Correction: The original version of this release noted Mackenzie Peer's horse, Quantum MRF, as a stallion. He is a gelding.
Wayne, Ill. – The remaining five titles were decided on the final day of the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions on Sunday: Lexie Kment and Manatee, USEF Children Dressage National Champions; Michael Bragdell and SenSation HW, Markel/USEF Young Horse Six-Year-Old Dressage National Champions: Nick Wagman and Don John, USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Champions; Mackenzie Peer and Quantum MRF, USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 14-18 National Champions; and Nick Wagman and Ferano, Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix National Champions.
USEF Children Dressage National Championship
Following the FEI Children Individual Test, Lexie Kment (Palmyra, Neb.) and Manatee came away with the USEF Children Dressage National Championship. She and the 16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Jami Kment earned an overall score of 69.591 percent.
“[Winning the national championship] truly hasn’t sunk in, yet. Last year when [my sister competed], I told myself I was going to be here someday … We got him as a horse that we could just hack with and have fun, and it’s cool to see how far he could come,” said Kment.
Carmen Stephens (Saratoga, Calif.) and Woldhoeve’s Silco, her 19-year-old KWPN Welsh Pony gelding, earned the reserve championship with a score of 68.524. Joslyn Allen (Pleasant Hill, Mo.) and Lady Lilliana, Mary Adams’s 10-year-old Friesian Sporthorse mare, placed third with a score of 67.635 percent.
From the Press Conference
On their horse’s background:
Stephens: “I've had Silco for three or four years now. He's very sweet and has a very funny personality. He's on the older side and has been unpredictable at times, but he's gotten to a really good point. He's taking me from having fun around the arena to being able to compete here.”
Allen: “We got my horse from the Amish, and then my grandma purchased her from a student of my mom's. Last year, my sister brought her here. She put all the second level work on her and won second place in the children's division.”
Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage National Championships: Six-Year-Old Division
Michael Bragdell (Colora, Md.) and SenSation HW (Sunday x Donata) continued their winning trend at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, claiming the Markel/USEF Young Horse Six-Year Old Dressage National Championship. He and the Westphalian gelding owned by Carol McPhee earned a score of 8.78 in the FEI Six-Year-Old Final Test for an overall score of 8.69.
“[This feels] fantastic! It’s wonderful, and it’s always a treat to come here. The facility, staff, volunteers … it's always put together so nicely. Just to get here, I think it's a big thing, no matter what division you're in,” said an elated Bragdell, who won the 2018 Markel/USEF Young Horse Five-Year-Old Dressage National Championship with SenSation HW. “It’s always a little more pressure if you won the year before, and of course you want to be able to stay on top, but I think … you have to roll with the punches and make the judgment call to see where you're at and if you're ready to be here.”
Defending Markel/USEF Young Horse Five-Year-Old Dressage Reserve National Champions Alice Tarjan (Oldwick, N.J.) and Fairouz (Franziskus x Diva), her Oldenburg mare, earned the six-year-old reserve championship with an overall score of 8.38. Melissa Fladland (Griswold, Iowa) and I’m All In (Jazz x Tavita), the KWPN gelding she owns with Caphri Dressage, placed third with a score of 8.34
Caitlin Hamar (Hanford, Calif.) was presented with the highest placed U.S. Bred Horse award for Ion SWF, bred by Mary Nuttall.
From the Press Conference
On continuing the success with their horse:
Bragdell: “He ended up being able to [compete] here as a four-year-old. Ever since then, he's really come into the system and really progressed nicely. He’s a wonderful horse to have in the barn. I feel very fortunate that Carol [McPhee] has him with me and lets me do what I can do with him and is so supportive.”
Fladland: “We had him a year now last October, and we spent that year training and working with Katherine [Bateson-Chandler], and then over the summer with Jennifer Baumert trying to get him strong, ready, and reliable. This was not something we were shooting for; we were really working towards the FEI levels, and he just kept getting better and better, and we just kept going and what do you know? ‘We're here’. He’s been super. He never quits, and he keeps going. He just keeps adding more and more each time I ride him.”
Tarjan:“I'm really happy with how she did. She's been second every year, so she's very consistent. I didn't think she was quite ready … [but we wanted to] get some experience, so I'm thrilled with how we ended up.”
USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship
Nick Wagman (San Diego, Calif.) and Don John captured the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship. He and the 11-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Beverly Gepfer earned a 76.140 in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle for overall score of 73.287 percent.
“What a way to end the season. It's really exciting. Last year was our first real season of Grand Prix, so a year later we're more confirmed, stronger, and more settled in the test. We went to Europe, and that did a lot for our confidence as well, so I think it's all just starting to show in the ring here, which is great,” said Wagman, who was the 2018 USEF Grand Prix Dressage Reserve Champion with Don John.
Anna Marek (Williston, Fla.) and Dee Clair, Diane Morrison’s 11-year-old KWPN mare, earned the reserve title with an overall score of 69.294 percent. Jennifer Schrader-Williams (Yelma, Wash.) and Millione, Millione Partners LLC’s 16-year-old Danish gelding placed third with an overall score of 69.030 percent.
