Category Archives: USEF

St. Jacques and Swani Winners at USEF Jr. Hunter National Championship – East Coast

Taylor St. Jacques and Di Samorano (©ESI Photography)

Saugerties, N.Y. – The 2017 USEF Junior Hunter National Championship – East Coast came to a close on Tuesday, August 1, following two days of competition in Saugerties, N.Y. at HITS-on-the-Hudson. More than 178 of the country’s top juniors headed to the Championship to complete three phases in front of the judging panel made up of Ralph Caristo, Todd Karn, and Keri Kampsen over the Rian Beals-designed Classic Round course and Handy Hunter course, both of which counted for 40% of the overall score. The final 20% was earned in Tuesday’s Under Saddle phase, which was judged by Karen Healey, Jimmy Torano, and Andrea Wells. Taylor St. Jacques and Di Samorano posted the best overall score of the 3’6” competition to earn the 2017 Overall Grand Champion title. In the 3’3” Championship, Isha Swani and Park Place earned the Overall Grand Champion honors.

3’6” Championship

The 2017 3’6” Overall Grand Championship was a highly contested title, with just hundredths of a point separating the Champion and Reserve. St. Jacques, from Glen Allen, Virginia, rode her own beloved Di Samorano, a nine-year-old dark bay gelding, to earn the title with an overall score of 253.350. The pair won both the Classic Round, with scores of 85, 87, and 87, and the Handy Round, with scores of 85, 83, and 80. In the Under Saddle, scores of 84.5, 84, and 84.25 placed the pair in fourth. En route to claiming their overall National Title, St. Jacques and Di Samorano took home the USA National Junior Hunter Championship Perpetual Trophy donated by Christina Schlusemeyer for winning the 3’6” Large Junior Hunter 16-17 Championship.

“I think I was a little nervous going in, but once I got in the ring, I had a very, very strong first day. So after that I kind of just thought to myself, ‘Stay the same — it obviously is working,’” St. Jacques said.

The talented St. Jacques also earned the 3’6” Small Junior Hunter 16-17 Championship and USA National Junior Hunter Championship Perpetual Trophy, donated by Pam and Wayne Baker, aboard Diana Firestone’s Calou, who topped the Small division with an overall score of 249.400.

Alexandra Pielet and Emma Farber’s Giovanni earned the Reserve Overall Grand Champion Title with a score of 253.300: 86, 86, and 86 in the Classic Round; 83.5, 84, and 83 in the Handy Round; and 85, 80, and 84.5 in the Under Saddle. The pair was also Champion in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under section, winning the USA National Junior Hunter Championship Perpetual Trophy donated by Mr. and Mrs. Donald E. Stewart, Jr.  Pielet on Catrine Golia’s Royal Expectation also claimed the Championship for the Small Junior Hunter, 15 and Under, section, with their overall score of 245.200 and took home the USA National Junior Hunter Championship Perpetual Trophy, donated by Geri and Whitney Roper.

“Alex went first yesterday in the Classic. I thought she had amazing rounds in the smalls and the larges, and I thought, ‘Oh, I’ve got good competition now. I want to be Grand [Champion].’” St. Jacques said of competing alongside Pielet: “I did my small and I won that class, and then the large and I won that, as well. I thought it was great; she is one of my best friends. I thought it was a really proud moment for us to both win all of our classes yesterday. Today, the same sort of thing: we both did amazing and were champions of both of our sections. It was a really great feeling.”

Ramble On Farm’s Rockette, a stunning chestnut mare with a wide white blaze and shown by Kaitlyn Williams, was honored as the Best Overall Mare in the 3’6” sections. She received the War Dress Memorial Trophy, donated by Cleta S. Turbow and Pamela J. Rush, after receiving an overall score of 234.200.

3’3” Championship

Swani and Shadowfax Equestrian, LLC’s Park Place topped all three of the 3’3” Large Junior Hunter, 15-and-Under, classes on their way to Overall Grand Champion honors in the 3’3” section. The exceptionally graceful duo earned scores of 83.5, 83, and 84 in the Classic Round; 89, 87, and 87 in the Under Saddle; and 77, 76, and 77 in Handy Round to finish on an overall total of 244.800.

Hallie Grimes earned Reserve Overall Grand Champion in the 3’3” section with Can We Keep It, LLC’s Custom Made. The pair won all three sections of the 3’3” Small Junior Hunter, 15 and Under, with scores of 82, 81, and 83 in the Classic Round; 93, 86, 88 in the Under Saddle Round; and 78, 75, and 75 in the Handy Round to finish with an overall total of 243.000.

Taking home the 3’3” Large 16-17 title was Daybreak, owned and ridden by Leah Swope, with a score of 235.800. The Small 16-17 champion was Nino Nacho, owned by Redfield Farm and ridden by Abigail Russo, with a score of 238.900.

Visit usefnetwork.com for videos from the 2017 USEF Junior Hunter National Championship – East Coast.

From HITS Horse Shows/US Equestrian

Perry-Glass, Lyle, and Blythe Win Big at US Dressage Festival of Champions

Kasey-Perry Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet. (SusanJStickle.com)

Gladstone, N.J. – The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions came to its conclusion on Sunday with three national champions being crowned. All competitors in the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship, USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship, and USEF Young Adult “Brentina Cup” Dressage National Championship presented by Dressage Today performed their freestyle tests in order to earn the remainder of their overall championship score. Kasey Perry-Glass, Adrienne Lyle, and Kaitlin Blythe were crowned national champions.

Quality work was displayed by the combinations throughout The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions. “It was fun because it was up and down a little bit from one class to the next so I really didn’t know who was in the lead coming into today. I think clearly everybody made their best effort today,” commented Gary Rockwell, President of the Ground Jury. “We had some really good rides today. We need depth in this country. We can see some good young horses and young riders coming up, so that is our future; we need to support and encourage them and give them a chance.”

USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship

A talented field of seven combinations competed for top honors in the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship with 45%, 40%, and 15% of their overall championship score coming from the Thursday’s FEI Grand Prix Test, Friday’s FEI Grand Prix Special, and Sunday’s FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, respectively.

Perry-Glass (Orangevale, Calif.) and Goerklintgaards Dublet added a USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship title to their resume by winning with an overall score of 71.575%. They put in a lovely test to win the FEI Grand Prix Test with a score of 73.700%, and had a few bobbles in the trot work of the FEI Grand Prix Special to finish fifth with a score of 68.529%. The duo did not have a completely clean performance in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle but high degree of difficulty movements and a great artistic flow allowed them to finish second in the class with a score of 73.325%.

Watch Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet’s freestyle

“The whole entire show was really not our best show, but you kind of need those, especially since it is our second year at Grand Prix; our first year was kind of a whirlwind. We have been picking on the small stuff and sometimes it all gets little bit dysfunctional when you are picking on the small stuff,” Perry-Glass explained. “I am proud of us for fighting through it and keeping our heads up and going. Having the support of [Adrienne Lyle and Olivia LaGoy-Weltz] and my other teammates has been great, and it is fun to compete here. I feel pretty lucky.”

Adrienne Lyle (Ketchum, Idaho) and Salvino received the Reserve Champion title after finishing on an overall score of 71.344%. They had a flowing performance in the FEI Grand Prix Test to finish second with a score of 70.600%, and were second again in the FEI Grand Prix Special, despite bobbles in the first piaffe and the one tempi changes, with a score of 70.314%. Lyle and the Salvino Partners, LLC’s 2007 Hanoverian stallion finished the championship on a high note by winning the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle with a score of 76.325%. Lyle used the music from her freestyle with Wizard, her longtime partner and 2012 Olympic Games mount, and changed the timing to match Salvino’s movement.

“I had a blast in my test today. We have never done the freestyle, so we pulled it together quickly. It was Wizard’s freestyle and we edited it time-wise to match his big stride. Terry Gallo did a great job with me calling last minute,” Lyle said. “I was thrilled with how Salvino handled it. I wasn’t sure what he was going to be like with the music and the crowd, there was a lot of stuff happening. I couldn’t be happier with what he gave me.”

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (Haymarket, Va.) and Lonoir finished third in the championship with an overall score of 70.927%. They performed a smooth test to finish third in the FEI Grand Prix Test with a score of 70.400% and won the FEI Grand Prix Special with a score of 70.686%. LaGoy-Weltz and her own 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding gave another solid effort in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, highlighted by passage half-passes and quarter turns in the piaffe, to finish third with a score of 73.150%.

USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship

Sixteen combinations rode for the title in the USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship with 40%, 45%, and 15% of their overall championship score coming from the Thursday’s FEI Prix St. Georges Test, Saturday’s FEI Intermediate I Test, and Sunday’s FEI Intermediate I Freestyle, respectively.

Lyle and Horizon performed well and showed much promise for the future on their way to winning the USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship with a score of 70.967%. They had an unfortunate bobble in their changes in the FEI Prix St. Georges Test but recovered well to finish in fifth place with a score of 69.763%. The duo had a fantastic performance in the FEI Intermediate I Test to win with a score of 70.526%. Lyle rode Betsy Juliano’s 2007 Oldenburg mare to flashy music, including “It’s Raining Men.” They wowed the judges with difficult movements, such as canter pirouettes into tempi changes, to win the FEI Intermediate I Freestyle with a score of 75.500%.

Watch Lyle and Horizon’s freestyle

“That mare is so fun in the ring. She loves to get out there and perform. When she is on, you just have to sit there and pilot her through it,” Lyle said. “I borrowed that music from Katherine Bateson-Chandler, so thank you to everyone who helped me get to the championships.”

Jane Cleveland (Wellington, Fla.) and Monique earned the Reserve Champion title with a score of 70.768%. They painted a lovely picture, aside from one bobble in the change after the medium canter, to win the FEI Prix St. Georges Test with a score of 70.789%, then had a solid test to finish fourth in the FEI Intermediate I Test with a score of 69.947%. Cleveland and her own 2009 Danish Warmblood mare had an impressive freestyle performance with upbeat music coming from Cleveland’s barre class, finishing second in the FEI Intermediate I Freestyle with a score of 73.175%.

“[My ride] was so much fun. We did better today than before. She was better today than she has been all week,” Cleveland said. Elaborating on what it is like to ride at the USET Foundation headquarters, Cleveland said, “It is special for a few reasons. The barns are exquisite and they have so much history. There is a plaque of famous horses on each stall…I had the opportunity to ride here five years ago, and I learned that if you get the opportunity to ride here, you get here.”

Lyle also finished third in the championship with Harmony’s Duval on a score of 70.466%. She finished second with Harmony’s Duval in the FEI Prix St. Georges Test with a score of 70.605% and finished in third in the FEI Intermediate I Test with a score of 70.132%. Lyle and Duval Partners LLC’s 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding performed their freestyle to dramatic music that complemented the gelding’s movement to place fourth with a score of 71.100%.

USEF Young Adult “Brentina Cup” Dressage National Championship presented by Dressage Today

A field comprised of seven rising stars competed for the title in the USEF Young Adult “Brentina Cup” Dressage National Championship presented by Dressage Today with 40%, 45%, and 15% of their overall championship score coming from the Thursday’s FEI Intermediate II Test, Friday’s FEI Grand Prix 16-25 Test, and Sunday’s FEI Grand Prix 16-25 Freestyle, respectively.

