Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro continued to dominate the international dressage world with their victory in the REEM ACRA FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals, which concluded in Lyon, France on Easter Sunday. The 2012 Olympic team and individual gold medalists and European champs set yet another record: the first pair from Great Britain to win the WC.
Charlotte and Valegro were followed by last year's champions, Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW of Germany, and Edward Gal and Glock's Undercover of the Netherlands. Representing America, Florida-based Tina Konyot and Calecto V finished 11th and Cesar Para and Van The Man were 16th.
Charlotte's finale Freestyle was all new and set to music from the movie How To Train Your Dragon. "There was enormous curiosity about their new musical score, put together by Tom Hunt," relayed FEI reporter Louise Parkes. "It proved delightful, with Valegro demonstrating all his hallmark grace, balance, strength, obedience and lightness, along with no small measure of personal charm as he cruised through passage and canterwork that was a joy to watch before finishing with a daring final piaffe/pirouette." Charlotte said later that she had come up with that challenging sequence somewhat on a lark while schooling well before the big event. "It is technically difficult, but being the superstar that he is, Valegro can do it!"
Although Charlotte and Valegro had only schooled the whole test twice at home, the ride went off without a hitch and triggered a big response from the crowd and the judges. Their 92.179 was almost five marks ahead of the runners-up.
Charlotte's win was fun for everybody to watch and especially for those lucky enough to attend her clinic in Los Angeles in early March (California Riding Magazine, April 2014). She's charismatic on and off a horse and an easy rider to root for.
The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final concluded Monday, April 21. Germany's Daniel Deusser held the coveted silver chalice aloft when all was said and done, with fellow German, international show jumping veteran Ludger Beerbaum finishing second. Great Britain's Scott Brash finished third, with yet another German, Marcus Ehning in fourth.
As for the Americans, last year's super star winner Beezie Madden was the top US rider with her seventh placed showing aboard Simon, McLain Ward and Rothchild were ninth and Charlie Jayne and Chill RZ finished 10th.
France had high hopes for hometown hero Patrice Delaveau, who finished the second lap tied for second. But he withdrew his horse Lacrimoso that night feeling that he wasn't quite right from a soundness standpoint. The horse is just 10, the rider noted, with many good years ahead of him. And Americans were disappointed with the withdrawal of Kent Farrington and Voyeur after winning the Final's second round on Saturday night. But it wasn't quite enough to make them top contenders and Farrington explained that the horse was recently recovered from an injury and that he thought it best to not push his luck.
California native Lucy Davis and California based Egyptian rider Nayel Nassar finished just out of the prize money, yet a respectable 17 and 18, having made the cut of 27 to tackle the final day's rounds. Our West league contenders Ashlee Bond, Saer Coulter and Jenni Martin McAllister were not so fortunate.
Through the World Cup's 35-year history, the U.S. and Germany had been tied with nine titles apiece, but the Germans are one up on us now. Here's hoping the U.S. can rectify that next year when the Finals for show jumping and dressage return to Las Vegas: Yeah! The dates are April 15-19 and the website to stay tuned for ticket info is