Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 28, 2020 – The Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team concluded their second official outing of the 2020 season with a win in team competition at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 3 CPEDI3* in Wellington, Fla. Team competition began on Wednesday, January 22, and continued on Friday, January 24, while the individual FEI Para Freestyle Tests were hosted under the lights on Saturday evening. The team of Beatrice de Lavalette, Rebecca Hart, Roxanne Trunnell, and Marie Vonderheyden were led by Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline.
“We had in mind that we were going to try new combinations this week and what we did was put Beatrice and Marie into the group, and they did very well,” said Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline. “Marie was very consistent and finished on good scores. She had a high individual score of international quality in the Freestyle, and Beatrice did very well too. She had a great score the first day. She is going to continue working on fitness this spring, and she was able to score into the 70’s, which is what we want to see.”
“Roxanne and Rebecca did brilliantly – Roxanne did extremely well. As a coach and an observer, the quality of the work was incredible. I think it was one of the best Freestyles she’s ever ridden and she’s maintaining her progress,” continued Assouline. “Rebecca experimented and rode in a double bridle on the second day, which she hasn’t done in a long time, and we felt that it was a good decision. She had a great score in the Freestyle and the Individual Test. Our aim is to carry on with this progression and the final target is the June CPEDI in Tryon.”
Competing for the first time this year with the Adequan U.S. Para Dressage Team, Beatrice de Lavalette (Lake Worth Beach, Fla.) rode Duna, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare she co-owns with Elizabeth de Lavalette and Nicolas de Lavalette to wins in both the FEI Grade II Team Test and FEI Grade II Individual Test with scores of 71.263% and 67.490%, respectively. The pair finished their weekend with a second place in the FEI Grade II Freestyle with a score of 71.156%.
“We have developed a consistency; every time we do a new test or a new show, I’ve improved,” said de Lavalette, who was the most critically injured survivor of the 2016 Brussels terrorist attack. “Today, I did what I could with what I had. We’ve changed a couple things, so sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It wasn’t the best test, but every time I get on the horse I learn something new.
“I’ve only had her for six months, and I spent quite a lot of time in the hospital during that time which slowed the process of getting to know her, but in the last six weeks, it’s been every day. She’s a queen, but she knows when it’s time to work,” she added.
Rebecca Hart (Loxahatchee, Fla.), a veteran team competitor, piloted El Corona Texel, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Rowan O’Riley, in FEI Grade III competition. The duo took second place in the FEI Grade III Team Test with a score of 67.304% and a first place in the FEI Grade III Individual Test with a score of 72.304%. Hart and El Corona Texel secured second place in the FEI Grade III Freestyle, receiving a 73.100%.
Roxanne Trunnell (Wellington, Fla.) and Dolton, who have started off the season with several impressive performances, once again rose to the occasion, sweeping all classes in FEI Grade I competition. The pair earned a 77.738% in the FEI Grade I Team Test, before securing a 78.572% in the FEI Grade I Individual Test. Trunnell and Dolton, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Flintwoode Farms LLC and Karin Flint, went on to capture their second score above 80% in the FEI Grade I Freestyle Test, receiving an 81.878% from the judging panel.
Marie Vonderheyden (Wellington, Fla.) and London Swing, an 18-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Eleanor Brimmer and Liza MacMillan, also competed with the Adequan U.S. Para Dressage team for the first time this year in Grade I competition. The pair earned a third place finish in the FEI Grade I Team Test with a score of 69.762%, as well as a third place in the FEI Grade I Individual Test after receiving a 72.678%. Vonderheyden and London Swing earned a 75.945% in the FEI Grade I Freestyle.
Both weeks of CPEDI3* competition at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival this year have coincided with an FEI CDI dressage competition and Assouline commented on how the schedule created added excitement and interest in the U.S. Para Dressage program and its athletes.
“It was such a different atmosphere running with the CDI. We had so many people engaging with the program and our athletes. I think the competition schedule was very beneficial, not only for our competing athletes, but also successfully brought more exposure and interest in the program, which is very promising,” he concluded.