WELLINGTON, FL – March 24, 2008 – In the debut performance of their FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, Todd Flettrich of Wellington, FL, and Amadeus, a 10-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Cherry Knoll Farm, earned an impressive 70.70%.
Flettrich and Amadeus (A-Dur x Monika Madonna) took the early lead as the sixth duo in the field of 12 horses competing in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3*, the finale class of the Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic CDI3*, held March 20-23 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center held in Wellington, FL.
While Canadians Ashley Holzer and Jacqueline Brook, the 10th and 11th riders to go, edged into first and second place, Flettrich and Amadeus claimed a third place finish and were the highest placed U.S. duo in the class.
Flettrich and Amadeus earned their best marks from international judges Cara Whitham of Canada, who awarded the duo a notable 75%; Bernard Maurel of France, who marked the pair at 72.75%, and Axel Steiner of the U.S., who scored them at 72%.
“I was ecstatic about the scores,” said Flettrich. “I was thrilled with the accuracy we were able to show. It was the cleanest test I’ve ever ridden. I hit all my of my key notes on the soundtrack. And Amadeus really enjoyed the music.”
The kur featured various versions of the classic Dixieland marching song, “When the Saints Come Marching In.” A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Flettrich, chose Dixieland Jazz as the theme for his freestyle music, and Marlene Whitaker of Custom Freestyles, Inc. created the choreography and soundtrack. Whitaker actually designed the freestyle two years ago for a planned debut at Dressage at Devon, but an injury prevented that inaugural showing. “I’ve wanted to do this freestyle for a long time,” said Flettrich. “It’s very exciting for all of us.”
The kur’s choreography includes a high degree of technical difficulty including double pirouettes at the canter and piaffe pirouettes. Challenging transitions are featured including steep half passes with a transition to two tempis followed by a double pirouette and a transition to one tempis. “There are some really entertaining elements too,” noted Flettrich. “When we do the piaffe pirouettes, you can hear a referee’s whistle blowing – and that’s in reference to the New Orleans football team ‘The Saints’. That whistle really highlights a very difficult movement, but also makes it fun.”
Flettrich noted that Amadeus has several strong points that they were able to showcase in the freestyle. “Pirouettes are his strong point, so we included several double pirouettes,” Flettrich said. “And Amadeus does beautiful trot half-passes, so we did zigzags in the trot half passes.”
Flettrich and Amadeus finished their freestyle with an outstanding extended trot from A to C on the centerline to enthusiastic cheers and clapping from the spectators. The response to the performance lasted from the final halt until Flettrich and Amadeus left the arena. Amadeus’s owner, Margaret Duprey, as well as choreographer Marlene Whitaker, were among the enthusiastic crowd. “Margaret was as ecstatic about the ride and the score as I was,” Flettrich said. “And Marlene was thrilled that I was able to ride a clean test. Amadeus was super! Overall, we couldn’t be happier with this freestyle.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Todd Flettrich and Amadeus, the highest placed American duo in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle at the Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic CDI3*. PHOTO CREDIT: Susan J. Stickle. This photo may be used only in relation to this press release.
Todd Flettrich, based in Wellington, FL, and Coatesville, PA, has earned his USDF Silver and Gold Medals and is a graduate of the USDF ‘L’ Judge Program. Flettrich competed at the North American Young Riders Championships (NAYRC) four times and won the Individual Gold Medal and Team Silver in 1991. Flettrich served as Region 1 Coach and Chef d’Equipe at NAYRC from 1988 through 1994. His student Catherine Malone won the Individual Gold in 2005. Flettrich has also previously coached professionals including Silke Rembacz and Lauren Sammis. For more information, call Todd Flettrich at 484-459-2749.