Two-time Olympian Morgan Barbançon Among Growing Number of Foreign Riders at Florida’s Winter Dressage Circuit.
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Jan. 19, 2023–Two-time Olympian Morgan Barbançon of France and Anna Christina Abbelen, European youth championship gold medalist fer Germany, are competing in Florida for the first time joining the growing number of foreign riders on the winter dressage circuit.
The 30-year-old Morgan who is based in Switzerland but rode for France at the Tokyo Olympics and for Spain at the London Games will compete three of her horses in Florida, including Bolero and Deodora in the CDI3* Gold Coast Opener this weekend. Sir Donnerhall II OLD, her top horse, is home awaiting a decision on whether Morgan will qualify for the World Cup Final in Omaha that, if successful, would be the fifth for the Morgan and the fourth for the stallion.
With Morgan, also for the first time, is her Turkish rider student Rotem Jale Ibrahimzadeh who is also based in Switzerland, and is in Florida with two big horses, Glorieus and Hero V.D.T. A junior rider, also a student has made the trip, too.
Morgan has competed in the U.S. only once before, at the 2015 World Cup Final in Las Vegas. Although she qualified for the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon the French federation would not pay for either a team or individuals to make the trans-Atlantic journey.
“It’s always been a huge dream of mine to ride in Wellington,” she said. But operating stables with several horses and clients made it difficult until this year when she recently sold five horses that pretty much emptied her stable. And her boy friend, a jumper rider, is competing in Wellington that was another incentive. (She also doesn’t like cold weather and lover Florida’s semi-tropical climate.)
Although Sir Donnerhall, or “Gus,” as she calls him, has only three other horses for company while Morgan is in the U.S., she Facetimes him every day and will fly back to take him to Doha, Qatar for the CDI5* in a month.
Anna Christina Abbelen of Germany and Jemma Heran of Australia are two newcomers to Florida, joining Frederic Wandres on the team of Hof Kasselmann. Frederic is in his third year in Florida.
Anna-Christina has been on six German gold medal teams at European Championships from ponies, through junior and young riders and after competing at Under-25 through 2021 joined the team at Hagen, Germany.
Jemma Heran, at 26, the same age as Anna-Christina, is an Australian working for Hof Kasselmann and competes Saphira Royal in the Grand Prix Friday. She competed in CDI Young Riders and Under-25 before moving to Europe.