As It Happens: The FEI World Cup Final Freestyle

Apr 1, 2017 - 2:21 PM

Omaha, Neb.—April 1    

The FEI World Cup Dressage Final freestyle gets underway at with the first horse going down centerline at 2:15 p.m. Central time (3:15 p.m. EST) with 14 horses on the order of go for the Grand Prix freestyle in two groups. Make sure to check back on after the class to read all about who wins! And check out all our FEI World Cup Dressage Final coverage.

U.S riders go:
7th—Rosamunde/Steffen Peters (3:15 p.m. CT/4:15 p.m. ET)
8th—Goerklintgaard’s Dublet/Kasey Perry-Glass (3:45 p.m. CT/4:45 p.m. ET)
10th—Verdades/Laura Graves (4:05 p.m. CT/5:05 p.m. ET)

CLICK here for What You Need To Know for more information about the competition. The World Cup title is decided by the freestyle score only.

Chronicle reporters will be doing a round-by-round live blog here, reporting in real-time what happens with each rider, and after the end of the day will also post in-depth coverage and a gallery full of great photos. Follow along at and on COTH’s Facebook and Twitter

IMPORTANT LINKS: The order of go / live streaming / live results / COTH’s What You Need To Know / All COTH’s FEI World Cup Finals coverage

6:12 PM: Isabell ends the awards ceremony by spraying her fellow competitors with champagne and sharing the bottle with all the grooms. That’s a wrap, folks, check back tomorrow for the show jumping final!

6:07 PM: Here are your final standings:

  1. Weihegold OLD/Isabell Werth (GER): 90.704%
  2. Verdades/Laura Graves (USA): 85.307%
  3. Nip Tuck/Carl Hester (GBR): 83.757%
  4. Vancouver K/Judy Reynolds (IRE): 79.571%
  5. Cennin/Madeleine Witte-Vrees (NED): 79.046%
  6. Glock’s Voice/Edward Gal (NED): 78.921%
  7. Goerklintgaards Dublet/Kasey Perry-Glass (USA): 77.068%
  8. Mister X/Inessa Merkulova (RUS): 76.414%
  9. Rosamunde/Steffen Peters (USA): 75.879%
  10. Du Soleil/Kristy Oatley (AUS): 75.868%
  11. Rustique/Mai Tofte Olesen (DEN): 74.300%
  12. Smeyers Molberg/Marcela Krinke-Susmelj (SUI): 74.146%
  13. Bandurria Kacero/Maria Florencia Manfredi (ARG): 70.696%
  14. Xama Dos Pinhais/Joao Victor Marcari Oliva (BRA): 70.321%

5:57 PM: so this is Isabell’s third World Cup win. She’s a full 5 percentage points ahead of Laura Graves, who really put in a great ride but… hey, it’s Isabell Werth, being second to her is no joke! Carl Hester will finish in third place.

5:55 PM: Weihegold OLD and Isabell Werth—here we go, last to go and the biggest threat to Laura Graves. She starts in the canter up center line, nice halt, and immediately into passage on a circle. A lovely piaffe, with flawless transition back to passage, then extended trot up center line. Now trot half pass into passage half pass on a zig zag. Nicely done! Piaffe pirouette, another lovely transition back into passage half pass, then trot half pass. More passage and piaffe, again, lovely. Now the walk, and then into the collected canter and then canter half pass zig zag. Extended canter right into a double pirouette. A nice line of two-tempis, flawlessly done. Another extended canter into double pirouette. And 19 one-tempi changes, again, flawless! Extended trot down the diagonal, right into passage on a serpentine with passage on the center line. A passage pirouette, very active and rhythmic, and she’s already getting applause as she passages up center line to her final halt! What a lovely ride… and Isabell looks awfully happy! As she should be… her score is 90.704 percent!! She’s done it!

