Wellington, Fla.—Feb. 8
If you’ve ever been tempted to ride a musical freestyle to the soundtrack of the 2002 movie “Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron” raise your hand.
If so you’re in good company. It’s a movie that captured the imagination of horse-crazy children everywhere, and just because you’re no longer a child, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on the dream of riding to the soundtrack. Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu, 30, felt the same way, and while her ride was less wild—and included no death-defying jumps—she rode All In to music inspired by Spirit during the CDI5* Grand Prix freestyle at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.
The artistry of her music combined with the difficulty of her choreography (which averaged a 9) was enough to boost her and All In to a class-winning score of 76.52 percent.
“It’s very exciting especially because this is probably going to be my last show until maybe September,” said Fraser-Beaulieu, who’s expecting her first child in June. “I couldn’t ask for a better night honestly. He was with me the whole time. He had a little spook in the [trot] extension, and I had a small mistake in my twos, but other than that it’s probably one of the best feelings I’ve had out there. So to end out there I was pretty happy.”
During the press conference following the Grand Prix the day before, Katherine Bateson Chandler issued fighting words, vowing she would do her best to knock Fraser-Beaulieu off the top spot. But she didn’t quite hit the mark, scoring a 75.70 percent with Alcazar to take second place.
“I’m thrilled with him,” she said. “He hasn’t done a night class in quite a while. And he’s had times where he can be really good, and he’s had times when he completely panicked when the music came on. So I’m super super proud of him; this is the best freestyle I’ve done.
“This is sort of a new freestyle; we’ve only done it a couple of times, and I changed it a little bit in the canter work, and it worked out really well this time,” she continued. “So I couldn’t be more proud of him. He gave me an amazing feeling; he helped me through the whole thing. We had a little spook in the beginning, so we started off a little rough. And then it sort of woke me up, and it made me kick on, and he was right there for me, so I couldn’t be happier.”
If Christoph Koschel wanted to know what Ballentines 10 was made of, he certainly put the pressure on the 11-year-old Hanoverian (Belissimo M—Weltina). It was the gelding’s first time competing under the lights, and it was also his first freestyle. As if that weren’t enough, the freestyle he selected was the one his 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (Kentucky) partner Donnperignon used.
“It’s such a green and young horse,” Koschel said. “I’m so proud of him that he was behaving so well, was so with me. I think there’s a lot of potential for the future, and I really really had a good feeling. I’m really happy for sure.”
The freestyle riders weren’t the only ones who got to perform underneath the lights; this year the CDI5* Grand Prix Special kicked off the evening festivities at AGDF. Salvino proved he was still full of fire as Adrienne Lyle rode him to a definitive win on a 73.57 percent.
“This is my first time I’ve ever done a Special under the lights,” Lyle said, adding that the marquee spot is usually reserved for the freestyle. “So that was fun and different. It’s always a thrill riding under the lights here on Friday night at Global. It’s so much fun.”
Lyle had a disappointing Special with the 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion (Sandro Hit—Dynastie) at the WEG last year, so the fact that Salvino came out in front of a crowd with a good attitude was proof he’s on the right track.
“And I was so happy with Salvino,” she said. “I’m so happy with his attitude; he’s just going out there, and he seems like he’s enjoying every minute of it. He’s happy to be working; he’s doing what I ask. I just think he’s only going to get better from here; I couldn’t be happier with him.”
Shelly Francis’s ride started with a bit of drama when clattering dishes sounded from the VIP tent right as she started down centerline. Danilo became a bit unnerved, and they had some mistakes throughout the test, but the remainder had enough quality to take second (70.46 percent).
Joanne Vaughan, who was the first rider from the country of Georgia to ride at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (France) in 2014, slotted into the third-placed position with a score of 66.51 percent with Elmegardens Marquis.
We’ll be on site all week for the five-star at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Stay tuned for beautiful photos and stories on all the big winners.