|Pierre St. Jacques and Lucky Tiger|
Wellington, FL - The second day of the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach presented by the International Polo Club got underway with the Grand Prix Special on a glorious day in South Florida. Nine horse-and-rider combinations went forward to the Special after Thursday's Grand Prix and the remaining eight will contest the Freestyle this evening. Polish rider Michal Rapcewicz proved unbeatable, winning the Special on 69.771% on Randon.
American veteran Pierre St. Jacques (Ocala, FL) was the last rider in the ring on Lucky Tiger. The pair tried very hard with an excellent test but couldn't quite slip past the winner from Poland, their score was 69.417%, just shy of the top spot. Lucky Tiger's performance showed maturity and confidence and St. Jacques was pleased with his horse's effort.
"I'm so ecstatic with my horse," said St. Jacques. "He was awesome to ride in there. He was very, very fun to ride. He showed up for his job today."
The flashy bay Danish Warmblood gelding was fourth in this same competition in 2010.
St. Jacques did the test ride for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in September, where the pair served as the second reserve for the U.S. Team. A 2003 Pan Am Games Gold medalist, St. Jacques has been patiently producing Lucky Tiger. They have formed a good partnership and for much of the test it looked like today was going to be their day. Less than four-tenths of a point kept them from the top spot, but St. Jacques couldn't be disappointed with the effort or his experience at the Masters.
"This show is the best we have here," said St. Jacques. "It's fun to ride with the electricity and the crowd in there."
St. Jacques and his wife, Canadian Olympic Eventing rider Samantha are expecting a baby in June.
Shawna Harding (Aiken, SC) and Come On III had a very confident test to score of 68.958% and end up in third place. Come On III is a 12-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding that Harding has produced herself through the ranks. They were reserve Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF National Intermediaire I Champions in 2008, and Come On III looked more relaxed in the ring in the Grand Prix Special than in Thursday's Grand Prix.
"I had a really good ride," said Harding. "I had a couple little mistakes... it was wonderful to be part of the Masters. I'm very, very happy."
It was Harding's first World Dressage Masters and she capitalized on the experience. She hopes to go to Europe for the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Final in Leipzig, Germany over the final weekend in April. If things go to plan, she wants to stay in Europe through Aachen in July.
Harding also has another horse that she hopes to take to the Pan American Games in Guadalajara in October.
Rapcewicz proved a popular foreign winner, and he continues to rack up firsts for his country. He represented Poland in the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Radon's performance improved considerably from the Grand Prix.
"Today I'm really proud for my horse," said Rapcewicz. "He really enjoyed it. I'm really happy, it is so nice for the horses."
Rapcewicz competed in three World Dressage Masters competitions in 2010. The Series is presented by the Axel Johnson Group and features stops in Hickstead, Munich and Falsterbo in 2011. Rapcewicz hopes to put Munich on the calendar.
"These are the best competitions in Europe," said Rapcewicz of the Masters Series.
Please visit USEF Network at www.usefnetwork.com for photos, blogs and information about the event. The Grand Prix Freestyle will feature Steffen Peters and Ravel, who won the Grand Prix on Thursday, Tina Konyot and Calecto V, Tinne Vilhelmsson Silven and Favourit, Ashley Holzer and Pop Art, Todd Flettrich and Otto, Anja Ploenzka and Le Mont d'Or, Anne Van Olst and Exquis Clearwater and Christa Laarakkers and Ocarion.
This competition is the featured event of the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach presented by the International Polo Club Palm Beach and the festivities begin at 7:30 PM. Todd Flettrich and Otto will be the first combination in the ring at 8:20PM. Don't miss a moment of the action - as the remainder of the CDI5* competition will be available on www.usefnetwork.com .
*Please note the technical capabilities at the venue are compromising the quality of the stream. The problem is being addressed for tonight's class.The USEF is making every effort to assist Sport Tech Productions (the production company providing the stream) to ensure that tonight's broadcast airs as planned.