Wayne, Ill. – Another packed day of competition took place at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions on Saturday. Seven divisions performed their respective tests, with six titles up for grabs. Impressive scores, strong partnerships, and excellent riding highlighted the penultimate day at the prestigious event.
Adequan®/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship
Eleven pairs competed in the FEI Junior Individual Test of the Adequan®/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship to determine the title winner. The scores were extremely close at the top of the leaderboard, but Kat Fuqua and DreamGirl ended up the national champions. Fuqua (Atlanta, Ga.) and her 2008 KWPN mare’s partnership peaked at the right time to clinch the win with a score of 69.793%.
“I haven’t even really fully taken it in yet,” Fuqua said of being a national champion. “It’s really exciting. This is my first win at a dressage championship, so it’s so exciting.”
Lexie Kment (Palmyra, Neb.) and Montagny Von Der Heide, Laureen Van Norman’s 2004 Trakehner gelding, took reserve-champion honors with an overall score of 69.766%. Devon Pomeroy (Wind Gap, Pa.) and Royal Dark Chocolate, her 2008 Oldenburg mare, won the FEI Junior Individual Test with a score of 69.313% to finish in third place overall with a score of 69.682%.
Junior competitor Julia McDonald (Byron Center, Mich.) received the Anita Owen Perpetual Silver Stirrup Trophy for her display of sportsmanship throughout the event.
From the Mixed Zone:
What is DreamGirl’s background?
Fuqua: “DreamGirl we imported from Holland about a year-and-a-half ago. Last year, I did Children’s with her and she was third overall. She is just the sweetest horse ever. I can ride her bareback, and she is just the best. Now, we have been doing the Juniors. I think our partnership has really grown. I think two weeks ago at NAYC was when we really clicked.”
Talk about your tests.
Fuqua: “Yesterday I was really happy; it was just a really solid test. I didn’t have any major mistakes. Today, I think I stepped it up a little bit because I was more comfortable so I rode with a little more power, so I think I improved today.”
Kment: “My test yesterday was really good. I think one of our highlights was our medium canter. I learned from NAYC a couple of weeks ago that those are a strong suit of ours. I really went for it and had fun today. Our trot was a little more relaxed. It was a little slower, but we had a better trot throughout I thought.”
Pomeroy: “I was very, very pleased with my test. Both days the consistency for me and my horse is a big thing and making sure it’s brilliant and has enough power, but also making sure that everything is clean, consistent, and quiet. So, I was really, really happy. From yesterday to today I was able to add a little bit more, especially in the trot work, and I was super pleased with how relaxed she stayed in this awesome environment.”
Your horse is the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ mount of U.S. para-dressage athlete Annie Peavy, correct?
Pomeroy: “Yes. She is a D4K-donated horse. She was Annie Peavy’s horse before she was donated. She definitely has much more showing experience than I do. I think it definitely helps both of our confidence in the show ring, me knowing she knows her job and she is able to teach me a lot too. It’s both of us teaching each other at the same time.”
Markel/USEF Young Horse Four-Year-Old Dressage National Championship
Fifteen combinations rode the USEF Four-Year-Old Horse Test for the second time to close out the Markel/USEF Young Horse Four-Year-Old Dressage National Championship. Katryna Evans and Fontenay delivered another stellar performance to claim the title. Evans (Bailey, Colo.) and Dr. Cesar Parra’s Hanoverian gelding (Fürst Jazz x Dakota, Don Frederico) received an overall score of 8.760.
“This has been a really cool experience for me; I was really excited to come,” said Evans. “It’s my first time at Festival of Champions, and my first time at Lamplight, which is beautiful, and it’s been a real treat.”
Alice Tarjan (Oldwick, N.J.) and Ierland’s Eden, her Oldenburg mare (Ireland x Lace Eden, Krack C), won Saturday’s class with a score of 8.800 to earn the reserve-champion honors with an overall score of 8.616. Lindsay Holleger and MW Fürstencharmant, Jennifer Vanover’s Oldenburg stallion (Fürstenball x MW Weiss Schwarz, Sir Donnerhall I), were third with an overall score of 8.392 and won the Highest U.S. Bred Horse Award for the division.
Lindsey Holleger (Middletown, N.Y.) and MW Marcario, Jennifer Vanover’s Oldenburg stallion (Morricone x Cilla Amour, San Amour I), won the Best Presented Horse at the Horse Inspection presented by Grayson-Jockey Research Club. It is awarded to the best presented horse at the horse inspection. The ground jury considers condition, grooming, and interaction with the judges.
From the Mixed Zone:
Talk about your test.
