Mill Spring, N.C. – After dominating the marathon phase and turning in a double clear cones round, Taylor Bradish (Windsor, S.C.) and Katydid Duchess emerged victorious in the 2022 USEF Combined Driving National Championship for Single Horses with a final score of 138.85. The championship was held as part of the Katydid CDE at the Tryon International Equestrian Center.
Bradish and Duchess, Jennifer Matheson’s 2009 Welsh Pony cross mare, came in as the two-time defending national champion combination, having won in 2021 when the championship was held at the Garden State CDE and in 2020 at Live Oak International.
“I was for sure feeling the pressure this weekend, especially going into cones,” said Bradish. “I really enjoy the pressure and learning how to compete through it. I knew it was going to be a tough weekend; there were so many nice horses and drivers there to challenge us.
“The marathon course drove perfectly for us this weekend,” said Bradish. “The footing was perfect. It’s a challenging course with two water hazards and hills, but Katydid Duchess is extremely fit and was still galloping up the hill at the end. I tried to challenge myself this weekend by driving the tighter, more technical lines and it paid off.”
Bradish added that this year’s win was especially sweet thanks to the shared history between the event and her horse.
“Duchess was bred and owned by Katrina Becker and Jennifer Matheson on Katydid Farm, where the show originally ran,” said Bradish. “This made it very special for her owners and I to win here.”
Bradish has been working with Duchess for six years, bringing her all the way from Training to success at the 3* level, and she hopes to continue to climb the ranks.
“Duchess will have a short vacation to rest and recover,” said Bradish. “We will keep working on improving our dressage and fitness inhopes of getting selected to compete at the FEI Single Horse World Championships later this year.”
The Reserve National Champion title went to Raymond Helmuth (Cambridge, Iowa) with Kendro, a 2015 Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Helmuth Equine. The pair kicked off their weekend with the top dressage score in the division and capped it off with a double-clear cones round on Sunday, finishing on a 143.18.
Rounding out the top three was last year’s reserve champion combination, Carrie Ostrowski (Lexington, Ky.) and Gellerduht, her own 2011 KWPN gelding. The pair had a strong dressage test on Friday, earning the second-best score in the division, and a solid marathon on Saturday.