Gladstone, NJ – The second week of the 2012 USEF Dressage Festival of Champions began Thursday with competitors in the National Intermediaire I Dressage Championship performing the FEI Prix St. Georges Test. Caroline Roffman cantered down centerline as the second competitor of the morning, then was forced to wait as the remainder of the 14 horse division tried to top her score of 73.974%. A total of five combinations were able to break the 70% barrier however none would be able to catch Roffman.
Roffman (Wellington, FL) rode her own 10-year-old Hanoverian, Pie, in an accurate forward effort. The flashy chestnut gelding’s test was highlighted by an extremely fluid trot-tour. The 23-year-old rider was extremely pleased with Pie’s effort today and that all their training is paying off.
“I’m so happy because Pie had the best ride we’ve ever had,” said Roffman. “Luckily it was in the ring here today. This season has been building, trying to get here and now that I am I thought I would be a little braver and put the pedal to the metal a bit. We had a few bobbles here and there but I think this is the new point I need to ride him at.”
Roffman has spent time working on the mental aspect of the sport and believes that this helped her prepare fully for today’s competition.
“I had the help of a sports psychologist a few years ago by the name of Jenny Susser, and what I find really helps for me is visualization,” said Roffman. “I really visualize having a good ride and I’m not thinking about the possibility of having a mistake. I’m visualizing the ride I want and today it worked out.”
Steffen Peters came the closest to catching Roffman but a mistake in the flying change portion of the test meant he would remain off the mark. Peters rode Margaret Koerner’s Sundance to a score of 72.237%. The expressive eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding is still very green at the level but Peters was impressed with his horse despite a few mistakes.
“Today was his fourth Prix St. Georges,” said Peters. “It’s all very early for him and he was a bit tense in the collected walk and that mistake in threes. But the trot work felt great and did wonderful pirouettes for a young kid.”
Placing third in the FEI Prix St. Georges Test were Chris Hickey (Colora, MD) and Witness Hilltop, Hilltop Farm’s nine-year-old gelding earned a score of 71.158%.
The second week of the USEF Dressage Festival of Champions is showcasing many of the up-and-coming riders to the senior ranks in both the USEF National Intermediaire I Dressage Championship and the USEF National Young Adult “Brentina Cup” Dressage Championship. Peters is particularly pleased to see the developing talent and believes Roffman was the clear winner today.
“I’m just excited to see that our younger riders are coming up and that’s good for us old guys because we can’t do it forever and so that’s really exciting for me to see them,” said Peters. “And it was really deserved for Caroline.”
The FEI Prix St. Georges Test, which counts for 45% of the championship average, was ridden in front the Ground Jury of Lois Yukins, Jane Weatherwax, Axel Steiner, Linda Zang and Hilda Gurney. They return to the Dick and Jane Brown Arena on Saturday to perform the FEI Intermediaire I Test, counting for 40% and the final 15% of the score is earned Sunday in the Freestyle.
National Grand Prix Dressage Championship
Thirteen horses were presented in the Veterinary Inspection for the National Grand Prix Dressage Championship; all passed without incident. Katherine Bateson-Chandler’s Nartan and Cesar Parra’s Van the Man both competed in the first weekend of competition but were withdrawn prior to today’s inspection.
Competitors in the championship, which also serves as the USEF Dressage Selection Trial for the US Dressage Team for the 2012 Olympic Games, will ride the FEI Grand Prix Test tomorrow. Current leaders Peters and Legolas 92 are the first combinations in the ring at 9am.
For live streaming, photos, results and news, visit: http://usefnetwork.com/featured/2012USEFDressageFestivalofChampions/.