Evans: “The test itself, I did start to run out of steam. The poor guy, we’ve only had him a few months, but he has just been taking everything in stride. And I know that his owners are both so excited to have him here and happy that it all came together so wonderfully. He really just has the greatest mind, and even though he lost a little steam, he still was really trying hard. I’m sure that as he gets a little stronger and used to it, the sky is the limit.”
Talk about your horse.
Evans: “I am used to riding and starting young horses, and I’ve never had a four-year-old that was this rideable and manageable, and this fun. I think that this has been a very good learning experience for me, even just watching the other riders. We’re surrounded by a really good, competitive group, and I think that the judges did a really good job of judging fairly and offering some very constructive comments.”
Tarjan: “This one I got from a good friend of mine over in Denmark. I got her as a two year old and we broke her last year. She was actually quite difficult to break, I didn’t think we were going to get the job done, Kasey Perry-Glass’s husband Dana Glass broke her, and it took a couple of months. She has turned into a really reliable horse.
“It’s funny, people will tell you ‘oh 30 days under saddle, they look so easy!’ and I don’t know. I think you need at least six months to really know. I think that it’s going to be a good grand prix horse; she just needs a little time. Right now, she actually is super easy, and very reliable.
“I was really happy with my scores. I really believe in the horse and I think she’s going to be a really good grand prix horse.”
Holleger: He’s the sweetest boy. He is so reliable, so sweet. I broke him, and he’s just so easy, he’s so sweet he’s so game. He’s a stallion, but he goes around like a perfect gentleman all of the time. I love him to death.”
USEF Children Dressage National Championship
Twelve combinations began their quest for the USEF Children Dressage National Championship title with the FEI Children Team Test. Sienna Rowe and D’Agostino had a lovely test to take the early lead in the division. Rowe (Urbanna, Va.) and Christian Garweg’s 2013 Hanoverian gelding earned an impressive score of 78.100% to win the class.
“It was pretty interesting, I wasn’t expecting that score at all,” Rowe said after her test. “It could have been way worse than it was, and I was pretty happy with it, so it was good.”
Tessa Geven (Cataula, Ga.) and Sir Frederico, Carden Burdette’s 2007 Hanoverian gelding, placed second with a score of 75.675%. Maren Elise Fouché-Hanson (Colbert, Ga.) and Estremadura MVH, her 2009 KWPN mare, were third with a score of 73.725%.
The FEI Children Team Test counts for 50 percent of the overall score for the USEF Children Dressage National Championship. Sunday’s FEI Children Individual Test counts for the remaining 50 percent.
From the Mixed Zone:
Tell me about your test.
Rowe: “He didn’t run away with me, and he was super relaxed and listened very well. The turn on the haunches and the serpentines are things that I want to improve upon for the next test.
Talk about your partnership.
Rowe: “I’ve been riding him on and off for about two years now. He’s super sweet, and doesn’t try anything that he’s not supposed to. He’s very big, but he watches out for me. He’s just super fun to ride.
“He’s partly blind. He’s been that way for about two years. He can still see but we aren’t sure how much longer he will be able to. He does spook at things more than he used to.”
Markel/USEF Young Horse Five-Year-Old Dressage National Championship
Fourteen combinations completed the FEI Five-Year-Old Final Test to determine the Markel/USEF Young Horse Five-Year-Old Dressage National Championship. Marcus Orlob (Annandale, N.J.) and Glory Day (Grand Galaxy Win x JJ Dolche Gabbana, Deemster) scored an incredible three 10s to win the class with a score of 9.770. Orlob and Alice Tarjan’s Danish Warmblood stallion, members of the USEF/USDF Dressage Young Horse Emerging Program, earned an overall score of 9.518.
“I was a little amazed at the scores today,” said Orlob. “Obviously, it’s great to get two tens, but I’m blown away. I think he deserves it. He’s a really fantastic horse. I think we were delighted by the quality of the horse.”
Hope Beerling of Australia (Califon, N.J.) and Vianne, Kimberly Butenhoff’s Hanoverian mare (Vitalis x Raureif, Ramiro’s Blue) took reserve-champion honors with an overall score of 8.964 and won the Highest U.S. Bred Horse Award for the division. Katryna Evans (Bailey, Colo.) and Møllegårdens Fashion, Dr. Cesar and Marcela Parra’s Danish Warmblood gelding (Florenz x Møllegårdens Kantarel, L’Espoir), were third with an overall score of 8.700.
From the Mixed Zone:
How did Glory Day feel today?
Orlob: “He is never tired. He is very energetic, and he loves to work, coming out every day at 100%. He was a little fresh in the warm-up, and then when they were clapping he was more tense, but after a few minutes he settled in nicely and I knew that I would have a good ride if I didn’t mess up. I did mess up, so I’m mad at myself, but stuff happens. I’m glad that I have a good horse that makes up for my mistakes.
