Just over 3/10ths of a point decided the Young Adult 'Brentina Cup' champion - the first Championship awarded at the 2011 U.S. Dressage Championships, aka Festival of Champions, at the USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, NJ, on Saturday 10 September 2011. Caroline Roffman and Beemer edged out Olivia LaGoy-Weltz for the top spot with a two-day combined score of 65.822% to LaGoy-Weltz' 65.518%.
Roffman has had a very successful Young Rider career and has done very well training and producing young horses, but Beemer is showing her the Grand Prix ropes and has given her the first Brentina Cup win of her career.
"I'm honored to be here and feel lucky to have the opportunity to ride this horse," said Roffman about Lars Petersen and Global Dressage Sales' 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding.
Because Beemer has been for sale this year, Roffman didn't know if she would still have him in the barn to be able to bring him to contest these championships. She capitalized on the opportunity of him not getting sold.
"It was cleaner," she said about her performance in the Young Rider Grand Prix test. "I wanted to have a clean ride. It lacked a lot of the brilliance from Thursday, but I did a better job."
With this win, Roffman broke a string of second-place finishes at the 2011 U.S. Young Horse Dressage Championships and National Developing Dressage Horse Championships two weeks ago. She is getting her own business going teaching and training horses and riders of all ages. She and Endel Ots are working together in Wellington, FL. A hugely successful Young Rider, Roffman is handling the transition into the senior ranks with class.
LaGoy-Weltz (Versailles, KY) was edged out for the Championship but she did take the top score in Saturday's class with Riffalino. That score of 69.907% was enough to bump her from third on the first day into the overall reserve champion spot with a two-day total of 65.518%. Riding for Nelly van Cuelebroek, LaGoy-Weltz was pleased with her horse and her performance.
"He was good," she said. "It was really nice to have a day in between to just train. I went in and I went for it. I'm thrilled for him and his owner is thrilled which is the best part."
LaGoy-Weltz is 27, the eldest of the Brentina Cup riders, and is coaching Ari Lopez in the Junior Championship this week in addition to riding.
Heather Ann Beachem (Alpharetta, GA) and Windsong held their ground to finish in the top three. They were second on Thursday and swapped places with LaGoy-Weitz on Saturday to end up third overall. Beachem, 22, only began riding dressage in 2009 and has made a huge impression with success as a Young Rider. Riding her 15-year-old Hanoverian, she scored 62.651% in the Young Rider Grand Prix to have a two-day total of 63.274%.
"I felt like I rode a little bit better," said Beachem. "We're both really green. He wasn't meant to be a Grand Prix horse... he got a little tired in the piaffe but I got the changes today... I got the ones which made my day."
Windsong overcame colic surgery to return to the top of the sport.
Pik L Shows Endreson a Winning Start in the Junior National Dressage Championships
The Junior National Dressage Championship got underway on Saturday morning, and three riders making their first appearance at the Festival of Champions topped the leaderboard after the first half of the championship.
Kya Endreson rode the veteran stallion Pik L to the top of the class - their score of 70.486% rewarded their convincing performance in the Dick and Jane Arena. Pik L was the reserve horse for the 2007 Pan American Games with Susie Dutta, and the 18-year-old Hanoverian stallion is now showing Endreson the ropes.
Owned by Anne Sparks and Horses Unlimited, Pik L looked very comfortable back in the ring at Gladstone.
"It felt like it went really well," said Endreson. "He's such a good boy, he tried his best. It was really neat (riding at the USET Foundation), and I liked going early when it was quiet and cool."
This partnership started in March and Endreson is learning lots from the classy veteran.
"He's such a fun guy," she said. "He taught me so much, I'm really enjoying riding him."
The 18-year-old Hanoverian stallion gave 16-year-old Endreson a lovely tour of the arena at Gladstone.
Leading the chase is Rachel Chowanec on Embrujado XI with a score of 67.189%. Chowanec, 17, from Columbia, CT, coaxed a season best performance out of Lendon Grey's 13-year-old PRE gelding.
"It was probably one of the best rides all season," said Chowanec. "It is an incredible feeling."
Embrujado XI was comfortable in the big atmosphere and wasn't spooky like he has a tendency to be. Chowanec was proud of her horse.
Rounding out the top three was local rider Julia Burtt and her 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding Aaron VI. The pair had a solid effort in their first trip to Gladstone, and the 17-year-old kept her composure.
"He was a good boy," said Burtt. "It was hot and we both got kind of tired. But he kept it together and stayed with me."
The second half of the championship concludes Sunday.
Photos © Sue Stickle
Scores 2011 U.S. Dressage Championships
Peters in Command in Prix St Georges and Grand Prix Special at Gladstone
Leibler and Watson Lead 2011 U.S. Young Rider Championship in Gladstone
Peters Overcomes the Elements to Win Grand Prix at 2011 Festival of Champions
2011 U.S. Dressage Championships Set to Begin