Spanish rider Pablo Gómez Molina has been perfecting his freestyle test with 13-year-old PRE gelding Ulises De Ymas for over two years.

Like casting a spell, the most finite motions make the difference in a successful trip down the centerline. At the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Wellington International, the “Friday Night Stars” finally aligned and the pair made magic in the CDI3* FEI Grand Prix Freestyle. Dancing to an upbeat compilation of music from Queen and the Harry Potter film score, the judges waved their pens and they achieved a personal best score of 77.865%.

Gómez Molina and Ulises De Ymas also won Thursday’s Grand Prix Special, and the extra surge of confidence was exactly what they needed top the Freestyle field. For the 28-year-old rider, winning in Wellington is a full circle moment.

“I started competing internationally in Wellington, so for me to win the Grand Prix yesterday and today win the freestyle, it’s pretty special. I’ve been here watching every single freestyle,” said Gómez Molina, who is now within the top 100 riders in the world.

While he watched he was also busy fine-tuning his own test. I recent months the pair have been closing in on a big win. In August, they finished second in the CDI3* Grand Prix special in Samorin. At the tail end of January in Wellington, they took third in the CDI4* Grand Prix Special.

On Friday, Gómez Molina could feel that Ulises had an extra edge, and with the added impulsion they were able to do exactly what they set out to those years ago. The win was chance to celebrate, but also a turning point. Now, Gómez Molina is thinking about how to take it to the next level.

“Ulises had way more energy than [Thursday] and he was with me all the time…I made the freestyle two years ago when I didn’t have much experience in the grand prix and neither did he, so now we need to make it a bit more difficult,” said Gómez Molina.

“Ulises is really active with a lot of activity and knee action and I think it fits him really well. I was hearing the crowd clapping in time, so I think they liked it.”

They’ll be back for AGDF 11 with hopes of a repeat performance in the CDI4* before they head back to Europe, but for now the American crowd remains enchanted.

Feature Image: ©susanjstickle