Germany’s Frederic Wandres sent a visual and financial message of support to the Ukraine yesterday riding in the Palm Beach Derby at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival with the Ukrainian national flag on his back and pledging his prize money to help the Ukraine.
“To be honest, I don’t know yet how much money it is,” said Frederic, who was edged out of victory by Ben Ebeling after they both rode prix st georges tests on Harold Denton’s eight-year-old Danish gelding Atterupgaards Belafonte. “But it doesn’t matter. Every Euro is important!
“The Ukrainian horse community survives in normal days from giving riding lessons… at the moment the stalls are bombed and burned down and a lot of horses have no food for many days. It’s important to do the the best we can to support them because we are safe here and having a good life so we have to give something back.”
Second to go against Frederic in the derby final ride-off, Ben achieved a 71.838% out of the son of Bellissimo M, eclipsing the 70.698% laid down by Frederic in a contest that for the first time had spectator scoring count for 25 percent of the total.
Ben, 23, is the youngest ever participant in the derby. “I think it’s about showing your mastership of the skills of dressage,” said Ben of the challenge of just five minutes familiarisation with the horse before the test. “I was confident, but of course I had some really good competitors, not to mention Freddie, who has literally beaten me 20 times in a row. So it was nice to finally beat him.”
“The derby thing should always be fun,” said Frederic, “For sure we are all competitors, and everyone wants to win, but my message yesterday was this flag on my back for Ukraine. We are having a good time here, but for other people and other horses, it’s very difficult at the moment. Especially for us in Germany, we are way closer to that whole thing, and the whole world needs to support them. For me, it was important.”
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