Tag Archives: USEF

Rutledge Gallops to CCI3* Lead at Fair Hill International Three-Day Event

Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Smith’s Control of CCI2* Continues

Fair Hill, Md. – Spectators and competitors enjoyed a thrilling day of cross-country at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event, where international pairs proved their mettle over Derek di Grazia’s challenging track. Colleen Rutledge held on to her lead in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI3* Eventing National Championship with Covert Rights, and Tamra Smith and Sunsprite Syrius kept their lead in the The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI2* Eventing National Championship.

A fast cross-country round gave Maryland native Rutledge (Frederick, Md.) and her own Covert Rights the top position in the CCI3* division. The 11-year-old Thoroughbred cross gelding remains on his dressage score (39.8) after a fault-free performance.

“He gets every gold star I could possibly give him. He saved my butt when I got us into trouble, and he was foot-perfect at 90% of the course,” Rutledge commented, noting that she had experience on her side with four-star partner Covert Rights. “Luckily, I know that he’s got the experience behind him. He’s already done two four-stars. He reads the fences. He’s so much more mature now, and he’s so much more experienced now, where I could just gallop down and see the stride from six strides away and attack the fences. That was probably one of the most fun cross-countries that I’ve had in a long time.”

Overnight leaders Selena O’Hanlon (Ontario, Canada) and Foxwood High finished four seconds over optimum time to drop them into second place. John and Judy Rumble’s 14-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding picked up 1.6 time penalties to sit on a two-phase result of 41.

Will Coleman (Charlottesville, Va.) and The Conair Syndicate’s Tight Lines leapt from 13th to third after an incredible cross-country effort. The 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding continues on a score of 46.3.

“He never lacks run or gallop. He’s just an animal out there. It was a hard course, but I thought it was a proper test. I think it’s a testament for the cross-country riding in this country,” Coleman commented. “It was a difficult three-star, and I’ve ridden a lot of three-stars around the world, and I would put Fair Hill at the very top, in terms of difficulty.”

Smith (Murrietta, Calif.) and Sunsprite Warmbloods’ Sunsprite Syrius were the first combination to come home clear within the time on Saturday’s cross-country. The nine-year-old Trakehner gelding made quick work of di Grazia’s course to remain on his dressage score (40.9) going into Sunday’s show jumping finale.

“I didn’t know what to expect. He hasn’t been in an environment like this before. He was super. He didn’t question one thing. He was spot on. You bring them here to the two-star at Fair Hill and know if you definitely have a three-star horse and beyond, and I definitely feel that,” Smith said of the young horse’s promise.

Following Smith’s lead, Cornelia Dorr (Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.) also remained in second place with her own Louis M, a 12-year-old Rheinlander gelding. Dorr piloted both Louis M and her own fifth-placed Sir Patico MH, an 11-year-old Zweibrucker gelding, to double-clear cross-country results.

“My first one, ‘Hugo,’ was amazing. He and I have a wonderful relationship. I felt super-confident with him. It was nice to go out and do all that with him, then be able to make tighter lines on Louis. They were both great and super-fit. I’m happy with them,” Dorr smiled.

Again in the CCI2*, Coleman climbed the leaderboard, this time with Off The Record, an eight-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Off The Record Syndicate. The duo completed the course penalty-free to move into third place on a score of 49.8.

“I was proud of him. He’s an eight-year-old horse, and he was second in [The Pedigree Bromont CCI2*] this year, and the last four to five times out he’s been in the top five. So he’s been consistent. That’s what we are going for, for all the horses this year, trying to build consistent performances throughout all three phases,” Coleman remarked. “I think it was a proper test with a pretty good group of horses here. [The Dutta Corp./Fair Hill International Three-Day Event] gets billed as a two-and-a-half-star, and I think people have a lot of respect for it and come ready.”

For further information on The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International, visit www.fairhillinternational.com.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department/Classic Communications

Halie Robinson Wins USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – West

Halie Robinson and Caracas 89 (McCool)

September 24, 2017 – San Juan Capistrano, Calif. – The third time in the top 10 of the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – West was the charm for Halie Robinson. Having placed second and fifth in years past, Robinson rode with precision, consistency and previous experience that earned her the top call in this year’s challenging four-phase competition.

