Wayne, Ill. – The third day of competition at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions featured exciting action in four divisions, including the first national champion title of the show won in the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship and the first of the young and developing horse classes with the Markel/USEF Seven-Year-Old Dressage National Championship.
Neue Schule/USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship
The grand prix contenders started the day off in the Grand Prix Arena at HITS Chicago at Lamplight Equestrian Center, completing the FEI Grand Prix Test. Codi Harrison (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Katholt’s Bossco, a 2007 Danish Warmblood gelding, took a decisive lead after the first test of the division, earning a 72.477%.
Current Overall Standings:
- Codi Harrison and Katholt’s Bossco
- Emily Miles and Java Dulce
- Lehua Custer and F.J. Ramzes
From the Mixed Zone:
Walk us through your test today.
Codi Harrison: I was thrilled. He went in there, he felt better than ever. We kept the warmup quick and short and to the point, but I think he felt great. He went in there and was ready and knew his job. The piaffe felt great today and I’m super happy with him.
Talk about your partnership with Bossco.
CH: I found him in Denmark at Blue Horse. I got him to be my Young Riders horse, and then I worked for Lars for five years and together he helped me teach Bossco the Grand Prix. We went from Young Riders to U25 and now we’re here in the senior Grand Prix.
This is your first trip back to FOC since you won the Brentina Cup several years ago. How does it feel to be back?
CH: It’s nice. I think I like this show! It’s so nice and refreshing to be out of Wellington, and even though it’s hot here, the climate is so hot in Florida so that’s no problem for him. A new and exciting environment is great for him to get a little more energy, a little more extra oomph.
Describe Bossco’s personality.
CH: He’s a big puppy dog. You could put your grandma on him. He’s super sweet. Even his rider from when he was a young horse, who started and trained him, said that he’d never put a foot wrong, and he’s still that way to this day—other than during awards. He’s been such a blessing to have in that he’s super safe. He allowed me to become competent in the ring, and now I have a lot of young horses and even though they’re hot and fresh, it was so nice to learn on one that was so steady and came out the same every time. He’s really given me a lot of confidence and miles in the show ring.
Markel/USEF Seven-Year-Old Dressage National Championship
The Markel Arena saw its first competition today with 14 entries in the Markel/USEF Seven-Year-Old Dressage National Championship completing their FEI Seven-Year-Old Preliminary Tests. Ali Potasky (Versailles, Ky.) won first place in the class riding Courtney Lau’s 2016 Dutch Warmblood gelding, Lord Hennessey, with a score of 75.682%.
Current Overall Standings:
- Ali Potasky and Lord Hennessy
- Caroline Hoerdum (DEN) and Lion King
- Sabine Schut-Kery and Gorgeous Latino
From the Mixed Zone:
Take us through your test.
Ali Potasky: Hennessey is really trainable, so I didn’t do too much warmup. I got some half-halts, and forward and back, and then just trust the training. One of his strengths is that he’s so willing and really easy in the changes, easy in the collection and the lateral work. So it was a short warmup because of the heat, and then went in there and tried to really focus on remembering that test because it’s a little herky jerky. So not go off course and just ride him.
What did you think of the judges’ feedback?
AP: I thought it was really good and right on the money. I was able to listen to some of the other horses and it was really interesting to listen to not only [the feedback from] my horse and my ride, but everyone else that was in the class. I always like learning from the judges.
Tell us about your horse’s background.
AP: I work for Kathy Priest in Lexington, and we got him from Europe as a 3-year-old. Shortly after that, we sold him to our client, Courtney Lau. Between all of us, we brought him up the levels. He dabbled in the 5-year-old and shown third level and fourth level. His owner shows him as well.
Adequan®/USEF Young Adult Brentina Cup Dressage National Championship
Last year’s Brentina Cup champions Quinn Iverson (Wellington, Fla.) and Beckham 19, a 2009 Hanoverian gelding owned by Bille Davidson, are back to defend their title, and started off with a leading score of 68.234% in the FEI Intermediate II Test
Current Overall Standings:
- Quinn Iverson and Beckham 19
- Emily Hewitt and Fidens
- Cameron Wyman and Thys
Take us through your ride today.
QI: I have Bille Davidson’s Beckham 19 in the U25, and we had a good test today. He was very honest and unfortunately at the end he pulled a shoe but he kept dancing! He danced right out of his shoes. He was a very good boy.
