January 10, 2014--Swedish rider Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello topped the FEI Grand Prix, sponsored by MTICA Farm, with a winning score of 77.670% during the first day of competition for the 2014 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). Danish riders filled out the top three for the class, with Lars Petersen and Mariett finishing second with a 72.880% and Mikala Munter Gundersen taking home third place with a score of 69.600% on My Lady.
The first week of the AGDF, sponsored by MTICA Farm and Everglades Dressage, runs through Sunday, January 12. The feature event is the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, held under the lights as part of the "Friday Night Stars" series at AGDF on Friday, January 10. Gates open at 6 pm, and spectators can also enjoy a musical exhibition by the Frost School of Music from the University of Miami as well as a Western exhibition by reiner Rick Steed.
Vilhelmson-Silfven, who recently climbed to fifth in the FEI World Individual Dressage Rankings thanks to a series of high-profile victories in Europe with Don Auriello, was again thrilled with the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding's performance during Friday's competition.
"He competed quite a lot this autumn. I made three World Cup qualifications in Europe before I left. He's been doing all of those very well. He's in really good shape," Vilhelmson-Silfven commented.
"Today, I was really happy with my feeling. The piaffe-passage tour is the one that I sometimes don't have him on my aids 100%, but I felt like today I could do exactly what I wanted. He usually does it very well anyways, but today it was a feeling more that I could really control," she continued.
Vilhelmson-Silfven feels she's gotten to the point with Don Auriello that she can scale back his competition schedule without losing her edge. Following Thursday's win, Vilhelmson-Silfven will work with a trainer for several weeks before bringing Don Auriello back out for the Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W during Week 8 of the AGDF.
"[Don Auriello] has reached the level now that I want to be more restrictive with competing. I don't need to compete so much I think. He's going to have a good training session now. I really enjoy having that in this climate, being able to train a lot," she explained.
After arriving in Florida shortly before Christmas, Vilhelmson-Silfven is looking forward to a season far from the harsh Swedish winter.
"It's super to be able to train them and ride them [in the Florida weather]. How they feel in their body, in their muscles, is so different when it's very cold. [The horses that compete in Florida] are in much better shape than the ones that stayed under the winter in Europe-in Sweden anyway," Vilhelmson-Silfven described.
Vilhelmson-Silfven was also presented with the Champion Equine Insurance Dressage Style Award for her ride with Don Auriello, who is owned by Lövsta Stuteri.
The AGDF provides world-class dressage riders like Vilhelmson-Silfven a warm winter respite in prime competition and training conditions over 12 weeks of top-level competition January 9 - March 30, 2014. AGDF 1 Dressage CDI-W continues Friday morning with the FEI Prix St. Georges, presented by Everglades Dressage, and the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle presented by MTICA Farm as the evening's main event with gates open at 6 pm
Final Results: FEI Grand Prix
Rider, Country, Horse: Judge E%, Judge H%, Judge C%, Judge M%, Judge B%, Total%
1 Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven, SWE, Don Auriello: 77.900%, 77.600%, 75.300%, 82.300%, 75.700%, 77.760%
2 Lars Petersen, DEN, Mariett: 73.900%, 75.000%, 71.900%, 72.700%, 70.900%, 72.880%
3 Mikala Munter Gundersen, DEN, My Lady: 70.100%, 69.300%, 69.500%, 71.500%, 67.600%, 69.600%
4 Heather Blitz, USA, Paragon: 67.300%, 67.100%, 68.700%, 69.600%, 67.400%, 68.020%
5 Kelly Layne, AUS, Udon P: 68.100%, 67.600%, 67.800%, 65.900%, 67.600%, 67.400%
6 Anna Whit Watkins, USA, Oublette: 66.300%, 68.600%, 67.400%, 67.100%, 67.100%, 67.300%
7 Jacqueline M. Brooks, CAN, D Niro: 67.500%, 69.700%, 66.700%, 64.00%, 65.800%, 66.740%
8 Diane Creech, CAN, Devon L: 67.600%, 66.300%, 67.100%, 63.200%, 65.200%, 65.880%