“I managed a 'Congrats' from Isabell Werth. I can die happy,” said Caroline Roffman, after her first CDI Grand Prix Freestyle, Saturday night, July 20, at the Peterhof Dressur Gala in Perl-Borg, Germany.
Living up to U.S. dressage chef d’equipe Robert Dover’s recent remarks that Europe is watching the birth of a ‘star,’ Roffman and Sagacious HF, owned by Al Guden and Hyperion Farm Inc., danced among a bevy of international riders in their debut CDI Grand Prix Freestyle.
And amply held their own. Roffman’s 74.725% score was just 0.15 points shy of one of Germany’s most celebrated riders of her generation, Isabell Werth, who placed fourth on Der Stern OLD. The freestyle’s winning score, from German Olympic duo Kristin Sprehe and Desperados FRH, was 82.50%.
“It was thrilling to ride with such top riders,” said Roffman. “Many thanks to Al Guden for supporting my dreams, and Juan Matute for missing his family vacation to help me.” Matute, a Spanish Olympic team veteran, has been based in France for the summer with his family, between stints coaching Roffman at Aachen and Perl-Borg.
Roffman especially impressed two German judges on the five-judge panel – Dr. Dieter Plewa and Katrina Wüst — who scored the American pair third, compared to the fifth-place decision by the remaining three.
The 24 year-old rider, who owns and operates Lionshare Farm in Wellington, Florida, with Endel Ots, is on her very first European tour and has already delivered one of the finest CDI scores by an American dressage rider competing in Europe this year, surpassed only by U.S. Olympians Tina Konyot riding Calecto V, Steffen Peters on Legolas, and Guenter Seidel with Coral Reef Wylea.
That’s keeping ‘good company.’
“It was really intimidating,” said Roffman, “but I feel blessed to be here and to be a part of this. The atmosphere was quite grand and I think both Kitty and I handled it the best we can.” Including cooly riding through her right rein briefly slipping from her hand near the conclusion of their test. Throughout, she described her equine partner as “content and willing.”
Their tour has been much the same. They rode to the same music at Peterhof, created by Marlene Whitaker, as they used at Aachen three weeks earlier, where they became the World Equestrian Festival’s first American reserve champions in the Under-25 division.
As Roffman wraps up her European tour, she could not be happier with her results and how she has represented the United States on foreign soil. “It has been a dream come true,” she said.
Follow Caroline Roffman and Sagacious HF and learn more about Lionshare Dressage, at www.lionsharedressage.com.