5:45 PM: Vancouver K and Judy Reynolds—she begins at the walk, a nice square halt and right into two tempi changes up center line, with a few mistakes, unfortunately. This is the test with the highest degree of difficulty in the competition. Trot half-pass into passage half pass on a zig zag, right into a piaffe pirouette. From that right into a canter half-pass and double pirouette. Another half pass/double pirouette. Now into the walk, which is nice and steady. Nice two-tempis up center line. Piaffe into passage half pass and trot half pass and back to passage half pass. Whew! Some more nice passage on a serpentine and piaffe as she crosses center line, nicely done. Extended trot up the diagonal, not quite as big as some of the other horses, but nicely done. A big extended canter right into a piaffe pirouette, up center in  the passage, and a big smile at the halt! Vancouver spooks at the applause and canters out of the ring… guess he still has a bit left in the tank, despite that level of difficulty! Score: 79.386 percent, a new personal best for this freestyle! She’s into third place.

5:34 PM: Glock’s Voice and Edward Gal—a little movement in his initial halt/salute. Right into passage and a nice piaffe on a serpentine. Very expressive passage! Now into extended trot down the diagonal, and then half pass zig zag, and another extended trot… really lovely! Right into passage, a piaffe fan on the wall, and then passage into a turn up center line and extended trot. Now into the walk tour… collected walk looks a little tense, but he relaxes into the free walk. Now he picks up the canter, and right into a half-pass canter zig zag. Extended canter right into a double canter pirouette, seeming to get a little “stuck” in the pirouette. Nice line of two tempis, then the same movement the other direction, this pirouette is better. One-tempis are very smooth. Big pats on both sides of his neck for Glock’s Voice after their halt and salute… a very nice, smooth test! Score: 79.011 and into fourth place.

5:25 PM: Nip Tuck and Carl Hester—So we’re into the meat of this competition now! Passage up center line, a little bobble transitioning into piaffe. A full piaffe pirouette, then passage into canter up center line, with a double canter pirouette. Whew, they pack a lot into one center line! Now two-tempis on a curve down the long side, and a half pass zig zag headed back up center line. Twenty beautiful one-tempi changes on a curve, and then another double canter pirouette on center line, nicely done, continuing down center line with a set of clean one-tempis. Passage into piaffe, a little bobble on the transition back to passage. Now into his walk work, nicely done. Trot half pass zig zag, well done. Extended trot is a little lackluster, back up center line for a passage half-pass zig zag. Final halt, and a big smile from Carl. The music of this freestyle really fit the horse nicely and it was a good performance… Carl seems pleased! Score: 83.614 percent and into second place!

5:15 PM: Verdades and Laura Graves—Here we go with the U.S.’s best hope! She starts with passage, halt , then trot half-pass zig zag. Nicely done! Expressive extended trot down the diagonal, then passage into piaffe. More lovely half-pass, then passage half pass, on a zig zag. Now into the walk, which is very steady. Transition to the canter at C, and then right into a half pass on the diagonal. She does her two-tempis on a curved line, then immediately into her one-tempis… flawless! Now extended canter down the diagonal, right into a double pirouette. Canter half pass is lovely, right into another set of two-tempis on a curve into one-tempis. She earns some applause for that one and gives a little smile! A double canter pirouette on center line, then into an extended trot on the diagonal and right into passage. Back up center line, and a piaffe fan to each sides… extended trot, final halt and salute! Oh, a big smile from Laura, she looks very happy with that test! She gives some big pats to Diddy and waves to the crowd. That was close to perfect! Score: 85.289 percent!! Into the lead! She earns some artistic marks over 90 percent.

5:03 PM: Mister X and Inessa Merkulova—dramatic start with passage up center line, halt, immediately into piaffe. Then a passage zig zag with half pass, right into a big extended trot. Nice walk work, and then a little mistake at the start of the one-tempis. Double canter pirouettes, into half pass and another double pirouette. (Her music, by the way, is distinctly Russian!) Nice two-tempis, and then into another double canter pirouette. Canter half-pass, into pirouette. Then a big extended canter up center line, extended trot down the diagonal (earning some applause), turn up center line in the passage. Nice piaffe fan, 45 degrees each direction, some rhythm issues, passage right into the final halt. A big, dramatic final salute from her, a big hug for her horse, and she looks very pleased with her test! This is her fourth World Cup final with this horse. Score: 75.696, into fifth place.

