U.S. riders kicked off both big tour and small tour competition on Friday, July 4, at the Fritzens CDI**** in Austria with strong performances in the Grand Prix and Prix St. Georges tests. Four members of the short list for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (France) U.S. Dressage Team—Laura Graves, Shelly Francis, and Caroline Roffman and Lisa Wilcox—secured results for the United States in the Grand Prix for the Special to qualify to contest Sunday's Grand Prix Special, while Steffen Peters started the day with a win in small tour competition.
"It was a great day for American Dressage here at the beautiful Fritzens CDI****,” said U.S. Dressage Chef d'Equipe Robert Dover.
Leading the way for the Americans on Friday were the Dutta Corp/USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Reserve Champions Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades. The 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood earned a mark of 73.38 percent to finish in second place among the field of 30.
Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) was the final U.S. entry of the day with Patricia Stempel's 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding Doktor. The pair scored 70.46 percent to finish in fifth place in the Grand Prix for the Special.
Roffman (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Her Highness O were the first U.S. Grand Prix combination down the centerline on Friday afternoon, scoring 68.94 percent to finish in 11th. Wilcox (Loxahatchee) also contested the Grand Prix for the Special with Betty Wells’ 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding Denzello, scoring 67.66 percent to earn 16th.
Finishing in first place in the Grand Prix for the Special was Austria's Victoria Max-Theurer and Blind Date with a score of 74.50 percent.
Reigning Dutta Corp/USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Champions Peters (San Diego, Calif.) and Four Winds Farms’ 7-year-old Rheinlander mare Rosamunde proved unbeatable in the Prix St. Georges—scoring 75.10 percent to top the field of 21. Also contesting Fritzens' small tour competition are Tina Konyot (Palm City, Fla.) and Bruce Grivetti's Wyoming. On Friday the 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding scored 65.28 percent to finish in 17th place.
Competition at Fritzens continues on Saturday with three U.S. big tour combinations performing the Grand Prix test to qualify for the freestyle, and Peters and Konyot returning with their small tour horses in the Intermediaire I. In the Grand Prix for the freestyle, the United States will be represented by short listed riders Peters and Four Winds Farms’ Legolas 92, Adrienne Lyle (Ketchum, Idaho) and Peggy Thomas' Wizard, and Konyot with her own Calecto V.
Jan Ebeling (Moorpark, Calif.), who also is part of the short list for the Alltech FEI World Games, had originally been slated to ride Beth Meyer, Ann Romney and Amy Ebeling's Rafalca in Grand Prix competition at Fritzens. However, after the 2012 Olympic Games veteran sustained a minor injury, it was decided it was in the best interest of the mare to withdraw her from the weekend's competition. The combination still remains in contention for the 2014 World Games team.
See full results from Fritzens here.