“He has such a natural talent for self-carriage, the lightness, the power. I think that this will be a good grand prix horse.”
Talk about your horses.
Beerling: “She is an incredible horse. I have been with her through this whole journey. I am in Catherine Haddad-Staller’s program, and it shows that hard work and good training pay off. We took this horse from a good horse to an excellent horse, and I’m excited for her future.
“I was blown away with the scores. Catherine bred her, and I moved here when she was three and I broke her.
“I find American dressage very supportive. It’s a very nice environment and I really appreciate that.”
Evans: “I also have a really great horse. I’ve only been riding him for a little while. Very talented horse, great brain, and, obviously, it’s a long week for these horses, and it’s a lot coming all this way, but it’s a great environment for them to learn.”
Adequan®/USEF Young Adult Brentina Cup Dressage National Championship
Seven combinations completed their FEI Grand Prix Freestyles in the Adequan®/USEF Young Adult Brentina Cup Dressage National Championship to determine the overall winner. Chase Shipka and Gladstone Zee T, who are Kundrun USEF Dressage Development Program members, had a solid freestyle to win the class with a score of 69.820%. Shipka (Wellington, Fla.) and her 2011 KWPN gelding lead the division from start to finish, ending on an overall score of 70.114%.
“It’s overwhelming,” Shipka said of her national champion title. “I’m just so happy that this was the result of this weekend. I didn’t come here expecting this. I just wanted to do my best and for him to do his best, so I’m very excited.”
McKayla Hohmann (Georgetown, Mass.) and Numberto, Elisabeth Austin’s 2001 KWPN gelding, collected reserve-champion honors with an overall score of 66.973%. Rosemary Julian-Simoes (Barrington, Ill.) and Rankrado, Rankrado LLC’s 2004 German Sport Horse gelding, placed third with an overall score of 66.147%.
From the Mixed Zone:
Talk about your freestyle.
Shipka: “My freestyle today could have gone better but, overall, I was happy with it. Technically it was excellent; I was just a little fast so I missed some of my music, which is where I think we lost points. But he was tired, I was tired, it’s hot out there, so I’m ecstatic.”
Hohmann: “He was amazing. We had a little mix-up with the music in the beginning, but we were fine and he always has his game face on. He’s ready; he knows what he’s here to do and he gets really excited to go horse show. I, unfortunately, was ahead of my music by quite a bit, but I couldn’t be happier with him. It’s been a long, hot week, and they’re all a little tired, but when they give it their all, that’s all you can ask.”
Julian-Simoes: “He had a lot of power today. He was mentally very hot, but did feel a little tired. I, too, was ahead of my music a bit and I think that’s just because he was so eager, which did cause a few technical problems. Overall, I was really happy with him, and you can’t ask more after a long format and hot days this week.”
What is Gladstone Zee T’s background?
Shipka: “I have had him since he was seven. When I got him, he had been doing Prix St. Georges seven-year-old classes in Europe. We have learned the Grand Prix together, which I think is really special. He’s only 10 now, so we have a few more years together.
“We are going to move onto the senior Grand Prix next year. I turn 25 on September 3rd, so I think that this is our last U25 competition together. Improvement wise, he is only 10 so we still have a lot to work on, but he shows great talent for the Grand Prix so I’m excited to move forward with that.”
USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship
Nine combinations completed their third and final tests by riding their FEI Intermediate I Freestyle Test of the USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship. Dawn White-O’Connor and Hudson M led from start to finish to clinch a national championship title. White-O’Connor (San Diego, Calif.) and Four Winds Farm’s 2012 KWPN gelding had a solid freestyle to score 76.355%, finishing with an overall score of 75.287%.
“I have had him just over a year and a half. He is the best horse; I could probably talk about him all day,” White-O’Connor said of Hudson M. “I think everyone gets sick of me constantly showing them videos of what he is doing. He is a really, incredibly special horse. Even if he wasn’t as talented as he is, he has got the best personality and he is the most fun horse to be around. He is pretty much good about everything. He is one of a kind I think.”
Lindsey Holleger (Middletown, N.Y.) and MW Ave Maria, Jennifer Vanover’s 2013 Oldenburg mare, took home reserve-champion honors with an overall score of 73.323%. Karen Lipp (Ball Ground, Ga.) and Infinity, her 2013 KWPN gelding, were third with an overall score of 70.227%. The top three are Kundrun USEF Dressage Development Program members.
Laura DeCesari (Tuscon, Ariz.) and Flower-Power, Pamela Farthing’s 2010 KWPN mare, won the EquiFit best Turned Out Pair Award, which is presented to the best turned out dressage athlete and horse during the horse inspection.
