Anna Marek is having the competitive season of her life.
Just five months ago, in October, the 34-year-old American made her championship debut at the Pan American Games in Santiago on Fire Fly and came home with a team gold and individual bronze medal.
Come April, she now has the chance to add to her championship hardware collection.
On Friday at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, Marek booked her ticket to the FEI Dressage World Cup Final in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia aboard Fayvel, a horse she took over the reins from owner Cynthia Davila in the fall of 2023.
It’s a partnership that has gotten stronger with every competition. In eight international appearances since September, they’ve bettered their scores with every ride.
“I’ve known him and ridden him for a long time, but not in CDIs or trying to qualify for a championship. The last couple of shows I’ve been thrilled with him and we’re getting better together so fast—it’s really great,” added Marek, who trains with Ann Gribbons.
The judges agreed. In Thursday’s FEI World Cup Grand Prix, Marek and 14-year-old KWPN gelding (Zizi Top x Houston) set a new personal best of 72.826%—a massive 3.37% improvement over their previous high score set at AGDF 1—to take the win.
On Friday night, they repeated the feat with a technically challenging test to Kygo’s “At Least We Stole The Show” and remixes of “Let’s Dance” arranged by Karen Robinson in the FEI Dressage World Cup Freestyle.
Their score this time: 78.457%, eclipsing their previous best of 77.715%.
“When Anna started I had to really not blink. I didn’t want to miss anything. She actually made me tingle a little bit. There was so much power in that ride, she took such risk and she pulled it off,” said William Warren, Judge at C.
“Today it was really a fun ride,” enthused Marek. “I was so happy with how willing he was even in such a big atmosphere; he can walk on a long rein next to all those cheering people.”
The win adds 20 points to their total, moving the pair into second on the North American League World Cup standings. It’s enough to secure a starting berth at the Final in Riyadh, April 16–20.
Kevin Kohmann (USA) took second in the Freestyle with a score of 75.89% on 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding Dünensee (Dancier x Davignon). Susan Dutta (USA) piloted 14-year-old Don Design DC (Der Designer x Sir Donnerhall) to third with 73.31%.