USEF Talent Search judges, Andre Dignelli of Katonah, NY and Patricia Griffith of New York City, designed the courses with Anthony D’Ambrosio serving as Technical Delegate. Well-suited for their roles, Dignelli won the prestigious class in 1986, and has since taken countless riders to success at this level; Griffith was second under Dignelli’s tutelage in 1998 and has been a part of Dignelli’s Heritage Farm since 1997. D’Ambrosio has been a technical delegate as well as a course designer at venues all over the world.

Friday morning’s flat phase asked riders to demonstrate knowledge of the elementary principles of dressage training as they affect a show jumper’s performance. Divided into three groups, riders were tested with half-pass, counter-canter, flying lead changes and other exercises. The gymnastics phase asked riders to apply mastery of that flat work to jumping patterns, including the skills of shortening and lengthening the horse’s stride while riding the track, which proved challenging for many.

Aboard Caracas 89, owned by Elvenstar, Robinson earned high scores in the competition’s first two phases, the flat phase and the gymnastics phase. With her cumulative 217.5 score going into the jumping phase, she had 16-point lead, which helped her maintain a top position. However once the top four were named, they each started the Final Phase with a score of zero.

Jayme Omand, Emma Catherine Reichow and Natalie Dean joined Robinson in a work-off patterned like that used in the World Equestrian Games. The final four rode a shortened course on their own horse, then on each other’s horses. After the 16 rounds were complete, all handled the questions asked on the different mounts without major fault. To all who watched, including the judges, Robinson dominated this phase.

“It’s always nice when the winner is so obvious, even to the crowd,” commented Griffith. Dignelli concurred: “Our winner was clear and away the winner. She rode beautifully throughout all phases: accurate and she has a beautiful style.” An elated Robinson promised she’d be working on her pace. Currently studying abroad in Europe, she had flown home specifically for the Talent Search. She called Caracas 89 “the sweetest horse I’ve ever met and he tries his heart out no matter what.” He’s also a miracle. This was his third show back after having a 27-pound “artifact” tumor removed in February.

For her prestigious win, Robinson received the Denali Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by Mrs. Maya Z Hamburger. Caracas 89 earned the Gulliver Perpetual Trophy, donated by Karen Healey, as the best horse per the judges. Jim Hagman received the Leading Trainer Award, donated by Mr. Hugh J. B. Cassiday III. Hagman also credits all those who work at Elvenstar, including those not pictured in the presentation photo below, Kay Altheuser and Rachel Mahowald.

Reserve champion Jayme Omand topped the flat phase and recovered from challenges with the gymnastics exercises to finish in the top four. The 21-year-old credited her lifelong trainer Kelly Van Vleck for preparing her and her relatively inexperienced jumper, Zador, specifically for the USEF Talent Search. Schooling courses with S-tracks and striding options were the substance of their summer and it paid off. Regularly riding unfamiliar horses as a member of the Texas Christian University NCAA Equestrian Team was a big help in the horse-swapping final round.

The youngest of the final four riders by several years, 15-year-old Emma Catherine Reichow had never competed in this final and came into the competition with no expectations. She felt her spot as an alternate for the Zone 10 North American Junior Young Rider Championships and its difficult courses helped prepare her for this event. A student of Harley and Olivia Brown, Reichow likened the USEF Talent Search to the NAJYRC Championships because “you need to be consistent and get the job done.”

Both Reichow and fourth-place finisher Natalie Dean have aspirations to represent the United States in international jumping. Dean trains with Butch, Lu and Guy Thomas of Willow Tree.

U.S. Show Jumping Youth Chef d’Equipe DiAnn Langer commented that riders ought to target the USEF Talent Search early in the year and tailor their practice and show schedule to prepare for its unique tests. She emphasized that the program is a prestigious step in the pathway of the sport’s young athlete development program.

