Australian Rider Jemma Heran and ‘Epic’ Mare Kick Off AGDF 8 With New Personal Best And First CDI Win

Australian Rider Jemma Heran and ‘Epic’ Mare Kick Off AGDF 8 With New Personal Best And First CDI Win

A bumper 21 combinations lined up to contest the CDI3* Grand Prix, sponsored by Mission Control, on opening day of action during Week 8 at the 2024 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL. Flags of three nations adorned the podium, with the 27-year-old Australian rider Jemma Heran capturing the class with a new personal best on Saphira Royal 2. AGDF 2024 runs for 12 weeks, through March 31, and includes seven international shows as well as weekly national competitions.

Heran scored 70.717% on her own 15-year-old San Amour daughter, and landed her first international victory with the horse in the process. Her trainer Frederic Wandres (GER) had to settle for second, riding Dressage Family LLC and Elisabeth Morell’s Joy Game to 69.913% at the horse’s debut CDI. At just 10 years old, the Davino gelding was the youngest horse in the class.

Three of the top four competitors logged new personal bests in this test on their horses. These included the Canadian riders who filled third and fourth: Danielle Gallagher posted 69.239% on her own and Ellen Lazarus’s 12-year-old Lusitano Come Back De Massa (by Galopin De La Font), with Camille Carier Bergeron slotting into fourth with the 14-year-old Fidertanz mare Finnländerin (69.087%).

Heran has owned Saphira Royal for just over a year. As a young horse, she captured the bronze medal at the 2013 Bundeschampionate under Kira Wulferding and another bronze at the 2016 World Young Horse Championships under Stefanie Wolf, who produced her to top level. The Rheinlander mare was then campaigned at grand prix level by Germany’s Kristina Bröring-Sprehe and Nicole Wego-Engelmeyer.

“I saw her at a show in Europe and I thought she was spectacular,” explained Heran. “She was small-ish, elegant, super flashy moving, fine boned — my style of horse. Today she was amazing. She was full of energy, super fit and ready to go. We had a little mistake in the ones, but she looked up at the crowd and she’s just so epic. She tries her heart out for me like not many other horses I’ve ridden.”

Heran, who is stabled at Hof Kasselman at both their Wellington and Germany bases, has spent the past year mainly training Saphira Royal, and relishes the chance to get in the arena on multiple occasions at AGDF.

“This season’s been really good,” added Heran, referring to strong placings in previous weeks. “Being here gives us the opportunity to show and show and show and we’re really getting to know each other in the ring. When I moved to Europe we trained for the first 12 months, so this is our first back-to-back showing stint. In the past we haven’t really had that ability, and we can now take that to Europe and continue on.

“If the Olympics happens it happens, and I don’t want to jinx anything, but that would be amazing,” added Heran, who also has the grand prix level Totilas son Total Recall — whom she lent to Wandres for the Nations Cup show in AGDF 7 — with her in Florida.

In the World Cup™ Grand Prix, presented by Piaffe Lounge, Kevin Kohmann (USA) laid claim to the winner’s blanket, riding Dünensee to 68.891%. Fellow American Susan Dutta finished just 0.152 percentage points behind with her long-time partner Don Design DC, the Dutta Corp.’s 14-year-old gelding by Der Designer. Argentine rider Micaela Mabragaña, who was last to go in the class of nine, finished third. She and her Pan-Am Games partner, the Hanoverian stallion Bradley Cooper (by Bonifatius), scored 66.5%.

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