Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello Earn Second Victory of the Week in CDI-W FEI Grand Prix Freestyle at AGDF

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Wellington, FL – January 16, 2016 – In a spectacular display of balance and precision, six-time Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) and the famed Don Auriello captivated the crowd during their FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by AMCI Group to Benefit Brooke USA, routine on Saturday evening at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). They opened the AGDF Large Tour circuit with a bang, receiving a score of 80.450% to best the class. American star Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades fell just short of Vilhelmson-Silfven to collect second place with a score of 78.250%, while Charlotte Jorst (USA) and Kastel’s Nintendo received a 74.375% for third place. Competition for the first week at AGDF, the Lloyd Landkamer Memorial, concludes tomorrow with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle, presented by The Axel Johnson Group.

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello

The seasoned duo of Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello made waves at AGDF on Thursday, as the pair captured their first win of 2016 in the FEI Grand Prix, with a score of 76.900%. They bested that tonight under the lights in front of a crowd of 2,000 spectators, while impressing the judges to earn the first 80% score of the 2016 season at AGDF.

“I’m so happy to have won both events and to have done it here, in this atmosphere and at this show. It’s just so fun. I love to ride this horse, and it’s a great time,” she smiled. “I think you’re always humbled when you show a horse because you never know what is going to happen, but of course you wish for something like this and I wished for this feeling and that was all I could wish for.”

Never missing a beat, the artistic style of the choreography accompanied the brilliance and regularity of the required movements. The pair was rewarded with impressive marks and received as high as an 82.125% from the judge at M. According to Vilhelmson-Silfven, the ride aboard Don Auriello, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding (Don Davidoff x Wey o mey x White Star), is never the same, but that is what makes him so special in the ring.

“I think maybe you’re a bit more careful in the beginning when they’re hot, but he felt settled at that time we entered the ring,” she explained. “It was more at the beginning before coming in and in the warm-up with the music. It’s nice when they’re hot like that but you also have to handle it and decide how to ride. You have to decide how much power you can have and handle. That’s our problem, every time, our nice problem,” she said smiling at Graves sitting beside her in the press conference.

Laura Graves and Verdades

Laura Graves and Verdades

Graves and Verdades nearly had the crowd on their feet as the final ride in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle as the duo performed a risky but powerful test, showcasing the raw talent and ability of the 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Florett AS x Liwilarda x Goya).

“Every time I ride, I’m just reminded of how sharp of a learning curve I’m on. Tonight was a big step for us. I’m learning to ride such a hot horse in a hot atmosphere,” commented Graves. “Honestly it felt like one of our very best freestyles. I think we were more on with the music than we’ve been, which has been a struggle. I just like to go fast! That doesn’t go so well when you’re ahead of your music all the time. So I’m learning that. He was just really on fire again, mostly mistake-free, just a couple of missed footfalls. I could not be more pleased with my horse.”

As one of the favorite combinations for Team USA leading into an important Olympic year, Graves opened up about the struggles of riding such a sensitive horse, but how fast it has improved her riding and understanding of technique.

“I embrace every time this horse changes, and it’s just happening so rapidly that I really have to be brave in not letting go but staying a part of what’s going on underneath of me. That can be kind of overwhelming when what’s going on underneath of you feels like a bomb. Rather than defusing that bomb, I’m learning how to keep it lit the whole way through the test and not be afraid of it,” she said poignantly.

Charlotte Jorst and Kastel’s Nintendo

Charlotte Jorst and Kastel’s Nintendo

Charlotte Jorst and Kastel’s Nintendo also concluded a banner day, as Jorst, an incredibly successful adult amateur, was thrilled to finish within the top three in such a competitive class. She noted, “I just love his joy, his enjoyment of the test, of showing off. I look forward all day to getting into the ring and showing everyone what I’ve learned. I think I did that tonight, and it was wonderful.”

A successful businesswoman herself, Jorst noted how similarly riding and expanding her knowledge with Nintendo is to the experience of motivating and empowering people in the work place.