Kaitlin Blythe (Rougemont, N.C.) and Don Principe won the USEF Young Adult “Brentina Cup” Dressage National Championship presented by Dressage Today with an overall score of 66.769%. They performed a fluid test, aside from an error of course, to finish second in the FEI Intermediate II Test with a score of 66.684%. Blythe and Maryanna Haymon’s 1999 Hanoverian stallion displayed quality movements in the FEI Grand Prix 16-25 Test to finish second with a score of 66.000%. The duo had great canter work in the FEI Grand Prix 16-25 Freestyle to win with a score of 69.300%.

Watch Blythe and Don Principe’s freestyle

“I’m thrilled with my horse. He loves the freestyle. It is his favorite thing; he just lights up in the arena. I cannot believe this is real life, actually; it is so surreal. I’m so thankful for everyone who helped me get here,” Blythe said.

Natalie Pai (Wellington, Fla.) and Unlimited were the Reserve Champions, ending on an overall score of 66.444%. They had a few moments of tension in the FEI Intermediate Test to finish third with a score of 66.447% but an improved performance in the FEI Grand Prix 16-25 Test to win the class with a score of 66.605%. Pai and Peacock Ridge, LLC’s 2001 KWPN gelding showcased clean changes and half turns in the piaffe in the FEI Grand Prix 16-25 Freestyle to place third with a score of 65.950%.

“He was awesome today. He really likes the freestyle; he gets way more active and energetic. I was really happy with a completely clean test,” Pai explained. “This whole weekend I can’t believe I was able to really step it up and make every single set of changes clean. He was so good this weekend and today really tried his best.”

Molly Paris (Charlotte, N.C.) and Countess finished third in the championship with an overall score of 65.992%. They had a great performance to win the FEI Intermediate II Test with a score of 67.079% and put forth a solid effort in the FEI Grand Prix 16-25 Test to place third with a score of 64.698%. Paris and her own 2002 Danish Warmblood mare performed their FEI Grand Prix 16-25 Freestyle with a high degree of difficulty which included passage half-passes and extended canter to canter pirouettes. However, they had some miscommunications, but finished second with a score of 66.975%.

By Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian Communications Department

Morgan, Whaley, Wilson, and Weber Claim USEF Combined Driving National Championship Titles

Tracey Morgan and Fuego 88 (Picsofyou.com)

Ocala, Fla. – Four USEF Combined Driving National Championships came to a close at Live Oak International on Sunday with the cones phase determining the national titles. Tracey Morgan, Katie Whaley, Steve Wilson, and Chester Weber, the leaders following Saturday’s marathon phase, held on to their leads to claim top honors in respective divisions.

USEF Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Morgan (Beallsville, Md.) and Fuego 88 won all three phases to win the USEF Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship. The duo had an excellent dressage test with great one-handed movements and quality canter work to win the dressage phase with a score of 48.54. Morgan and her own 2011 German Riding Pony gelding blazed around the marathon course, collecting 89.59 penalties and having the fastest times at obstacles two and five for the division. They had a winning cones performance, adding only a 0.43 time penalty to their overall score of 138.56.

“The course was very smooth; it had some interesting turns to it but it had flow to it. You could carry your speed but you had to be very careful in your angles and know where you wanted to go because it was hidden behind some very large jumps,” Morgan said of the ring which also contained show jumping fences for the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Qualifier presented by Golden Ocala Golf Equestrian Club happening later in the day. “I thought it was a really enjoyable cones course.”

Rebecca Gutierrez (Windsor, S.C.) and Naria BW6 had a solid dressage test to score 57.39 to sit in third place after the first day of competition. They followed that up with an equally good marathon performance to finish second in the phase, tallying 90.50 penalties and having the fastest time at obstacle six. Gutierrez and Richard Olson’s 2003 Haflinger mare had one ball down in the cones phase at cone seven for three course penalties and a 0.10 time penalty to finish third in the phase and clinch the Reserve Champion title with an overall score of 150.99.

Barbara Chapman (Metamora, Mich.) and Darlene Daly’s Maduro performed an obedient dressage test with good diagonal yields and deviations to score 56.54 to put them in second place on Thursday. They were third in the marathon phase with 95.36 penalties and had the fastest time at obstacle three. Chapman and the 2008 North American Sportpony gelding had a solid cones round with an unlucky ball down at cone 20 and 2.79 time penalties. They held on to finish in third place with an overall score of 157.69.

USEF Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Defending-champion Whaley (Paris, Ky.) led from start to finish to claim her second consecutive USEF Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship title. She had a great dressage test with her own and Barbara Sims’ Welsh geldings, highlighted by wonderful extended trot work, to win the phase with a score of 49.79. Whaley and her ponies had a winning marathon performance, collecting 91.04 penalties and having the fastest times in six of the seven obstacles. She had a fast, double-clear round to win the cones phase to clinch top honors with an overall score of 140.83.

“I loved the cones course. I thought it asked some pretty good questions,” Whaley said. “You had to get some speed, then you had to bring them back and turn well. You had to absolutely know where you were; [cone] 13 for a second vanished, but I really enjoyed it I thought [course designer Gabor Finta] did an excellent job.”

Jennifer Matheson (Aiken, S.C.) and Katrina Becker and Carina Crawford’s mixed pair had a respectable dressage test to finish third in the phase with a score of 63.06. They had some bobbles in the marathon phase, garnering 180.93 penalties, but had the fastest time at obstacle six. Matheson and her ponies finished strong, going double-clear in the cones phase to finish second in the phase and earn the Reserve Champion title with an overall score of 166.49.

