters and, “I think also he liked the support of the public because he really did very well.”

Jane Weatherwax, president of the ground jury, echoed her views about the event: “It was really, really good and really, really fun… I was smiling a lot.”

Andreas Helgstrand head of the European group that bought the Palm Beach show grounds but that did not include the Global Dressage Festival facility on what is named Equestrian Village made it clear they will support dressage. Helgstrand Dressage, based in Denmark and with a major sales operation in Wellington, was sponsor of the competition.

“We want to support dressage here,” he said, “that is our main business and we should support that in this perfect place.”

Results:

CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle

Elke Ebert Carlos Lopes Jane Weatherwax Christof Umbach Claudia Thaler
Place Score Prize Money Nation Athlete Horse E H C M B Spectators
1. 79.115 4000.00 BEL Laurence Vanommeslaghe Edison 76.9 77.775 80.375 79.9 80.625 80.142 (1)
2. 79.045 2000.00 GER Frederic Wandres Bluetooth OLD 79.55 80.375 79.3 80.05 75.95 79.860 (2)
3. 77.370 1400.00 USA Benjamin Ebeling Illuster Van De Kampert 76.55 77 77.7 78.875 76.725 78.015 (3)
4. 77.245 1200.00 USA Jennifer Williams Millione 76.425 75.025 78.975 79.05 76.75 75.807 (4)
5. 73.975 1000.00 USA Mikala Münter Salsa Hit 73.9 71.825 76.925 73.875 73.35 72.991 (5)
6. 71.920 800.00 CAN Ariana Chia Fiderflame 71.25 74.675 73 71.45 69.225 71.453 (6)
7. 71.270 600.00 USA Jessica Jo Tate Derby 72.4 70.425 73.45 69.575 70.5 70.708 (7)
8. 67.945 400.00 GBR Lisa Marriott Valucio DH Z 66.425 68.3 70.7 69.375 64.925 67.746 (8)
9. 64.620 400.00 GEO Joanne Vaughan Al Martino 10 64.325 63.925 68.2 64.1 62.55 66.327 (9)
10. 62.995 ISR Sahar Daniel Hirosh Whitman 60.175 61.55 67.625 64.675 60.95 64.093 (10)