Do you feel more pressure coming back as the defending champion?
QI: I definitely feel a little bit of pressure, but at the same time, I’ve had a year to get to know this horse a little more and hopefully we can at least showcase what we’ve learned within that year, no matter the outcome.
What made you decide to come back to compete in the Brentina Cup this year?
QI: This is my last year doing the U25, so I thought I might as well do it one more time and then get to go play with the big dogs.
How is it being here with your trainer, Adrienne Lyle?
QI: She is absolutely incredible. She can do anything and everything I’ve ever done. It’s really fun because the first year I was here, I was actually grooming for her with Betsy Juliano’s Horizon. The year after that, I brought my first Young Riders horse here, and now I have Beckham here, so it’s really cool to keep going even with different horses, the same team keeping everything going.
Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship
Four para combinations performed their FEI Para Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle Tests today, completing their third and final class of the national championship. Cynthia Screnci (Boca Raton, Fla.) and her own and Volado Farms’ 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding, Sir Chipoli, turned in an exciting test to earn a big score of 76.783% to win both the freestyle class and the overall Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship
- Cynthia Screnci and Sir Chipoli
- Elle Woolley and Deucalion
- Holly Bergay and Niguel
- Andie Sue Roth and Aniko
From the Mixed Zone:
How does it feel to be a national champion?
CS: It’s really amazing. It hasn’t even sunk in yet. I’m so excited and so thankful to everybody who made this happen: my family, my trainer Andrea Woodard, Michel Assouline, our Chef d’Equipe, Laureen Johnson, everybody who put this together and gave us the opportunity for this wonderful event. It’s super exciting.
Tell us about your freestyle music and choreography.
CS: I originally had Tom Hunt do the Les Miserables music for another horse, Eragon, so we’ve had to redo the music because it was a little heavy. [Eragon] is 17.3 and really big and ‘Chip’ is a lot more refined, so Marlene Whitaker redid the music for us recently, and we changed the floor plan to sort of fit him a little better. This is the third time we’ve done it and I’m pretty happy with the results, so we’ll keep going. We still have a lot to polish but it works well for us.
Elle Woolley: I’ve only done [this freestyle] a handful of times. It’s the soundtrack from Peaky Blinders and it’s one of my favorite shows. The minute the intro theme came on, I was like, ‘I know that’s my music for this horse.’ It’s very dramatic, ominous. It’s great on a loud sound system. It really elicits an emotional response from the crowd, which is exactly what we’re going for. Not every horse can carry something really heavy, but he can. He has a tremendous amount of ring presence. Today was a little bit hard. We had some tension. It was a little bit windy and there was some commotion going on, so I didn’t quite have the connection that I’ve been having all week. So that was a little difficult but I know with that horse, when we’re on point and I get it really accurate, we can really knock it out of the park.
Andie Sue Roth: I was talking to Collier Wimmer who helped to create my freestyle and I was like, ‘I really want to do a surfer-style freestyle,’ and she’s like, ‘All right, let’s do it!’ I wanted to come in on Wipeout. And coming from California, it seemed like my type of music, and Aniko is the type of horse who just kind of likes to hang loose.
Holly Bergay: Mine’s an interesting story. My music was made for another horse before the Normandy World Equestrian Games, I was trying to make the team on a horse who sadly passed away. It was his freestyle, so it was kind of special to ride that freestyle today, kind of a little ode to him.
What does it mean to you to be here at Festival of Champions?
EW: It is literally a dream come true. I’ve known about Lamplight for many years and I’ve wanted so badly to partake. Being here, it’s kind of surreal. It’s amazing that we’re fully integrated with the able-bodied sport. It feels really inclusive. Everyone’s been super welcoming and it just feels like we’re elite athletes, and we’re all here to bring it. It’s a great atmosphere. It’s been a wonderful experience, and absolutely I’ll be back.
CS: It’s so important to show that we are top athletes and that we can and do compete at the highest levels. I think it’s also really important for people in the general public to see that the “para” is for “parallel,” not “paralyzed,” and that’s really important that we are parallel ot the able-bodied athletes. There’s an opportunity, if somebody has a disability, to become a part of this program and to grow with us. The opportunities that this program affords us are super special and really, really exciting. We’re all very dedicated to it.
2023 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions Livestream
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