4:54 PM: Goerklintgaards Dublet and Kasey Perry-Glass—passage up center line after her halt, into extended trot, with a little bobble. Passage half-pass into another extended trot. Really  nice trot half pass into passage half-pass. She’s really showing off this horse’s passage as much as possible… for good reason! Into the walk tour, which is nicely done. Two-tempis on a curved line, into extended canter down center line and a double pirouette at A. A few mistakes on her one-tempis, and then another extended canter/pirouettes on center line, although he creeped a little in the pirouette. Canter half-pass zig zag, very nice. Extended trot down the diagonal, and then up center line in the passage, with a piaffe “fan,” 45 degree turn to each side. Final halt, and big pats from Kasey and a big smile! Some small mistakes, but still a great effort. Score: 77.146.

4:36 PM: Just to recap, here are the standings at the first break:

  1. Cennin/Madeleine Witte-Vrees (NED): 79.046%
  2. Du Soleil/Kristy Oatley (AUS): 75.868%
  3. Rosamunde/Steffen Peters (USA): 75.764%
  4. Rustique/Mai Tofte Olesen (DEN): 74.300%
  5. Smeyers Molberg/Marcela Krinke-Susmelj (SUI): 74.146%
  6. Bandurria Kacero/Maria Florencia Manfredi (ARG): 70.696%
  7. Xama Dos Pinhais/Joao Victor Marcari Oliva (BRA): 70.321%

4:25 PM: Rosamunde and Steffen Peters—from halt up center line in extended trot, and then right into passage. Not the smoothest transition out of piaffe. Two-tempis are clean. Double canter pirouettes into canter half pass zig zag. A nice line of one-tempis, clean, and then into another canter double pirouette. Extended canter into yet another double canter pirouette, and then right into piaffe, and then into walk. Nice trot half pass, and then a passage half pass! (Which earns some during-the-test applause.) The piaffe after that movement looked a little rough, but then into a nice extended trot. The same trot half-pass/piaffe half-pass movement the other direction, right into a piaffe pirouette. A final piaffe pirouette into the halt with some rhythm issues, but a big smile and big pats for Rosamunde at the end! No major mistakes in this test, although not the best this pair can do, and there are surely some moments Steffen would like to have back. Score: 75.764 percent for third. Now we’re on a break, with Kasey Perry-Glass next up at 4:45!

4:13 PM: Cennin and Madeleine Witte-Vrees—the horse looks a little unsettled at the atmosphere on his first trip up center line, but settles quickly. Nice passage and piaffe pirouettes, and then into trot half-pass. Expressive extended canter and then into a double pirouette. Nice clean two-tempi changes, and then into a big free walk. Canter half-pass zig zag on center line, nicely done. Another nice double canter pirouette at A. A nice line of one-tempis on a curve, then into extended canter. Piaffe on center line, extended trot up center line, and then piaffe into halt RIGHT in front of Anne Gribbons at C. She looks very pleased! It was a very smooth, accurate test, although she seems to have been a tiny bit ahead of her music. Score: 79.100 and into the lead! Next up, Steffen Peters!

4:03 PM: Du Soleil and Kristy Oatley—she starts with canter up center line, and then right into a big extended trot. Passage is gorgeous. Piaffe pirouette seems a little flat. Trot half-pass toward the A end of the arena, and another back toward C. Second piaffe is better, but still lacks some of the expression of the other horses. More extended trot, and oh my, that’s definitely this horse’s highlight, even getting some applause during the test! A mistake in the next piaffe, and then into the walk tour. Clean two-tempis down the diagonal, with a little pat from the rider afterward for a job well done. Canter half-pass zig zag, on a steep diagonal,  with pirouettes in the middle. Big extended canter into a nice double pirouette, one-tempis up center line with a couple mistakes, but she she does them again the other directions cleanly. One handed extended trot up center line to finish! Score: 75.743 and into the lead!