From the Mixed Zone:
How did your freestyle compare to your other tests earlier in the week?
White-O’Connor: “I don’t think I improved upon anything in the freestyle. I think the other tests were definitely better. Riding them, I probably spend more time working on those two patterns, so I think I am more comfortable and he is more comfortable with those. The freestyle we definitely haven’t ridden as much or worked on as much, so I hope to be better at that in the future.”
Did you get to know Hudson M better this week while competing at a championship?
White-O’Connor: “I guess anytime you spend time with him you get to know him better. But I spend a lot of time with him, so I feel like I know him pretty well. I think in Florida I obviously had less horses than I do at home, so I spend all day with him: cleaning his stall, walking him, doing his turnout. I just had five horses [in Florida in the winter], so I pretty much did everything with him. That was kind of nice. I like these kind of shows because when you only have one horse you get to spend the whole day with those one or two horses. It like that part of it.”
How was your freestyle?
Holleger: “It was pretty good. I got a little ahead of the music, so I had to improvise at the end, but I was really proud of her. This was her first big arena ever. She is only eight years old. I’m thrilled with her.”
Lipp: “I got ahead of my music as well. I’m the old lady here; I struggled with the heat. I have to say he took care of me. He is a young horse and I have done the freestyle three times, so it is kind of like [White-O’Connor said] it is my weakest thing out of the tests, but he went in there and tried really hard.
Did MW Ave Maria compete in the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage National Championship last year?
Holleger: “She did. She was great there, too. I think she got third and second. She was second the last day. But that [arena] down there is a different story. It is a lot more electric. She is very electric herself so I was kind of curious how she would handle it, but she handled it really well, so I’m really proud of her.”
Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage National Championship
Fifteen combinations competed in the USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Test to decide the winner of the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage National Championship. USEF/USDF Young Horse Emerging Program member Emily Miles (Paola, Kan.) had an excellent day, taking champions honors and third place with Daily Show and Sole Mio, respectively. Daily Show, Leslie Waterman’s 2014 Hanoverian stallion (Danciano x Schweden Lady, Stockhom) won the class with a score of 75.416% and the overall title with a score of 74.504%. Sole Mio, Leslie Waterman’s 2014 Hanoverian stallion (Stanford x Donna-Rafaela, Donnerschwee), finished third overall with a score of 72.004%.
“‘Daily’ was a rockstar. It was really hot; he’s black and big. We warmed him up in an easy, quiet way, and had to trust that the first three minutes before the test we could knock it into gear, but I thought that today went better than the first day. He had more flow, took up the ring, and was just really in front of me. I was so pleased with him. The strength that he showed off in such a big way, I think there is still a ton left in there, and I’m so excited to have two horses like them.”
Kristina Harrison (Burbank, Calif.) and I Felix, Jocelyn Towne’s 2013 KWPN gelding (Fidertanz x Dalwhinnie, UB40), were the reserve champions with an overall score of 72.159% and won the Highest U.S. Bred Horse Award for the division.
From the Mixed Zone:
Talk about the lead-up to this event.
Miles: “They went 20 months without leaving the property because of COVID, and starting out the show season felt a little rocky, but they’ve just gotten better and more confident each time. Daily came in ranked eleventh, Mio came in ranked fifth, so I had hopes. I thought they could be good, but I am just so excited that they are top three. I think that the future is bright, and I love this program. I love being here and showing here.
“Leslie [Waterman] is an amazing owner, and Debbie [McDonald] and my mom are the best coaches, and my groom Kinder is amazing, and my husband is here, so I just have a great support system that is always with me.”
Talk about your test and your partnership with your horse.
Harrison: “I was thrilled with my test today. We did a short warm-up. He was on his game, and I trusted him and just went for it. He really rose to the occasion.
“I found him as a yearling, and I went to go look at some horses with a client. I saw him out in the field and he was not who I was meant to see, but I kept going, ‘Who is that!?’ It was love at first sight. It didn’t matter if I bought him or if my client bought him, I was getting that horse. So we’ve had him since he was a yearling, and he has a fantastic owner, and he’s such a powerhouse, he’s the little engine that could, and is my horse of a lifetime I think. He’s honest, he’s got a great work ethic, he never says no, and he tries his heart out.”
Competition concludes Sunday with the first class in the Lamplight Grand Prix Arena, the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle for the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship, begins at 8:00 a.m. CT. The first class in the Lamplight Young Horse/Developing Horse Arena, the FEI Six-Year-Old Final Test for the Markel/USEF Young Horse Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship, begins at 8:15 a.m. CT.
Watch the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions live stream presented by Adequan® this week on USEF Network.
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