“I’m using what I learned in business for all of those years, that you have to focus on people’s strengths. I do the same thing here with the horses,” she elaborated. “You see a horse today that is just happy and doing what he’s supposed to do because he loves it. For me, today’s test ranked great because it confirmed everything I thought I already knew.”

Fritz Kundrun, a major supporter of the sport of dressage, as well as the representative member for AMCI Group for Brooke USA, sponsors of tonight’s CDI-W FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, was pleased with the performances of the leading riders, and is proud to have brought awareness to Brooke USA and their mission.

“I have been associated with this beautiful sport of dressage for a long time. We were lucky with our horse Flim Flam. I see people like Tinne and Laura ride today and it was a wonderful performance by both of them,” stated Kundrun. “Once in a while I get discouraged with injuries and vet bills and I want to change my sport from riding to billiards or something, but tonight I’m an enthusiast again, and it’s wonderful to be the sponsor.”

Judge at C Natalie Lamping (USA) commented on the scoring of the rides throughout the evening, solidifying and supporting the notion that the three most deserving riders were awarded with correct placings. She stated, “I think that this competition in the very first week has grown a lot, especially with the grand prix horses. The quality and riding has improved tremendously. It was a lot of fun judging this freestyle this evening. The top horses and riders were like real teams, and they seemed to enjoy doing the freestyle and showing off. The horses came to life, and there was a lot of harmony tonight.”

Allyn Mann of Adequan®, who was present for his first freestyle competition of the 2016 calendar year, repeated the sentiment of honor and gratitude as he described the continued participation of title sponsor Adequan® each year.

“The facility has evolved into an amazing venue. I think it attracts people, and the expansion of the (new) pavilion made it a different feel. It seemed like a really intimate environment. To envision this tonight, we’re all blessed beyond our wildest dreams,” he explained. “These riders here are at the top of the sport. When you have an operation and a facility like this, with people dedicated to making it one of the most enjoyable experiences in the dressage world, it’s a dream come true. We’re very humbled that we can participate.”

After inclement weather forced the show management to reschedule the usual “Friday Night Stars” competition to Saturday night, the organizers were pleased with the turnout and overall success of competition under such circumstances. Thomas Baur, Director of Sport for Adequan® Global Dressage Festival noted the efficiency and dedication of the facility teams in helping to rearrange and reschedule the event.

“I would like to congratulate the riders. I think we have a great first night. I would like to thank the team here, which did an amazing job yesterday. We solved all the issues with the heavy rain. It was a team effort to reschedule everything tonight, and I can promise you in week three that the grand prix will be even bigger,” he said.

Several awards were distributed throughout the evening as the Best Horse Owner Award for Prix St. Georges was presented to Michael Klimke and Djamba Djokiba for their win in the FEI Prix St. Georges class on Friday, January 15. The Best Horse Owner Award for the Grand Prix Freestyle presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty was awarded to Lövsta Stuteri of Sweden; owners of Vilhelmson-Silfven’s ride Don Auriello. Vilhelmson-Silfven also collected the Adequan® High Score Award for the Grand Prix Freestyle for their respective score of 80.450%.

Wilson Wilkins and Fabian JS Earn Top Honors in CDI-W FEI Grand Prix Special

Leah Wilson Wilkins and Fabian JS

Leah Wilson Wilkins and Fabian JS

Leah Wilson Wilkins (CAN) and Fabian JS, owned by Maria Simpson, had a successful first week at AGDF, collecting a top three finish in the FEI Grand Prix on Thursday afternoon and rising to the top of the FEI Grand Prix Special, presented by MTICA Farm, with a score of 72.863%.
Wilson Wilkins and Fabian JS have looked impressive in their first international outing together since Dressage at Devon this past October and have pushed their name into the spotlight before Team Canada looks to qualify individuals for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, later in 2016.

