Wellington, FL – March 31, 2016 – The United States team of Shelly Francis, Tuny Page, Kasey Perry-Glass and Laura Graves seized gold in the Stillpoint Farm Nations Cup CDIO3*. The team of powerful ladies reigned supreme over five other countries. Canada followed, taking home the silver medal, and a close fight for third between Denmark and Spain ended with Denmark just out of the medals and a young team of Spanish riders with the bronze.
Robert Dover, chef d’equipe of the U.S. dressage team, has watched the sport of dressage grow in the United States over the years. He praised the competitive environment that the Adequan Global Dressage Festival has created and is happy with the strong showing of the team that represented U.S. dressage.
“The Nations Cup, here in Wellington, has been a tremendous competition this year. It is growing in quality each year,” Dover said. “They put on an amazing show, which is making it the mecca that it is for our sport. I am extremely proud. I was hoping for our riders to achieve personal bests, and that’s what I am seeing from these riders. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Laura Graves rode her 14-year-old KWPN gelding Verdades to two personal bests over the course of the Nations Cup. In the Grand Prix Special she soared with the gelding to a 78.294 percent, just shy of the elusive 80 percent mark. With the second day of the Nations Cup continuing in the Van Kampen covered arena, Graves proved to be in a groove, clinching wins in both days of competition.
“The Nations Cup is always super fun and to be invited to ride on a team is something you just don’t say no to,” Graves said about her experience. “I love that we are able to put America at the top of the podium. That’s always a nice feeling having such a strong team to compete with. It takes a lot of the pressure of competing off of yourself as an individual. It’s a very different mindset and it’s something I love to do.”
Graves is hoping her contribution to her Nations Cup team and her upcoming trip to Europe will earn her a spot to represent the United States in this summer’s Rio Olympic Games.
“It’s been a long season for us,” Graves said. “I will be really pleased to take him home and have a long break before we go and try to be even better in Europe.”
Tuny Page, owner of competition sponsor Stillpoint Farm, had a successful test with Woodstock to help Team USA achieve gold. The pair has had a standout season at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, gaining momentum and earning two personal bests prior to this week’s Nations Cup.
“I am really proud of the season Woodstock has had this year,” Page said. “I was very very happy to be selected to be on this team, and very proud to sit amongst this group. It makes it really fun. I am proud of the development of my horse just from yesterday to today. He felt like he was in the right place to develop a whole lot more power and expression.”
Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet are another pair that have continued to develop their partnership over the course of the season. The growth was reflected in their scores over the course of the week. Finishing the Grand Prix Special in second place with a score of 74.882 percent.
“We have had a really fun week, and I love the team,” Perry-Glass said. “We are really supportive of each other. I was really proud of Dublet in both tests. I was able to push him a little bit harder today, and I’m really working on going for it and finding my grit.”
Given that it’s Dublet’s first year at the international Grand Prix level, Perry-Glass has to remind herself that this is still all new for the gelding.
“He is letting me have a conversation with him in the ring and push him a little bit more,” Perry-Glass said. “That’s my biggest goal and I am just really proud of him.”
Shelly Francis and Doktor struggled a little bit in their Grand Prix Special test. Francis was caught off guard when her mind went blank in the middle of the test and she almost pirouetted in the wrong spot. The pair’s Nations Cup performance was not a reflection of their season at the AGDF, but Francis enjoyed joining fellow colleagues in a team atmosphere.
“For me the team thing has been really fun,” Francis said. “I had a little tough ride yesterday in the Grand Prix. I started off going gangbusters today, and then I had a blank moment. It was still really fun, and it was nice we got to be first place.”
Representing Canada, Belinda Trussell and Anton put up a major Nations Cup performance, challenging the United States in every stage of the competition. Trussell was joined by Megan Lane, Jacqueline Brooks and Karen Pavicic.
“We are thrilled to be second again with great company,” Trussell said. “It is wonderful to have a CDIO with this many countries that are involved here. It is a gift we have on our continent; we haven’t had that in the past. It’s developing each year and getting stronger. My team was great – we felt proud to have four Grand Prix horses on the team. Everyone did really well!”
Trussell, who almost wasn’t able to compete due to a broken noseband moments before entering the ring, thanked her teammates for racing to her rescue and scavenging up a replacement noseband.
“My team went back to the barn, grabbed nosebands from any bridle that they had and ran out to the ring,” Trussell said. “Without them, I would not have been able to ride down the centerline. I was pretty proud of the team for coming together like that. It was a really good Nations Cup for us.”
Spain’s Juan Matute Jr. and Dhannie Ymas have come up through the ranks from the Young Rider division and they achieved a personal best in the Intermediate I test with a 74.526 percent. Matute Jr. was joined by Pablo Gomez Molina, Alfonso Ramirez and Juan Antonio Jimenez Cobo, all of whom rode small tour horses.
“My team and I are really happy and thrilled with the result,” Matute Jr. said. “It was very difficult to compete against Canada and the U.S., because of the difference between the small tour and the Grand Prix. We managed to get on the podium, which was the goal. It was nice to take pictures with all the big ones. This weekend has been a great highlight for us – a personal best. I am happy and excited for the future!”
Results: Stillpoint Farm Nations Cup CDIO3*
Final Total Team Scores
1. United States 454.698
2. Canada 428.708
3. Spain 414.421
4. Denmark 408.465
5. Costa Rica 391.028
6. Australia 259.497
CDIO3* Intermediate I
1. Juan Matute Jr/ESP/Dhannie Ymas/74.526
2. Raul Corchuelo/COL/Beckham/69.00
3. Juan Antonio Jimenez Cobo/ESP/Elevado/68.921
4. Katharina Stumpf/AUT/For My Love/67.974
5. Christer Egerstrom/CRC/Bello Oriente/67.316
6. Pablo Gomez Molina/ESP/Lanzado De Ymas/67.211
7. Anne Marie Egerstrom/CRC/Amorino/64.895
8. Signe Kirk Kristiansen/DEN/Roberto/64.763
CDIO3* Grand Prix Special
1. Laura Graves/USA/Verdades/78.294
2. Kasey Perry-Glass/USA/Goerklintgaards Dublet/74.882
3. Mikala Gundersen/DEN/My Lady/74.647
4. Belinda Trussell/CAN/Anton/72.412
5. Tuny Page/USA/Woodstock/70.922
6. Megan Lane/CAN/Caravella/69.667
7. Shelly Francis/USA/Doktor/69.588
8. Karen Pavicic/CAN/Don Daiquiri/69.529