By US Equestrian Communications Department
The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team finished eighth in the final standings at the conclusion of competition in the FEI Dressage Nations Cup CDIO5* at CHIO Aachen this week on a team total of 422.609. Germany took top honors on a score of 468.285, while Denmark took second on a score of 460.097, and Great Britain in third on a 459.756.
“There are certainly things we will take away from this competition and look at moving forward as a program. It wasn’t the result or marks we wanted coming into this competition, but each of these combinations know the areas of improvement that need focus in their training and have clear takeaways after this week so they can come back better and stronger,” said Chef d’Equipe Debbie McDonald.
Susie Dutta (Wellington, Fla.) and Don Design DC were the first combination in for the team, earning a 68.383% from the judging panel for their FEI Grand Prix Special test. Sarah Tubman (Wellington, Fla.) and First Apple rode to a 70.043%. Alice Tarjan (Oldwick, New Jersey) and Serenade MF received a 67.574%, while anchor combination Anna Buffini (San Diego, Calif.) and FRH Davinia La Douce earned a 70.553%.
In the Young Rider division, Christian Simonson (Ventura, Calif.) and Son of a Lady rode an excellent FEI Young Rider Freestyle test, earning third place overall in a competitive division on a score of 75.660%. The pair improved upon their marks from their first class of the week in Deutsche Bank Stadium, where “Sonny” was excited by the large atmosphere. The pair, who have been in strong form throughout the 2023 season, were ecstatic to be on their first podium at Aachen.
“In our first test, Sonny was super nervous and hot, and I had some costly mistakes, so we really wanted a comeback in the Freestyle and be able to give him confidence,” said Simonson. “He was amazing in the ring. I was able to really balance him, and he was with me the entire test, so it was fun. Our music is a bit full circle because it’s from my first Young Rider horse and this is my last test as a Young Rider, so it’s been tweaked and it’s been used by three different horses for me in the Young Rider Freestyle, so it was a good farewell for my Young Rider career.”
Erin Nichols (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Elian Royale, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Premiere Sport Horses, rode to tenth place in the class, receiving a 72.235%. Simsonson rode his second horse, Zeaball Diawind, a 2012 Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Clifton Simonson and Christina Morgan, to ninth place in the FEI Intermediate I, earning a 70.177% to close out dressage competition for U.S. athletes and combinations.