Anna Marek (USA) and Janet Simile’s 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood Fire Fly were the number-one pick of all five judges in the Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Olympia Footing. Despite a two-hour storm delay midway through, the day’s marquee class produced some pleasing performances during week one of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL.
The youngest horse in the class, Harmony Sporthorses’ 10-year-old Harmony’s V-Plus slotted into second under his part-owner Susan Pape (GBR). The Oldenburg stallion by Vivaldi x Fürst Romancier was contesting his second ever CDI at big tour and finished with a new personal best in the Special of 69.234%. Pape has produced him since he was a youngster.
From first draw in the class, seven-time Swedish Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén held onto third place riding Lövsta Stuteri’s 12-year-old mare Hyatt (by Apache x Sandreo) to 68.83%. This was also the horse’s second big tour CDI, and her first run through the Special in the International Stadium.
Marek also topped Thursday’s qualifying Grand Prix class on Fire Fly (by Briar Junior x OO Seven), with whom she won a Pan American Games team gold medal in the fall of 2023.
“He was a little more tense than I’m used to in the Freestyle,” admitted Marek, who is based near Ocala, FL. “He had a giant spook in the same corner that my other horse Fyvvel did. I thought it was the fern, then I was thinking to myself, maybe they’re not afraid of the fern; I’m afraid of the fern. Then we got our flow, and then he was great.”
In the FEI Young Riders Individual test, presented by Prestige Italia USA, Australian teenager Kate Kyros extended her unbeaten run this week, riding the 11-year-old stallion Intro K (by Apache x Rousseau) to 71.5%.
“This is our first ever season in Wellington with the horses,” said the 19-year-old. “It’s been so exciting to hear the Australian anthem played so many times. It’s hard coming from a different country; you never really know where you’re going to stand with scores and the other competitors, but we’re over the moon. I’m looking forward to being able to compete so often because that’s what we miss out on at home.”
For more information and results, visit https://gdf.coth.com.