Ocala, Fla. – Anna Marek rounded out the weekend’s international competition at the World Equestrian Center November Dressage CDI3*, sponsored by Hampton Green Farm and Discover Dressage, with a third straight small tour victory aboard Duvel on Sunday, November 20, 2022.
This result caps a tremendous week for Marek and Cynthia Davila’s Duvel, and their 75.485% marks a new career-high score for them in the Intermediate I Freestyle test. Their score was bolstered by a high of 77.7% from the Canadian judge, Cara Whitham. The all-American, all-female podium was filled by Nora Batchelder, who finished second with 72.365% on Fashion Week, and Stephanie Pair-Kavitz filling third on I Crack De La Vigne (69.325%).
There were unseasonably chilly and rainy conditions in Florida for the final day of a show that offers $40,000 in prize money for the CDI classes.
“This is a personal best for us, and it feels great,” enthused Marek of the 17.3hh 14-year-old by Florencio x Metall. “It was so cold that he had more energy. He’s solid in the Prix St. Georges and the I1 movements, so then he adds a little bit more power in the freestyle and it’s just that much better. He’s really trustworthy.”
Duvel is unbeaten in all nine CDI small tour classes he has contested in 2022. One of his particular strengths are his canter pirouettes.
“He is so easy to ride pirouettes on,” explained Marek, who rode to a freestyle made by Karen Robinson. “Riding them in the ring is the best feeling of a pirouette of any horse I ride. He’s very serious about his job. The best way I can describe him is that he’s like a professional. He’s ginormous but when he and I are together, you can’t tell how big he is because I’m so tall [6ft].”
The show was particularly special as Duvel’s Dutch breeder Nicole de Leeuw — who trained the horse up to Grand Prix level herself — flew in to watch him perform. Marek plans to stick with small tour for now, with a view to boosting her scores even higher before making the step up to competing at Grand Prix.
Davila was not only an owner at this show: she rode her own KWPN Fayvel to a new personal best of 65.804% in the Amateur Grand Prix. She and the 12-year-old gelding by Zizi Top stepped up to CDI Grand Prix level in April 2022 and this was their third show together at this level.
Eline Eckroth claimed the winner’s sash in the CDI3* Intermediate II, riding Daphne, an Oldenburg mare by Diamond Stud, to 64.589%. Originally from the Netherlands, Eckroth has lived in the U.S. since 2004.
Sunday’s action concludes the World Equestrian Center November Dressage CDI3* show. National dressage returns to the venue for the indoor Dressage V, running December 15-18, 2022. For more information, visit www.WEC.net.