The 2018 season started on a high note for Canadian dressage athletes, with Diane Creech and Jill Irving leading the Canadian results during opening week of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), held Jan. 11-14, 2018 in Wellington, FL.

Held annually, the AGDF attracts some of the world’s top dressage competitors for seven weeks of CDI-level competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Creech, who resides in Caistor Centre, ON, is no stranger to success at the AGDF. She and Robbie W (sired by Rubin), a 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding she co-owns with Louise Leatherdale, have been earning spots on the AGDF leaderboard since 2015.

They proved 2018 would be no different by kicking things off on Jan. 11 with a score of 70.098% to capture second place in the FEI CDI 3* Prix St. Georges. Creech and Robbie W returned the next day to win the FEI CDI 3* Intermediate I with a score of 69.706%.

“We had just arrived from Canada, which is always a big adjustment for the horses,” explained Creech. “Robbie is a great traveler and I felt that he was handling it all in his typical happy and relaxed way. He believes in the goodness of every person he meets (and them having a sugar cube on hand just for him), talks in his sleep, loves his people, and totally knows how to work his charm.”

On the final day of competition, Robbie W worked that charm to earn his highest score of the week with Creech in the FEI CDI 3* Intermediate I Freestyle, where the judges awarded a score of 72.975% for another second place finish.

“Louise Leatherdale and our team are so proud of Robbie’s great start to this 2018 season,” said Creech. “Leaving the showgrounds, he was so proud of the work he left behind.”

Jill Irving of Moncton, NB also made her mark, taking on the big tour with Windhaven Farm’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Arthur (Jazz x Contango). The pair nabbed third place in the FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix with 69.174% on Jan. 11, then closed the competition on Jan. 13 with a second-place finish in the FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix Special on a score of 68.723%.

Irving also earned top placings with her long-time partner, Degas 12 (De Niro x Regazzoni), a 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding she owns with Windhaven Farm. They claimed third in the FEI CDI-W Grand Prix with a score of 71.826% on Jan. 11, before returning the next day to produce even better results in the FEI CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle, prompting a score of 73.875% from the judges for fourth place.

“I was very pleased with both Degas’ and Arthur’s performances at AGDF 1,” said Irving. “Degas has not shown since CHIO Aachen last July and was very relaxed and fresh. Arthur has not shown since Cappeln, GER, last June. He came into the ring very confident. I look forward to the rest of the AGDF. It’s a great venue to showcase our horses.”
Representing Canada in the Young Rider division, Ava MacCoubrey of Coburg, ON competed with Nicholas Hansen’s 17-year-old Westphalian gelding, Ritter Benno (Rolls Royce x Weinberg). The pair placed second in both the FEI CDI-Y Young Rider Team and Individual classes with scores of 65.912% and 64.676%, respectively.

Competition continues at the AGDF until mid-March, with the next CDI competition taking place Jan. 24-28. For more information and results, visit