International action for the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) 2022 season in Wellington, Florida, wrapped up on Sunday, March 27. The grand champions were crowned in both the Lövsta Future Challenge Young Horse Grand Prix Series and the Summit Farm Future Challenge Young Horse Prix St. Georges Series.
Joppe K’s considerable talents came to fruition in the grand final of the Lövsta Future Challenge Young Horse Grand Prix Series, which he won with 70.052% under the saddle of Jennifer Williams (USA). The horse has an exceptional competition trajectory, having won both the six- and seven-year-old young horse finals at Wellington in 2020 and 2021.
These classes aim to identify and nurture talented, up-and-coming young FEI horses, giving them exposure to benefit their development with the biggest of world stages in mind. Williams and the eight-year-old KWPN gelding by Harmony’s Rousseau had only qualified a week earlier for the final, earning their ticket at the last opportunity.
Australian Olympian Kelly Layne and Fernando, who qualified via a win in AGDF 3, claimed second place with 68.815%. Layne has been riding Ellen Trouillé’s 10-year-old gelding, by Foundation x Sandro Hit, since he was five. Alice Tarjan rounded out her busy season by taking third place on her own eight-year-old mare Jane, by Desperado NOP. Jane and Joppe K were the youngest horses in the class.
A tactical decision not to contest the previous day’s warm-up class at Intermediate II level with Joppe K paid off. The horse had been competing in CDIs at small tour until just last month.
“Because the I-2 was the warm-up and the day before the class, and there’s the halt at X (instead of at G, as in the Grand Prix, on the final center line), I decided that wasn’t wise for him, because we did his first Grand Prix on Thursday and I learned that he wanted to halt at X,” explained Williams. “We had to talk about that, and today he was not thinking halt.”
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén of class sponsor Lövsta said: “The thought with the Lövsta Future Challenge is to give the young horses this possibility to get into the international arena with the best judges and with the kind of different atmosphere than a smaller show. They are inexperienced, young horses, and it’s okay if there are mistakes here and there, because it should be educational. It’s not already five-star top Grand Prix; it’s young horse Grand Prix. And it should be that quality is the most important part.”