The format of the Talent Search has evolved considerably since it originated in the 1950s, but it has always been a method for identifying and helping prepare young riders aspiring to represent the U.S. in international jumping competition. McLain Ward (1990), Lauren Hough (1994) and California-born German rider Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (1986) are among the Talent Search winners who went on to become show jumping Olympians. Several winners of the West Finals are major players on the Grand Prix circuit, Joie Gatlin (1982), Richard Spooner (1988), Kirsten Coe (1996) and Kasey Ament (2004) among them.

“It really gave me a leg up in my career,” said Dignelli, as it put him on a track to his current role as one of the country’s top hunter/jumper trainers.

From Blenheim EquiSports

Mills, McCutcheon, Reynolds Crowned at USEF Reining National Championships

Photo: Matt Mills and Wimps Cool Breeze (Waltenberry)

Lexington, Ky. – Three 2017 USEF Reining National Championship titles were up for grabs at the Tulsa Reining Classic at Expo Square in Tulsa, Okla. Matt Mills and Wimps Cool Breeze claimed top honors in the Adequan $10,000 Added USEF Open National Championship presented by Markel Insurance. In the $2,000 Added USEF Youth National Championship, Kalena Reynolds and Gun Whiz It won the 13 & Under division, while Cade McCutcheon and REF Sturgis were crowned the champions in the 14-18 division.

In the Adequan $10,000 Added USEF Open National Championship presented by Markel Insurance, Mills (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Wimps Cool Breeze performed a great round across the board to impress the judges as they performed pattern nine. Mills and Janice Dickson’s seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion earned a score of 221.5 to win the championship.

“I think the horse really circled well. It felt like a round where nothing stood out more than anything else. It was a really solid round from start to finish, but if I have to pick something, I would say the circles were very good,” Mills said of his ride on Wimps Cool Breeze. “I have had this horse going for quite a while, and he has always been good in the show ring.”

Mills last won a USEF national championship title in 2006 and was happy to add another accolade to his resume. “It feels great and feels great for the owners. This is their second experience with an FEI/USEF horse. … We are aiming for the WEG [the FEI World Equestrian Games] next year.”

Casey Deary (Weatherford, Texas) finished second and third after finishing one point apart on his two mounts. Deary and Reeboks Rerun, his son Owen Deary’s 15-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, took the reserve champion title with a score of 219.5, while he and Who Dat Hot Chic, Neiberger Performance Horses LLC’s seven-year-old Quarter Horse mare, finished third with a score of 218.5.

Fresh off his trip to the 2017 SVAG FEI World Reining Championships for Juniors and Young Riders, McCutcheon (Aubrey, Texas) rode REF Sturgis to the win in the 14-18 division of the $2,000 Added USEF Youth National Championship. He and Anne-Marie Burns’s five-year-old Quarter Horse gelding had a solid performance of pattern 12 to receive a score of 219.0.

“He was really good. Easy. His circles were good, he stopped well, and the whole round was pretty dang good,” McCutcheon said of his first-ever ride on REF Sturgis. “It feels good. This was my first time in this division, so it was fun to do something new.”

Dani Latimer (Marietta, Okla.) was McCutcheon’s teammate on the Platinum Performance U.S. Young Rider Team at the world championships, and she was not far behind him. She and Sparklin Nite, Elaine Latimer’s five-year-old Quarter Horse stallion, scored 217.5 to be named the reserve champion. Blair Thompson (Amarillo, Texas) and Whiz N Chica Dee, her own eight-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, finished third with a score of 214.0.

In the $2,000 Added USEF Youth National Championship 13 & Under division, Reynolds (Whitesboro, Texas) and Gun Whiz It laid down a good run of pattern 12 to finish atop the leaderboard. Reynolds and Tammy Reynolds’s six-year-old Quarter Horse mare won with a score of 212.5.

“It was very good; we were together on all maneuvers. She was really with me,” Reynolds said. “It’s really amazing! I’m very thankful. I haven’t had this mare very long, but we have gotten along well together.”

