Guenter Seidel called his first CDI Grand Prix freestyle with Equirelle “conservative.” The judges thought otherwise, awarding the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Florett AS—Orchidee T, Donnerhall) 75.83% and the blue ribbon in the CDI4* on Jan. 31 during the third week of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida.
“It was our first freestyle,” Seidel, a three-time U.S. Olympian, explained, “so I was a little conservative and kept everything fairly easy. Our floor plan was fairly easy. She’s a very hot horse and has had her issues in the ring, so I wanted to use this test to give her some confidence out there. The more it went along the more secure she seemed to get, and she was really fun to ride. Most of the test was very pleasing. I know there’s quality in there, but sometimes that’s hard to show because she can get tight or scared, but it was nice to see that she is learning how to hold it together. It was not easy for her with the wind, but I was very happy with her.”
Seidel, 60, Cardiff, California, has had the ride on the mare owned by Leatherdale Farms for a couple of years now, and he said she’s a generous horse. “She doesn’t want to make mistakes, but she gets hot,” Seidel explained. “I think it takes time to get into a successful partnership with a horse like that at this level, but I feel like she will be a very good horse in a few years. I am going to use the shows here to get her seasoned and get her more confident in the ring. If it backfires, and she starts to get nervous I will back off, but if she keeps going like this, we will keep competing.”
Watch Seidel and Equirelle’s winning freestyle, courtesy of Richard’s Equine Video: