Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 13, 2022 – International competition at the 2022 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) kicked off on Thursday, welcoming some of the world’s top horse-and-rider combinations to the venue that is home to world-class dressage all winter long. Starting out the morning on the right foot, Germany’s Frederic Wandres bested the field of twelve pairs to take home the first victory of the season aboard Bluetooth OLD with a score of 74.158%.
The shortened Grand Prix format was first introduced at the end of 2020 for use in the FEI World Cup seasons going forward. With the goal of keeping the audience engaged and perhaps attracting new viewers to the dressage arena, the shortened Grand Prix is said to be of equal difficulty to the original Grand Prix and therefore worth the same amount of points when contributing to international rankings.
Wandres and Bluetooth OLD, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding, began their partnership just last year after the talented horse was acquired from Ingrid Klimke. The promising youngster first started his career with Eva Möller and Steffen Frahm, attending the 2019 World Championships for Young Horses in Ermelo with an 11th place finish. Since then, Wandres and the gelding have seen much success, riding at Aachen in 2021 with a score of 79.33% in the Grand Prix Freestyle, and winning several other CDI-W and CDI3* Grand Prix classes. This year is the Wandres’ first season competing Bluetooth OLD in Wellington, and is hopeful that he will be an FEI World Cup Finals contender.
Finishing in second place was USA’s Anna Buffini on her own FRH Davinia La Douce, a 15-year-old Hanoverian mare, with a score of 71.684%. The pair began their partnership in 2020, claiming top placings in the Grand Prix in Thermal, California, before making the trip to Wellington for the winter season last year. After a fruitful 2021 season gaining more experience together in the international arena, Buffini and FRH Davinia La Douce traveled to Europe to train and compete Achleiten, Rotterdam, and Aachen, where they most recently helped the United States take home a fourth place finish in the CDIO5* Nations Cup.
Fellow American rider Ashley Holzer rode into third place aboard Diane Fellows’ Havanna 145, a 15-year-old Hanoverian mare, with a score of 70.632%. Holzer and Havanna 145 held the lead for the first portion of the class until Wandres overtook them, but was awarded high marks for their consistent test. The pair has had an immensely successful career together thus far, most recently winning the CDI-W Short Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle in Ocala, Florida, with scores up to 79.365%.
Competition at the AGDF will resume Friday, Jan. 14, with the first Grand Prix Freestyle of the season under the stadium lights at 7 p.m.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Frederic Wandres – CDI-W Short Grand Prix Winner
On being back in Wellington:
“It’s fantastic, to be honest. This was my first test in the Wellington season now, and we are back with spectators, that is something I really enjoy and I’m very happy about. Last year it was a little bit sad that we couldn’t have any spectators. So I’m very happy for the visitors to come and see our horses again. That is very good for our sport. The weather is super, so everything’s perfect.”
On Bluetooth’s first time in Florida:
“He came here a few days before Christmas, so he had enough time to acclimate. I noticed a bit in the last season that the horses need a little time to breathe through everything, so we had good timing. Bluetooth has been here for nearly 3-4 weeks and that was perfect timing for him.”
On Bluetooth OLD:
“I’ve had him for one year. Ingrid Klimke was his previous rider. I was competing with him in some shows before in Europe and in Aachen. He was fantastic. I learned last season that the horses here take a lot of experience home with them, that’s a big plus. I’m so looking forward to seeing the results of Bluetooth’s Florida experience. I’m excited for the World Cup Grand Prix. If the shows run the way we would hope, Duke [of Britain] would be my first choice to compete [in World Cup Finals], but it’s always good to have a horse standing behind: that would be Bluetooth. I think it’s good that he can train the freestyle as well. I’m very happy with him.”
On the test:
“I think he has a very elastic and nice trot half-pass. The piaffe and passage has also developed really well, that’s what we were working for. Sadly I had a little mistake in the two-tempis. I could feel when I came out of the zig zag that there was a little irritation with the fences. Having an interruption in the middle of a test was a little bit sad. In the canter I can improve a little, but the exercises I think are really important, the piaffe and the passage, felt good and have developed already since the last show so I’m happy with that.”
On his future plans:
“My plan for this season is to do one or two more shows, maybe another World Cup class. On top of that, Bluetooth is for sale, so maybe we can find a match for him here. If not, I’m very happy to keep him. We’ll keep him going at home and training for the next season. I think he has improved more and more and I’m very happy to have him.”
Results: CDI-W Short Grand Prix
Place / Rider / Country / Horse / Owner / Score
1. Frederic Wandres / GER / Bluetooth OLD / Elena Knyaginicheva & Sergey Knyaginichev / 74.158%
2. Anna Buffini / USA / FRH Davinia La Douce / Anna Buffini / 71.684%
3. Ashley Holzer / USA / Havanna 145 / Diane Fellows / 70.632%
4. Mikala Münter / USA / Salsa HIT / Paul Blint / 70.5%
5. Katie Duerrhammer / USA / Quartett / Kylee Lourie / 70.237%
6. Jan Ebeling / USA / Status Royal Old / Ann Romney / 67.079%
7. Evi Strasser / CAN / Déjà Vu Tyme / Evi Strasser / 66.395
7. Codi Harrison / USA / Katholt’s Bossco / Codi Harrison / 66.395%
8. Paula Matute Guimón / ESP / Delagronge / Paula Matute Guimón / 65.553%
9. Missy Gilliland / USA / Toledano XXXI / Missy Gilliland / 65.0%
10. Sahar Daniel Hirosh / ISR / Whitman / Jane Suwalksy / 64.474%
11. Michael Bragdell / USA / Qredit Hilltop / Hilltop Farm Inc. / 63.211%