Carlee McCutcheon (Aubrey, Texas) and Whatta Royal Vintage, Tom and Mandy McCutcheon’s eight-year-old Quarter Horse mare, were the reserve champions with a score of 208.0.

Find more information at www.tulsareining.com.

By Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian Communications Department

McCormick and Roberts Headline Successful USEF/AVA Vaulting National Championships

South Jordan, Utah – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF)/American Vaulting Association (AVA) Vaulting National Championships were held on August 24-27, 2017, at the Salt Lake County Equestrian Park in South Jordan, Utah. Leading the way were U.S. vaulting veterans Mary McCormick and Kristian Roberts, who won the Female Gold and Male Gold divisions, respectively.

Individual Competition

McCormick (Cañon City, Colo.), captured an astonishing seventh national championship in her star-studded career, which includes two top-five individual finishes at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010 and 2014. This week, she and Duke Wilhem, Sydney Frankel’s 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding, along with lunger Carolyn Bland, won the Female Gold division with a compulsory score of 7.700. She and RF Bentley, owned by Rick and Virginia Hawthorne, along with lunger Jill Palmer, scored 7.417 in the technical test, and in the freestyle she scored 7.247. Her final score was 7.455.

“Being crowned national champion is a tremendous honor that never gets old,” McCormick said. “I’m just as excited about this victory as I was with my first one. It takes a huge effort and the support from many to make it to the top, and I’m left feeling humbly grateful that I was able to do it again.”

McCormick revealed that she made a last-minute horse change when her horse pulled up sore before the competition. “It was by the grace and support of others that I was able to be successful at this competition!” she said.

While acknowledging her “good genes” with a smile, McCormick attributes her success at the top of the sport for more than two decades to her team, her training, and her mindset.

“I definitely consider my age when I’m thinking about the future, but I don’t let it get in my way,” she said. “I show up each year with an open mind, and as long as I feel like I am able to handle the physical demands and keep improving, I keep going! I love this sport and hope to compete in it for as long as possible.”

Second place in the Female Gold division went to Kimberly Palmer (Half Moon Bay, Calif.), who was on her and Jill Palmer’s Zygo, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding, with lunger Jill Palmer (7.200 compulsory/6.113 technical/7.578 freestyle/6.964 overall), while Bonnie Ubben (Gig Harbor, Wash.), finished third on Indiana Jones IV, Lorilie Robison’s 19-year-old Thoroughbred-cross gelding, with lunger Robison (6.150 compulsory/6.085 technical/6.975 freestyle/6.403 overall).

Equally dominating in the Male Gold division was Kristian Roberts (Moss Beach, Calif.), who won his fifth national championship. Roberts and Cypress Hill, Frankel’s eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding, along with lunger Carolyn Bland, had scores of 7.347 in the compulsory, and he vaulted with Palatine and Bland to a 5.852 in the technical test. With Duke Wilhem and Bland, Roberts scored 7.472 in the freestyle for a 6.890 final score.

“It was good competition,” Roberts said. “I’m excited to still be here and be at the top. This one especially means a lot to me.”

Roberts ended up competing on three different horses. His freestyle horse, Duke Wilhem, has only been vaulting for a year and he only had one week of practice with him. “He went the best he could have gone. I’m so grateful for that horse.”

Second place in the Male Gold division went to Kaleb Patterson (Stanwood, Wash.), who with Satie, Bethany Wilhelmsen’s 14-year-old American Warmblood gelding, and lunger Kelly Gee, scored 6.983 (compulsory), 4.217 (technical), and 6.108 (freestyle) for a final score of 5.769.

Team Competition

The A team division victory went to the F.A.C.E. team of Alena Hammond (Eagle Mountain, Utah), Shaina Hammond (Eagle Mountain, Utah), Madeline Lampard (Topanga, Calif.), Kalyn Noah (Calabasas, Calif.), Luke Overton (Stanwood, Wash.), and Alyssa Stoddard (Saratoga Springs, Utah), with their horse Maximillian, Gayle Glisson-Kuhlberg’s Holsteiner gelding, and lunger Devon Maitozo. Their compulsories score was 6.659 and their freestyle score was 6.778 for a final team score of 6.719.