Mary Phelps (Columbia, Ky.) had a smooth dressage test with her own American Shetland Pony pair to finish second in the phase with a score of 62.65. They were bold out on the marathon course, finishing second in the phase with 96.36 penalties. Phelps had four balls down with her ponies in the cones phase for 12 course penalties, finishing third in both the cones phase and the overall standings with a score of 171.01.

USEF Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Defending-champion Wilson (Louisville, Ky.) and his own mixed KWPN and Lipizzaner pair had a smooth dressage test to finish second in the phase with a score of 55.04. They had a stellar marathon performance to win the phase, tallying 103.62 penalties and having the fastest times in six of the seven obstacles. Wilson and his pair finished second in the cones phase with six course penalties for two balls down and 2.79 time penalties, allowing them to earn their third consecutive USEF Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship with an overall score of 167.33.

“Number 10 came up faster than I was planning, and I had to take a little bit of a wider turn than I wanted to, so I lost some time there,” Wilson said. “[The course] was well-designed and well-measured, and my horses had a nice stride so I did not have to worry about making up time; they were just comfortable on course, and I enjoyed it very much.”

Josh Rector (Dyke, Va.) and his, Jessica Buchanan, and Rainier Tanglao’s mixed pair had a workmanlike dressage test to score 70.26, finishing third in the phase. They finished second in the marathon with 106.00 and had the fastest time in obstacle three. Rector and his pair went double-clear in the cones phase to win the phase and earn Reserve Champion honors with an overall score of 176.26.

James Miller (Paris, Ky.) and wife Misdee Wrigley Miller’s Dutch Warmblood geldings had a lovely dressage test in his national championship debut, earning a score of 48.90 to win the phase. They had a respectable marathon performance, finishing third in the phase with 120.52 penalties. Miller and his pair had three balls down and 1.34 time penalties to finish third in the cones phase and third in the overall standings with a score of 182.76.

USEF Four-in-Hand Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Defending-champion Weber (Ocala, Fla.) demonstrated great style with his team, which contained new horses, to claim his 14th USEF Four-in-Hand Horse Combined Driving National Championship. He had an excellent dressage test with his, Jane Clark, and Fritz Grupe’s Dutch Warmblood geldings. They showed great harmony and performed lovely movements to score 36.51 to win the phase. They won the marathon phase with 112.96 penalties and had the fastest times in all of the obstacles. Weber and his team had one ball down at cone 18 and 2.23 time penalties to finish second in the cones phase with an overall score of 154.70.

Chester Weber (Picsofyou.com)

“Today wasn’t my best day in the cones, but I was really pleased with the horses. This is the first time we have had this group together out [in competition]. There were jumps in the ring and a lot of spooky stuff that is sometimes tough with lead horses, but we learned some stuff and some questions were asked,” Weber said. “In general, I am really pleased. Our goal is Tryon [for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games] and I think we are on pace for having a successful go there.”

Misdee Wrigley Miller (Paris, Ky.) had strong performances throughout the competition on her way to earning the Reserve Champion title. She had a beautiful dressage test with her own Dutch Warmblood geldings to finish second in the phase with a score of 41.47. On marathon day, Wrigley Miller had a bobble at obstacle six, but finished strongly with 134.88 penalties to finish second once again. She and her team had two balls down at the B and D elements of cone six and 5.24 time penalties to finish third in the phase. They held on to earn the Reserve Champion title with an overall score of 187.59.

Allison Stroud (West Grove, Pa.) and Willow Star LLC’s Dutch Warmblood geldings had a great dressage test to score 51.79. They had some trouble in obstacle six and totaled 146.04 penalties in the marathon phase. Stroud and her team ended the competition on a high note by winning the cones phase with only 3.81 time penalties and finishing with an overall score of 201.64.

By Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian Communications Department

USEF Announces Dates for 2017 Hunter National Championships and Hunter Seat Equitation Finals

Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce the following dates and locations of the 2017 Hunter National Championships and Hunter Seat Equitation Finals:

US Junior Hunter Championship – West Coast: July 24-25, 2017; Showpark of San Diego, Del Mar, Calif.

US Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast: July 31-August 1, 2017; HITS-on-the-Hudson, Saugerties, N.Y.

US Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm: August 8-13, 2017; Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, Ky., including the Marshall & Sterling/US Pony Medal Finals on August 13, 2017

Sallie B. Wheeler/US Hunter Breeding National Championship – East Coast: August 26, 2017; Virginia Young Horse Festival, Lexington, Va.

Sallie B. Wheeler/US Hunter Breeding National Championship – West Coast: August 30, 2017; Showpark All Seasons Summer Tournament, Del Mar, Calif.

Pessoa/US Hunter Seat Medal Final presented by Randolph College: October 15, 2017; Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Harrisburg, Pa.

For additional information about the US Junior Hunter Championships or Pessoa/US Hunter Seat Medal Final presented by Randolph College, please contact Kelsey Shanley at kshanley@usef.org or 859-225-6960.

For additional information about the US Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm or Sallie B. Wheeler/US Hunter Breeding National Championships, please contact Natalie Norwood at nnorwood@usef.org or 859-225-6951.

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Lauren Carlisle at lcarlisle@usef.org or 859-225-6942.

From the USEF Communications Department

USEF Announces Dates and Locations for 2017 USEF Dressage National Championships

Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce the dates and locations for the 2017 USEF Dressage National Championships. The U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions will be divided between two competitions. The Grand Prix, Intermediaire I, and Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ National Championships will be held at the USET Foundation headquarters in Gladstone, N.J., May 18-21. The Children, Pony Rider, Junior, and Young Rider National Championships will coincide with the Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage National Championships and USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals taking place at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Ill., August 24-27.

The following championships will be held at the USET Foundation:

USEF Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ Dressage National Championship presented by Dressage Today
USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship
USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship

Qualifying for these championships will close on May 1, 2017.

