Wellington, Fla. – March 5, 2021 – Week 8 of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) continued on Friday, March 5, with the CDI-W Grand Prix to qualify for the Grand Prix Freestyle. U.S. rider Olivia LayGoy-Weltz topped her high score from Week One of the AGDF in this week’s world cup qualifier, thrilled to be back in the international arena after several weeks out of the competition.
LaGoy-Weltz earned a score of 75.739% aboard her longtime mount, 17-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Rassing’s Lonoir. The pair has had an extensive career together, first riding on a Nations Cup Team for the U.S. in 2015, and they went on to ride in the Nations Cups in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and Aachen, Germany, in 2017. The 2018 season also held a performance on the U.S. Nations Cup team in Wellington where they earned team gold, and Rotterdam, where they earned the bronze medal.
She was pleased with their improved accuracy and consistency attained over the season, even though the gelding sustained what she believes was a minor injury several weeks ago in his stall. The pair took a reprieve from competition last summer following the shutdown of shows due to the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing LaGoy-Weltz to incorporate more hacking and hill work for him in the time off. This kept her gelding in shape, while giving him a much needed break, and allowed them to “ramp up” for the Wellington season.
Rassing’s Lonoir and Weltz are looking to finish out the season on a high note and head into the spring with their focus on the FEI Dressage World Cup Finals to be held in Gothenburg, Sweden. LaGoy-Weltz is striving to maintain consistency and accuracy in her Freestyle test upcoming this weekend, balancing just the right amount of energy and keeping Lonoir with her throughout the movements.
Finishing in second place with a score of 69.456% was Canadian rider Jill Irving aboard her longtime mount 16-year-old KWPN gelding, Arthur. Irving’s special bond with Arthur has lead them to their 2021 success at the AGDF with top placings in several CDI3* and CDI-W competitions, and the pair competed in their first CDI5* Grand Prix just last week. After first partnering together in 2017, the combination has seen continuous progress, even having the opportunity to ride on the Wellington Nations Cup team for Canada two years ago where they earned a team silver medal.
After a successful few weeks showing in the CDI3* and CDI4* competitions, U.S. rider Mette Rosencrantz took home the third-place finish with her 15-year-old Oldenberg stallion Dzeko. After a consistent test, Rosencrantz and Dzeko scored a 68.696%, just shy of second-place finisher Irving.
Competition in the AGDF 8 will resume on Saturday, March 6, at 8 a.m. with the Preliminary Young Horse Test for 6 Year-Olds.
Results: CDI-W Grand Prix for the Freestyle
Place / Rider / Country / Horse / Total Score
1. Olivia LaGoy-Weltz / USA / Rassing’s Lonoir / 75.739
2. Jill Irving / CAN / Arthur / 69.456
3. Mette Rosencrantz / USA / Dzeko / 68.696
4. Jan Ebeling / USA / Status Royal OLD / 68.457
5. Dongseon Kim / KOR / DSK Belstaff / 66.804
6. Missy Gilliland / USA / Toledano XXXI / 65.174
7. Evi Stasser / CAN / Deja Vu Tyme / 63.957
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Olivia LaGoy-Weltz – CDI-W Grand Prix for the Freestyle First Place
On her test:
“He stayed with me, it felt like he got a little hot when he went in there. Our goal for today was to try and do a clean test. It was almost clean with just a little jig in the walk. For me, he gives a lot, so I try to get more collection and more brilliance, along with accuracy. That was the plan and I feel like we executed well on this and it was pretty cool. He put his own hair on fire when we run around the outside but he stayed back with me and stayed up with me. We ride the line between keeping him quiet, but then he is less brilliant. We try to amp up the brilliance but keep the consistency. It’s just getting better and better.”
On their recent training:
“It’s basically just been accuracy we’ve focused on. We were really happy with the last show and if it had been clean, it would have been closer to this score. If this test were clean, it would have been even higher so that’s really exciting. It’s really exciting [to have a new personal best], especially when it feels like it was just another day in the office. You’re just out there trying to ride well every day, and you hope that carries on.”
On her strategy for the rest of the season and into the summer:
“For the moment our strategy is focusing on World Cup. We had a different plan but before the last world cup qualifier, we think he got stuck in the stall and got a fat leg, so we had to scratch. We were going to that show then the five star. So when that happened, it pushed the whole time line back. I made the decision to just to focus on World Cup right now and take the pressure off. We will squeeze in Grand Prix Specials in between and do our best with that, and take the Olympics as it comes afterwards. We will plan to do as well as we can and see what happens from there.”
On what she hopes to improve in Freestyle:
“Hopefully we will walk! Staying in the walk would be good. I was really happy with this, if we can go in and keep producing. The biggest thing with this sport is repeatability, quality is key. So you can show absolute moments of brilliance, but it’s about being able to go in there and do it consistently and well. Riding that line of relaxation and power. I think if we put in a similar performance, and there is even more we have in training, we’ll keep trying.”