Maitozo, one of the most well-known and decorated American vaulters, started the F.A.C.E. team in 2000. While he has always been a part of it, he returned to the team full-time in 2012 as the coach. The decision was made to take their junior team and compete at the A Team level after just missing the cut to qualify for the FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors.

“We decided that the Nationals would be our final competition and be our final goal [for the year],” Maitozo said. “It is a very nice way to end a very difficult and meaningful year for us. For me and the club, it’s always a step toward something else to see what else we can do with our momentum. We have hopes of looking to [the World Equestrian Games] next year and potentially putting a team together.”

The F.A.C.E. team is now based out of El Campeon Farm in Thousand Oaks, Calif. and Maitozo believes that has taken them to the next level. He said, “They’ve embraced us, and we’re just in heaven there. It’s helped us in the last month keeping our horses healthy and prepared. Our horses were really fit and ready. [El Campeon is] about high performance and showing the best at elite level. Now we come back as National Champions. It’s nice to do this and represent them well.”

The Mile-High Vaulters Club fielded the Rocky Mountain Team: Finding Neverland with vaulters Jace Brooks (Eagle Mountain, Utah), Calle Davis (Spanish Fork, Utah), Melanie Ford (Fort Collins, Colo.), Rhianon Hampton (Greeley, Colo.), Rachel Jensen (Provo, Utah), and Jim Roedel (Fort Lupton, Colo.). They had a compulsories score of 5.828 on their horse Hampton with lunger Jorden Hobbs. In the freestyle, with their horse Sampson, Jodi Rinard’s 19-year-old Percheron gelding, and lunger Rinard, they scored 7.262.They finished second in the division with a final team score of 6.545.

The B Team victory went to Mt. Eden Vaulting Club – Safari, who had a compulsories score of 5.784, a freestyle score of 6.757, and a final team score of 6.271. Second place were the “Guardians of Disco” team from Mile-High Vaulters, who scored 5.922 in compulsories, 6.215 in freestyle, and 6.069 in their final team score. The winner of the C Team division was Mt. Eden Vaulting Club – Toy Story, who had a compulsories score of 5.050, freestyle score of 5.107, and final score of 5.079.

In the Trot Team, OC Vaulting came away with the win on a final score of 5.716, while Mile-High Vaulters “Spy Kids” team was second (5.420) and Mt. Eden Vaulting Club – Peter Pan was third (5.363).

The Los Angeles Equestrian Vaulting Club “California’s Girls” won the Open 2-Phase Team division with a score of 7.374. Mile-High Vaulters “The Lost Boys” were second (6.592), and Oak Hills Vaulting was third (6.265). The Prelim 2-Phase Team division winner was OC Vaulting (7.031), Technique Equestrian Vaulting Club was second (6.433), and A Vaulting Connection/Therapeutic Horse Connection was third (6.086).

Junior 2* Vaulters Shine

In the Female Junior 2* division, the top placing went to Caroline Morse (Los Gatos, Calif.). She and Grasshopper AF, Jana Morse’s eight-year-old American Warmblood gelding, along with lunger and coach Samantha Matson had a compulsory score of 7.374 for a final score of 3.687.

Second place went to Hallie Dudley (Elizabeth, Colo.) on Briar Rose, Lee Dudley’s 12-year-old Clydesdale mare, with lunger Dudley (compulsory 6.468, final score 3.234). Helen Mills-Selch and Rembrandt, Connie Geisler’s nine-year-old Percheron/Thoroughbred gelding, with lunger Geisler, finished third (compulsory 6.016, final score 3.008).

Morse competed in her seventh national championship and has been vaulting for 10 years. This is her first individual national championship win. She and Grasshopper AF have been vaulting together for two years.

“He’s a pretty trusty horse, and I have a lot of faith in him. I know he’s going to do his job,” she said. “My coach [Samantha Matson] was the one who trained him and made everything happen for me and him.”

After competing at the FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors at the beginning of August, Morse came to the USEF/AVA Vaulting National Championships with a different attitude.

