Mill Spring, N.C. – June 21, 2021 – Competition concluded at the Tryon Summer Dressage CPEDI3* this weekend, with all 12 athlete-and-horse combinations completing their FEI Para Team Tests on Saturday night and 11 combinations performing their FEI Freestyle Tests on Sunday morning.
Friday’s Individual Test scores and Saturday’s Team Test scores were combined with Sunday’s FEI Para Dressage Freestyle Test scores at a ratio of 40%, 40%, and 20%, respectively, to determine individual winners for the CPEDI3*.
The U.S. Para Dressage Team had a successful outing at Tryon with one combination achieving a new personal best in their FEI Team Tests. Roxanne Trunnell and Karin Flint’s Hanoverian gelding, Dolton, were expected to post a formidable score, but the 84.702% in the FEI Grade I Team Test was exceptional, even for the FEI’s top-ranked pair.
“I was really excited about the huge score in the team test,” said Trunnell. “I wasn’t aware that it was a world record until later, so it was the icing on the cake for an already outstanding ride. My trainer calls the Team Test “the centerline test,” since there are so many movements on the centerline. We’ve been working a lot on making them dead straight and not allowing Dolton to anticipate turning if I need to bend him a little bit while on the line. I think all that work paid off; one of the judges said we had very good centerlines so we must be doing something right!”
Kate Shoemaker and Solitaer 40 had an electric test, with the Hanoverian gelding showing off his athleticism under the lights. The pair finished with a 74.250% in the Grade IV, giving them the second highest score of the competition after the team tests.
“Soli is a pretty chill guy, and we’ve carefully trained to make him spicier in his work,” said Shoemaker. “A couple of years ago, he became a bit too hot, but at 14 years old now, he seems to be settling into a really confident place. This weekend, he was so rideable in the ring; it’s everything we’ve been working toward.”
Rebecca Hart of Loxahatchee, Florida and Rowan O’Riley’s Dutch Warmblood gelding, El Corona Texel, had the top ride in the Grade III, earning a 72.941% for their clean and flashy test. Sydney Collier of Ann Arbor, Michigan and Going for Gold LLC’s All In One continued to refine their partnership and finished their Grade I test with a score of 71.250%.
Looking ahead to team selection and the Tokyo Paralympic Games on the horizon, Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline sees big things for the U.S. Para Dressage program’s future.
“This was a magical CPEDI3* for Team USA with another world record score for Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton,” said Assouline. “All four of our team members had great performances and strong scores, setting up a strong base toward Tokyo.”
The Tryon Summer Dressage CPEDI3* concluded with the FEI Freestyle Tests on Sunday morning in the rain at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. Trunnell and Dolton were the final combination on the schedule, and they closed out the competition on a high note. Performing to music from the “Forrest Gump” score, the pair completed a near-perfect test despite the inclement weather conditions, and posted a score of 89.522%, securing a decisive win in the individual standings. Not only was this huge score a personal best for the pair, but it was a world record for an FEI Para Dressage Freestyle Test.
“Getting that huge score was a bit of a surprise since my trainer and I changed up the entry to my freestyle and really hadn’t had much practice doing it that way,” said Trunnell. “I used to halt and have my trainer signal to start the music, but with that he would just get walking and have to halt again, so it was difficult to get a nice balanced, square halt on the entry. Now my trainer signals for the music when I walk by the spot where I used to stop so that I can keep walking straight into the first halt and nail it! It was a bit of a gamble to do the entry like this, but it paid off and I think we will continue doing the entry this way!”
Reserve champions Shoemaker and Solitaer 40 turned in another big test, debuting a new freestyle to an original piece of music created to highlight their strengths.
“I could not have been more proud of Soli this weekend, especially with riding our freestyle in the rain,” said Shoemaker. “While the stormy weather made the music a bit harder to hear, I was thrilled with how well the music came off, this being our first time riding to it in competition. Tom Hunt wrote an original composition specifically for Soli and the choreography so that we could really highlight every single section of the ride. I’m delighted with how the music turned out. I could not stop smiling by the time I got to the canter work!”