Lund and Bragdell Win Intermediaire II Titles at 2017 U.S. Dressage Finals

 
Fri, 11/10/2017 - 15:17
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Kristy Truebenbach Lund and Akvavit at the 2017 U.S. Dressage Finals
Photo © Sue Stickle
2017 U.S. Dressage Finals

Kristy Truebenbach Lund and Michael Bragdell took out the first victories at FEI level at the 2017 U.S. Dressage Finals which are running in their fifth edition on 9 - 12 November 2017 in Lexington, Ky.  The 2017 U.S. Dressage Finals are the U.S. Championships for amateur and open division dressage riders, excluding the elite high performance professionals who have their own Championship at small and big tour level at the Festival of Champions.

Lund and Akvavit Win Inter II Adult Amateur Championships

Last year, Kristy Truebenbach Lund’s trip to the US Dressage Finals did not get off to a good start with her mount Akvavit in the Intemediate II Adult Amateur Championship.

“My horse doesn’t particularly like indoor venues anyway, and last year when we came into the Alltech Arena someone was using a camera with a flash throughout our entire test,” said Lund. “It completely unnerved my horse and ruined our ride. So I was determined to come back this year and win.”

Mission accomplished for Lund, a small animal veterinarian from Wellington, Fla., as she rode Blue Marlin Farm, Inc.’s 14-year-old Spanish Warmblood gelding (Silvester x Onni by Jazz) to finally claim the coveted championship with 65.088%  in the Intermediate II Adult Amateur division, the first of 30 national titles to be awarded over the next three days across all levels from Training to Grand Prix for both Open and Adult Amateur competitors.

Finishing in reserve was Selena Wilson of nearby LaGrange, Ky. with her 12-year-old Holsteiner mare Vanity (Cotopaxi x Silvershulace) on 64.298%.

Lund took an initial leap of faith when purchasing Akvavit off a video from a bankruptcy auction in Spain years ago, but it’s been her continued patience that has finally allowed her mount to blossom in the show ring. “He’s hot, and while it’s nice to have a horse with a lot of go, the trick is controlling it,” Lund explained. “Even today when he tried to bolt on our first trot extension on the diagonal, I just have to take a deep breath, remember it’s only one bad movement, and go on to the next. I pride myself on having a special connection with my horses, and this is the first year I finally feel like we’ve achieved that together – trusting each other enough for me to let go and allow him to show what he can do." 

Lund and her fiery gelding will have two more chances to return to the winner’s circle this week as they compete in the Adult Amateur Grand Prix and Freestyle divisions, and if victorious the pair will once again join other Region 3 competitors in proudly sporting pink polo wraps during awards ceremonies in honor of cancer awareness.

“This event is the only show that really feels like a national show – it’s like the Olympics for us,” said Lund. “I always said that adult amateurs are the backbone of USDF but sometimes we felt a bit forgotten. There are plenty of programs for juniors and young riders, and professionals of course have Gladstone and their national championships. Finally we have something that recognizes the adult amateurs on this kind of scale. It’s wonderful that after all the years of talking about creating an event like this that USDF finally got it done and it’s going so well, and it means so much to so many competitors.”

Bragdell and Qredit Claim Inter II Open Championship

Professional dressage rider Michael Bragdell of Colora, Md. (Region 8) is no stranger to the winner’s circle at the US Dressage Finals, and he found his way back to victory lane with his first ride down centerline at this year’s competition aboard Hilltop Farm, Inc.’s nine-year-old Oldenburg stallion Qredit Hilltop (Quaterback x Dream Rubina by Dream of Glory, bred in the U.S. by Judy Yancey). An impressive ride for a score of 71.535% earned the pair the unanimous win under all three judges in the Intermediate II Open Championship.

“He came here last year and caught me a little by surprise by being a bit ‘big-eyed’ in the Alltech Arena,” said Bragdell of his young mount. “So this year I took my time to focus on him being comfortable in there, and he seemed much more laid-back this time around and I think that made a big difference. He schooled really well yesterday, and my game plan was to keep him happy, relaxed, and comfortable with the arena, and it worked out because he felt super in the ring. I was very excited about our performance.” 

After a sixth-place finish at the U.S. Developing Grand Prix Horse Championship in August, Bragdell felt like Qredit Hilltop brought his A-game to Lexington. “At Lamplight I think I didn’t have as much horse by the last day as I would have liked to have, but as the season has progressed he’s gotten better and better and I feel like he really peaked here. It’s such a nice finish to the year in coming to the Finals because it really feels like a national championship. You hear the announcer saying riders’ names from all over the country, and it’s definitely something special to be a part of.”

Also pleased with her performance was Reserve Champion Judy Kelly of Clarkston, Mich. (Region 2) riding her 13-year-old Hanoverian mare Benise (by Breitling W x Rubina by Rubinstein) to a score of 68.509%.

“This is our first year at this level – we rode here at the inaugural Finals in 2013 at Prix St. Georges, so as we continue to progress I was delighted to qualify to come back here as well as with our ride today. I was very happy with her piaffe and passage, and she tries so hard and has the best temperament. This is such a special event and I’d like to thank everyone who helps to support it, especially sponsors like Adequan which have been there from the start.”

Text by Jennifer Keeler - Photos © Sue Stickle

Related Links
US Dressage Finals Site Search for 2016-2018
Suchanek, Hicks, Thornlow, Hickok Earn FEI Level Titles at the 2016 U.S. Dressage Finals
Perfect Qredit, Grand Champion of the 2009 Devon Breed Show
Quaterback Offspring In the Ribbons at 2009 Dressage at Devon

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