The following championships and divisions will be held at the Lamplight Equestrian Center:

USEF Children Dressage National Championship
USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship
AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship
AGCO/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship
Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage National Championships (Four-, Five-, and Six-Year-Old divisions)
Markel/USEF Developing Horse Dressage National Championships (Prix St. Georges and Grand Prix divisions)
USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals (13 & Under and 14-18 divisions)

Qualifying for these championships will close on July 31, 2017.

For further qualifying information and selection procedures, visit usef.org.

From the USEF Communications Department

Macey Miles and Harlem’s Wild and Wonderful Earn Triple Crown of Saddle Seat Equitation

Macey Miles and Harlem’s Wild and Wonderful (Howard Schatzberg Photography)

Kansas City, Mo. – Few have won the Triple Crown of Saddle Seat Equitation. Now, Macey Miles and Harlem’s Wild and Wonderful join the coveted list of Triple Crown winners. They earned this feat after taking the 2016 USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final presented by Elisabeth M. Goth at the United Professional Horsemen’s Association (UPHA) American Royal National Championship Horse Show on Saturday. The Triple Crown of Saddle Seat Equitation includes winning the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup, the Good Hands National Championship, and the USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final. As the winner of USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final, Miles will have her name engraved on the Adrian Van Sinderen Trophy, alongside a prestigious list of prior winners dating back to 1937. She also earned the Helen K. Crabtree Perpetual Bronze.

“I had to work really hard; you only get one shot at the Triple Crown. This has been something I wanted since I was five years old and knew what equitation was about,” said Miles after winning the last leg of the Triple Crown. “I looked up to so many riders above me, including those who won it before me. I worked as hard as I could, and Sarah Barclay, my riding instructor, helped me get through it all.”

Coming into the USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final was not easy for Miles (Rockport, Ind.). She faced immense pressure and stiff competition, joining young women who have been a part of Gold medal-winning Saddle Seat World Cup and Young Rider Teams. She also brought an inexperienced horse, her own six-year-old American Saddlebred, Harlem’s Wild and Wonderful. For this being the gelding’s first year in equitation competition, he fooled a lot of people.

“I don’t think it would have been earthly possible for this horse to come this far in such a short time. My dad has worked night and day with this horse and has brought him to his full potential,” said Miles.

A group of 23 combinations began the USEF Saddle Seat Final with preliminary ride-offs on Saturday morning. Miles and Harlem’s Wild and Wonderful stood out to the judges of Michael Craighead (Fresno, Calif.), Gary Garone (Richmond, N.H.), and Cindy Mugnier (Belchertown, Mass.) early.

“I thought it was a really great [preliminary] pattern, and it was one everybody could do. There was a lot of transitioning, and I thought riding without stirrups would set me apart from everyone else. I was praying we would get through it, and we did; he did absolutely awesome,” said an excited Miles.

The combination advanced to the afternoon session for additional rail and pattern work, along with 11 other combinations. As the nerves crept up on Miles, she settled down after the first cantering figure eight and trusted her partner to get them through.

“I have been practicing these movements ever since I can remember, and I liked all the elements. He was absolutely great, and he did not let me down,” said Miles.

Molly Codeanne (Wethersfield, Conn.) claimed back-to-back Reserve Champion honors with Cedarledge Farm’s CH EG Chanti’s Prayer. With solid performances in front of the judges, Codeanne was awarded the USEF Silver medal. The Bronze medal was awarded to Victoria Walz (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) riding her own CH Meritage Signed Sealed Delivered.

Full class results:

Champion: Macey Miles (Rockport, Ind.) with Harlem’s Wild and Wonderful
Reserve Champion: Molly Codeanne (Wethersfield, Conn.) with CH EQ Chanti’s Prayer
3. Victoria Walz (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) with CH Meritage Signed Sealed Delivered
4. Faith Robbins (Carmel, Ind.) with Heir’s Encore
5. Madison Stringer (Scottsdale, Ariz.) with My Kind of Lover
6. Hallie Ricci (Allentown, N.J.) with CH EQ Madeira’s Fame
7. Lora Becker (Sioux City, Iowa) with Royal Tryst
8. Ellie Grosspietsch (Cross Plains, Wis.) with CH EQ Final Act
9. Kaeley Arterburn (Carlsbad, Calif.) with CH EQ La Zingara
10. Gabriella Snyder (St. Louis, Mo.) with Nuttin’ Doing

The USEF is appreciative of its class donors for helping make the 2016 USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final possible: Elisabeth M. Goth (Lexington, Ky.), Mary Anne Cronan (Louisville, Ky.) Cynthia Knight (New Orleans, La.), Dr. Catherine McNeese (Austin, Texas), and Carol Reams (Frankfort, Ky.).

From the USEF Communications Department

Wilson Scores Back-to-Back USEF Pair Horse Driving National Championship Titles at Hermitage Classic CDE

Steve Wilson takes his lap of honor (Picsofyou.com)

Goshen, Ky. – The Hermitage Classic CDE played host to the 2016 USEF Pair Horse Driving National Championship on October 21-23. The picturesque Hermitage Farm provided the backdrop for Steve Wilson to claim his second consecutive championship title.

Wilson (Louisville, Ky.) began the competition with a great dressage test, earning a score of 49.79 from the Ground Jury of Martha Hanks-Nicoll (USA), Danute Bright (USA), Barry Capstick (IRE), Joaquin Medina (SPA), and Jiri Kunat (CZE) to take the early lead.

“I’ve got a new young pair of Dutch Warmbloods that I found in Hungary. One of them is hotter than the other. I really had one of the best dressage tests I’ve ever had, regardless of the score; I felt really good about it,” Wilson explained. “I was able to keep the impulsion up and they have got beautiful extension. I pushed them a little too far and we broke to a canter in the last [extended trot movement], but that was my fault.”

