Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 27, 2020 – In a packed week of competition at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), featuring the Palm Beach Dressage Derby and the Florida International Youth Championships, the first portion of the 3* Grand Prix kicked off on Thursday morning. The CDI3* Grand Prix to qualify for the Grand Prix Special welcomed thirteen horse-and-rider combinations hailing from six different nations, and ultimately it was Canadian rider Diane Creech aboard Leatherdale Farms’ Chrevi’s Christo who took the top prize.
Creech and Chrevi’s Christo (Chrevis Cavallo – Chrevis La VI, Matador), a 17-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, have been competing in CDIs together since 2013, getting their start in the Prix St. Georges and moving up to the Grand Prix in 2015. They made their AGDF debut together in 2018, when they helped Canada secure a team silver medal in the CDIO3* Nations Cup. The pair kept up their momentum last year, taking top placings in Grand Prix at the AGDF, the CDI3* in Thornton, Ontario, and Dressage at Devon in Pennsylvania. Creech and Chrevi’s Christo were awarded a score of 67.935%
“I was super excited with Christo today,” Creech explained. “He’s so gifted and talented, but at the same time so sensitive. Everyone on our team at Leatherdale Farms loves him to pieces. In the test today, I I thought his piaffe and passage was very consistent and outstanding. For him to come out for his first show of the 2020 season and win with a big class, I’m really excited and proud of how hard he tries. I have to give him a lot of confidence so it’s nice that he is trusting me.”
While this week’s Palm Beach Dressage Derby is the first outing for the gelding owned by Leatherdale Farms since Dressage at Devon in September, he hasn’t missed a beat in his training. The duo let the panel of judges know that he returned to the arena in top shape, and Creech is aiming to improve upon their performance in Saturday’s Grand Prix Special.
U.S. rider Sarah Lockman and First Apple rode into second place with a score of 67.348%. Lockman and First Apple, a 10-year-old KWPN stallion, most recently represented the United States at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima Peru, winning team silver and taking home scores up to 78.98% in the Intermediate I. Ready to step into the international Grand Prix arena for the first time, they traveled to Wellington for the winter to gain experience and accumulate valuable scores.
“I was really happy with him,” Lockman said. “It’s his first time out there and he was such a good boy. We were trending over 70 percent until the final center line, and he had a little flashback from the small tour where X is halt, so I had to remind him to keep moving. Other than that, I’m so proud of him and for a young horse who is green, I don’t think I could’ve asked for more.”
Since coming to Wellington to compete in the winter circuit for the first time this year, Lockman has been campaigning horses in both the CDI and National level arenas with great success. She rode First Apple in Week 5’s National Grand Prix to get her feet wet prior to the CDI, and they earned a score over 70 percent.
“I’m really excited to ride the Special on Saturday because that’s really a test he loves,” she continued. “He’s a really big mover. It has extra extended trots and a lot of passage, which is one of his strengths at the moment. It has lots of long lines for his canter which is really a highlight. He seems to like the way it flows.
“I was really happy to have my coach Scott Hassler here,” Lockman said. “It’s also special to have my owners here, Patricia Ibanez and Asia Bell from Summit Farm, who flew from California to watch First Apple do his debut. It’s fun to be here and be a part of this atmosphere.”
Completing the top three was U.S. rider Nora Batchelder and W Gangster Girl with a 66.522%. Batchelder and W Gangster Girl, a 17-year-old American Warmblood mare owned by Sally Seaver, made their CDI debut earlier this month at the AGDF. Batchelder competed alongside Lockman in last year’s Pan American games aboard Faro SQF, her and Andrea Whitcomb’s 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding.
Results: CDI3* Grand Prix for the Special
1. Diane Creech / CAN / Chrevi’s Christo / 67.935
2. Sarah Lockman / USA / First Apple / 67.348
3. Nora Batchelder / USA / W Gangster Girl / 66.522
4. Signe Kirk Kristiansen / DEN / Her Highness O / 66.152
5. Patricia Becker / USA / Freedom / 65.283
6. Denielle Gallagher-Legriffon / CAN / Wilson Pickett / 64.109
7. Masanao Takahashi / JPN / Eaton Unitechno / 63.913
8. Tina Irwin / CAN / Fancy That / 63.674
9. Andreanna Patzwald / USA / Hudson 18 / 63.63
10. Melanie Thomson / CAN / Donnegan / 62.935