WELLINGTON, Fla.--Olivia LaGoy-Weltz on Rassing’s Lonoir won the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W on March 7 at the Global Dressage Festival.
LaGoy-Weltz had her sights set on the Dressage World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, and the ride secured her ticket for the North American League after earning another personal best score of 83.570 percent.
“I think there was relief when we came down that final centerline,” said LaGoy-Weltz. “There was a small fear that since this was the last World Cup qualifier, something would go wrong, and you really just hope you make it to the end of the test.”
Though she was just on the cusp of 90 percent for her artistic marks, LaGoy-Weltz said that she wasn’t sure how it went until the pair left the arena and she got feedback from her team.
“I don’t always know how it went,” she said. “I’ll come out like, ‘Was it good?’ and everyone’s like, ‘It was amazing!’ I think we are all such perfectionists, and we are always finding things here and there that could be better. He’s quite extravagant so I don’t always know what his legs are doing under me. When you come out and everyone is excited, there is relief. He’s such a special horse, and though he is getting older, it just seems like we are just getting better, and I feel very lucky that it’s going that way.”
LAGOY-WELTZ didn’t alter her freestyle since the last time she rode it in the International Stadium, and explained her reasoning on keeping it the same, though she and the 2004 Danish warmblood gelding do have other variations of it.
“It’s still the same pattern and the same music,” she said. “Marlene Whitaker made it for us, and it’s really still the first draft, but I feel like she got it quite good, and I like familiarity. We have versions with small tweaks, but I feel like I know this one well, and it works, so why change it? It’s quite a challenging pattern. There’s a lot in it, and it takes a lot of focus to ride, on his part and mine, but I like it a lot and I think Marlene did a fantastic job with all of it.”
“I don’t think I will change it at all for World Cup Finals," she said. "I’ll probably keep it the same. It is the maximum degree of difficulty, so if I do anything more difficult. I don’t get rewarded. I think this seems to be working. That would be more risk without reward. It’s just about getting it a little more polished and better. He’s quite capable of doing the pattern, so it’s just about honing it in a little more.”
“The thing that I really appreciate about Olivia and her horse is the harmony that we get from them and the nice self-carriage," said judge Jane Weatherwax. "The risks that were taken, and there was a great deal of difficulty in that freestyle, it all paid off. They were very calculated. I never worried about her getting it done, and the music was fantastic. Today they were right on it together. When something goes so well, and as a judge you aren’t worried about anything, it makes it very enjoyable to watch.”
Second place in the Freestyle CDI-W went to Canada’s Jill Irving on Arthur with 76.095 percent, and. Dongseon Kim of Korea was third on DSK Belstaff with 73.650 percent.