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Robert Dover and Kennedy Again Brilliant in Grand Prix at the 2004 Dressage Olympic Selection Trials
US Equestrian Press Release
San Juan Capistrano, CA - Robert Dover and FBW Kennedy were even better today than they were last weekend. Just prior to Dover’s ride, Guenter Seidel on Aragon and Steffen Peters on Floriano had exceptional rides creating a super-charged atmosphere, but Dover and Kennedy marched down the center line, saluted and never looked back. Their score of 78.917% kept them firmly in the lead. Seidel and Aragon were second with 74.167%, Peters and Floriano were third with 71.875%, Leslie Morse and Kingston were fourth with 71.583%.
Veteran “O” Judge, Axel Steiner summed up today’s class, “We’ve never had this many strong Grand Prix horses in one class, ever. Looking at Robert’s ride today, which was truly international quality, it was interesting to me that I judged the 2000 Olympics with that horse and a different rider, and today the horse went better.
“I am just so thrilled to be able to ride a wonderful horse with such an incredibly fantastic character,” said Dover. I’m able to relax going around knowing that the horse is doing everything to do the right thing. So I’m very thankful to Jane Clark for giving me the chance to ride this great horse. I’m trying to do the best I can, as I came out Klaus said there’s more I can do to add points to the score we have now. I’m shooting to do the best possible job with this horse as I can and help the team every way that I can.”
Comparing last week’s tests to today’s Dover said, “I was so happy last week because I had not ridden in this kind of environment or climate with this horse until then. I was so thrilled with him last week that I was on a high right after, then he did even better the next day and I came out today and Guenter said it was even better, so after that I was just as happy as I could possibly be with him.”
Guenter Seidel received a ten today from a judge for Aragon’s piaffe, but he said it wasn’t the first time, it happened before in Europe. Seidel said Aragon’s relative lack of experience won’t matter if he goes to Athens, “There’s maybe a few horses on the team that are really solid, so even if he’s a little bit of a gamble I think he’ll be worth it. On his preference between which horse to take, Nikolaus or Aragon, he said, “I would take either horse, it usually works itself out anyway. I really don’t want to make that decision. I think it should be made by the scores, Klaus and other things.”
Steffen Peters continues to be amazed by Floriano who seems to improve and relax more each time he competes at Oaks Blenheim. “It’s pretty amazing where Floriano has come from,” he said. “Six months ago I had to make a Grand Prix horse out of him and now we have to make a team horse out of him. It’s just amazing how he came along. He’s pretty solid. At this point I simply couldn’t ask for more. I’ve ridden a lot of Grand Prix tests there’s not too many where I came out of the ring and I was a little choked up.”
Seidel translated for Klaus Balkenhol who gave his impression of today’s performances, “In the last few weeks we worked a lot with the horses and now it shows up in the way the horses are going and how they’re being scored. Most of the top horses made relatively few mistakes and that gives a lot of security to the team, and we can even build higher scores.
Chef d’Equipe Jessica Ransenhousan summed up the day, “we struggled long and hard to get where we are today. All of these riders here, these top ones, have been on the team before and have the most experience, they will make us very, very proud in Europe.”
State Line Tack/USEF Intermediaire I
Leslie Morse and Tip Top 962 overcame the youthful mistakes of yesterday as the stallion showed great maturity and poise today to win the State Line Tack/USEF Internediaire I with a score of 75.5%. Nicole Perry on Rubino Bellissimo was second with 70.1%, and Michael Shondel on Wallaby was third with 69.15%.
Morse has not had Tip Top very long, only about a year and a half. “It’s been a short partnership, we’ve spent most of the time getting to know one another. He felt really good today, he couldn’t have been more supple and elastic, and on my aids. For him to come in today to the venue after yesterday was good.”
“I liked everything about my test today,” said Nicole Perry. “Yesterday he got a little bit sucked-up and got a bit worried. Today, I was not pushing for speed and had a moment or two when I might loose him but he trusted me.”
Of the sometimes exuberant Wallaby Shondel said, “Today he was a lot more relaxed. After he got in there he focused.” Shondel pointed out that this is the horse’s first time outside of the northeast and Florida. This was perhaps their swan song together as Wallaby is for sale as Shondel will focus on his young 7 year old horse.