The focus of the American dressage world will turn to Gladstone, N.J., this week for the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions 12 - 15 as it runs June at the USET Foundation Headquarters. The annual U.S. Dressage Championship will host the best American combinations across six divisions of competition.
The Grand Prix competition will be doubly important as it will serve as a Selection Trial for the U.S. Dressage Team Short List for the 2014 World Equestrian Games.
U.S. Grand Prix Championship
A field of 16 lines up in the Grand Prix Championship and WEG Selection Trial, which gets underway on Thursday, as combinations will earn the first 45% of their championships score in the FEI Grand Prix Test. They return on Saturday to contest the Grand Prix Special, earning a further 40%. Grand Prix competition comes to a close on Sunday with the Freestyles, as competitors earn the remaining 15% of their overall scores.
All four riders that represented the U.S. at the London Olympic Games have traveled to Gladstone to stake their claims on a National Title and look to represent the United States at the World Championships in Normandy, France. Steffen Peters (San Diego, Calif.) will look to secure his third consecutive National Championship with Four Winds Farm’s Legolas. Jan Ebeling (Moorpark, Calif.), Tina Konyot (Palm City, Fla.), and Adrienne Lyle (Ketchum, Idaho) will all ride their Olympic partners, Beth Meyer, Ann Romney, and Amy Roberts Ebeling’s Rafalca, Konyot’s Calecto V, and Peggy Thomas’ Wizard, respectively.
Arlene Page (Wellington, Fla.) brings her own Alina to Gladstone after having spent part of the 2014 season competing in Europe on a USEF Dressage High Performance Pre-Games Training and Competition Grant.
The Intermediaire I Championship
The Intermediaire I Championship will host 17 talented combinations in Small Tour competition. Like their Big Tour counterparts, they will perform three tests this week. On Thursday all competitors will earn 40% of their totals for the Prix St. Georges Test, and return the following day to ride the Intermediaire I Test for 45% of their championships scores. The final 15% of the Intermediaire Championship scores will be earned Sunday in the Freestyle.
The 2013 champions have come to the historic USET Foundation Headquarters looking to retain their title. Kim Herslow (Stockton, N.J.) and Kiroli Enterprises Inc.’s Rosmarin will look to display the form that led them to a sweep of Small Tour competition at 2013’s Dressage at Devon.
Christopher Hickey (Colora, Md.) brings Cecelia Stewart’s rising star, Ronaldo, to Gladstone this week in hopes of earning the fourth National Title of his career.
Under 25 ‘Brentina Cup’ Championship
A small but mighty field of five lines up for USEF Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ Dressage National Championship. The future Grand Prix stars of American dressage earn the first half of their championship scores on Thursday as they perform the Young Adult “Brentina Cup” Test and earn the remaining 50% of their totals on Saturday in the Young Adult U-25 Grand Prix Test.
The Reserve Champions from 2013, Rachel Chowanec (Columbia, Conn.) and Lendon Gray’s Embrujado XI, will head down centerline looking to top the standings this week.
Young Rider Championship
In the Young Rider Championship, a talented field of 10 riders, all under the age of 21, have traveled to Gladstone to stake their claims on one of the most prestigious honors a young rider can garner. On Friday they begin performing the Young Rider Team Test and return the following day to ride the Young Rider Individual Test. Both tests will count for 50% of the championship average.
Anna Buffini has traveled to New Jersey from her home base in Escondido, Calif., with her own Sundayboy, who competed in Small Tour competition with Olympian Guenter Seidel, to showcase the talent that has seen them rise to the top of the 2014 Young Rider Dressage National Championship Ranking List.
Junior Dressage National Championship
Twelve of the top junior riders from across the United States will line up to earn bragging rights in the Junior Dressage National Championship by contesting the Junior Team Test for 50% of their score on Friday. Competition comes to a close on Saturday as they return to the arena to ride the Individual Test for the remaining half of their score.
The 2013 Champion Bebe Davis (Bedminster, N.J.) returns to the Festival of Champions with her partner at last year’s championship, Michael Davis’ Rotano, as well as a new mount this year, Michael Davis’ Feivel Mousekewitz, both of whom she has found great success with in the competition arena. Allison Cyprus (Magnolia, Texas) hopes to find success once more in Gladstone after winning the 2011 National Pony Rider Championship at the famous venue. In her first year competing at the Junior level, she and her mother Kristin Cyprus’ Madoc Gareth have found great success.
Pony Rider Championship
A field of 11 will compete in the Pony Rider Championship. On Friday the riders will perform the Pony Team Test for the first 50% of their overall championship score, while the remaining 50% from the Pony Individual Test will determine the winner.
Emma Patterson (Houston, Texas), winner of the 2012 13-and-Under USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final, will ride her own Wynshire’s Valiant and hope to find success in another USEF National Championship.
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Scores: 2013 U.S. Dressage Championships