“Today felt really amazing in some spots and in others it felt like a few little bobbles. Obviously it was my best mark to date in this test. I don’t know if it was necessarily our cleanest test but everything that we’ve been working on was there and I was really pleased with that,” commented Wilson Wilkins. “Some of the things I take for granted, like the passage to canter transition, didn’t happen, but I think going forward now I can tune up those areas and bring together a very clean ride.”
Seven months pregnant, Wilson Wilkins is focusing on multiple aspects of life, as she is not only an expecting mother, but also an Olympic hopeful. The work that Wilson Wilkins and her team have put forth over the course of the past year with Fabian JS is recognizable as soon as the pair enters the ring.

“Having the last six months of really solid training has contributed immensely and the fact that now I’m also being watched every day. He’s staying in tune when I’m not here, and it’s really helpful. I think consistency is key.”

“This weekend certainly surpassed all of my expectations and I would have honestly been happy with a top ten finish in the Grand Prix and a top three finish in this class, so I think that it’s been a bit of a whirlwind for us,” elaborated Wilson Wilkins. “It’s very exciting to see what this horse is actually capable of and you know, he’s a bit of a late bloomer. Hopefully in two weeks we can come back and pull off equally good marks and show our consistency.”

The seasoned pair of Lars Petersen and Mariett, who were second in the Special, entered the ring today after a long hiatus from competition following the duo’s performance at the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, NV, in April of 2015. According to Petersen, Mariett had a very deserving vacation for most of the year, as Petersen’s wife, Melissa, took over the ride through the summer months.

Lars Petersen and Mariett

Lars Petersen and Mariett

“I think the passage and the lengthenings were great today and she was just great to ride,” he noted. “She had a very easy summer since we competed her a lot last year. We took it very easy with her. The last couple of months we started to build her back up again for season and she’s felt great.”

At 18-years-old, Mariett has exhibited the longevity of a top-level sport horse and seems to just get better with age, as she exemplified the bit of fire that makes her so captivating to watch before entering the ring today. The pair collected a score of 72.098% from the judges.

“This season we will look to improve our world ranking, but I’m not aiming her at World Cup Finals again. I think this year will be the last year, but if she keeps acting this fresh who knows!” Petersen expressed.

Beatrice Marienau (USA) was delighted with the performance of her own Stefano 8, a 1999 Dutch Warmblood gelding, as the duo collected a third place finish on a score of 69.260%.

“Stefano was super on today and just completely on my seat today,” she noted. “The highlights were that I was really able to concentrate and ride the way that Lilo [Fore] wants me to. He’s just a passaging machine. He’s so awesome about it. We’ve been working on holding it and keeping more rhythm too. It’s always nice to know that there is room for improvement.”

Beatrice Marienau and Stefano 8

Beatrice Marienau and Stefano 8

“To get a score like this and know that there is still stuff that I can fix and get better at, those are the things that I am going to focus on for the next ride so that it gets more and more solid,” she continued. “Having Lilo there is very special for me. She’s really gotten me to where I am. She knows me, and she knows the horse. Besides the toolbox that she has developed over the years, she helps me to focus and calm down. Having her in my corner makes me feel like home.”

Leah Wilson Wilkins and Fabian JS in their presentation ceremony with Janne Rumbough of MTICA Farm and Judge Michael Osinski

Leah Wilson Wilkins and Fabian JS in their presentation ceremony with Janne Rumbough of MTICA Farm and Judge Michael Osinski

Michael Klimke (GER) and his own Djamba Djokiba won the FEI Prix St. Georges class, presented by The Axel Johnson Group yesterday at the AGDF facility with a score of 72.632% while Susan Pape (GBR) and Harmony’s Don Noblesse rose to the occasion in the FEI Intermediaire I class, presented by The Axel Johnson Group, with a score of 73.904%.

Competition at AGDF will conclude tomorrow with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle, presented by The Axel Johnson Group.