She explained, “When we came here, I just wanted to have fun and be stress-free. I was excited to go in and have fun and be relaxed. I think it helped my performance.”

In addition to her Junior 2* victory, Morse also won the Female Silver Individual division with scores of 7.253 and 7.082 for a final score of 7.168. Calle Davis placed second on a final score of 6.849, while Tessa Belardi (Aptos, Calif.) was third with a final score of 6.654.

The winner of the Male Junior 2* division was Jace Brooks. He and Satie with lunger Kelly Gee scored 6.549 in the compulsory for a final score of 3.275.

It was a family affair for Brooks, as lunger Kelly Gee is also his father. This was Gee’s, as well as his horse Satie’s, second competition ever. Brooks has only been working together with his father and Satie since February. It was also the first national championship for Brooks’ team, Wasatch Peak Vaulters.

“It means a lot more [to win] when it’s your dad and your own horse,” Brooks said. “I haven’t been on my own horse for two or three years, so to be with my own horse and my own lunger, it felt really cool.”

Brooks has set his next goal, to compete at the 2019 FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors with Satie and his father.

Brooks also placed second in the Male Silver Individual division on a final score of 6.722. The win went to Luke Overton who had a final score of 7.328. Christian Ramos (Cañon City, Colo.) placed third on a score of 6.560.

Pas de Deux Competition

In the Prelim Pas de Deux Freestyle, victory went to Sydney Schimack (Laporte, Colo.) and Jim Roedel (Fort Lupton, Colo.) of Mile-High Vaulters. With horse Sampson and lunger Jodi Rinard, they scored 6.362 to win.

Second place in the Prelim Pas de Deux Freestyle went to Caitlyn Mendik (Castle Rock, Calif.) and Hallie Dudley on Briar Rose with lunger Lee Dudley of Velocity Vaulters with a score of 6.015. The Mile-High Vaulters also placed third with the pair of Augusta Rose Lewis (Longmont, Colo.) and Emma Milito (Centennial, Colo.) on Shelby, Rinard’s 16-year-old Percheron mare, with lunger Rinard. They posted a score of 5.945.

The OC Vaulting Club vaulters Olivia Carlucci and Allison Binckes won the Trot Pas de Deux Freestyle with a final score of 6.156. Claire Jones and Hailey Williams (Great Falls Vaulters) were second on 5.895, while Persephone Brown and Calli Ann Kennedy (Mile-High Vaulters) were third with a score of 5.761.

Additional Individual Results

Schimack also took the Female Bronze Individual division on a final score of 6.732, while Marie Obeloer (Sunnyvale, Calif.) was second with a 6.640 final score and Dudley was third with a 6.294.

Charles Smith (Temple City, Calif.) won the Male Bronze Individual division with a final score of 5.549.

In the Female Copper Individual division, Maya Drusinsky (Cupertino, Calif.) won with a 6.522, Hayden Avakian (Costa Mesa, Calif.) was second on 6.460, and Augusta Rose Lewis (Longmont, Colo.) placed third with a score of 6.394. Marshall Collins (Fort Collins, Colo.) won the Male Copper Individual division with a score of 5.609, while Martin Valdez was second on 5.560, and third place went to Stefano Como with a score of 5.550.

Anna Sullivan (Rutherford, Calif.) won the Female Trot Individual class, while Bryan Sutherland was victorious in the Male Trot Individual class.

For more information about the USEF/AVA National Championships, go to americanvaulting.org.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Woodard, Parra Named Champions at USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage Nat’l Championships

Patricia Becker and Freedom, Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Champions. Photo: SusanJStickle.com.

Wayne, IL – The final two division titles of the 2017 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships were determined as competition came to an end at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. Andrea Woodard and Ravenna maintained their top position following Friday’s test to earn the Markel/USEF Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship, following the FEI Six-Year-Old Final Test. Cesar Parra and Fashion Designer OLD also held onto their lead from Friday’s test to claim the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship. The tests counted 60% towards their overall score. The remaining 40% came from Friday’s preliminary tests.

