The 2013 U.S. Young Dressage Horse Championships kicked off Thursday at the Lamplight Equestrian Center under intermittently stormy skies. The first three of five divisions completed their qualifying classes in front of the judging panel comprised of Janet Foy, Bill Warren, and Linda Zang. The 4-year old Rebellienne HVH, the 5-year old DG Dancing Queen and the 6-year old Vitalis have jumped out to the early lead.
“At the beginning of this year, I thought we had a really talented and exciting group and I’m really pleased with how they have continued to develop. The quality here is great; I’m honestly blown-away. I think you are really seeing horse that will come through the pipeline,” said USEF Young Horse Dressage Coach Scott Hassler. “You saw the same thing in the Developing Grand Prix. A couple of these horses came through the Young Horse Program. I am really excited about this group.”
The day got underway with four-year-old competition beneath grey skies, which opened up following the mid-morning break to soak the second half of the division in a deluge of rain. Despite the inclement weather, all 14 entries put their best efforts forward in the USEF Dressage Test for Four-Year-Old Horses to earn the first 40% of their championship scores.
Brandi Benedict (Lovettsville, VA) and Rebellienne HVH (Rotspon x EM Whitney/Welser) entered the championship arena in some of the worst weather of the morning. However, the pair, which has only been together for two weeks, was undeterred by the pouring rain as it stormed to an overall score of 8.820 and an early lead. High Valley Hanoverians’ Hanoverian mare was rewarded for her impressive trot and walk gaits, scoring 9.5 and 9.0, respectively. They also earned 7.5 for the canter.
The mare also was praised highly for her submission and general impression, being rewarded with scores of 8.9 and 9.2.
Earning second-place honors on Thursday were Amy Miller (Fullerton CA) and her own KWPN gelding Encore (Jazz x Aloha SE/Sir Sinclair). The pair impressed the judging panel as the last entry before the break earning an overall 8.760. They earned 9.0, 8.5, and 8.8 for their trot, walk, and canter.
The gelding demonstrated maturity beyond his four years as he continued to settle after spooking while circling the arena. For his submission and overall impression, he earned 8.5 and 9.0
Rounding out the top three are Anna Marek (Williston, FL) and AJ Stapleton’s Elain (Sir Oldenburg x Barliane/Santano) with a score of 8.58. The KWPN gelding earned 8.5, 8.5, and 8.6 for his trot, walk, and canter. He was rewarded for his rideability, scoring 8.5 for submission, and earned a mark of 8.8 for his overall impression.
The Four-Year-Old Championship comes to a conclusion on Saturday as entries again perform the USEF Dressage Test for Four-Year-Old Horses to earn the final 60% of their overall championship scores
Rain welcomed in the afternoon session and the first few entries of the Five-Year-Old Championship before the skies cleared for the remainder of the 2008 foal crop. The field of 13 earned the first 40% of their overall scores in the FEI Five-Year-Old Preliminary Test.
As the last combination in the championship arena, Ashlyn De Groot (Hanford, CA) and DG Bar Ranch’s KWPN mare DG Dancing Queen (Jazz x
Princes Lincom/Junior) earned the best score of the division, 9.0, with a polished performance. The talented mare was rewarded for her impressive gaits that demonstrated great swing and athleticism, earning 9.7, 9.0, and 8.6 for the trot, walk, and canter, respectively.
The mare not only showed great potential for the future in her gaits, but also with her rideability and harmonious work, for which she was rewarded an 8.7 on submission. For her quality work Thursday afternoon, DG Dancing Queen earned an overall impression mark of 9.0.
Second place in the Five-Year-Old Qualifying class went to Nadine Burberl (White House Station, NJ) and Michael Davis’ Fashion Design O.L.D. (Faustinus x Forst-Design/De Niro). The Oldenburg gelding was also rewarded for quality gaits, earning scores of 9.7, 9.0, and 8.5 for the trot, walk, and canter.
The gelding earned a Qualifying Class score of 8.94 on Thursday after being rewarded with a 8.5 on submission and 9.0 for overall impression.
Third place went to Silva Martin (Unionville, PA) and Melinda Walton’s Hanoverian gelding Benefactor RRS (Bonheur x Heidekleid/Rubenstein I) with a score of 8.62. For the trot, walk, and canter, he received 9.5, 9.0, and 7.8. Additionally, they earned 8.3 for submission and earned an overall impression score of 8.5.
The Five-Year-Old entries return to the arena on Saturday for the Championship Class and the remaining 60% of their overall scores in the FEI Five-Year-Old Final Test.
Six-Year-Old competition got the day started in the Championship Arena, as 12 entries performed the FEI Six-Year-Old Preliminary Test. Friday’s scores will count for 40% of the total championship score.
Charlotte Jorst (Reno, NV) and Skagen Holdings’ Vitalis (Vivaldi x Tolivia/Donnerschwee) proved to be popular winners on Thursday morning. The KWPN stallion demonstrated outstanding, expressive gaits to earn a 9.7, 7.8 and 9.5 for their trot, walk, and canter.
Vitalis was not only rewarded for his movement but also his rideability and potential for the future. For his submission the stallion scored a perfect 10, for which Foy commented, “We could not have thought of anything to make it better.” The judging panel also awarded a mark of 9.0 for general impression.
Vitalis scored a 9.2 on Friday to lead the field heading into the Championship Class.
“Fantastic, I thought it was so much fun,” said Jorst of her winning ride.
Jorst and Vitalis represented the U.S. at the FEI World Breeding Championships for Dressage Young Horses two weekends ago in Verden, Germany and made it a priority to contest these Championships. This is the first time Jorst has competed at this annual event and at Lamplight but is thoroughly enjoying the experience.
“This is my first time to Chicago. I have always wanted to come here and I love it here. The flowers, the atmosphere, everything is great; I am so comfortable here.”
Earning second-place honors on Friday was Alice Tarjan (Oldwick, NJ) and her own Elfenfeuer (Florencio x Elfensonne/Sion) with a score of 7.940. The Oldenburg gelding was rewarded with an 8.5 for his trot with particular praise for the collected trot as well as an 8.6 for the canter. Tension in the walk resulted in a score of 5.9.
The talented gelding was rewarded with a 9.0 for submission after demonstrating suppleness and elasticity as well as a proficiency in the flying changes. They were awarded a general impression score of 7.7.
Riding to third place was Jane Karol (Concord, MA) and her own Sunshine Tour (Sir Donnerhall x History/Alabaster) with a score of 7.800. The Oldenburg mare scored 9.2, 7.3, and 7.2 for the trot, walk, and canter, respectively. She also received scores of 7.0 and 8.0 for submission and general impression.
The Six-Year-Old Championship comes to a conclusion on Sunday as competitors will earn the remaining 60% of their score in the FEI Six-Year-Old Final Test.
Photos © HVH - Mary Phelps