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Parra and Woodard on Top of Divisions at 2017 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships

by Julian McPeak, US Equestrian Communications Department | Aug 25, 2017, 5:54 PM EST

Wayne, Ill. - The 2017 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships continued today with the first round tests for the remaining two divisions. The combinations of Cesar Parra and Fashion Designer OLD and Andrea Woodard and Ravenna stood out amongst the fields to lead the Developing Grand Prix and Six-Year-Old divisions, putting them in the lead in the Markel/USEF Developing Grand Prix and Six-Year-Old National Championships, respectively. Today’s tests counted 40% towards their overall scores.

Cesar Parra and Fashion Designer OLD (Photo by: SusanJStickle.com)

FEI Intermediate II Test (Developing Grand Prix)

Cesar Parra (Whitehouse Station, N.J.) and Fashion Designer OLD, his own and Martin Sosnoff’s nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding, performed well in the FEI Intermediate II Test to earn a score of 69.56%. Parra expressed his gratitude for the USEF Dressage Developing Horse Program and the role it has played in his enjoyment of these championships. Watch his ride here.

“I would like to start out by saying that Lamplight, the farm and this place, have become for us a place to come every year,” said Parra. “Since this program started, we have been taking part in it. I think it is an amazing, amazing program. I’m very happy, pleased, and so humbled and blessed to be able to ride this horse.”

Parra and Fashion Designer OLD were reserve champions in the 2016 Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges National Championship, moving up to the Grand Prix division this year.

“[Fashion Designer OLD’s] breeding shows his quality and shows that he was made for the Grand Prix. He is so compact and so easy to ride,” said Parra.

Patricia Becker and Freedom (Photo by: SusanJStickle.com)

Patricia Becker (Wadsworth, Ill.) and Dr. Anne Ramsay’s 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion Freedom tied for second with Michael Bragdell (Colora, Md.) and Hilltop Farm Inc.’s nine-year-old Oldenburg stallion Qredit Hilltop with scores of 67.32%.

Michael Bragdell and Qredit Hilltop (Photo by: SusanJStickle.com)

Becker has been riding Freedom since his three-year-old year, moving him up the levels in the program and has a special place in her heart for him and this event.

“I love Lamplight; I love this whole program,” said Becker. “[Freedom] is a wonderful horse to ride. More and more, as he has developed, he puts on his game face as he goes in the ring, and that is what he did today. A couple little mistakes, very small, but overall, I was very pleased with his effort and focus.”

Complete FEI Intermediate II Test (Developing GP) results



FEI Six-Year-Old Preliminary Test

Andrea Woodard and Ravenna (Photo by: SusanJStickle.com)

In her first visit to the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage National Championships, Andrea Woodard (Wellington, Fla.) wowed the judges and won the FEI Six-Year-Old Preliminary Test on Ravenna, taking the lead in the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage National Championship Six-Year-Old division.

“I think it is quite challenging test requirements for the six-year-old,” said Woodard. “It is hard to get them to this place so young. So just to be able to actually get here and have the horses, being able to keep them in this frame, and this level of collection and obedience – I am very proud of my horse.”

Woodard has partnered with her Oldenburg mare since 2014, when she purchased her in Germany as a three-year-old. The combination’s test earned high remarks from the judges, earning them a 7.9.

Werner Van Den Brande and Flyby FLF (Photo by: SusanJStickle.com)

“It is wonderful to achieve the goals that you set, but on the other hand, if you feel like something happens that is disappointing, we all go home with the same horse and we all just keep moving on towards the next goal and the next level,” said Woodard. “We know where our horses are. I am just thrilled that she delivered a nice test for me today.”

Watch Woodard and Ravenna’s winning test.

Placing second with a score of 7.8, Werner Van Den Brande (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Flyby FLF had balanced gaits, earning high praise from the judges on the combination’s future. This championship with Linda Sommer’s Hanoverian stallion is a special one for Van Den Brande.

“Ed Morrison passed away recently. He was supposed to be here with me, because that was the goal, to get [Flyby FLF] here and bring him to Chicago,” said Van Den Brande. “His wife is here – that is very special for the owner because we are old, good friends. To be second, even in the top three is great.”

After tying for second earlier in the day in the FEI Intermediate II Test (Developing Grand Prix), Bragdell also took third in the FEI Six-Year-Old Preliminary Test, riding Finery, Anne Howard’s Oldenburg stallion. The pair scored a 7.6 with strong marks in the walk and canter.

Michael Bragdell and Finery (Photo by: SusanJStickle.com)

“I was quite thrilled with my horse,” said Bragdell. “He is owned by Anne Howard and she entrusted me to train him and show him… I thought when I was in the test, he gave it all…I have to give credit to my coach and trainer Morgan Thompson who has really helped us along the way and really made a big difference in the training.”

Complete FEI Six-Year-Old Preliminary Test results

Titles will be awarded in the Developing Horse Prix St. Georges, Four-Year-Old, and Five-Year-Old divisions tomorrow, Saturday, August 26.

Find out more information about the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships online.

The USEF Network will continue to live stream all competition beginning tomorrow, August 26. The live stream is only available to US Equestrian members; however, a special promotional code for viewing is available on the USEF Network.

Follow us on Facebook (@USADressage and @USEFNetwork), Instagram (@USEFNetwork), and Twitter (@USEFNetwork) for all the latest from the ring and behind the scenes.

The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members.