Wellington, Fla. – March 28, 2019 – It is the final week of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival and CDI4* competition got underway on Thursday with the CDI4* Grand Prix for the Special and the Grand Prix for the Freestyle. For many, this is their final week in Florida before making their way north or to Europe and entries for the 4* were quite low. Topping the Grand Prix to qualify for the Special was Jill Irving (USA) on Degas 12 with their winning score of 69.935 percent, while Jessica Kozel (USA) rode Denzello to a score of 69.239 percent to win the Grand Prix for the Freestyle.
Last week Irving suffered from a fall in the prize giving ceremony that left her with a broken rib. Although the injury is causing her some discomfort, Irving was able to gain another important score to accomplish her goal of qualifying for the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru later this summer. She credits her winning test to the consistent training she has put into the 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding, who she has ridden since 2013 and was her FEI World Equestrian Games mount.
With a score of 66.935 percent, the reserve honors were awarded to Charlotte Jorst (USA) and Deep Impact 3, a 16-year-old gelding with an already impressive record with Spain’s Severo Jurado Lopez. Focusing on Kastel’s Nintendo through the beginning of season, Deep Impact 3 did not make his 2019 CDI debut until Week 9 of AGDF where he won the Grand Prix Special with Jorst. Jorst will continue her efforts over the summer as she hopes to be a contender for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Representing the country of Georgia, Joanne Vaughan and Elmegardens Marquis came in third place with a score of 65.348 percent. Vaughan was a pioneer in the World Equestrian Games, representing Georgia for the first time ever in 2014. Her 20-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, known in the barn as “Max”, was also her World Equestrian Games partner in 2018.
In the Grand Prix for the Freestyle, Kozel rode Denzello, Jeevraj Grewal and Betty Well’s 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding, to the blue ribbon. Kozel, who has groomed for Lisa Wilcox, Denzello’s former rider, only made her CDI debut this year and this marks her first international Grand Prix win.
Germany’s Michael Klimke placed second on the 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding Royal Dancer 33 with a 68.196 percent and Katherine Bateson Chandler rounded out the top three with a 66 on Alcazar, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding.
Results: CDI4* Grand Prix for the Special
Place / Rider / Country / Horse / Total Score
1. Jill Irving / CAN / Degas 12 / 69.935
2. Charlotte Jorst / USA / Deep Impact 3 / 66.696
3. Joanne Vaughan / GEO / Elmegardens Marquis / 65.348
Results: CDI4* Grand Prix for the Freestyle
Place / Rider / Country / Horse / Total Score
1. Jessica Kozel / USA / Denzello / 69.239
2. Michael Klimke / GER / Royal Dancer 33 / 68.196
3. Katherine Bateson Chandler / USA / Alcazar / 66
4. Karen Lipp / USA / Whitney / 64.521
5. Evi Strasser / CAN / Disney Tyme / 62.804
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Jill Irving – CDI 4* Grand Prix for the Grand Prix Special winner
On her test:
“He was on his game and was very focused in the Grand Prix. We had a really bad fall in the presentation at the last show and I got hurt, so I was just so grateful to have him be so amazing today. He was fired up but relaxed. I thought his piaffe-passage was very good. I think the whole thing was really good and a great way to end the season, especially when you think of last week. In the extended trots, I didn’t go for it. I broke a rib so bouncing is a bit of an issue! I think the pirouettes could be a little tighter with a little more bend, but I always love to see the video before I comment. He felt really good and he stood in the halt so that is something I want to make sure he does in the Special.”
On her horse’s strongest quality:
“His personality! He is very snuggly — although some people didn’t clap for me today because they were worried about me. His piaffe passage is very good and his passage, in general, is his best thing.”
On her injury:
“It feels like a really sore or badly pulled muscle when it bothers me. Advil helps a lot. It is way better than it was. For four days it was pretty brutal but I am just really glad I could ride because we are trying to go to the Pan Am games and this is a qualification, and it all went well. I get a chance to bring him back into the ring just to understand that he is thinking about the Grand Prix and not the presentations, so I am lucky.”
On her successful season:
“It feels amazing. Sometimes I think with improvement we are expecting it quickly. What I am doing now goes back to training and showing last year at this time. I don’t think it is ever immediate improvement — it’s not an overnight thing. I am starting to use my seat more and give with my hands. We have been doing this since 2013 and you would have thought I would have done it sooner! I am consistently seeming to go clean whereas last year I wasn’t going clean all the time so that’s what was costing me these scores. The improvement is consistency as an athlete, which is the most difficult thing. The best are consistent and that is what we are all trying to achieve.”
Jessica Kozel – CDI4* Grand Prix for the Freestyle winner
On her test:
“Honestly I was really happy with the canter tour. In general, I thought that he came in really strong with the wind being the way it was and the trot tour was a bit forward and strong. He really settled in the canter and I was happy with my changes, which he can get a little hot in. I was afraid that they might go either way but he really settled as soon as we picked up the canter. That was my highlight. I was really proud of him because he came out and it was windy so he was a little spooky. He listened and did everything he was supposed to do.”
On her history with Denzello:
“I have known him for the last 10 years because he was originally ridden and trained by Lisa Wilcox. I worked for her so I managed him as a groom for many years. Then I got the opportunity to take the ride on him a couple of years ago and last year I did my first Grand Prix ever on him in the national ring with hopes of working towards the international ring this season. This is our fourth CDI of the season and I was honored to be allowed to ride in the 4*. This is our first rodeo so to speak! Being able to come out and finish the season in a 4* is a highlight for me. It is an honor to be amongst the competition that we were.”
One her win:
“It was surreal! I didn’t think it was for us! That was our best Grand Prix yet and I was really happy with a 69 percent. I never would have expected this in a million years. I rehabbed him when I started riding him and we spent a lot of time together. You don’t just start by going right in the ring, you spend a lot of time and hours together doing the most mundane things. Never in my life would I have dreamed that we would have been able to do what we did today. It was really an honor to not only have our best ride yet but to be able to put it together at a show of this caliber.”
On tomorrow’s freestyle:
“I would like to ride a clean test. The freestyle is a lot of atmosphere and this is our fourth CDI. The last CDI we did not do under the lights because it was a daytime class, so especially if the wind keeps up I anticipate a big atmosphere for him to have to manage. My goal with the freestyle is to just be quiet to give him confidence, and if we can ride a clean test that would be my desire. He gave me everything he had, and we are at a point now where I just want to build the relationship and the trust. I don’t want to ask for more than a steady, consistent ride that we can then build upon.”
On the rest of the year:
“He gets the summer off. As an older horse with some past issues, we are very careful to have a plan and peak for it. Our plan was this season and he has done more than delivered, so he gets to go home and go in the pasture. Let him just relax and hopefully come back next season.”