He and his own mixed KWPN and Lippizanner pair put forth a determined effort over the tough marathon course designed by Barry Hunter (GBR), winning the phase with a total of 95.67 penalties and having the fastest times in four of the seven obstacles.

“In the marathon, I put in a different horse, a Lippizzaner I have had for quite some time and a real powerhouse, taking the youngest and most sensitive horse out. I had a really good marathon; I had one bobble in obstacle six, but I felt really good about my time and how well they responded.”

Wilson clinched the 2016 title following Sunday’s cones phase. His lead going into the final phase came in handy as he had three balls down for nine penalties and 6.13 time penalties over the challenging track. Wilson won back-to-back titles with a final score of 160.59.

“Today in cones, I put the two Dutch Warmbloods back together, and Dario was really hot and really wanted to go. If I could’ve had just a bit more control I think I could have kept from hitting a couple balls. I had a nice lead and I knew I could afford three [balls].”

U.S. Driving Coach Thorsten Zarembowicz pointed out that Wilson had three different horses from the last time he won the national title, making Wilson’s win quite impressive. “In one year he achieved the same goal with three different horses, which in my mind, is the toughest part to work out. Normally you change one horse out, get another one in, but Steve has come so far that he can drive a different pair just as well.”

As co-owner of Hermitage Farm with his wife Laura Lee Brown, Wilson felt the stress competing for the championship title on his home turf. “For me, the idea of losing the second time around here at home in front of my friends made me more intense on myself and feel the pressure. Being the host of an event and competing is really difficult, but my wife and I love hosting and it is getting better every year.”

Chet Halka (Millstone, N.J.) started off the weekend with a solid dressage test that received a score of 54.51. He and his own KWPN and Oldenburg pair had a strong marathon performance, collecting 101.66 penalties and having the fastest times in three obstacles. In the cones phase, Halka left all the balls up, but had 7.59 time penalties. His performance was good enough to win the cones phase and earn the Reserve Champion title with a final score of 163.76.

Joan Fernandez (Murrieta, Calif.) and her own Friesian pair had a respectable dressage test to receive a score of 67.55. They had a steady marathon round to tally 174.82 penalties. Fernandez and her pair finished out the competition with four balls down for 12 penalties and 20.8 time penalties in the cones phase, finishing third with a score of 275.15.

Find out more about the Hermitage Classic CDE and view complete results.

By Kathleen Landwehr

O’Donoghue and Lowe Earn USEF One-Star Eventing National Championship Titles

Meghan O’Donoghue and Rehy USA (Xpress Photo)

Lexington, Ky. – This weekend the hallowed grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park played host to the USEF One-Star Eventing National Championships as part of the Hagyard Midsouth Three-Day Event & Team Challenge. In a very competitive field of 50 in the CCI1*, Meghan O’Donoghue and Rehy USA claimed the Richard Collins Trophy for the win. Sharlee Lowe and Jjamaica topped the field of 20 in the Junior and Young Rider division to clinch the Harry T. Peters Trophy.

The CCI1* began under cold and rainy skies on Thursday, but the weather did not seem to affect O’Donoghue (Carbondale, Ill.) and Ronald Shipka Irrevocable Trust’s Rehy USA, as they went into the lead easily on a score of 39.80.

“I was really happy with him,” said O’Donoghue of Rehy USA’s dressage performance. “He is a really lovely horse on the flat and has been really competitive this year. I thought he put in a really professional test. It’s fun to go in there and show off a little on him.”

The 2005 Irish Sport Horse gelding dominated the Derek Di Grazia-designed cross-country course, turning in a clear round in one of the fastest times of the day and maintaining the pair’s lead going into Saturday’s show jumping phase.

“The horse has been a pretty good cross-country horse and I was able to watch a little bit before our ride,” said O’Donoghue. “The course rode pretty much to plan. He went around easy and inside the time so I was thrilled with him.”

With a rail in hand heading into the show jumping arena, O’Donoghue had a slim amount of breathing room, but didn’t need it as she and the gelding put in another superb clear effort to secure the National Championship title.

“The horse had jumped really well in the warm-up and didn’t feel fatigued at all so that gave me a lot of confidence. Richard Picken has been helping me with show jumping this year and I think we had a good plan – all of that factors into how it plays out in the ring and everything was going well. It’s nice to be in this place. I’ve done a lot of FEI competitions and to take home a win is great, especially for the family [the Shipkas] who has supported me a lot over the last couple years.”

Staying hot on the winning pair’s heels all weekend was Phillip Dutton (West Grove Pa.) and The Manager, a 2010 Thoroughbred gelding owned by Ann Jones. In the gelding’s first event at the FEI level, he turned in a solid dressage test to score a 44.00. With double-clear efforts in both cross-country and show jumping, the pair clinched the Reserve National Champion title on their dressage score.

Sydney Conley Elliott (Benton, La.)and Carol Stephen’s QC Diamantaire rounded out the top three, also finishing on their dressage score of 44.80.

Sharlee Lowe and Jjamaica (Xpress Photo)
Sharlee Lowe and Jjamaica (Xpress Photo)

Earning her first CCI1* win and Nation Champion title, Lowe (Metamora, Mich.) remained poised all weekend with her own Jjamaica, a 2008 Hanoverian gelding. They sat in second after dressage on a score of 50.20, but propelled themselves to the top of the leaderboard after a solid double-clear cross-country effort.

Lowe was pleased with her horse’s efforts in the first two phases, saying, “I was a little worried [on the first day] since I have never ridden him in the rain during dressage, but he is from England so I had a little faith that he had dealt with rain before. Overall, he tried his heart out. Going into cross-country, I knew it was a big course with a lot of great brush questions so I knew I had to go out there and be aggressive and make some bold choices. Luckily he was with me every step of the way. There were some moments when he could have backed down, but he fought his way over every fence and I was really happy.”