As part of the winning honors, Wagman was presented with the United States Equestrian Team Foundation (USET) Grand Prix Trophy presented to the USET by Franklin Mint in 1978. In addition he was awarded The Patsy Albers Award. This award is presented to the highest placed rider in the Grand Prix division who represented the U.S. at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. The award provides financial support for continuing education and training.
From the Press Conference
On competing at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions
Marek: “I've always wanted to show here. It's been a goal of mine to compete at the Festival Of Champions. Claire is such a good girl, … so it was a big deal to qualify [two] horses to be able to come here, especially at Grand Prix with Clair because I've been with her for a very long time, known her for a long time, and she always just tries hard. She always exceeds our expectations.”
Scharader-Williams:“It's always such an honor to be here at this show. Every year that I can bring a horse along and make it again is very wonderful, and I enjoy it very much. So hopefully we'll be back again next year.”
USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 14-18
Mackenzie Peer (Overland Park, Kan.) capped off a successful week by winning the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 14-18 gold medal with Quantum MRF, Nicole Helland’s 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding. The combination, who won the USEF Junior Dressage Reserve National Championship on Saturday, finished with a score of 90.000%.
“To go from being reserve champion and then end as champion, it just feels like the icing on the top,” reflected Peer. “He tried so hard, and it was a long week for us, but he continued to give me his all at the end. It was really unbelievable. I can't thank him enough, my coach David Wightman, and [Quantum MRF’s] owner, Nicki. It's been a team [effort], and I'm really grateful.”
Erin Nichols (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Jagger DG, DG Bar Ranch’s five-year-old KWPN gelding, earned the bronze medal with a score of 88.000%, while Averi Allen (Pleasant Hill, Mo.) and Superman, Jonni Allen’s six-year-old Hanoverian gelding, followed with a 86.000% for the bronze medal.
From the Press Conference
On the importance of this class:
Peer: “This is an important class. This is a sport where it's a partnership, and … this is a class that shows [if you] can you actually ride your horse. I want to become a trainer, so to continue in this sport, I think that showing how well you can ride and that you can keep your horse listening to you is a good thing for people to see and for you to know if you're on the right track with what you're doing.”
On what they have been working on with their equitation:
Allen: “I have been working on equitation every day. I'm making sure my shoulders are back and my head up … This past week we've been working on keeping my hands down and staying relaxed.”
Nichols: “I've been doing a lot of equitation. I also do show jumping. Most of what we've been working on is keeping my leg long and my toes in, and then moving my hands with the horse.”
Markel/USEF Developing Horse Dressage National Championships: Grand Prix Division
Nick Wagman cemented the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship following the USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Test. He and Ferano, Elizabeth Keadle’s nine-year-old KWPN gelding, placed first in the test with a 71.833 for an overall score of 70.041 percent.
“[Winning the national championship] certainly exceeded my expectations with Ferano. I came here just excited to be part of it and having qualified. So to come out winning, this is just unexpected, but pleasantly welcome,” said Wagman.
Alice Tarjan and Candescent, her 10-year-old Hanoverian mare, earned the reserve championship with an overall score of 69.723 percent. Bridget Hay (Flemington, N.J.) and Faolan, her 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion, placed third with an overall score of 68.644 percent.
Hay, who bred Faolan, was presented with the highest placed U.S. Bred Horse award.
From the Press Conference
On what is next for their horse:
Wagman: “I think we will try our first Grand Prix later in the year at a small show and just kind of see where we're at. I think slowly get our feet wet in the Grand Prix.”
Hay:“I work with Adrienne [Lyle]. She’s the reason we're here. The last couple years, she's helped me with this horse a lot. Our goal now is to start doing Grand Prixs in the national ring and [go from there].”
Tarjan: “[I’m] really happy that the horses are doing as well as they are. [Candescent] will probably do one more year [at the level], trying to get her more supple in the arena. We’ll do more medium tour and some national Grand Prix, trying to get her a little more confirmed and reliable.”
On competing at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions:
Tarjan: "It’s an amazing horse show. The facility is fantastic, and it’s fun coming to see people from all over the country. It’s very inspirational.”
On placing in the top three:
Hay: “I’ve never placed this high. He always did the young horse classes, but he [didn’t place as high] because he is not the fanciest moving horse, but he is learning. He’s so trainable, and he clearly has the most talent for the piaffe and passage, all the sitting work, and the canter pirouette. He’s a much better Grand Prix horse, it seems, than he ever was a small tour horse. He’s proof that if they have three basic gates and they have a good brain, you can bring them up the levels. It means a lot. He’s a homebred. He’s my kid; he’s a really cool horse.”
Relive the 2019 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions on USA Dressage Facebook where you can find winning rides and daily photo galleries. Watch on demand content from the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions on USEF Network with promo code FESTIVAL19.