Wellington’s Bumper Dressage Year With Foreign Riders Dominating, New USA Winners

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Morgan Barbançon of France wrapping up her inaugural Florida winter circuit with a victory on Habana Libre A in the Global Dressage Festival. © 2023 Ken Braddick/DRESSAGE-NEWS.com

Mar. 27, 2023

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Morgan Barbançon of France experienced the most successful time of her career in Florida this winter by winning 12 of 36 Big Tour classes on three horses at Wellington’s Global Dressage Festival and a nearby new event.

The success of the Global circuit brought a total of 664 entries from 35 nations in seven weeks of international competitions this year, up by about 20% from 2022.

National events over Global’s 12 weeks attracted a record 2,124 entries.

The most success for Morgan were seven Grand Prix victories on Habana Libre A, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding. The 30-year-old rider claimed three wins on Bolero and two on Deodoro. She did not bring the 17-year-old Sir Donnerhall II OLD to Wellington but will take “Gus,” as she calls the gelding that she rode at the Tokyo Olympics and several championships, to the World Cup Final in Omaha next week.

Frederic Wandres of Germany completed his third annual circuit in Wellington as the biggest money winner with six victories on Bluetooth OLD for more than $33,000 in earnings, including the prestigious and richest CDI5* for the second year in a row. He also had two wins on Hot Hit OLD that was sold during Global.

Frederic Wandres of Germany riding Bluetooth OLD to win the Wellington World Cup Grand Prix Freestye. © 2023 Ken Braddick/DRESSAGE-NEWS.com

Four more foreign riders claimed eight other Grand Prix titles during the three months of the winter circuit.

Spain’s Pablo Gomez Molina won three times on Ulises de Ymas, Susan Pape of Great Britain on Harmony’s Eclectisch was a two-time winner as was Julio Mendoza Loor of Ecuador on Jewel’s Goldstrike. Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén, Sweden’s seven-time Olympian and highly successful from the founding of Global notched a Grand Prix victory.

United States riders took a total of eight titles this year, a drop from most years at what is the center of high performance dressage in the Americas and an unique and popular destination for equestrians from around the world. The changes appear to be a reflection of retirements and aging of many of the horses that contributed to the most successful period in American dressage with team silver medals at the 2018 World Equestrian Games and the Tokyo Olympics.

Adrienne Lyle riding Salvino in Wellington World Cup competition. © 2023 Ken Braddick/DRESSAGE-NEWS.com

Adrienne Lyle of Wellington on Salvino, on both those teams, had two victories this year seeking a start at the World Cup Final but had to pull out of two qualifiers for health reasons that stymied a trip to Omaha.

Anna Buffini made a last-minute trip with her FRH Davinia la Douce to win two events in one of the highlight competitions of the season that earned the Californian a start at the World Cup for the second year in a row.

Alice Tarjan of Oldwick, New Jersey, also added a win on Candescent, just one in the growing lineup of confirmed or prospective Big Tour horses that she has developed over the years in a remarkable ability to find youngsters online and develop them for top sport.

Three other American rider and horse combinations left their marks in the Global books.

Kerrigan Gluch and Mejorano HGF at Global celebrating the pair’s first Big Tour win. © 2023 Ken Braddick/DRESSAGE-NEWS.com

Kerrigan Gluch of Ocala, Florida on the PRE Mejorano HGF; Codi Harrison on Katholt’s Bossco, her partner for most of her career beginning as a young rider seven years ago, and Emily Miles on Java Dulce, working with her mother on the family farm in La Cygne, Kansas, about 1,500 miles/2,400km from the dressage hot spots of Wellington or Southern California.

So far, no individual has matched the 11 victories logged by Steffen Peters on Suppenkasper in 2020.

Wellington International, owners of Global, reportedly have a lease to continue the circuit at the current show grounds while planning to move dressage to within the venue that hosts jumping and hunters.

Alice Tarjan and Candescent riding to victory in Wellington. © 2023 Ken Braddick/DRESSAGE-NEWS.com

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