With multiple top combinations finding trouble in the show jumping phase, Lowe was able to enter the arena as last to go with a rail in hand. The pair did tip one rail out of the cups, but secured the win on a final score of 54.20.

“There is always some pressure when you’re going last,” said Lowe. “Show jumping is one of the phases we have been working on a lot at home and the rail he had I thought was a bit of a fluke. I don’t have any words to describe how happy I am with this win. I am so grateful. A year ago I didn’t have this horse and there were a lot of people along the way that helped me find him and then once I had him, to get us to this point. We started out the year going training [level] so we have come a long way.”

Moving steadily up the leaderboard all weekend were Olivia Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) and Amy Ruth Borun’s Santa’s Playboy, a 1998 Thoroughbred gelding. The pair was sixth after dressage on 54.50 and fifth after cross-country where it incurred 2.40 time penalties. With a beautiful faultless show jumping round, Dutton finished on a score of 56.90 and secured the second Reserve National Champion title for the Dutton family, matching her father Phillip in the USEF One-Star Eventing National Championships.

Cassandra Wallskog (Mequon, Wis.) and her own and Megan and Joel Wallskog’s Quainton Cassanova also cruised up the leaderboard on the final day. Sitting in ninth after dressage, the pair placed third overall thanks to a double-clear show jumping effort to end on 59.50.

Complete Hagyard Midsouth Three-Day Event & Team Challenge Results

From the USEF Communications Department

Zone 2 Defends Title to Take Team Gold in USEF National Junior Jumper Championships

Katherine Strauss and All In (©Al Cook – alcookphoto.com)

Harrisburg, Pa. – The team from Zone 2 took home the Team Gold for the second consecutive year with the best possible score to win the Prix des States Team Championship of the Neue Schule/USEF National Junior Jumper Championships at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, presented by The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund. Zone 4 won the Silver and the Bronze went to Zone 5.

The Zone 2 team consisted of Madison Goetzmann (Skaneateles, N.Y.) riding Wrigley, Katherine Strauss (Southampton, N.Y.) aboard All In, Lauren Fischer (Bedford Hills, N.Y.) on Tosca du Feugre, and Eliza Month (Scarsdale, N.Y.) with Calumpi. The formidable foursome captured the title with three out of the four going double-clear over the Steve Stephens-designed course to finish with a zero fault score.

Ralph Caristo served as the Zone 2 Chef d’Equipe and was especially pleased with the victory. Caristo has held the position for many years, but he was unable to make the trip in 2015.

“I had to judge last year so Krista Freundlich substituted for me and she did a fantastic job,” said Caristo. “This is what we strive for. The girls really rose to the occasion. I told them to just go in there and have fun. They had enough experience so they knew what to do, and they did it.”

In a modified Nations Cup format, the seven teams and individual riders jumped the same course twice with one drop score permitted from each round. Although the top six teams moved on to the second round, the battle for Gold was really between Zone 2 and Zone 4. At the conclusion of the first round, Zone 2 held a slight lead with a zero score and Zone 4 was second with four faults.

Brett Burlington (Coral Gables, Fla.) led the way for Zone 4 going double-clear on Bluf. Cooper Dean (Fayette, Ala.) on WEC Quidam-Quidam had a total score of four faults, Sophie Simpson (Jupiter, Fla.) ended up with a total score of 12 faults on Why Not, and Helen Graves (Franklin, Tenn.) was the drop score on Armani to give the team a final score of 16 faults.

Strauss and Fischer had already piloted double-clear rounds for Zone 2, but Month was eliminated in round two, so the team needed anchor rider Goetzmann to do well in order to use Month as the drop score. Goetzmann also rode to a double-clear, clinching the Gold for the team.

“I had so much confidence in my horse and Ralph Caristo gives all of us so much confidence, so I didn’t feel too much pressure,” said Goetzmann on riding last. “I felt like I had a great team behind me and my horse was absolutely amazing. I thought it was an excellent course. There was a tight time allowed and a few wide oxers coming out of short turns. You really had to understand how to ride the track and be able to ride efficiently and smooth in the indoor ring because we are used to riding in a big outdoor ring throughout the season.”

Goetzmann and Strauss were also members of the 2015 Gold-medal winning team, which Strauss believes may have helped them win the title.

“It’s a huge adjustment riding indoors,” said Strauss. “Things come up quicker; you have to adjust to the way the lines ride. Maddie and I have been in this class many times before on the same horses so we were expecting those turns and the way this ring rides. It felt great coming here with such a great team.”

It was the first time Fischer and her mare had competed in the Championship and she was thrilled with their inaugural run. “I am really proud of my mare. It was her first time doing anything like this. She really came out on top and gave me two nice clear rounds. I thought the course was challenging, the time allowed was definitely a factor. You really had to know your horse for this course.”

Month, who had a less successful night than her teammates, also thought the course was challenging. “The oxers were pretty wide,” said Month. “It was crucial for you to keep pace but keep a connection to your horse. I think it tested a lot of us. I feel so lucky to be part of such an awesome team.”

The team of Zone 5, with Caelinn Leahy (Maple Park, Ill.), Alexandra Pielet (Highland Park, Ill.), Giavanna Rinaldi (Wayne, Ill.), and Dana Wille (Dexter, Mich.), snagged the Bronze with a score of 37 faults.

The Championship culminated on Saturday with the top 60% from Phases I and II for the Neue Schule/USEF National Junior Jumper Individual Championship. In a nail biting fight to the finish, Strauss took top honors riding All In, owned by Katherine Strauss, LLC. The win was all the more special as she was competing in her final year as a junior rider.

