Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 24, 2020 – Olivia LaGoy-Weltz showed off power and finesse as they cruised to a personal best score of 80.459% and top honors in the CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle, the highlight event of the third week of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. The opening Friday Night Lights of the AGDF season had spectators running for cover due to pouring rain but this week’s crowd came out in full force. While the charged environment proved challenging for a handful of horses, multiple riders’ determination and focus helped them break their own personal records.
Lonoir, LaGoy-Weltz’s own 16-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, displayed his maturity with a harmonious ride with a high degree of difficulty floor plan to Simon & Garfunkel-themed music which featured tricky transitions like an extended canter to a collected walk and a full piaffe pirouette. In the past, the talented gelding often displayed explosive moments of tension in the show ring, but LaGoy-Weltz always knew there was an untouched level of his talent.
This week marks the first competition back after a year break due to a setback from a shoeing and hoof health issue in 2019. Despite the break, LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir came back stronger than ever. Earlier in the week, the pair earned a 73.435% in the CDI-W Grand Prix and their score tonight was the first time they broke the illusive 80% barrier with multiple scores of 8.5 for their piaffe.
Twenty-three year old showman, Juan Matute Guimon, rocked the house aboard Don Diego with his Phantom of the Opera-themed freestyle with dynamic choreography that included two tempis on a half 20-meter circle and explosive extended canter. He racked up valuable qualifying points for the FEI World Cup Finals with his second place finish with another personal best of 77.950%. Don Diego, a 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding, is his longtime partner, and they have developed up the levels together since their debut in the FEI Junior Rider division in Wellington back in 2012. He last competed at the AGDF in 2018 and he has been busy campaigning around the European circuit for the past year.
Canadian rider Lindsay Kellock and Sebastien, a 14-year-old Rheinlander gelding owned by Kellock and Enterprise Farm LLC, claimed the third place spot with a score of 75.880%. The combination improved upon their score from yesterday’s CDI-W Grand Prix where they finished second with a score of 73.435%. Tonight’s impressive freestyle to a medley of Madonna was enough to push Kellock into the North American World Cup League’s top spot.
Results: CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle
Rider / Country / Horse / Total Score
1. Olivia LaGoy-Weltz / USA / Lonoir / 80.459%
2. Juan Matute Guimon / ESP / Don Diego / 77.950%
3. Lindsay Kellock / CAN / Sebastien / 75.950%
4. Jennifer Schrader-Williams / USA / Millione / 83.900%
5. Dongseon Kim / KOR / Belstaff / 73.865%
6. Heather Blitz / USA / Semper Fidelis / 73.425%
7. Caroline Darcourt / SWE / Paridon Magi / 73.200%
8. Martha Fernanda Del Valle Quirarte / MEX / Beduino Lam / 72.435%
9. Rebecca Waite / USA / Doktor / 71.555%
10. Jill Irving / CAN / Arthur / 70.090%
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Olivia LaGoy-Weltz – CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle winner
On breaking over 80%:
“We tried to choreograph it to make [that score] possible. We set it up for the highest degree of difficulty possible. Then you just hope you pull off the technicality and that the judges like the music. You do the best you can. It really suits him. He can be incredibly hot but he came out and handled the warm-up super well. That gave me the feeling that he was going to be quite good in the ring. I was really happy with how he handled the applause. He couldn’t have been better. This entire weekend for me — we really achieved what we set out to achieve not being in the ring for a year. He’s a super horse.”
On it being an Olympic year:
“It’s fantastic and we’re super lucky to have this venue. Overall it was a perfect night. It’s a lot of atmosphere. Nothing is quite the same as Aachen at night but at least you have a semi-idea. It’s amazing. The whole staff does an amazing job in working with us, and I couldn’t be happier.”
On her new choreography:
“We looked at the trot and the transition places to raise the degree of difficulty. Using the floor plan creator is quite fun. Now that we’ve used it a bit, we’re trying to not make them all look the same. After playing with a bunch of stuff, we actually kept the same canter floor plan from his last freestyle because it worked for him, but we set it up so that we can show off a horse as big as him collecting as he does — like the extended canter to collected walk. We looked to the trot and piaffe-pirouette to illustrate his transitions and pick up his scores. We wanted to show off a big horse in a dynamic way.”
Juan Matute Guiman – CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle second place
On his ride:
“I was so happy. I had such an unbelievable feeling from the first stride. We came with a mission to qualify for Las Vegas, to shoot for the top placings, and earn as many points as we could. I would have liked to have won, but Olivia did such an unbelievable test that I was pretty happy placing second. This is a huge score for us, a personal best by far. This is the first arena in which I did a Grand Prix with Don Diego in 2015. To pull off this performance, I could not be more proud and thankful.”
On his music:
“I like all types of music and when I went to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, I had goosebumps. Especially with Diego being a dark horse and very elastic, I thought it would suit us very well. It’s composed by a Spanish band, but they’re quite international now. We’ve been tweaking this freestyle for a few years. We performed with it a few years ago at U25, and now here we are.”
Lindsay Kellock – CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle third place
On her ride:
“I was thrilled with [Sebastien] tonight. He loves to perform and when I felt the energy beneath me tonight, I knew he was going to do it. I also changed my choreography for this show to make it a little more difficult, and he definitely rose to the occasion. He did everything I asked. I’ve ridden to this music now for a while. Madonna is one of my favorite artists so when I’m out there, I feel like I’m dancing with him out there. Now I’m probably going to start to do the specials and work towards Tokyo.”
Jane Weatherwax – Judge at C
“There is always a bit of pressure with a Freestyle sitting at C. Everyone stuck to their floor plan so it didn’t get too crazy. What I was most impressed with from this group was the harmony and brilliance and the ease of following along to the music. For me, I want to see a horse that is confident and happy and not over phased. All three of them had great difficulty and pulled it off. It’s always very fun. It was a pleasure.”