US claims Nations Cup dressage spoils in Florida

Laura Graves and Verdades from the winning US team.
Laura Graves and Verdades from the winning US team. © Susan Stickle

The US and Canada dominated in the second leg of the FEI Nations Cup Dressage 2015 pilot series in Wellington, Florida, on Thursday, with US teams taking first and fourth and Canada second and third.

The side of Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (Rassing’s Lonoir), Kimberly Herslow (Rosmarin), Allison Brock (Rosevelt) and Laura Graves (Verdades) established the advantage on Wednesday and stood firm to finish well ahead of the second-placed Canada 1 Team on Thursday night, while Canada 2 slotted into third.

Teams consisted of both Big Tour and Small Tour partnerships, and a total of eight sides from six nations lined out. However Australia, Colombia and Guatemala did not field Big Tour competitors and therefore did not earn an official finishing spot. Team USA 2 claimed fourth place ahead of Germany in fifth.

USA 1 got off to a great start after Wednesday’s FEI Prix St Georges and FEI Grand Prix classes  in which all four riders scored over 70 percent, and that put US Chef d’Equipe, Robert Dover, in a very positive mood.

USA 1 pathfinder, LaGoy Weltz, led the way with an expressive performance from Rassing’s Lonoir in the Prix St George to earn a mark of 71.605 and Herslow followed with a mark of 73.684 with Rosmarin.

There was a bonus 1.5 percent on offer in the Grand Prix which brought Allison Brock’s score with Rosevelt to 73.700, and she was pleased with how her horse coped with the pressure. Graves and Verdades were always expected to be the star billing, and lived up to expectations when posting a total of 75.920. This pair is putting in their final preparations for the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas which kicks off in just over two weeks’ time.

USA 1 carried a score of 223.304 into the decider, with Canada 1 less than seven marks adrift and USA 2 another seven marks further behind but stalked closely by Canada 2 and just over a point ahead of Team Germany in fifth place.

On Thursday the Small Tour combinations performed the FEI Intermediaire 1 while Big Tour partnerships rode the FEI Grand Grand Prix Special, and there was a 1.5 percent bonus on offer again to the Big Tour combinations. Thoroughly consistent, all four members of USA 1 team again produced scores above 70 percent, and Kimberley Herslow’s 76.158 in the Intermediaire 1 was a personal best. Brock also posted a personal best in the Special with a mark of 74.255 percent despite a few glitches in the one-tempi changes, while Dover’s confidence in his side was further underpinned by victory in the Special for Graves and Verdades who scored 75.882.

“I love getting goosebumps when I watch rides, and I got them today from this team,” the winning Chef d’Equipe said afterwards. “I feel not only extremely confident moving towards the Pan American Games and the European tour we are about to go on, but also on our way to Rio (Olympic Games 2016) with more and more depth in America in this sport than we have ever seen before”.

The same could also be said for Canada, with Dressage Canada’s Chef-in-Training Alison Martin saying that she and technical adviser Volker Moritz “stopped counting the number of personal best scores”.

“Everyone put in amazing performances. I couldn’t be happier with both teams’ results,” Martin said.

USA 1 finished over 14 points ahead of Canada 1’s Diane Creech (Robbie), Chris von Martels (Zilverstar), Megan Lane (Caravella) and Belinda Trussell (Anton) in runner-up spot, while Canada 2s Tina Irwin (Fancy That), Christilot Boylen (Donatella 79), Shannon Dueck (Cantaris) and Jill Irving (Degas 12) were another 14 points adrift. There was no drop score for the fourth-place USA 2 team as there were only three team members – Christophe Hickey (Ronaldo), Kasey Perry (Goeklintgaards Dublet) and Jill Irving (Degas 12). Their total of 424.221 left them just off the podium but with more than a three-point advantage over Germany’s Neve Myburgh (Bon Chance), Michael Klimke (Djamba Djokiba), Patricia Koschel (Leuchtfeuer DE) and Christoph Koschel (Tiesto) in fifth place.

The next leg of the series will take place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, from June 17 to 21.

Result:

  1.  USA 1, 452.999: Rassing’s Lonoir (Olivia LaGoy-Weltz) 142.973, Rosmarin (Kimberly Herslow) 149.842, Rosevelt (Allison Brock0 149.455, Verdades (Laura Graves) 153.302.
  2.  Canada 1, 438.966: Robbie W (Diane Creech) 144.342, Zilverstar (Chris von Martels) 148.211, Caravella (Megan Lane) 144.528, Anton (Belinda Trussell) 146.413.
  3.  Canada 2, 424.774: Fancy That (Tina Irwin) 138.579, Donatella 79 (Christilot Boylen) 144.711, Cantaris (Shannon Dueck) 140.921, Degas 12 (Jill Irving) 139.051.
  4.  USA 2, 424.221: Ronaldo (Christopher Hickey) 141.473, Goerklintgaards Dublet (Kasey Perry) 144.895, Mane Stream Hotmail (Catherine Haddad-Staller) 137.853.
  5.  Germany, 420.509: Bon Chance (Neve Myburgh) 138.290, Djamba Djokiba (Michael Klimke) 140.658, Leuchtfeuer DE (Patricia Koschel) 137.132, Tiesto (Christoph Koschel) 141.561.
On the podium for the second leg of the FEI Nations Cup Dressage 2015 series in Wellington, USA
On the podium for the second leg of the FEI Nations Cup Dressage 2015 series in Wellington, USA (from left) – third-placed Team Canada 2, Jill Irving, Tina Irwin, Christilot Boylen and Shannon Dueck; the winners, Team USA 1, Kimberly Herslow, Allison Brock, Laura Graves and Olivia LaGoy-Weltz; and second-placed Team Canada 1, Diane Creech, Belinda Trussell, Chris Von Martels and Megan Lane. In the foreground, Arlene Page, Robert Dover, Debbie MacDonald, Diane Sasser, Allyn Mann and Thomas Bauer. © FEI/Susan Stickle

Louise Parkes

Louise Parkes is an equestrian journalist based in Ireland. She has covered international equestrian sport for the last 16 years on behalf of the FEI and is a familiar face at all major events. » Read Louise's profile

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