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Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team Finishes Fourth in FEI Dressage Nations Cup Aachen CDIO5*

by | Jul 4, 2024, 1:24 PM

Aachen, Germany – The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team finished fourth overall in the FEI Dressage Nations Cup Aachen CDIO5* as a final competition for several combinations before the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, completing on a final team total of 214.283. Germany finished in first on a combined total of 228.173, while the Netherlands took second on a 215.674, and Denmark third on a 214.544.

"Overall, I'm pleased with our performances today. Anna Marek delivered exactly what I expected - gave us a solid test produced by such good riding and setting the tone for our team. Second in the order, we had Anna Buffini and Fiontini. Anna showed us her talent as she guided her powerful mare through the test with such feel and focus," said Chef d'Equipe Christine Traurig. 

"Endel Ots did a super job with Bohemian - I continue to be impressed. They are riding clean tests and Endel has formed a remarkable relationship with Bo in such a short time. Marcus Orlob and Jane continue to draw the attention of riders, trainers and judges! They are also a combination which has been together for less than six months and only continue to improve with every test together. What makes us all especially proud is that Jane was 'made in the USA' and we love that. I am so proud of our riders today and looking forward to the rest of the competition together." 

Anna Marek (Williston, Fla.) and Fire Fly were the combination selected by Chef d’Equipe Christine Traurig to lead-off the team, which saw the U.S. draw fifth of eight total competing teams. Marek and Fire Fly, a 2010 KWPN (Briar Junior x Arieka) gelding owned by Janet Simile and cared for by Katherine Esterline, who were team gold medalists and individual bronze medalists at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santigo, Chile, produced a solid start to the day, earning a 69.522% from the judging panel. The pair were workmanlike, but a mistake in their one-tempis dropped their trending score just below the 70% mark.


In just their third competition in Europe as a combination, Anna Buffini (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) and Fiontini, her own 2010 Danish Warmblood (Fassbinder x Rapitala) mare cared for by Michael Hernandez, were reserved in their work with a very strong trot tour, which received positive marks from the judging panel. A miscommunication in their one-tempis impacted their overall scores in the canter tour, but Fiontini’s piaffe passage down the centerline was a highlight ahead of their final salute.

As the day continued, the atmosphere in Deutsche Bank Stadium grew, and by the time Endel Ots (Wellington, Fla.) and Zen Elite’s Bohemian entered the centerline, the stadium was full of spectators and fans. Ots and Zen Elite’s Bohemian, a 2010 Westphalian (Bordeaux x Sunshine) gelding owned by Zen Elite Equestrian Center and cared for by Caroline Hoerdum, were accurate and precise both in their trot and canter work, producing a mistake-free test for the team. The duo was rewarded for their piaffe and passage work, earning a 71.435% to help push the team further up in the overall standings.

“I have never ridden in an atmosphere like that. It was just very cool and fun. I wanted to do a nice clean, consistent, solid ride and I felt great. Normally, I’m quite shaky and nervous when I come out, and was confident and good in there,” said Ots of his test with Zen Elite’s Bohemian. “Each test I learn something new with him and since we’ve only been together for six months, I feel like there is so much positive, but also so much to continue to work on together. Riding in front of a crowd like that on the Fourth of July and representing your country – really is just an unmatched feeling.”

Marcus Orlob (Wellington, Fla.) and Jane, who will be heading to their first Olympic Games together in just a few weeks were tasked with the anchor role for the team and were pressured to produce a strong score for the team to keep them in the hunt for the podium. Orlob and the 2014 Dutch Warmblood (Desperado x Zandra) mare owned and cared for by Alice Tarjan settled into their test, with some impressive moments, to earn a 73.326%. At just nine, Jane is a talent for the future, and Orlob showed her natural ability and athleticism throughout their test. The pair impressed, earning marks of 8.0 and 8.5 in their piaffe and passage and were trending above the 76% mark for periods of their test.

“Once I turned on the first extended trot, she took a breath, and while she was still a little tense and looky, she wanted me to drive, so I felt like I could really ride and was in a good place,” said Orlob. “I think this horse, with a new experience, with all this crowd and stadium, she’s learning and she’s smart and she allows me to push her each show a little more, which I love. I feel like I’m starting to be able to show the brilliance she really has. I was just happy with her because i finished on a good note today and I think we’re going to be able to trust each other more after this.” 

The team will return on Saturday, July 6, to contest the FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO5*, with the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO5* to take place in the morning on Sunday, July 7, to conclude the Nations Cup classes.

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