U.S. CDIOU25 Athletes Sweep Podium in CDIOU25 FEI Grand Prix 16-25
By US Equestrian Communications Department
The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team took second place in the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ USA CDIO3* on a final team score of 427.285 at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival on Friday. Germany took first place on a final score of 437.844, with Sweden finishing in third on team total of 414.498. The U.S. team was led by Debbie McDonald and George Williams, serving as Technical Advisor and Chef d’Equipe, in their first outing of the 2023 season. The team was comprised of one big tour combination and three small tour combinations, with the big tour pair earning a 1.5 percent addition to their final scores in alignment with the FEI Dressage Nations Cup CDIO3* format.
“I’m really pleased with how all of our athletes and horses performed this week,” Chef d’Equipe George Williams said. “We knew coming into this competition that the awarding of bonus points for the Grand Prix would be a challenge given our three small tour combinations. They had to be at the top to earn every point for the team. In my mind, our athletes proved they were up to it, and overall, it was a great experience for some of our newer combinations stepping into senior team competition.”
Christian Simonson (Ventura, Calif.) and Son of a Lady, a 2011 Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Christina Morgan and Clifton Simonson, were the top scoring U.S. combination on Friday, receiving a 72.706% from the judging panel in the FEI Intermediate I for a second place finish, marking a successful debut for the senior team in international competition.
“This was my first Nations Cup and it was really exciting,” Simonson said. “Being able to represent your nation is like nothing else I’ve really felt. It’s a real honor. It was just an amazing competition.
“It was similar to a lot of the Young Riders Nations Cups, and I’m really grateful that [US Equestrian] has invested in giving us that time and experience. I think this kind of weekend and my personal performance was a reflection of how much time and effort they’re putting into young athletes. It’s been an amazing competition and to be able to do it with such fierce competition, and also with friends, is really fun as well.”
Susie Dutta (Wellington, Fla.) and Don Design DC, a 2010 Hanoverian gelding owned by Susie and Tim Dutta, were the sole U.S. combination to compete in the FEI Grand Prix competition, earning a 69.109% on Thursday in the FEI Grand Prix and a 69.138% on Friday in the FEI Grand Prix Special.
Charlotte Jorst (Reno, Nev.) recorded a pair of top three finishes aboard Zhaplin Langholt, a 2013 Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Kastel Denmark. The pair impressed in Thursday’s FEI Prix St. Georges with a score of 72.353%, followed by a strong final mark of 70.824% in Friday’s FEI Intermediate I.
Aboard Duvel, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Cynthia Davila, Anna Marek (Dunnellon, Fla.) posted a pair of solid scores for the U.S. team. The combination placed fourth in Thursday’s FEI Prix St. Georges after receiving a 70.029%, and recorded a top-five finish on Friday in the FEI Intermediate I, receiving a 69.118 from the judging panel.
CDIO25 Athletes Sweep Podium in CDIOU25 FEI Grand Prix 16-25
Earlier Friday, the U.S. celebrated a podium sweep in the FEI Grand Prix 16-25 CDIOU25. Callie O’Connell (Wilmington, Mass.) secured individual gold aboard Eaton H, a 2009 KWPN gelding owned by Ruling Cortes LLC, on a personal best score of 70.231%.
“I’m still at a loss for words,” O’Connell said. “I knew we were capable. The second he entered the ring, he was there. I really was hoping for top three, but to win it is just the coolest thing. He felt with me every second. It was very, very cool.”
Silver went to Ben Ebeling (Wellington, Fla.) and Status Royal OLD, a 2010 Oldenburg gelding owned by Ann Romney, with the combination earning a 68.026%.
“It’s really awesome for [the U.S. to sweep the podium],” Ebeling said. “It’s great for the future of younger Grand Prix riders in the U.S. The U.S. is here and ready to compete. It’s been really fun competing this week.”
Emma Asher (Greenwood Village, Colo.) and Elegance N, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Seely Equestrian Ventures, secured bronze with their 68.000%.
“This has been amazing,” Asher said. “Everybody is so supportive. It’s such a great group that they surround you with and it really makes everything such a positive experience.”