By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Jan. 19–Patrik Kittel and Watermill Scandic H.B.C. claimed their first ever World Cup Freestyle victory when the Swedish Olympic team partnership won the Gold Coast Dressage Opener Saturday while the United States Olympic combination of Adrienne Lyle and Wizard placed second in their first Freestyle competition in almost a year.
Patrik and the 14-year-old KWPN stallion Solos Carex x Noraline x Amiral) drew the loudest applause for their ride that scored 80.125 per cent.
It followed their win in the Grand Prix Friday following a four-day training break due to the flight from Europe and quarantine. The result was, however, in the same range as scores in the pair’s two most recent World Cup events, Lyon, France and Stockholm, both well above 80 per cent. Under the World Cup rules, Saturday’s victory gave the pair 20 points for a total of 50 and moves them up to fourth place in the Western European League which has two more events.
Adrienne of Ketchum, Idaho and the 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding were awarded 75.675 per cent for second place and their second highest ever Freestyle result, the highest of 77.275 per cent notched at the Global Dressage Festival CDI5* in Florida last March. Adrienne succeeded in qualifying for the United States Olympic squad for London and no Freestyles were required by that process. (See accompanying report on Adrienne and Wizard.)
Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén, a Swedish team mate of Patrik’s in both London and Hong Kong, rode Divertimento to third place on a score of 74.50 per cent.
Denmark’s Lars Petersen, based in Florida, and Mariett had the most fun music for their freestyle, performing the circus-themed music for the first time in the show ring–and only one run through before–the pair placed fourth with 71.725 per cent. The upbeat circus music was a reminder of the rider’s successful career with fun music accompanying freestyles with Blue Hors Cavan who was retired in 2007. And it was a early birthday celebration for owner Marcia Pepper.
Both Patrik Kittel, who is based in Germany, and Adrienne came in specially for the €100,000 (US$132,000) World Dressage Masters next week, the fifth time the event has been staged in Palm Beach and which will feature top riders based in Europe and the United States.
Patrik, whose resume with Scandic includes last summer’s Olympics and two European Championships including a bronze medal in the Freestyle at Rotterdam in 2011 but never a World Cup win before Saturday, said Scandic reacted to the change from an outdoor warmup to a covered competition arena.
But the piaffe, passage and transition that are their strongest elements produced “one of the best feelings I’ve ever had with him.”
Although Scandic can “get hot and difficult” he has one of the most important characteristics for a dressage horse of fighting for the rider when at a competition .
“He never gives up,” he said. “He is always wanting to please the rider.”