Team USA 1 win second leg of FEI Nations Cup™ Dressage 2015 pilot season in Wellington
Wellington (USA), 27 March 2015
By Louise Parkes
Team USA 1 reigned supreme at the second leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Dressage 2015 pilot series in Wellington, Florida yesterday. The side of Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (Rassing’s Lonoir), Kimberly Herslow (Rosmarin), Allison Brock (Rosevelt) and Laura Graves (Verdades) established the advantage on Wednesday and stood firm to finish well ahead of the second-placed Canada 1 Team yesterday evening, while Canada 2 slotted into third.
Teams consisted of both Big Tour and Small Tour partnerships, and a total of eight sides from six nations lined out. However Australia, Colombia and Guatemala did not field Big Tour competitors and therefore did not earn an official finishing spot. Team USA 2 claimed fourth place ahead of Germany in fifth.
USA 1 got off to a great start after Wednesday’s FEI Prix St Georges and FEI Grand Prix classes in which all four riders scored over 70 percent, and that put US Chef d’Equipe, Robert Dover, in a very positive mood. “I’m thrilled with all of our American riders” he said on Wednesday evening, “they came in to this arena to do a job and they will continue to do that job tomorrow and through the rest of this competition and show why America is not only superior to any other country in our hemisphere, but is ready to be ranked amongst the best nations in the world!”
USA 1 pathfinder, LaGoy Weltz, led the way with an expressive performance from Rassing’s Lonoir in the Prix St George to earn a mark of 71.605 and Herslow followed with a mark of 73.684 with Rosmarin. The intense heat didn’t suit her horse - “it’s hard to make yourself really push for the max in that” she said. However she was delighted with her result. “Riding with everyone today was awesome because I know I’m on a solid team and they all have great horses who have proven themselves throughout this season and you couldn’t ask for more” she pointed out.
There was a bonus 1.5 percent on offer in the Grand Prix which brought Allison Brock’s score with Rosevelt to 73.700, and she was pleased with how her horse coped with the pressure. “He was for the most part really honest and he went for it, he was with me and he handled it very well” she said afterwards. Graves and Verdades were always expected to be the star billing, and lived up to expectations when posting a total of 75.920. This pair, who made a huge impact at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy, France last summer have been in superb form on the Wellington circuit in recent months and are putting in their final preparations for the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas which kicks off in just over two weeks’ time.
Graves wasn’t the least bit fazed by filling the anchor role - “I like going last” she said. “It does usually put pressure on the anchor to put in a good performance, but I was so fortunate to have three awesome rides go before me.....I was in a really great position, whether I rode first or last I didn’t feel like I was carrying more than my own weight” she insisted.
USA 1 carried a score of 223.304 into yesterday’s decider, with Canada 1 less than seven marks adrift and USA 2 another seven marks further behind but stalked closely by Canada 2 and just over a point ahead of Team Germany in fifth place.
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