By US Equestrian Communications Department
Aachen, Germany – The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team finished just off the podium in Nations Cup competition at the CHIO Aachen this week, taking fourth place on a combined total of 63 points. Germany took first on 22 points, the Netherlands earned second place with 40 points, while Great Britain rounded out the top three with 47 points. The CHIO Aachen served as the final team competition of 2021 for The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team, which saw strong performances from Anna Buffini and FRH Davinia la Douce, Ben Ebeling and Illuster van de Kampert, Charlotte Jorst and Kastel’s Nintendo, and Jennifer Schrader-Williams and Millione. The team was led by Chef d’Equipe Debbie McDonald.
Competition began on Friday, September 17, with the FEI Grand Prix CDIO5*, which saw both brilliant and educational moments for the team to build on moving into the remainder of the competition. Charlotte Jorst (Reno, Nev.) and Kastel’s Nintendo, an 18-year-old KWPN stallion owned by Kastel Denmark, were the highest-placed U.S. combination on a score of 71.913 percent. Jennifer Schrader-Williams (Olympia, Wash.) and Millione, an 18-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Millione Partners LLC, finished just behind Jorst with a 71.674 percent.
The two youngest athletes on the team in Anna Buffini (San Diego, Calif.) with FRH Davinia la Douce, a 14-year-old Hanoverian mare owned by Buffini, and Ben Ebeling (Moorpark, Calif.) and Illuster van de Kampert, a 13-year old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Sasha Cutter for Nuvolari Holdings, LLC and Amy Ebeling, fought through some tense moments in their tests, but were ready to bounce back to deliver for the team in the Special and the Freestyle.
“I could not be happier. This was all our riders’ first-time down centerline at one of, if not, the best show in the world and all had great results. After the first day, we were a little unsure of what to expect when we were standing in eighth as a team,” said McDonald. “For the last two days of competition with the Special and the Freestyle, they all really stepped it up.”
For Buffini, Ebeling, and Schrader-Williams, this was their first appearance for the team in international competition and the learning experience will help them continue to progress within the pipeline and program for years to come. McDonald spoke to the purpose of the team selection for this event and added that after such a strong year for the program in international competition and at the Olympic Games, the support and commitment to provide championship-like experiences will only continue to strengthen the depth of the program.
“Finishing in fourth with two riders just out of the U-25 and very new to the Grand Prix level, and two combinations with a bit more experience, but still learning the intensity of international team competition, it was fun to see how things came together. It was a good competition and great horses!”
Both Buffini and Schrader-Williams contested the FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO5* on Saturday, September 18, with improved marks, as Buffini guided FRH Davinia la Douce to fourth place individually with a score of 71.787 percent, and Schrader-Williams and Millione took sixth, with a 71.723 percent. Both Ebeling and Jorst competed in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO5* class the following day, with Jorst and Kastel’s Nintendo scoring a personal best from the judging panel with a 79.105 percent. This is the pair’s highest freestyle mark in their tenured career together and ultimately took seventh place individually. Ebeling and Illuster van de Kampert earned a 76.325 percent from the panel, which placed them just outside of the top ten and into 11th place.