Tina Konyot and her black stallion Calecto V captured the audience at the Kentucky Cup CDI freestyle, riding to the tunes of KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse And The Cherry Tree” and Beyoncé on their way to a win in the class. Konyot’s score of 76.25 percent in the dusk of the Kentucky Horse Park, April 22, far eclipsed her competitors, with Chris von Martels of Canada coming closest in second with a score of 70.20 percent aboard Naomi and Jacqueline Brooks in third on Balmoral (67.35%). More than 2,200 spectators gathered for the seven rides.
Konyot’s boyfriend, Thoroughbred trainer Roger Attfield, had a similarly memorable day as his charge Lady Shakespeare won the Grade III $150,000 Grey Goose Bewitch Stakes at nearby Keeneland (Ky.).
Konyot, of Palm City, Fla., and North Stonington, Conn., won the Grand Prix on Tuesday as well. Her freestyle with the Danish Warmblood (by Come Back II) included nice one-tempis and extravagant passage and piaffe.
“It was great fun,” said Konyot. “I need to work on tweaking this music. I haven’t had an opportunity to change some things since the [World Dressage Masters (Fla.) in January]. I like the music, and the judges like the music, and the crowd likes the music, but I need to make a few little changes in the choreography. I was very happy with how he performed for me.”
With the goal of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games firmly in mind, Konyot, with a U.S. Equestrian Federation grant, plans to compete at Aachen (Germany) in July before returning for the USEF selection trials in August.
“I’m not pushing the horse to the max now,” she added, stressing the importance of peaking at the right time this fall. “I want him to be comfortable and happy and keep a balance in the show ring. I’m looking for consistency now.”
With Canadians taking the second and third slots, the riders representing the Maple Leaf believe they will have the strongest team they’ve had in many years for the WEG, thanks to the help of team technical advisor Robert Dover.
Von Martels, Wellington, Fla., performed to music ranging from tribal to techno with his flashy mare and earned a popular reception from the crowd. He’s only been riding her about two months, since Sonia Zugel purchased the Dutch Warmblood for him, so the freestyle was one he’d used with a previous mount.
“She’s a great horse, has a great temperament,” said von Martels, 28. “She’s a worker and loves to be in the ring and compete. Whenever you take a horse on who’s been ridden by other distinguished riders—[Lars Petersen and Lisa Wilcox were Naomi’s two previous riders]—you have big shoes to fill. But she’s a great horse, and as long as I try my best, she’ll take care of me.”
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