Wellington, Fla. – March 15, 2019 – On the final day of the 2019 FEI Nations Cup competition in Wellington, riders prepared for a day full of freestyles to battle it out for the remaining individual medals up for grabs. In the CDI-U25 division, Lauren Asher of the United States continued her winning streak to claim the individual gold medal for her Grand Prix Freestyle 16-25 aboard West Side.
Asher and West Side, a 16-year-old KWPN gelding (Florett As–Marina, Equador), earned the gold medal in the U25 Grand Prix 16-25 individual competition just the day before with a score of 70.051 percent. Looking forward to her first performance under the stadium lights, she returned to perform a freestyle with a high degree of difficulty that featured a piaffe fan at the end of the test and strong piaffe and passage work.
Asher’s fun freestyle music was designed by Karen Robinson, hearing “Tenderness” by General Public during the canter tour, and “Alive and Kicking” by Simple Minds in the piaffe-passage. With such a strong performance, the pair earned a score of 74.475 percent to claim their second individual gold medal.
U.S. teammate Kerrigan Gluch and Hampton Green Farm’s Bolero CXLVIII (Utrerano VII–Felina XVIII, Urano II), received a score of 71.7 percent for her freestyle designed by Marlene Whitaker that featured difficult canter choreography. Going from a canter half-pass directly into two tempis on a 20-meter circle before going straight back into a canter half-pass in the other direction helped the pair impress the judges to take home the silver medal. Gluch improved upon her score of 68.333 percent from the previous day when she received the individual bronze medal.
Canada’s Naima Moreira Laliberte and I Do Kiss, a 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood stallion (French Kiss–Idonna, Donnerfly) finished in third to earn the individual bronze medal with a score of 71.16 percent. The previous day, Moreira Laliberte and I Do Kiss finished with the individual silver medal in the U25 Grand Prix, scoring a 69.564 percent. In their freestyle, the pair upped the level of showmanship by successfully performing one-handed one-tempi changes down the longside of the arena, encouraging the crowd to clap and cheer them along.
Results: FEI Nations Cup Grand Prix Freestyle 16-25
Rider / Country / Horse / Total Score
1. Lauren Asher / USA / West Side / 74.475
2. Kerrigan Gluch / USA / Bolero CXLVIII / 71.7|
3. Naima Moreira Laliberte / CAN / I Do Kiss / 71.16
4. Natalie Pai / USA / Unlimited / 69.975
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Lauren Asher – Grand Prix Freestyle 16-25 Individual gold medalist
On winning double individual gold medals:
“I don’t think it has sunk in! It’s a dream come true and to have it actually become a reality is pretty crazy. I am really grateful to my whole team behind me and to the USET Foundation for giving me this opportunity. It’s fun to be here with my great teammates, it is a special feeling. My favorite part was the music, I especially love the canter music, “Alive and Kicking” is a really special song to me, one of my favorites so to it is really nice to be able to ride to some of your favorite music and have it suit your horse. My most difficult part was piaffe fan at the end and the piaffe passage tour. West Side usually does that well so we put that in there as an added difficulty.”
On her Nations Cup experience:
“This is my first time representing the USA in the U25 Nations Cup. I think it is definitely different than the Young Riders. Having the opportunity for the U25 Nations Cup — it is on a bigger scale and especially the freestyle here tonight under the lights is a fantastic stepping stone for the Friday night class and the senior grand prix level.”
Kerrigan Gluch – Grand Prix Freestyle 16-25 Individual silver medalist
On her freestyle:
“This freestyle was originally not mine, but I made some tweaks and made it my own. I tried to highlight the horse’s strengths. I think is one of my horse’s highlights is piaffe and passage, so I tried to use that to my advantage a little bit. Overall the freestyle fits the horse really nice and it has good energy. I love the final centerline, it’s my favorite part. It has tons of energy and I think it was the perfect crowd and the judges enjoyed it, so it is an awesome feeling. I think the hardest combination half pass to two tempi changes on a circle back to half pass. I think that has a high degree of difficulty and if shown off well it’s a fun thing to ride.”
On representing Team USA:
“I have done the U25 Nations Cup for three years. Each year we have had the support of US Dressage and the USET and all of the sponsors which is huge. Without them we wouldn’t be able to do it, wouldn’t be able to have this show, travel to Europe and have the opportunities to get experience. To be on a US team is a real honor, I think everyone here will agree that having the American flag on your saddle pad is something special. It’s more than just a number, it is a different feeling and I try to honor it as well as I can and represent the country well.”
Naima Moreira Laliberte – Grand Prix Freestyle 16-25 Individual bronze medalist
On her freestyle:
“This was my second time doing a freestyle with this horse. The last time was a year ago at Nations Cup. My favorite part is a little tweak we made this year — the one tempi one hand was really fun to do. My music is french cafe music, so it is like having coffee by a beach. My good friend put it together for me. I think the biggest degree of difficulty for me was connecting one movement into another — that was the trickiest of having the right balance to do everything after the next.”
On doing one-handed tempi:
“It came from a dare from my coach! She said I should definitely add that, and I thought it was risky. But at the end of the day, it worked so it was fun.”