March 17, 2023 – Wellington, Fla. – The CDI5* came to an end tonight after the 10 athletes entered in the Grand Prix Freestyle completed their tests. The VIP tent was packed at the International Arena, as spectators are starting to soak in every last moment of the 2023 Wellington season. Next week’s CDI4* will be Adequan Global Dressage Festival’s final internationally recognized dressage event of the winter.
A massive 82.310% led Germany’s Frederic Wandres to the win, making his season with Hof Kasselman’s Bluetooth OLD completely undefeated. The 12-year-old gelding by Bordeaux x Riccione dominated the Grand Prix division, coming out on top in every start he and Wandres made. In fact, Wandres has not been out of the top 3 a single time in 2023 – including on his Small Tour horse, Harrods 3. Wandres took the ride on Bluetooth from Ingrid Klimke almost two years ago. They immediately jumped into the CDI Grand Prix arena, quickly developing into a household name. The pair had great success during the 2022 Adequan Global Dressage Festival circuit, going nearly undefeated. They started this year out with a bang, winning the CDI4* Grand Prix and earning a personal best in the Grand Prix Freestyle during week 3. From there, the pair continued to find themselves finishing with the big blue ribbon, racking up six in total.
Tonight, Wandres rode to a new soundtrack, which received a “10” from one judge. Another highlight was the piaffe/passage work.
“He and I started at a high this year and it is not so easy over three months to keep that – to keep them happy, sound, everything. It is even more difficult as they are not used to the heat. I had such a super feeling yesterday and tonight. I am really, really happy,” Wandres stated.
Sarah Tubman and Summit Farm’s First Apple (Vivaldi x Partout) took home second place with a 77.580% – narrowly missing a new career high. This was Tubman’s first CDI5* competition. She and the chestnut stallion are also no stranger to the podium, coming in top three during five out of eight CDI Grand Prix starts in 2023. In the past the piaffe has been a struggle for First Apple, but tonight he showed reliable, willing steps.
“I am so happy with him. We have used the freestyles to build his confidence – the test is set up so that it can be the best for him. I am proud of my horse tonight. He is a showman, this is his thing. He loves the people, he loves the lights, he loves the cheering – we are learning to take that energy without the tension. I am looking forward to taking what we learned this season over to Europe this summer.”
Third went to Ashley Holzer and her own Valentine (Sir Donnerhall x Ludwig’s Ragazzo), earning a 76.295%. The 13-year-old mare has breathtaking gaits, but especially beautiful and correct passage. Her and Holzer have been together since 2017, living through the ups and downs of dressage together. Their uncharacteristic performance at the World Championships last year caused Holzer to take a step back from the show arena, which has proven to have been an effective choice. When asked if she felt as if their 2023 success means they have exorcized Valentine’s demons, Holzer quickly replied, “No.”
“I am the exact opposite of Sarah. I like no atmosphere, the music very quiet, nobody here. So this is a challenging venue for her. She was tense in the beginning but by the end it was amazing. She felt so energetic and forward, I am excited that she can now come to a show like this and cope. It is great to have these types of venues here in America. And being able to watch people like Frederic and Sarah – it is invaluable.”
CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle Results
Rider / Country / Horse / Score
- Frederic Wandres / GER / Bluetooth OLD / 82.310%
- Sarah Tubman / USA / First Apple / 77.580%
- Ashley Holzer / USA / Valentine / 76.295%
- Anna-Christina Abbelen / GER / Sam Donnerhall / 75.915%
- Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven / SWE / Devanto / 75.385%
- Anna Marek / USA / Fire Fly / 73.390%
- Dong Seon Kim / KOR / Galleria’s Rossetti / 73.320%
- Codi Harrison / USA / Katholt’s Bossco / 72.855%
- Chris Von Martels / CAN / Eclips / 71.025%
- Caroline Chew / SGP / Tribiani / ELIM