Two extraordinary riding performances from less than ideal starts snagged the top two spots in the BluCreeq Spirits CDI3* Grand Prix Special on Saturday. Both the winner, Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén (SWE), and Ashley Holzer (USA) had to contend with tension but clawed back the marks during their tests from low starts.
Vilhelmson Silfvén’s ride on Hyatt, Lövsta Stuteri’s mare by Apache, began with miscommunications on the first centerline, resulting in an opening trending score of 35% from the panel of five judges. By the end of her test, the big screen flashed up her final winning score of 70.596%.
Holzer finished just 0.022 percentage points adrift of Vilhelmson Silfvén, riding PJ Rizvi’s Blue Hors Don Olymbrio son Hansel to 70.574%. The 11-year-old gelding took fright going around the edge and Holzer had to work diligently throughout the test to manage the powerful horse’s tension. Australia’s Jemma Heran posted a new personal best of 70.319% aboard her own light-footed 15-year-old San Amour mare, Saphira Royal 2. They bagged third place, meaning that the podium finishers represented three different continents.
Vilhelmson Silfvén’s score is the highest yet with the inexperienced 12-year-old mare. This is the pair’s third big tour CDI together and only their second Grand Prix Special since sourcing Hyatt at Hof Kasselmann in Germany.
“The entry was a bit exciting and I kinda did all the movements before the first salute, because she was a little bit afraid to go in,” said Vilhelmson Silfvén, who is a regular on the AGDF winter circuit. “But she has to learn. I got a more difficult start than I expected, but I’m very pleased that I could ride without really any mistakes, even though she was focused on more than just me. She’s still so eager to do what I want, but it’s more difficult to keep her steady and in the frame that I want, because she gets a little excited.
“My hopes are big for her, but I want to take it slow and careful,” she added. “It’s a big responsibility to have such an ambitious horse and I want to treat that ambition well and give her good experiences. She is so soft and athletic and electric; she can do anything with her body.”
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