Wellington, Fla. – For the second day in a row, it was gold for a U.S. team as The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team secured the top spot on Thursday, March 14, in the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ USA CDIO3* presented by Stillpoint Farm and held during the 2019 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) 10 in Wellington, Fla. Earning the win for The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team with a total score of 437.693 were team members Jennifer Baumert (Wellington, Fla.), Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.), Ashley Holzer (Wellington, Fla.), and Charlotte Jorst (Reno, Nev.). They were led by Chef d’Equipe Debbie McDonald.
The silver medal went to Canada on a score of 433.685, while Germany finished in the bronze position with 402.724 points. The top three scores from each team’s combinations from Wednesday’s competition (the FEI Prix St. Georges and FEI Grand Prix CDIO3*) were added to the top three scores from Thursday’s competition (the FEI Intermediaire I and FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO3*) to make up the team totals.
Starting out the team results on Thursday was Holzer, who rode her own Valentine, a nine-year-old Hanoverian mare, to a score of 71.265% in the FEI Intermediaire I test.
While Holzer has plenty of team experience in her long and successful career that includes four Olympic Games for Canada, she still feels the nerves when it comes to riding on a team.
“I think it’s amazing to have more opportunities to ride on a team,” she said. “There is a team pressure that comes on, no matter if it’s a Nations Cup here in Wellington where you ride a lot. All of us have the same feeling: that it’s a huge responsibility when your ride matters not only to yourself and your sponsor, but also to your teammates.”
The second horse and rider combination in the FEI Intermediaire I division was Baumert with Handsome, Betsy Juliano LLC’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding. They scored 70.941%.
“I’m certainly very honored to have made the team,” said Baumert, who was making her U.S. Nations Cup team debut. “It feels amazing to have these three wonderful ladies here with me and to have won the gold. A big thanks goes to The Dutta Corp. for making this all happen and my owner Betsy Juliano. I was really happy with my horse over the last two days…Thanks to Debbie, I trusted him a little more, put him a little more together, and let him do his job...It was a much better feeling, so I was really thrilled.”
Along with the two small tour riders were Francis and Jorst competing in the large tour FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO3*. The format for this Nations Cup is unique, with a mix of small and large tour riders but is also the format that will be similar to the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
Danilo, Patricia Stempel’s 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding, and Francis scored 72.947% in the FEI Grand Prix Special.
“I am really excited with Danilo in this whole show so far, because he’s getting more consistent,” said Francis. “He feels awesome and more honest, and I feel like it was a great show.”
Jorst rode Kastel’s Nintendo, Kastel Denmark’s 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion, to a score of 72.564%.
“I thought it was a tremendous experience to be here in Wellington [for the Nations Cup] because you know, I was weak in the knees when I saw my teammates go in,” said Jorst. “You’re more nervous for them than you would ever be for yourself, and I think it’s such a fantastic opportunity for us.”
Regarding her two days of competition, Jorst said, “The highlight for me was the learning experience from yesterday to today. For me, it’s always [about] having great rides and getting better at something.”
This was the first team competition for Debbie McDonald as the newly named Technical Advisor and Technical Advisor for The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team.
“It definitely is a different mindset for me,” McDonald noted. “I have had athletes I coached in the Olympic Games; I’ve been on a team in the Olympics. I’ve never been a Chef [d’Equipe] for a team to bring home a medal. I keep thinking way forward now. I’m thinking of Tokyo , and we want this to keep being a progression and an uphill trend.
“It was really good sport today because the Canadians were right there,” she continued. “It was down to the wire, to the last horse in the ring. If you’re just looking at the sport, that’s what we need more of. We need that element of suspense that we had today. I wish we had more Nations Cups for that reason. People can get involved and look at it in a different light. I’m incredibly honored to be the new [technical advisor] and hope we can keep moving in this trend.”
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