Wayne, IL – Champions were crowned in four divisions Saturday at the Lamplight Equestrian Center as the Developing Horse Grand Prix, Five-Year-Old, Four-Year-Old and 13 & Under equitation competition wrapped up. In the USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Championship supported by Hilda Gurney and Carol Lavell, Lisa Wilcox and Pikko del Cerro HU proved unbeatable as they cruised to victory by a decisive margin. Claiming the 2012 Five-Year-Old title was Lientje Schueler and Regalo, while Michael Bragdell and Hemingway won the Four-Year-Old crown. In the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by Dressage Today 13 & Under division Emma Patterson won the exciting equitation championship.
USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Championship supported by Hilda Gurney and Carol Lavell
Wilcox (Loxahatchee, FL) and Pikko del Cerro HU (Pik L-Rohweena by Rohdiamant) repeated their winning effort from Thursday to clinch top honors in the inaugural championship. Horses Unlimited’s nine-year-old Hanoverian stallion never looked in doubt of claiming his second Developing Horse National Championship title, he was the winner of the 2011 USEF National Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage Championship presented by The Dutta Corp. and Performance Sales International, as he put forth a dominating effort on Saturday to score 71.084%.
Thursday’s inconsistencies appeared a long way off as the stallion appeared much more settled in the USEF Developing Grand Prix Test, which counted for 60% of the championship total. Throughout the week the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Program graduate and 2009’s Six-Year-Old Champion demonstrated a great aptitude for the Grand Prix movements.
“Today he was relaxed and his head was a comfortable; he was a hundred percent with me,” said Wilcox. “The passage-piaffe-passage was the highlight.”
Wilcox and Horses Unlimited’s Anne Sparks are firm believers in both the Young Horse and Developing Horse programs and their importance in the development of Pikko del Cerro HU.
“Because the programs were out there Anne did what the horse needed to do as a four-year-old and a five-year-old,” said Wilcox. “[These programs] provide a lot of exposure that helps in their development.”
The pair finished on a final score of 70.949% and additionally collected the Top U.S. Bred Horse award.
Earning Reserve Champion honors was Endel Ots (Wellington, FL) and Taunia Reed’s Agastrofos (Briar 899-Hera by Nocturne 877) with a championship score of 67.812%. The 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood produced an expressive test highlighted by solid collection Saturday scoring 68.459%.
“He loves the piaffe and passage; the collected work is just so easy for him. He likes to go out and show; it’s great to go in there and have extra gas,” said Ots who believes the Championships are very important in assessing the aptitude of young and developing horses. “It’s really cool to compete horses in the same age group and see how you stack up.”
Finishing third was Petra Warlimont (Hygiene, CO) and the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding Rohmero (Romancero-Waldina by Walldorf) on an overall score of 63.961%.
Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship
Schueler (San Diego, CA) and Regalo (Rosario-Dandiell by Nandino) were the clear winner of Saturday’s Final Test scoring 8.16, which counted toward 60% of their overall score of 7.912. Pinky Robert’s Oldenburg gelding received 7.5, 8.8 and 7.9 for their walk trot and canter as well as 8.4 for submission and 8.2 for general impression.
Last year’s third place finisher as a four-year-old looked relaxed and happy in both championship classes which Schueler found to be very important.
“I didn’t change much from the first day,” said Schueler of her approach to Saturday’s test. “I was very happy to hear from the judges that I had a harmonious ride and a happy horse. That is always my goal.”
Schueler is a firm believer in the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Program and thinks it’s very important to keep a thorough record of the breeding.
“It’s a great program and that helps keep track of the bloodlines.”
Alice Tarjan and Elfenfeuer (Florencio I-Elfensonne by Sion) collected Reserve Champion honors with an overall score of 7.864 after scoring an 8.0 on Saturday. The Oldenburg mare owned by Tarjan scored 7.4, 7.9, 8.0 for the walk trot and canter. They also earned 8.5 and 8.2 for submission and general impression.
Tarjan was pleased with the mare she has only had for a year and her improved effort from the Preliminary Test.
“Today she was a little quieter, maybe a little behind the leg. But I’m thrilled with her she has come a long way.”
Placing third was Patricia Becker (Wadsworth, IL) and the Oldenburg stallion Freedom (Feuri-Windjammer by Walk On Top) with an overall score of 7.612. The pair earned 7.9 for Final Test on the way to earning Top U.S. Bred award.
In the four-year-old championship, Bradgell (Colora, MD) and Hemmingway (Hofrat-SPS Alsonara by Archipel) scored a narrow win over to claim the National Title. Theresa Schnell’s Oldenburg stallion was awarded 8.5, 8.0 and 8.0 for walk, trot and canter, respectively. Hemmingway’s supreme gaits were rewarded highly in addition to earning an 8.3 for submission and 8.5 on general impression. The pair earned an overall total of 8.26.
“I knew it was going to be hot so I didn’t do too much in the warm-up,” said Bragdell of his preparation. “I felt I had a few bobbles in Thursday’s Warm-Up [class] so I worked on those and had a nice fluid ride today. I kept telling myself to stay relaxed.”
Placing second was Christopher Hickey (Colora, MD) and Qredit Hilltop (Quarterback-Dream Rubina by Dream of Glory). Judy Yancey’s Oldenburg gelding earned high marks for his gaits including an 8.4 on the walk and 8.0 for his trot and canter. He also received 8.2 and 8.5 for submission and general impressions respectively.
“Today was the best test Qredit has ever done,” said Hickey. “I knew I needed to bring up the submission scores. My goal was to have him be as steady as he could be in the contact.”
Both Champion and Reserve horses are trained and stand at Hilltop Farm in Maryland and Hickey believes the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Program is extremely important both in terms of breeding and development.
“This is an important step. As American breeders we want to keep supporting this program.”
Anna Marek (Williston, FL) and AJ Stapleton’s Dutch Warmblood mare Dilona (Lord Leatherdale-Vajda by Kennedy) collected third place honors with a score of 8.2.
USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by Dressage Today
In the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by Dressage Today 13 & Under division Patterson scored her first National Title. The Houston, TX resident demonstrated an effective lower leg in a very accurate effort.
“I’ve been working hard on keeping my seat centered,” said the teenager who has been involved with the program for three years, but was competing in her first Medal Final.
Earning the Silver medal was Emumclaw, Washington’s Madeline Joy who rode to the second-place honors on the strength of her effective and polished position.
The 13-year-old has been tweaking all aspects of her equitation in preparation for these Championships.
“I’ve been working really hard on everything [in the lead up].”
Tille Jones (Lincoln, NB) earned third place honors for her strong performance on Saturday.
Competition continues Sunday with three more champions being crowned. Action begins at 8:00am CST with the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by Dressage Today 14-18 division.
For news and photos from the competition, click here.