The Adequan U.S. Para Dressage Team kicked off the 2020 competition season with a win at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 1 CPEDI3* and a different team captured a team win in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 3 CPEDI3*.
Week 1 for the U.S. Para Dressage Team
“All the riders did really well, which is great,” Assouline said. “I’m pleased with the group of riders; they did better tests and were better prepared for the competition. The team had our best average ever on the world stage with a score 75.55%.”
Trunnell, of Wellington, Fla., had a phenomenal week of competition with Dolton, earning personal best scores, breaking into the 80% threshold and sweeping the Grade I CPEDI3* classes. She and the eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Flintwoode Farms, LLC, and Karin Flint impressed the judges to earn a score of 81.131% in the FEI Grade I Team Test. They then earned 81.964% in the FEI Grade I Individual Test. Trunnell and Dolton continued to show their skill by earning 83.167% in the FEI Grade I Freestyle.
“Roxanne Trunnell bumped up into the limelight this week,” Assouline said after the team competed. “When I saw [Dolton] as a young horse, I knew he had the makings of a world-class para dressage horse. He and Roxanne have developed a wonderful partnership. I knew the scores would come, but it was only a matter of how long.”
Botana, of Portland, Maine, gave strong performances with Lord Locksley for the U.S. Para Dressage Team, starting off with a score of 72.381% to place fourth in the FEI Grade I Team Test. He and the 19-year-old Trakehner stallion owned by Margaret Stevens and Susanne Hamilton tallied a score of 71.548% in the FEI Grade I Individual Test to place second. They closed out the competition with a fourth-place finish in the FEI Grade I Freestyle on a score of 73.000%.
Shoemaker, of Wellington, Fla., won two Grade IV classes with Solitaer 40, beginning with the FEI Grade IV Team Test claiming the win with a score of 71.667%. She and the 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Kate Shoemaker, Craig Shoemaker, and Deena Shoemaker went on to earn a score of 74.634% in the FEI Grade IV Individual Test.
Hart, of Loxahatchee, Fla., had respectable tests with her team mount El Corona Texel. She and Rowan O’Riley’s 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding placed fourth in the FEI Grade III Team Test with a score of 64.314%. The pair improved their score in the FEI Grade III Individual Test to place second with a score of 66.863% to close out their week.
Week 3 at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival
During the U.S. Para Dressage Team’s second official outing of the 2020 season, they captured another win. Team competition began on Wednesday, January 22, and continued on Friday, January 24, while the individual FEI Para Freestyle Tests were hosted under the lights on Saturday evening. The team of Beatrice de Lavalette, Marie Vonderheyden, and again with Hart and Trunnell, who were all led by Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline.
“We had in mind that we were going to try new combinations this week and what we did was put Beatrice and Marie into the group, and they did very well,” said Assouline. “Marie was very consistent and finished on good scores. She had a high individual score of international quality in the freestyle, and Beatrice did very well too. She had a great score the first day. She is going to continue working on fitness this spring, and she was able to score into the 70’s, which is what we want to see.”
“Roxanne and Rebecca did brilliantly,” continued Assouline. “Roxanne did extremely well. As a coach and an observer, the quality of the work was incredible. I think it was one of the best freestyles she’s ever ridden and she’s maintaining her progress. Rebecca experimented and rode in a double bridle on the second day, which she hasn’t done in a long time, and we felt that it was a good decision. She had a great score in the freestyle and the individual test. Our aim is to carry on with this progression and the final target is the June CPEDI in Tryon.”
Competing for the first time this year with the Adequan U.S. Para Dressage Team, Lavalette, of Lake Worth Beach, Fla., rode Duna, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare she co-owns with Elizabeth de Lavalette and Nicolas de Lavalette to wins in both the FEI Grade II Team Test and FEI Grade II Individual Test with scores of 71.263% and 67.490%, respectively. The pair finished their weekend with a second place in the FEI Grade II Freestyle with a score of 71.156%.
Hart, a veteran team competitor, piloted El Corona Texel, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Rowan O’Riley, in FEI Grade III competition. The duo took second place in the FEI Grade III Team Test with a score of 67.304% and a first place in the FEI Grade III Individual Test with a score of 72.304%. Hart and El Corona Texel secured second place in the FEI Grade III Freestyle, receiving a 73.100%.
Trunnell and Dolton once again rose to the occasion, sweeping all classes in FEI Grade I competition. The pair earned a 77.738% in the FEI Grade I Team Test, before securing a 78.572% in the FEI Grade I Individual Test. Trunnell and Dolton went on to capture their second score above 80% in the FEI Grade I Freestyle Test, receiving an 81.878% from the judging panel.
Marie Vonderheyden, of Wellington, Fla., and London Swing, an 18-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Eleanor Brimmer and Liza MacMillan, also competed with the Adequan U.S. Para Dressage team for the first time this year in Grade I competition. The pair earned a third-place finish in the FEI Grade I Team Test with a score of 69.762%, as well as a third place in the FEI Grade I Individual Test after receiving a 72.678%. Vonderheyden and London Swing earned a 75.945% in the FEI Grade I Freestyle.
Both weeks of CPEDI3* competition at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival this year have coincided with an FEI CDI dressage competition, and Assouline commented on how the schedule created added excitement and interest in the U.S. Para Dressage program and its athletes.
“It was such a different atmosphere running with the CDI. We had so many people engaging with the program and our athletes. I think the competition schedule was very beneficial, not only for our competing athletes, but also successfully brought more exposure and interest in the program, which is very promising,” he concluded.
View results of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 3 CPEDI3*.