Anna Buffini’s Emotional “Top Gun Maverick” Freestyle on Davinia la Douce
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Jan. 9, 2023
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Anna Buffini’s career high score came from a Grand Prix Freestyle on FRH Davinia la Douce to music from “Top Gun Maverick” that was very special as a lot of her family served in the U.S. armed forces and emotional as a performance was the last she got to show her grandfather before he died from cancer.
The result of 80.180% in the World Cup qualifier in Thermal, California was the first score above 80% for the 28-year-old Anna placing her second just 0.605% behind Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper who clinched an invitation to the Final in Omaha in three months. One of the five judges awarded Anna and the the 16-year-old Hanoverian mare the highest mark–82.525%–of the competition. (the video can be seen on ClipMyHorse.tv)
Anna, who is based in Southern California, first competed Davinia three years ago after acquiring the horse from Germany’s Anabel Balkenhol, daughter of the former U.S. team coach and team gold medalist at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics.
Anna and Davinia competed at the World Cup Final in Leipzig, Germany, the first senior championship for the rider and fulfilling a dream of riding for the United States.
She decided on the “Top Gun Maverick” freestyle after seeing the movie and “immediately I knew I needed to use it,” which she did at some shows beginning in October. Anna did the choreography and worked with Collier Wimmer of Three Wishes Freestyles on the music production.
“A lot of my family has served in the armed forces and it’s very special that I get to ride to a piece of music with so much history,” she explained after the latest competition at this Desert International Horse Park.
“My grandfather passed away from cancer in the fall and this freestyle was the last thing that I ever got to show him.”
With her long-time trainer Günter Seidel, a three-time Olympian for the U.S., she worked out kinks ahead of this qualifier, the third in California.
“For the Grand Prix I tried a little bit of higher frame to make some movements more expressive and that didn’t work out,” she said.
“For the Freestyle, we tried a little bit of a different warm-up that Günter and I came up with and it was perfect for her. We really focused on her steadiness and our harmony which is always our highlight and found the key to a great test that we will keep building on through the year.
“The test was so harmonious, she was on fire the entire time, she gave a feeling we’ve been working on for years with her and it finally came together. Also to compete and in my home show in front of my friends and family was perfect and made our first 80% even more special.”
Anna’s three World Cup qualifiers have placed her third with 51 points in the standings for the North American League that is assigned three of the 18 horse and rider combinations to be invited from around the world to Omaha.
Three victories for Steffen, of San Diego, California and Suppenkasper puts him at the top of the current standings with 60 points followed by Alice Tarjan of Oldwick, New Jersey on 57 points.
Adrienne Lyle of Wellington, Florida has a victory on Salvino in their one qualifier and is competing at this week’s World Cup at the Global Dressage Festival and followed by two more events before Omaha. Sarah Tubman also of Wellington, has a win and a third place on First Apple and is on the start list at Global this week.