Germany Secures Three-Peat in FDNC Season Opener
Frederic Wandres (GER) riding Harrods 3 - part of the winning team from Germany at the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ 2023 - Wellington (USA). Photo by FEI/Shannon Brinkman
As the 2023 FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ series commenced Friday in Wellington (USA), Germany found themselves in a familiar position. For the third consecutive year at the venue, the German squad was on top of the podium, getting the better of a rallying home nation.
The four-person team of Frederic Wandres (Harrods 3), Michael Klimke (Harmony's Sanrino RHP), Felicitas Hendricks (Drombusch 2) and Anna-Cristina Abbelen (San Donnerhall) extended Germany's winning streak at the Global Dressage Festival with a point tally of 437.844.
A personal best from 20-year-old Christian Simonson (Son of a Lady) in the Intermediate I (72.706%) helped the U.S. secure the silver medal (427.285), while Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén (Devanto) clinched the bronze for Sweden (414.498) with her Grand Prix Special test (70.830%).
Teams consisted of a combination of Big Tour and Small Tour pairs, with scores from the CDIO3* Grand Prix and CDIO3* Grand Prix Special (Big Tour) and CDIO3* Prix St. Georges and CDIO3* Intermediate I (Small Tour) tests combined to produce the results. Scores from the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special received a 1.5% bonus to account for a higher degree of difficulty.
A last-minute horse change for Wandres proved to be a winning formula. He and the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding Harrods 3 won the CDIO3* Prix St. Georges (74.853%) to kick off the competition. It was only the horse's fourth international start and first Nations Cup appearance.
"We can make plans, but sometimes things turn out differently. The situation switched a little bit with the horse I preferred to bring here. So, I took Harrods, who is already one step further in his education. He's already done a National Grand Prix, but I did the step back for the German team...In the end, we were all lucky winners."
-Frederic Wandres (GER)
After carrying an overnight lead into Friday, personal best scores from Hendricks and Klimke in the Grand Prix Special would cement their team's victory. Hendricks finished second in the Special (72.234%), with Abbelen third (71.915%) and Klimke fourth (71.255%).
"I love the Grand Prix Special," Hendricks said. "It suits [Drombusch 2] really well with the passage and then the extended trot parts, and they were obviously our highlights today. I'm proud of our team."
Germany was the only team to have all of its riders score above 70 percent in every test.
"This Nations Cup here is for sure something special," Wandres said. "The atmosphere and the team spirit between the teams is the best of the Nations Cups I have been to."
Germany now leads the series with 10 points, followed by the United States (8 points) and Sweden (7 points). The FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ resumes at Compiègne (FRA), 6-7 May.