Frederic Wandres & Bluetooth OLD: The Triumphant Return

Vacations are rarely long enough, but sometimes, they can be just what the doctor ordered. A chance to kick back, refresh the body and mind and— if you're a Grand Prix dressage horse—get your fill of green grass, naps, and paddock-rolling. A little five-month holiday reboot, in fact, proved just the thing on Wednesday, March 13, for Frederic Wandres of Germany and the 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding Bluetooth OLD (owned by Hof Kasselmann).

The pair took the win in the CDI 5* FEI Grand Prix on opening day of five-star week at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, Florida—though the class was actually held next door under the lights in the International Arena at Wellington International. Their 76.196% season-opening score earned a dominant victory ahead of countrywoman Felicitas Hendricks (GER) aboard Drombusch OLD with 71.283%, and American rider Kevin Kohmann & Dünensee in third with 70.826%.

A Well-Deserved Break Pays Off

“[Bluetooth] had a hard summer last year showing very consistently, so he earned himself a break from the show scene,” Wandres said after the class, noting that he’d decided to further delay the start of the gelding’s season in the hopes of having him at peak-fitness by the Paris Olympic Games this summer. The calculation seems to have worked.

A single mistake in the one-time changes (which carry a double marking coefficient and were awarded fours and fives from all the judges) proved costly for the pair, who were initially trending close to the 80% mark in their first outing of 2024. Landing only a little over a percentage point shy of their 2023 European Championships 77.888% career-best score, 36-year-old Wandres took full responsibility for the “super expensive” error.

“Bluetooth had a winter break, and came back into the arena fresh, and allowed me to ride him in a super harmonious way. I’m a little bit angry with myself for the mistake—it was my mistake, not his—but it’s okay, we are in the beginning of the season for him.”

Return to the Stage

It’s hardly a bad place to start for the duo, who train with Wandres’s partner, Lars Ligus, alongside German team coach Monica Theodorescu. Theodorescu, for her part, was in town to observe Wandres & Bluetooth ahead of the 2024 Paris Games. She’ll have yet another chance on Friday, as Wednesday’s Grand Prix acted as a qualifier for the CDI 5* Grand Prix Special and the CDI 5* Grand Prix Freestyle classes, both taking place on March 15.

Bluetooth’s Power-packed Performance

Praised by the judges for his powerful and relaxed performance, it seems Bluetooth is more than ready to get back to work under the bright lights of AGDF during one of the sport’s biggest weeks. “He really enjoyed the sun here, and we took time to invest into the small details,” Wandres said. “I think that worked tonight.”

About the Author

Nina Fedrizzi is an equestrian, travel, and lifestyle writer based in Upstate New York. When she's not tapping away on her MacBook, Nina can usually be found on a horse, sleuthing out the best local pho, or refusing to unpack her carry-on. Watch her do all three on Instagram @ninafedrizzi.

Source: Horse Network