Germany’s Anna-Christina Abbelen & Sam Donnerhall Claim Victory in Wellington CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle

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Anna-Christina Abbelen on Sam Donnerhall. © 2024 Ken Braddick/DRESSAGE-NEWS.

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 29, 2024–Germany’s Anna-Christina Abbelen rode Sam Donnerhall to the biggest individual victory of their partnership in winning the Global Dressage Festival CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle Friday night that may be the final Big Tour competition for the 17-year-old Oldenburg gelding.

Anna-Christina and Sam Donnerhall were awarded 75.905% to squeeze into the lead over Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén on Esperance that scored 75.860%. The USA’s Charlotte Jorst on Zhaplin Langholt placed third on a personal best 74.375% on the 11-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding’s second Big Tour Freestyle.

Sam Donnerhall that Anna-Christina bought four years ago was on fire in Global’s final Friday night under the lights. The winter-long circuit ends Sunday.

I don’t know what happened,” Anna-Christina said, “but from every show he keeps getting fresher and fresher. He really likes Florida, I think. And today I think he was really on his peak.”

The musical performance ended with an homage to Sam Donnerhall and what the horse has taught her. The duo first came to Wellington for the 2023 winter circuit and was on Germany’s Nations Cup gold medal teams in 2023 and 2024.

Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén, a seven-time Olympian for Sweden, described herself as “speechless” at the ride on Esperance.

Health issues have kept the KWPN stallion now 15 years old out of the competition arena most of the time since she first brought the horse to Wellington to ride at Small Tour in 2017.

Friday night’s performance was the first ever Big Tour Freestyle for Esperance using music that was prepared for the 2018 World Cup Final but health issues kept the horse out of the championship.

The Freestyle by Charlotte and Zhaplin had a patriotic ending.

“I came here when I was 23 and I think a lot of times we forget all the freedom and all the great things that we have in this country,” she said. “I’m grateful every day that I wake up to that because I didn’t have that growing up. And so I’m really grateful to be an American and, like I said, to be here with everyone. And I wanted to express that.”


  • CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle
    Rank Competitor Score E H C M B
    Anna-Christina Abbelen (GER)
    Sam Donnerhall
    75.905% 74.725 76.675 75.550 77.375 75.200
    Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén (SWE)
    75.860% 75.400 78.425 75.825 74.025 75.625
    Charlotte Jorst (USA)
    Zhaplin Langholt
    74.375% 74.200 76.175 73.575 74.175 73.750
    Ariana Chia (CAN)
    Guateque IV
    69.785% 68.550 70.600 69.675 71.150 68.950
    Rakeya Moussa (CAN)
    Davidoff V.H. Trichelhof
    68.585% 69.475 68.075 68.500 68.675 68.200
    Find details on Equestrian Hub