Markel/USEF Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship

On Sunday, the judges were impressed with the quality and overall delivery of the tests by the young horses. However, they ultimately awarded Woodard (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Oldenburg mare Ravenna the Markel/USEF Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship. They had a superb preliminary test on Friday, winning the class with a score of 7.9. The combination only improved, scoring the only 8 in the final test and winning handedly with an 8.3 and overall score of 8.1.

The highlights of their test included the canter. With a normally expressive trot, Ravenna also showed the lightness and smoothness of this gait. With a careful plan for young horses, Woodard has cautiously aimed for the championships this year, allowing her mare time to grow up and mature.

“It feels wonderful of course. This is what I have been building up towards for such a long time now,” said Woodard. “I’ve had my eyes on this championship. She actually qualified as a five-year-old, but I didn’t feel like she was mentally ready to take this long trip. This year, I felt like she was much more prepared and mentally ready, so I went for it and it paid off. I am super excited and very happy with her.”

Ravenna also received the Oldenburg Award, given to the highest scoring Oldenburg of the class by the Oldenburg Horse Breeder’s Society.

Placing second in the preliminary test on Friday with a 7.8, Werner Van Den Brande (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Flyby FLF, Linda Sommer’s Hanoverian stallion, put in an impressive final test, scoring a 7.9 and keeping them in second for the final test and overall reserve. With more energy in their second test and an improvement in the strength of the trot and canter work, the combination scored a 7.9 overall.

“We have been working for this for the last couple of months to get ready,” said Werner. “We did it and it, of course, feels really nice.”

Additionally, Flyby FLF was awarded the U.S.-Bred Award as recognition of the top U.S.-bred horse in the class.

Michael Bragdell (Colora, Md.) and Anne Howard’s Oldenburg stallion Finery kept their poise, finishing third overall with a score of 7.6. The combination finished third in Friday’s preliminary test with a 7.6, replicating their score and position in the final test to finish in the top-three.

“He held it together and stayed focused through the test,” said Bragdell. “I really couldn’t have asked him for anymore. I was just so proud of him. It is fun to come here and be here with all the great competitors. It really gives it a championship feel. I am just so proud that we made it this far and competed here.”

Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship

Maintaining the top position, Parra (White House Station, N.J.) and Fashion Designer OLD, his own and Martin Sosnoff’s nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding, scored an overall score of 67.30%. Fashion Designer OLD is a true product of success from the USEF Young & Developing Horse Program, competing and placing first in the 5-Year-Old division in 2013, third in the 6-Year-Old division in 2014, and second in the Developing Horse Prix St. Georges division over the years.

“First of all, I am super, super happy to get another title here at the national championships,” said Parra. “I am very, very proud of my horse. I am super grateful, too. It takes a whole village to make it out here; from the owners, from the farrier and the grooms – there are so many people that helped us to get here. Expectations are very high. You want to do well for the horse, for the team, for yourself. I am very, very happy. The footing was excellent, and I think we had a good panel of judges. I am very happy.”

The combination also earned the Oldenburg Award, given to the highest scoring Oldenburg by the Oldenburg Horse Breeder’s Society. Parra and Fashion Designer OLD scored a 69.56%, winning Friday’s FEI Intermediate II Test and a 67.30% in Sunday’s USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Test, placing third.

Winning Sunday’s USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Test with a 66.25%, Patricia Becker (Wadsworth, Ill.) and Dr. Anne Ramsay’s 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion Freedom were the reserve champions of the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship with an overall score of 66.68%.

Tying for second in Friday’s preliminary test with a 67.32%, Becker was pleased with Freedom’s attitude and work ethic moving into the final test.

“Freedom is always a bit more tired towards the end of a big competition. Today, he felt very good in his body going in. He was very much with me. He really tried and gave me all of his focus and I was super proud of him,” said Becker.

Freedom was also the recipient of the U.S.-Bred Horse Award, given to the highest scoring U.S.-bred horse of the class.

