March 31, 2016 -- Another day of brilliant performances assured The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team the win in the 2016 Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. On Wednesday, the U.S. team of Shelly Francis, Laura Graves, Kasey Perry-Glass, and Arlene "Tuny" Page came out strong, all placing in the top six in the FEI Grand Prix test on day one of team competition. In today's team finale, the FEI Grand Prix Special test, the team, led by Chef d'Equipe Robert Dover, marked improved scores and claimed victory on a total of 454.698. Placing second on 428.708 was Canada. Spain finished third on a total of 414.421.
"The Nations Cup here in Wellington has been a tremendous competition again this year and is really growing in quality each year," said Dover. "I am so thankful to the sponsors of this show, Stillpoint Farm and Adequan. I am extremely proud that America won this Nations Cup again this year. Even more importantly, I was hoping for our riders to achieve personal bests and with each class grow more confident, and that's what I saw today. I couldn't be more proud of all of them."
This Nations Cup event allows for nations to formulate their teams with both Big and Small Tour combinations with Big Tour combinations receiving a 1.5% bonus to their scores. Two countries were represented by Small Tour combinations: Spain and Costa Rica. Three countries were represented by Big Tour combinations: Canada, the United States of America, and Australia. Denmark entered a mixed team of two Small Tour and one Big Tour combination. U.S. team anchor, Graves (Plymouth, Fla.), cemented victory for the U.S. with her 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding, Verdades, scoring a personal best in the Grand Prix Special, a 78.294%, giving them a 79.794% with the added 1.5%. The pair was on point throughout the test, showcasing great harmony and expression to win the class by four percentage points.
"Nations Cups are always a lot of fun, and being a part of a team is just something you don't say no to. I love that we were able to put America at the top of the podium. To compete with such a strong team always feels really secure," said Graves. "We achieved two personal bests [in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special] so I could not be more thrilled."
Perry-Glass (Wellington, Fla.) and Diane Perry's Goerklintgaard's Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding, showcased great poise in their Nations Cup debut at the Grand Prix level. The pair had one mistake in the changes on centerline, adding extra one-tempis, but were able to also produce a personal best score of 74.882%, putting forward a 76.382% to the team total and placing second.
"We have had a really fun week. I love the team; we have all gotten along really well and supported each other," said Perry-Glass. "I was really proud of Dublet. Yesterday we had a little less expression, but then today I was able to push him a little bit harder. This is his first year [at the Grand Prix level], but he is letting me have a conversation with him in the ring and push him a little bit more - keeping him happy, that is my biggest goal."
Page (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Woodstock, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding, were first out for the U.S. marking a competition score of 72.422% and placing fifth. It was evident that Page's partnership with Woodstock has grown throughout the season, and the pair was wonderfully fluid throughout the test.
"I am really proud of the season Woodstock has had. It's been a breakout year for him. I am really proud of the development of my horse, just from yesterday to today. He was a little bit more on his game today. He felt like he was in just the right place to develop more power and expression. When you get a chance to stand on the highest spot on the podium, it's a good feeling," said Page. "I want to acknowledge the addition of The Dutta Corp. as our team sponsors. This is going to be a huge step in developing strength and depth in all our programs. It certainly benefits us as we get to travel first class."
Veterans of team competition, Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Patricia Stempel's Doktor, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding, produced a consistent and bold test that was unfortunately marred by an error of course, garnering a 2% penalty to mark a competition score of 71.088%, good for seventh place.
"The team part of this has been fun; it's always fun to do. I had a little tough ride yesterday. I started off really going for it today and had a blank moment, but otherwise it was really fun. It's always nice to win," said Francis.
The U.S. will be represented in the Grand Prix Freestyle by Graves, Perry-Glass, and Page. The Freestyles will take place Friday evening at 7 p.m. ET.