The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team finished second Saturday in the FEI Nations Cup of The Netherlands CDIO5*, after tying with Sweden on points but winning the silver medal due to higher combined scores in the Grand Prix. The Netherlands squad, meanwhile, enjoyed a victory on home soil at CHIO Rotterdam, winning the Nations Cup in authoritative fashion.

The U.S. team consisted of Katie Duerrhammer and Paxton, Ben Ebeling and Illuster Van De Kampert, Ashley Holzer and Valentine, and Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF.

The Nations Cup competition kicked off Thursday, June 23, with the Grand Prix, where two U.S. riders finished in the top 10, led by Ashley Holzer (Wellington, Florida) and her own Valentine, a 12-year-old Hanoverian mare (Sir Donnerhall—Renaissance, Ragazzo), who took third place. The pair earned a 72.95%, rewarded by the judges for excellent lateral work and walk-passage transitions. Alice Tarjan (Oldwick, New Jersey) and her own 9-year-old Hanoverian mare Serenade MF (Sir Donnerhall—Duet MF, Don Principe) were sixth (71.23). Rounding out the U.S. performances, Katie Duerrhammer (Greenwood Village, Colorado) and Kylee Lourie’s 11-year-old Westphalian gelding Paxton (Dante Weltino OLD—Desiree, Don Marco) were 11th (70.45%) while Ben Ebeling (Moorpark, California) and Illuster Van de Kampert, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by ACR Enterprises, Inc., scored a 57.15% for 29th place in the 29-horse field.

Tarjan and Serenade MF returned for Saturday’s Grand Prix special where they turned in a solid test with exceptional extended trots that earned high marks from the judges. Their 71.19% put them in third place for the Special. This was the first overseas outing and first competition at the five-star level for Serenade MF, who was bred in North Carolina by Maryanna Haymon. Teammates Duerrhammer and Paxton finished 14th with a score of 66.06%.

In Saturday’s Grand Prix freestyle, Holzer and Valentine performed their test to contemporary music by Camila Cabello and Simply Three. Their performance earned a 76.42% and fifth place in the freestyle, helping to secure the team’s spot on the podium.

“I couldn’t be happier with our team placing and am proud of our riders, two of whom rode in their first European competitions just last year,” Chef d’Equipe George Williams said. “I couldn’t have asked for more, and it bodes well for the future considering that our team in Rotterdam was made up of some younger horses, all of which are really just starting their grand prix careers.”

The winning Dutch team of Lynne Maas on Eastpoint, Thamar Zweistra on Hexagon’s Ich Weiss, Emmelie Scholtens on Indian Rock and Dinja Van Liere on Hermes seized command in the Grand Prix Special and drew away in the Grand Prix freestyle to finish on a winning total of 25 points in the Nations Cup competition, compared to the 39 points earned by the U.S. and Sweden.

“The ladies had the right focus at the right moment,” Dutch Chef d’Equipe Alex van Silfhout said. “They did a super job. They showed here that, when it has to be done, they can do it.”

Before the start of the Nations Cup competition, Duerrhammer won the CHIO Rotterdam Prize on June 22 aboard Quartett, Kylee Lourie’s 14-year-old Brandenburg gelding. The pair scored a 72.08% in the Grand Prix test to earn their first win at a European competition.

Duerrhammer and Ebeling will join Charlotte Jorst and Steffen Peters this week for the FEI Dressage Nations Cup of Germany CDIO5* at CHIO Aachen, which begins June 30. Duerrhammer will ride Quartett and Ebeling will ride Indeed, owned by Vantage Equestrian Group II LLC, at Aachen. Rotterdam and Aachen are key observation competitions ahead of naming The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team for the 2022 Blue Hors FEI World Dressage Championships, which will take place Aug. 6-10 in Herning, Denmark.