America’s Susan Dutta & Don Design Post Personal Best Grand Prix Special Score for Victory at Florida’s Gold Coast Opener CDI3*

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Susan Dutta and Don Design DC posting personal best score to win Florida’s Gold Coast Opener CDI3* Grand Prix Special. © 2023 Ken Braddick/DRESSAGE-NEWS.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Jan. 21, 2023–America’s Susan Dutta and Don Design DC posted a personal best Grand Prix Special score at the Gold Coast Opener CDI3* Saturday to win what she described as the best Special ever for the long-time partnership.

The victory by Susie of Wellington, Florida and the 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding was on a score of 72.149% and came a day after placing second in the Grand Prix.

Anna-Christina Abbelen, a European youth Championship gold medalist on six German teams, competing in her first ever show in the United States, was second on 70.277%.

Two-time Olympian Morgan Barbançon of France and the 12-year-old Westfalen gelding Deodoro were third on 68.787%. The duo won the Grand Prix Friday to kick off a three-month long winter season.

Susan and Tim Dutta, her husband and owner of Dutta Corp. horse transportation company, bought Don Design from Hof Kasselmann when the horse was five years old and credited the Kasselman family and German team rider Frederic Wandres who is a farm trainer with the success she is experiencing. Don Design is one of several horse that Susie has developed to top sport over the years. She was alternate for the U.S. team at the 2007 Pan American Games and has competed on more than a half dozen Nations Cup teams for the USA, on both sides of the Atlantic, mostly in Europe.

She said the performance Saturday was “the most control I’ve had over my horse, expression, obedient and clean…what more can you ask for?”

“I’m trying to bring that kind of consistency to the ring that I can have these clean tests then we can add maybe a little bit more after that. But right now we’re working on balance, control and consistency, and trust.”

The biggest change in her riding and in her horse has been working with Frederic Wandres, who rode on Germany’s team at last year’s world championships in Herning, Denmark and is in Florida for his third winter circuit for Hof Kasselmann.

“I think he’s done a phenomenal job,” said Susie who spent five “valuable” months at Hof Kasselmann last year. “I thank him and Francois Kasselmann for grabbing me and believing in the horse. They always believed he was really good but they never had control of the training or the management. They took ahold of me this summer and I’m forever grateful.

“Freddy’s a fantastic trainer. He’s super tough. I needed that. This horse is a great horse, it just needed to be ridden better. Between the whole family team–Ulli, Bianca, Francois, Lars, Freddy–they all brought it to the table to help me to become better. Thinking, thinking how do we make the horse better, her better?”

The scores move the partnership into contention for a place on the U.S. team for the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile late this year.

“I’d go to Mars for the team,” she joked.

Results:

CDI3* Grand Prix Special

Judges: Agnieszka Majewska Janet Lee Foy Stephen Clarke Cesar Torrente Kari McClain
Place Score Nation Athlete Horse E H C M B
1. 72.149 USA Susan Dutta Don Design DC 72.234 73.617 70.532 72.766 71.596
2. 70.277 GER Anna-Christina Abbelen Sam Donnerhall 70.000 70.319 68.617 72.128 70.319
3. 68.787 FRA Morgan Barbançon Deodoro 69.894 69.043 69.255 68.617 67.128
4. 66.234 SUI Barbara Bertschinger Sonnenberg’s Solisco CH 66.915 65.957 67.340 65.213 65.745
5. 64.766 USA Christopher Hickey Stenagers Wyatt Earp 64.255 64.255 64.574 65.957 64.787
6. 63.851 AUS Jemma Heran Saphira Royal 2 64.681 62.234 64.362 63.617 64.362
SCR USA Chase Shipka Gladstone Zee T