“I couldn’t have been happier with the way my horse jumped this week, I am so proud of him. This is my third year competing with him here and it feels great to finally come back and have this finish,” said Strauss. “This has been a class that I have watched for many years and to represent Zone 2 and compete with riders that have worked so hard to get here all year is so special. I’m even more thrilled to have this win with my teammates and my barn mate. It’s a true testament to how strong the Zone 2 riders are.”

In the final phase of the Championship, scores are carried over from the previous two phases. The top three, Strauss, Goetzmann and Fischer, all entered the final phase of the competition without having knocked down a single rail. The margin between them was one and one half faults, meaning there was no room for error in order to capture Gold.

Riding in reverse order of merit, Fischer was the first of the three to ride. Fischer and her mare, Tosca du Feugre, were easily negotiating the Steve Stephens-designed course until the final fence, where they came in at an awkward distance and the mare made a herculean effort to leave the rails intact.

“I didn’t see anything,” said Fischer about the distance at the final fence. “I was like, it’s the last jump, I can’t have it down and I panicked, but I knew she had my back. I said, ‘Come on Tessa!’ And she cleared it. She’s a good girl. She had my back. In the beginning she really didn’t like me very much. It took me actually 12 months to figure out how to ride her so it makes this moment more special.”

Goetzmann followed Fischer riding on Wrigley. Fischer had already gone clear and Strauss was waiting in the wings, so the pressure was on. The young rider had no problem going clear and clinched silver.

“It’s such an amazing accomplishment,” said Goetzmann. “My horse, Wrigley and I continue to grow and grow. I’ve had her for about two years now and each show our partnership gets better and better. It’s an amazing feeling having both of my teammates finish well. No matter what the end result was, I was going to be happy.”

As the final rider of the 18 who competed in the final phase, Strauss had a long wait before entering the arena. Her teammates had already gone clear, so she and All In needed to be flawless to win gold.

“These two definitely put the pressure on, they are so hardworking, so talented and so accomplished,” said Strauss. “I was definitely nervous, but I had total confidence in my horse. He’s such a special horse.”

Strauss also won the William C. Steinkraus Style of Riding Award, sponsored by Karen Healey Stables. The award is presented to the Prix des States Junior Jumper Rider who best exemplifies the American style of equitation and the respectful, dignified, courteous and workmanlike manner of a true sportsman.

Classic Communications for the USEF

T. J. O’Mara Wins Pessoa/US Hunter Seat Medal Final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show

T. J. O’Mara riding Kaskade (©Al Cook – alcookphoto.com)

Harrisburg, Pa. – T. J. O’Mara was in disbelief after taking top honors in the Pessoa/US Hunter Seat Medal Final presented by Randolph College, at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, presented by The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund. Just one week earlier, the 17-year-old Rumson, N.J. resident won the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East.

“It is a little unbelievable; last weekend really hasn’t sunk in and the fact that it happened again today is unbelievable,” said O’Mara. “I am in shock right now. I never expected this to happen. My goal was just to be in the test. I would have been happy with a top four ribbon and I just can’t believe it right now.”

Annabel Revers of Weston, Mass. jumped from 13th place after the first round to the runner-up spot and McKayla Langmeier, East Granby, Conn., was third.

Following a preliminary round of 276 riders, the top 25 were called back for the second round, which was whittled down to an additional test for the top four. Revers placed fourth, Taylor St. Jacques was called back third, O’Mara was second, and McKayla Langmeier was the rider to beat.

The final test required riders to complete a course of six jumps including a roll back from the second fence, counter canters at the third and fourth fences and a hand gallop to the final fence. The counter canters proved to be the deciding factor. Riding in reverse order of merit, Revers was the pathfinder and chose to do a simple change for the counter canter.

“I was hoping to land both leads on the counter canter, but that didn’t work out for the first one so I had to do a simple change, which was fine,” said Revers. “This was a really exciting day for me because coming here I was definitely not expecting to be second. I’ve never even gotten a ribbon at a major equitation final. Today was really my day.”

O’Mara turned in two flawless flying changes on Kaskade. “My mare is just incredible at doing flying changes,” said O’Mara. “I was expecting her to land right at the first counter canter but when that didn’t happen I had to switch gears and focus on the next part of the test and completing the test.”

Langmeier ran into a bit of trouble with her second change, which, according to judges Jimmy Torano and Marylisa Leffler, cost her the championship.

“McKayla came in on top and even when she did the first simple change, she played it safe, which was a smart thing to do because she was winning the class,” said Torano. “Then for one second she maybe let up and it cost her, but she still rode great.”

O’Mara is trained by Stacia Madden and Max Amaya. He will have his name added to the Adrian Van Sinderen Memorial Perpetual Trophy, not far from his sister Meg, who won the Medal Final in 2012.

One additional award was given out on Sunday. Charisma, owned by Heritage Farms, LLC and ridden by Taylor St. Jacques, won the Doris H. Clark Memorial Perpetual Trophy as Best Equitation Horse.

Top Ten Results:
1. T. J. O’Mara, Rumson, N.J.
2. Anabel Revers, Weston, Mass.
3. McKayla Langmeier, East Granby, Conn.
4. Taylor St. Jacques, Glen Allen, Va.
5. Emma Kurtz, Hudson, Ohio
6. Sydney Hutchins, Westlake Village, Calif.
7. Lucy Deslauriers, New York, N.Y.
8. Madison Goetzmann, Skaneateles, N.Y.
9. Katherine Strauss, Southampton, N.Y.
10. Louisa Brackett, Grayslake, Ill.

Watch competition highlights on demand at USEFNetwork.com.

Classic Communications for the USEF