February 19, 2014 -- Following the first day of competition at the Wellington Nations Cup CDIO3* sponsored by Stillpoint Farm, the U.S. teams stand in first and third places, on totals of 212.802, and 206.853, respectively. Splitting the two American teams is Spain in second place on a total of 206.895. The Ground Jury of Anne Gribbons, Gabriel Armando, Cesar Torrente, Lorraine MacDonald, and Bo Jena judged Small Tour combinations, performing the FEI Prix St. Georges, in the morning, and saw 12 Big Tour competitors ride the FEI Grand Prix Test during the afternoon session.
Both U.S. teams are represented by two Large Tour and two Small Tour pairs in the Wellington Nations Cup CDIO3* sponsored by Stillpoint. All Large Tour combinations will receive an added 1.5% to their score to count toward Team classification.
USA I Team
Adrienne Lyle (Ketchum, Idaho) rode her 2012 Olympic Games veteran, Wizard, for USA Team I in the Grand Prix and demonstrated how much he has matured in the last 18 months. Peggy Thomas' 15-year-old gelding showcased his expressive and ground-covering gaits to score 71.6% to be the top finisher in the Grand Prix and, with the 1.5% adjustment, the veteran pair aided their team with a score of 73.1%.
"I was really happy with him today; I think he's getting really consistent," said Lyle of Wizard. After having competed as an individual in London she is enjoying riding as part of a team in Wellington. "This is the first time I've ridden in a team atmosphere. I went to the Olympics as an individual, but the team atmosphere is really special. There's a lot more pressure, but it's fun"
The final combination of the afternoon for USA I were 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and London Olympic Games veterans, Tina Konyot and Calecto V contributing a score of 71.36% to the team effort. Konyot (Palm City, Fla.) and her 16-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion produced a second-place effort in the Grand Prix, scoring 69.86% after incurring bobbles in the one-and-two-time changes.
Leading off the day for USA I Team were Silva Martin (Unionville, Pa.) and the Rosa Cha W Syndicate's Rosa Cha W in their U.S. team debut. The 10-year-old Warmblood mare presented consistent trot work and an athletic canter tour to score 66.632% and finish the FEI Prix St. Georges Test in 12th place.
Shawna Harding and Tonya Rowe's 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding Rigo completed USA I Team's Small Tour performances scoring 68.342%. The international veterans were rewarded for their expressive trot tour and accurate canter which was highlighted by their flying changes to complete the Prix St. Georges in fourth place.
"I'm very pleased with everyone and very proud," said U.S. Dressage Chef d'Equipe Robert Dover. "This was very positive for all our riders and for what they're moving towards. They all rode terrifically, and are evolving terrifically."
USA II Team
The first USA II competitors in the Big Tour, Catherine Haddad-Staller (Califon, N.J.) rode her own Mane Stream Hotmail to a score of 68.66% in the FEI Grand Prix Test and contributed a 70.16% to their team's score with the bonus for Big Tour combinations. The athletic 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding finished the Grand Prix in fifth place.
Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Patricia Stempel's Doktor showcased the experience they gained competing in Europe in the summer of 2013 to add 71.14% to the USA II team score on Wednesday. With the exception of inconsistency in the piaffe, the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding produced an expressive, polished effort to finish the Grand Prix in third place on a score of 69.640%.
"Doktor is coming into his second season competing at Grand Prix. I'm really happy with him; he can get a little hot but he's getting much more consistent. He's starting to know his job more and more," said Francis who is enjoying the whole team experience. "We all do get together and root for each other; it's fun."
Ashley Wimmer (Winston Salem, N.C.) and her own nine-year-old Oldenburg mare Somerhall led off the USA II Team effort in Small Tour competition. The pair scored 63.658% in their first team appearance for a pleasant test to finish the day in 22nd place.
Justin Hardin (Long Valley, N.J.) and Judith Cardella's Wyatt Star were the final U.S. combination down centerline for the U.S. in Small Tour competition, scoring 65.553% for USA II. The often enthusiastic 11-year-old KWPN gelding performed an obedient,consistent test that was only marred by mistakes in the flying changes to finish in 17th place individually.
Debbie McDonald is serving as Chef d'Equipe for USA II and was pleased with the effort from all four members of her team.
"I was incredibly happy with them; this is an incredibly different experience than riding as an individual," said McDonald. "This is a really good team; they had a couple bobbles but this is a young team and there's more to come."
Team medals will be determined on Thursday with the final 50% of Nations Cup scores being earned in the FEI Intermediaire I Test and the FEI Grand Prix Special Test.
Watch the Wellington Nations Cup CDIO3* sponsored by Stillpoint Farm live and find Video-on-Demand on USEFNetwork.com presented by SmartPak here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2014AGDF/.
To learn more about the Adequan Global Dressage Festival visit: http://www.globaldressagefestival.com/.
Follow the U.S. Dressage Team here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/USDressageTeam/.