Wellington, Fla. – January 9, 2020 – The Adequan Global Dressage Festival kicked off on Thursday with the CDI3* Grand Prix and the CDI-W Grand Prix, which saw a field of 15 athletes. Earlier in the day, American Steffen Peters returned to the ring with Suppenkasper, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding, to win the CDI3* Grand Prix with a 70.826%. Thursday’s highlight class, the CDI-W Grand Prix was swept by three Canadians — Jill Irving, Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu and Naima Moreira Laliberte.
Irving rode her longtime mount, Degas 12, to the top of the leaderboard as the only horse-and-rider combination to break into the 70s. With a 70.391%, her 18-year-old Hanoverian gelding proved that he still has quite a bit of power and drive left in the tank. It was the pair’s first time back in the international show ring since they helped earn a team gold medal for Canada at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
Fraser-Beaulieu’s 15-year-old gelding, All In, received a total score of 69.435% with their performance, which is only their second time back in the show ring after her maternity leave in 2019. Dressage at Devon in the fall was their official return to the sport, where they placed second in the FEI World Cup qualifier.
Laliberte, 24, rounded out the top three for Team Canada with a 68.717% aboard Statesman. Thursday’s performance also marks their return to the international arena since their breakout performance representing Canada at the Pan American Games in July.
Riders will return for the CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle Friday, Jan. 10 at 7:00 p.m.
Results: CDI-W Grand Prix
Rider / Country / Horse / Total Score
1. Jill Irving / CAN / Degas 12 / 70.391
2. Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu / CAN / All In / 69.435
3. Naima Moreira Laliberte / CAN / Statesman / 68.717
4. Heather Blitz / USA / Semper Fidelis / 67.891
5. Lindsay Kellock / CAN / Sebastien / 67.717
6. Rebecca Waite / USA / Doktor / 66.544
7. Dongseon Kim / KOR / Belstaff / 66.543
8. Micah Deligdish / ISR / Destiny / 65.13
Results: CDI3* Grand Prix
Rider / Country / Horse / Total Score
1. Steffen Peters / USA / Suppenkasper / 70.826
2. Susan Pape / GBR / Harmony’s Eclectisch / 70.435
3. Michael Klimke / GER / Harmony’s Royal Dancer / 70.109
4. Anna Marek / USA / Dee Clair / 69.065
5. Martha Fernanda Del Valle Quirarte / MEX / Beduino Lam / 68.174
6. Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén / SWE / Etoine / 68.130
7. Kazuki Sado / JPN / Barolo / 68.043
8. Christilot Boylen / CAN / Rockylane / 67.370
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Jill Irving – CDI-W Grand Prix winner
On her performance:
“I was really thrilled with him. He’s going to be 18 and I’m going to be 57 so we’re both having to take good care of ourselves for the future. The weather was his cup of tea. I’ve had him since he was 6. Twelve years is a long time. I’m lucky that he’s a lovely horse. I love him. I was really sad to hear Verdades has retired. It got me in the heart. I remember starting with him and Verdades being out here. And they’re in the same birth year. [Degas] feels unbelievable. I’ve got a great team of people. Every day is a gift. For all of us, for everybody.”
On her goal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics:
“I think for every athlete the Olympics are the dream. I had great fortune that I took Degas to the WEG and then we went to the Pan American Games. I feel really prepared for this journey. Naima got us the gold [at the Pan Ams] before I even got in the ring so there wasn’t much pressure! My teammates were all unbelievable. Canada needs to take the best horse-rider combinations, and I hope that’s me, but if it’s not, we take the best. We’re starting off well with my teammates and Ashley [Holzer] coaches all of us. Naima and I went to Pan-Ams together, Brittany and I have done Aachen. We’re very close teammates. The best thing about this sport is the people I’ve met over the years, and I get to hang out with all these really young people. They’re my kids’ age, and they keep me young. And, Ashley and I have been together 34 years.”
“I’m looking forward to the year after Tokyo when there technically isn’t anything [important to aim for] and we can relax and do whatever we want. I said to Ashley earlier, just because we all, every single person out here, is working really, really hard, that does not mean you’re always going to have success. And sometimes we work hard and we don’t feel that. And, that’s ok. But, I love it. So today I’m going to take the gift and be thankful for everything.”
On Friday’s Freestyle:
“I’m doing his normal freestyle. It’s to the Beatles, and it was done by Joost Peters. I’m not trying to make things too physically complicated for Degas because he’s not 12.”
On their development since the Pan American Games:
“[We’ve been focusing on] the basics like transitions and thoroughness. Even with a more advanced horse like Degas, the transitions are super fabulous for him to get him loosening up. I got in a little trouble for [a sloppy transition] the other day because it was too late and I was told if I was going to Tokyo I better be on time! It’s fun to get back in the ring too and sharpen your skills a bit. Degas competed the last time at Pan-Ams and then we did nothing. We just chilled and had family time. Every single person in this sport has a big support team behind them. They say athletes sacrifice. I don’t feel that way. I think our families sacrifice more because we’re doing what we love. So I was at home training on my own in New Brunswick, Canada, and my horses go out in the paddock for a long time and eat grass. They really were just being horses. Then I came back to Florida in mid-November.”