For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Final Results FEI CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle presented by AMCI Group to benefit Brooke USA
Place, Rider, Nationality, Horse, Horse Information: Judge E%, Judge H%, Judge C%, Judge M%, Judge B%, Total %

1. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) Don Auriello, 2002 Hanoverian gelding by Don Davidoff x Wey o mey x White Star owned by Lövsta Stuteri: 79.750%, 80.375%, 78.500%, 82.125%, 81.500%, 80.450%

2. Laura Graves (USA), Verdades, 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Florett AS x Liwilarda x Goya owned by Laura Graves: 77.500%, 78.125%, 76.500%, 79.625%, 79.500%, 78.250%

3. Charlotte Jorst (USA), Kastel’s Nintendo, 2003 Dutch Warmblood stallion by Negro x Rodieni R x Monaco owned by Kastel Denmark: 74.500%, 75.250%, 74.250%, 72.875%, 75.000%, 74.375%

4. Juan Matute, Jr. (ESP), Don Diego Ymas, 2003 Warmblood by Don Federico x Wie Platine owned by Juan Matute: 72.500%, 75.000%, 69.250%, 75.375%, 75.875%, 73.600%

5. Mikala Gundersen (DEN), My Lady, 2000 Danish Warmblood mare by Michellino x Marion x Ritterstern owned by Janne Rumbough: 73.500%, 74.375%, 72.875%, 74.125%, 73.000% , 73.575%

6. Jacqueline Brooks (CAN), D Niro, 1999 Swedish Warmblood gelding by D Day x Alitalia x Napolean 625 owned by Brookhaven Dressage Inc: 69.875%, 71.875%, 69.500%, 68.750%, 69.625%, 69.925%

7. Michael Klimke (GER), Don William II, 2002 Hanoverian gelding by Don Frederico x Lady x Lauries Crusador xx owned by Michael Klimke: 68.625%, 70.250%, 68.125%, 71.250%, 69.125%, 69.475%

8. Jan Ebeling (USA), FRH Rassolini, 2003 Hanoverian stallion by Rubioso N x Sweeheart x Silvano owned by Vantage Equestrian Group: 68.500%, 72.000%, 67.125%, 69.375%, 68.500%, 69.100%

Final Results FEI CDI-W Grand Prix Special presented by MTICA Farm
Place, Rider, Nationality, Horse, Horse Information: Judge E%, Judge H%, Judge C%, Judge M%, Judge B%, Total %

1. Leah Wilson Wilkins (CAN), Fabian JS, 1999 Hanoverian gelding by Feiner Graf x Daloa x Denberg owned by Maria Simpson: 71.961%, 73.333%, 71.471%, 75.294%, 72.255%, 72.863%

2. Lars Petersen (DEN), Mariett, 1998 Danish Warmblood mare by Come Back II x Zendi x Sidney owned by Marcia Pepper & Lars Petersen: 71.176%, 74.118%, 73.431%, 73.725%, 68.039%, 72.098%

3. Beatrice Marienau (USA), Stefano 8, 1999 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Gribaldi x Gracia x Actueel owned by Beatrice Marienau: 69.706%, 69.902%, 68.725%, 72.157%, 70.392%, 70.176%

4. Susan Pape (GBR), Harmony’s Fiorano, 2005 Hanoverian gelding by Rousseau x Rawina x Rotspon owned by Harmony Sporthorses: 68.922%, 69.706%, 67.353%, 70.686%, 68.922%, 69.118%

5. Megan Lane (CAN), Caravella, 2001 Dutch Warmblood mare by Contango x P.Riviera x Riverman owned by Megan Lane: 71.078%, 67.843%, 68.627%, 68.725%, 68.725%, 69.000%

6. Katherine Bateson Chandler (USA), Alcazar, 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Contango x Polina x Ferro owned by Jane Forbes Clark: 69.608%, 68.627%, 67.941%, 67.549%, 67.745%, 68.294%

7. Susan Dutta (USA), Currency DC, 2000 Oldenburg gelding by Clintino x Cinderella x Classiker owned by Tim & Susan Dutta: 68.039%, 66.176%, 67.255%, 65.588%, 67.843%, 66.980%

8. Kathy Priest (USA), Wild Dancer, 2003 Dutch Warmblood mare by Florett AS x Reality B x Mantovani owned by Kathey Priest: 65.588%, 65.098%, 67.353%, 65.980%, 63.039%, 65.412%

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