March 11, West Palm Beach, Fla.
A giddy Michal Rapcewicz scored a victory for Poland in the World Dressage Masters Grand Prix Special in his first trip to South Florida with Randon (69.77%). He narrowly beat out Pierre St. Jacques on Lucky Tiger (69.41%) and Shawna Harding on Come On III (68.95%) in the nine-horse field.
“This is an amazing feeling—it’s the first time for Poland, and I’ve broken all the records for my country. [He also rode for Poland in the Olympic Games, World Equestrian Games and several World Cup Finals as well.] I love riding in competition at the Masters,” said Rapcewicz. “West Palm Beach is like a small paradise for horses. It’s amazing. I had a holiday here, and I won a big competition. My birthday was yesterday, and everybody sung me happy birthday. It’s a big dream, and seriously I don’t want to wake up. Monday, I should go back, but maybe I’ll stay.”
Rapcewicz, 29, did not make the trip to Florida in the previous years of World Dressage Masters competition because he was focused on the FEI World Cup Final instead. But this year he thought he’d try something different with the 14-year-old Polish Warmblood gelding (Czuwaj SP—Rafa SP, Fanimo KWPN).
“It’s a vacation for the riders, and for the horses, everything is perfect. No stress. It’s a really brilliant time,” he said. “The World Dressage Masters is the best competition in Europe. We have everything for horses. The ground is perfect, the prize money is perfect, and the atmosphere is great.”
St. Jacques, Anthony, Fla., was equally pleased with his second-placed finish on his 16-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Lucky Light—Teike, Caletto I). “I’m so ecstatic with my horse. He was awesome to ride in there. The facility and the show has been the best that we have here,” he said. “It’s really fun to ride with all this electricity and this crowd. My horse reacted really well to that. He showed up for his job today, and he was very fun to ride.”
St. Jacques, 46, is expecting a child this spring with wife Samantha Taylor St. Jacques (who rode in the 2008 Olympic Games in eventing for Canada.) So he wasn’t interested in heading overseas anytime soon to compete.
“We’ll see what the fall holds. If I can get some sponsorship money to go to Europe I would love to go and compete and do some indoor shows,” he said. “My horse loves indoor shows. I think this is his year.”
Harding, Aiken, S.C., said her horse felt a bit tired after competing in the Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W (Fla.) last weekend and doing two tests this weekend, but she has big plans for the 12-year-old Danish Warmblood (Come Back II—Canna, Lantaan).
“If we qualify for World Cup Final, we’ll be leaving at the end of the month to fly over to Germany. I hope to get a small indoor national show in before, because he’s never really competed in the indoor. That will be a big experience for him. He’ll probably pick his legs up a little higher than he did today,” she said with a laugh. “The World Cup would be a dream come true for me to travel over there to Leipzig.”
Read about the Grand Prix.
Watch video coverage of the Grand Prix Special on the USEF Network.
1. Randon, Michal Rapcewicz, Poland, 69.77%
2. Lucky Tiger, Pierre St. Jacques, USA, 69.41%
3. Come On III, Shawna Harding, USA, 68.95%
4. Olivier, Elisabeth Austin, USA, 66.85%
5. Cezanne, Gary Vander Ploeg, Canada, 64.56%
6. Gran Gesto, Jacqueline Brooks, Canada, 63.75%
7. Dondolo Las Marismas, Yvonne Losos de Muniz, Domincan Republic, 62.31%
8. Chablis, Valentina Truppa, Italy, 62.12
9. Ayscha, Shannon Dueck, Canada, 61.12%