Wellington, Fla – March 3, 2023 – Beyond the completion of tonight’s freestyle, the next FEI World Cup event will be the FEI World Cup Final itself. A strong group of athletes performed under the lights in hopes to clench an invitation to Omaha next month. 

Anna Buffini and her own 16-year-old Hanoverian (Don Frederico x A Jungle Prince) FRH Davinia La Douce received a 78.280% by dancing to their Top Gun Maverick themed soundtrack, which included Buffini’s own vocals. Her music, created by Collier Wimmer, scored a 9 from three judges. To make it even more meaningful, her freestyle music was the last thing she had shown her grandfather before he passed away.

Anna Buffini and FRH Davinia La Douce
Anna Buffini and FRH Davinia La Douce

Buffini has a long list of accomplishments, dating back to her win at the 2014 AGCO/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship. She continued to climb up the FEI youth levels right up to the Under 25 Grand Prix. By the time 2020 came, both of her long mounts, Wilton II and Sundayboy, had been retired. Buffini was unclear on what the next step in her career would be. It was then that she decided to import FRH Davinia La Douce. She had sat on the horse in previous trips to Germany and felt confident enough to bring her into the states without another trial. The chestnut mare ended up being the purchase of a lifetime for Buffini. The pair has now represented team USA on multiple accounts, including a handful of Nations Cup events and in the 2022 FEI World Cup Final. 

Her ride tonight secured her another trip down a World Cup centerline, now being the third ranked rider in the North American league. 

“Sarah [Tubman] did incredible. It could have been either of us, it was a battle until the end,” Buffini said, regarding the pressure she felt after Sarah Tubman laid down a solid ride early on in the class. 

“I do not really watch the scores much. I stay back, out of the show, with just myself and my horse. We just had to go out and do what we’ve been doing.” 

In second place was Sarah Tubman aboard First Apple, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Vivaldi x Partout) owned by Summit Farm. An impressive 77.450% was a bounce back from a tough Grand Prix yesterday. 

Sarah Tubman & First Apple
Sarah Tubman and First Apple

“I am really happy with my horse today. Yesterday was a little uncharacteristic for us, so it was really important to me to give him a good ride and experience there. I could not have asked for more, it was a zero mistake test.”

Their debut year was 2019, quickly becoming undefeated in the Small Tour CDIs.  They represented the USA at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games, anchoring a team bronze finish and a win in the freestyle. They then made the jump to Grand Prix, quickly climbing their way to the top of FEI World Rankings. The World Cup invite may not have panned out for the pair this year, but Tubman and First Apple have made leaps and bounds as a partnership. 

Third goes to Morgan Barbancon riding her self-owned gelding Bolero. The 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Johnson x Vincent) has made Barbancon’s debut Wellington season a success, helping her into countless podium positions at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival over the past eight weeks. She was overjoyed with her score of 77.410%, being just a fraction behind Tubman.  Tonight’s third place finish secured Barbancon a ride in Omaha as well. 

Morgan Barbancon and Bolero
Morgan Barbancon and Bolero

“Tonight was our best night so far,” Barbancon said with a smile. “He was really with me, I had so much fun with him. The last few freestyles we’ve had a couple of hiccups whereas tonight it felt like he wanted to go.”

The FEI World Cup Final will take place April 4-8, 2023 in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Results : CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle

Place / Rider / Country / Horse / Score

  1. Anna Buffini / USA / FRH Davinia La Douce / 78.280%
  2. Sarah Tubman / USA / First Apple / 77.450%
  3. Morgan Barbancon / FRA / Bolero / 77.410%
  4. Chris Martels / CAN / Eclips / 74.025%
  5. Charlotte Jorst / USA / Kastel’s Nintendo / 74.000%
  6. Dong Seon Kim / KOR / Galleria’s Bohemian / 73.565%
  7. Camile Carier Bergeron / CAN / Sound Of Silence 4 /  70.475%
  8. Paula Matute Guimon / ESP / Delagronge / 69.795%
  9. Suphakamol Vuntanadit / THA / Dreamboat BCN / 67.355%
  10. Evi Strasser / CAN / Disney Tyme / 64.710%
  11. Nancy Smith / USA / Damon’s Design / RET.

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