3:54 PM: Bandurria Kacero and Maria Florencia Manfredi—Argentina’s first rider in a World Cup! And of course, she starts out to an Argentinian tango. She starts with canter pirouettes on center line, and then into her two tempis on a curve. Nice canter half pass zig zag, and perfect one-tempis, again on a curved line. A double center pirouette on center line and one-tempis headed up toward C. A big extended trot from this BIG, 18.3 hand horse, and then into trot half-pass zig zag. Some rhythm issues in his passage and a little bit unsteady in the piaffe. But some BIG pats from Maria and fist pumps after her final halt, and lots of applause from the crowd! She’s all smiles leaving the ring. She has definitely enjoyed the heck out of her World Cup experience! Score: 70.664 percent, currently third of the four riders who’ve gone so far.

3:45 PM: Smeyers Molberg and Marcela Krinke-Susmelj—she starts with passage immediately out of her dead-square halt on center line, very nice, and nice passage and transition back into passage. The music matches up really well with her horse’s gaits. Perfect two-tempis, followed by her canter pirouette, getting a little bit “stuck” coming out of it. A second double canter pirouette lacks some energy. A half pass canter zig zag between the long side and the quarter line, and then another double canter pirouette, again not his strongest movement. Oops, a little mistake in a piaffe pirouette right before her final halt. The horse looked a little tired at the end, but still a strong test! Score: 74.261 percent, into second place. She looks a bit disappointed with that.

3:34 PM: Rustique and Mai Tofte Olesen—She starts with serpentine passage into piaffe, and then into canter half-pass. She has a small mistake in her first set of two-tempis, then double pirouette into a half pass. Her one-tempis are perfect. Double canter pirouettes right in front of the judge at C, and done very well! Beautiful job with her second set of one-tempis. Half pass zig zag at the trot is really nice. And a really nice big extended trot zig zag! Half pass passage and piaffe “fan” on center line to finish… a really nice, consistent, smooth test with a high degree of difficulty, and big smiles and waves to the crowd. Score: 74.318! A personal best for her.

3:25 PM EST: Xama Dos Pinhais and Joao Victor Marcari Oliva—Here we go! This pair from Brazil scored 68.214 percent in the Grand Prix, placing a very respectable 13th in this jam-packed-with-talent field. The horse is a 15-year-old Lusitano stallion, and Marcari Oliva is the youngest rider here, just 21 years old. He starts with some difficult one-tempis. His music is, as you would expect, Brazilian-influenced. He does two double canter pirouettes with a line of one-tempis in between. He lost his impulsion a bit going into his piaffe, but no major mistakes in the piaffe and passage. He does a nice extended trot straight up center line and then goes into his walk work. Canter half-pass into two tempis on a half circle, with one small mistake, but he does the same movement in the opposite direction flawlessly. A big pat for his gorgeous gray at the end and he must be pretty pleased with that! Score: 70.171 percent.

2:57 PM EST: Just a reminder that the action will also be live-streaming on FEI TV. FEI TV is subscription only—$79.99 for the year or $14.99 for a month.

2:45 PM EST: Greetings, folks! We’re about half an hour away from our first rider in the Grand Prix Freestyle. I’m Erin Harty, Chronicle freelancer, here to provide your play-by-play. We’ve got 14 horse-and-rider pairs this afternoon, down from 16 that started in the Grand Prix. (Hanna Karasiova and Arlekino of Belarus did not make the 60.00 percent cut-off,  and unfortunately Wendi Williamson and Dejavu MH of New Zealand were disqualified after the Grand Prix because the horse had blood in his mouth. )


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