WELLINGTON, Fla.--Jan Ebeling on Sergio Leone scored 71.958 percent, the only plus-70 percent score, to win the Intermediate I Freestyle CDI3* on March 4 in week eight of the Global Dressage Festival at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington.
It was the second win of the week for Ann Romney’s 10-year-old gelding, his first having come in the Intermediate I CDI3* class.
In the Prix St Georges CDI3*, this small tour series’ first contest, Canada’s Tom Dvorak on Cyrus beat Ebeling, but Ebeling pulled out all the stops in the freestyle on Sergio Leone to regain the win.
“He was awesome in there," said Ebeling, an Olympic veteran who was born in Germany. "He was ‘on’ in the I-1 already, and today he was even better. In the first test. the Prix St Georges, he’s always a little timid. Although he’s shown a lot, he’s always been like that in the first test. He’s a little tight and tense looking at the arena, but he was great today, super easy."
“THIS IS A FUN freestyle designed by Karen Robinson, who does all my freestyles and has done for many years,” said Ebeling. “It was actually designed for another horse that has very similar movement, who is not here. The CDI season is fairly new for ‘Santo’, he used to be called Santo Domingo, so he’s now borrowed that freestyle for two weeks in a row and he’s doing well with it.”
Although only lightly shown in CDIs, Ebeling has been competing the Oldenburg gelding in national classes since he was 5.
“We started showing him years ago at third level, and we’re just about ready to move into grand prix with him now,” said Ebeling, 59. “I haven’t done many CDIs with him, and I want to take my time and do the small tour one more time, but he’s pretty much schooling the whole grand prix, so I think maybe before we leave to go back home to California at the end of the season, I might put him in an Intermediate II or a young horse grand prix.”
“My wife Amy and a friend of ours own a 16-horse ranch here," said Ebeling. "We felt that the Florida circuit is very competitive, and it’s a fun environment. It’s horse heaven and rider heaven, and I feel like I can OD on horses every day for three months. We also have a wonderful circuit over there in California, but this Florida circuit has been so established for so many years and its gotten bigger and bigger. The organizers have done such an amazing job, putting money into it, it’s turned into this animal that has a life of its own. It’s so much fun to be here; I just love it.”
IN THE PONY division, 11-year-old Paige Hendrick recorded her second win of the week, topping the FEI Pony Freestyle on Otinio.
Hendrick is the youngest American rider to gain the U.S. Dressage Federation silver medal.
Remarkably, she has already been out competing at Prix St Georges level, and she is also the youngest rider to be selected for Robert Dover’s 2018 Christian Kennedy Future Stars Scholarship program.
Otinio is a 20-year-old New Forest pony who is trained to grand prix level and can perform 17 one-time changes as well as piaffe and passage.
The family made the trip down from their home in Rhode Island.
Otinio is familiar with Florida as he competed at the Festival many times between 2012 and 2015 under his previous rider, Asia Ondaatje Rupert, and won most of the classes he contested.
Hendrick and Otinio led the freestyle class with 66.575 percent, just 0.075 percent ahead of second-placed Canadian Scarlett Hansen and Reve De Glatigny.