Hope Cooper & Hot Chocolate W Win Wellington CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle in Only Second Big Tour Competition

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Hope Cooper on Hot Chocolate W celebrating victory in the Global Dressage CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2022 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 25, 2022–Hope Cooper rode Hot Chocolate to victory in the Global Dressage Festival CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle Friday in only the second Big Tour competition since moving up from the Under-25 division this year.

Hope of Concord, Masschusetts and the 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding were awarded 73.925% for the win, beating their debut musical performance result of 72.725% two weeks ago. The pair placed second in the Grand Prix Thursday behind Kathjerine Bateson-Chandler on Alcazar that lost a chance of a double victory by riding 2 1/2 pirouettes instead of two.

The 25-year-old Hope and Hot Chocolate, whose partnership began six years ago, had a highly successful Under-25 career from 2019 through 2021.

Susan Dutta of Wellington, Florida debuted Don Design DC at Freestyle to place second on 72.320%. Susan and the 12-year-old Hanoverian were third in the Grand Prix.

Colombia’s María Alejandra Aponte González on Duke de Niro were third on 70.345%, the first score above 70% for the pair in three years of international competition in the Under-25 division and moving up to senior Grand Prix a year ago on this same date.

“It’s like crazy and really surreal, and honestly, not something I thought that would happen this year, but I’m so proud of him,” Hope said.

“He feels so good, and he puts really a hundred and twenty million percent into anything I ask him, so I just thought maybe first year in the grand prix, we’ll take our time. And to have this as the second time we’ve done the freestyle, and the first grand prix start is like just unbelievable to me.”


CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle

Judges: Elisabeth Max-Theurer Evi Eisenhardt Monique Peutz – Vegter Barbara Franyó Hans Voser
Place Score Nation Athlete Horse E H C M B
1. 73.925 USA Hope Cooper Hot Chocolate W 74.45 74.425 74.325 73.7 72.725
2. 72.320 USA Susan Dutta Don Design DC 71.875 72.25 73.025 73.125 71.325
3. 70.345 COL María Alejandra Aponte González Duke De Niro 70.325 70.575 68.175 71.75 70.9
4. 69.685 USA Amina Bursese Fiti AL 66.7 69.25 72.575 72.4 67.5
5. 69.140 CAN Evi Strasser Déjà Vu Tyme 67.425 70.55 70.8 69.85 67.075
6. 69.065 GER Michael Klimke Domino 957 68.4 69.9 70.175 68.15 68.7
7. 68.265 USA Nicole Harrington Wizard Of Oz 66.5 68.775 67.1 70.45 68.5
8. 66.100 USA Katherine Bateson Chandler Alcazar 66.25 65.125 66.75 67.5 64.875