Perhaps riding the most talked-about horse of the show due to her coloration, James Koford (Lexington, N.C.) expertly navigated his final test aboard Adiah HP, Sherry Koella’s 10-year-old Friesian/Dutch Warmblood mare. Moving from fifth place with a score of 66.84% in Friday’s preliminary test to second place in the final test with a 66.04%, Koford and Adiah HP claimed the overall third position in the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship with a 66.36%.

Koford’s relationship with Adiah HP is special and they never take themselves too seriously.

“She is three-quarters Friesian and a quarter Dutch Warmblood – she is just a horse that makes me happy every day,” said Koford. “She looks at me and it’s like she’s smiling. Every day the highlight of her day is when she goes to work.”

Koford’s expectations coming into the championship were to perform their best, giving Adiah HP an opportunity to shine.

“[Adiah HP] is new to the Grand Prix, and I just want her to feel like a champion every time she goes in,” said Koford. “I want her to be happy, have the best time, and feel really good about herself. In that way, it was a win. Honestly, she gives me chill bumps when I ride her – she makes me happy. The whole day, the whole week was really fun.”

Relive memorable moments from the 2017 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships with photo galleries, rider video clips, and much more on the USEF Network.

By Julian McPeak, US Equestrian Communications Department

Cesar Parra Warms Up for Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage Nat’l Championships

Photo courtesy of Susan J Stickle.

Wayne, IL (August 22, 2017) –  Performance Farms has yet again earned top spots in the rankings of horses qualified to compete in the elite Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships. A consistent and strong competitor in this annual competition, Dr. Cesar Parra, founder and head trainer at Performance Farms, is ranked second in this year’s Developing Grand Prix Division with Fashion Designer OLD. Assistant trainer Katie Riley is also ranked second in the Five-Year-Old Division with GK Sir Beckmann.

Qualifying not one but two horses for the upcoming National Championships is an impressive feat, although one that is not surprising to anyone who has been watching Performance Farms’ horses competing this year. The qualification period for the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships began on January 1, 2017, and concluded on July 31, 2017. Throughout that timeframe, qualifying took place at designated USEF/NAJYRC Qualifying Competitions. The National Championships will take place at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois on August 24-27, 2017.

Parra and Fashion Designer OLD received qualifying scores as high as 75.313 percent in the Developing Horse Grand Prix Division. Bred by Heike Kind in Germany, Fashion Designer OLD is a nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Faustinus x Forst-Design, De Niro) owned by Parra and Martin Sosnoff. “Fashion is a star, and I am thrilled with how he is developing,” said Parra. “His results are great, but it is his development that brings me the most joy.”

In last year’s competition, Parra and Fashion Designer OLD won the Reserve Champion title in the Developing Prix St. Georges division.

Riley and GK Sir Beckmann also ranked second, consistently earning scores over 80% during the qualifying period. GK Sir Beckmann is a Hanoverian gelding (Sir Donnerhall x Witchita, Wolkenstein II) bred in Germany by Norbert and Petra Fockenberg. “Sir Beckmann is such a special horse and I am so very proud of him. He is an amazing five year old, but an even more amazing horse for the future. I am blessed and lucky to have the ride on him, and I’m grateful to Cesar Parra and his wife Marcela Ortiz for always supporting me,” said Riley, who is a founding member of Performance Farms.

Performance Farms is based in both Jupiter, Florida and Whitehouse Station, New Jersey and is dedicated to developing top notch horses and riders for the dressage ring. Founder Dr. Cesar Parra is an Olympian, a Pan American Games Dressage Team Gold Medalist, and a Nations Cup Silver Medalist, as well as a two-time World Cup Finalist and two-time World Equestrian Games competitor. To learn more about the training and lessons offered by Parra and Riley at Performance Farms, visit www.piaffe-performance.com.

Contact: Dr. Cesar Parra
Piaffe-Performance Farm
(410) 977-8352
www.piaffe-performance.com

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

Laura Graves and Verdades Move to Number Two in FEI World Dressage Rankings

Lexington, Ky. – Laura Graves and Verdades have advanced to the number two spot in the FEI World Dressage Rankings after a successful showing at the 2017 World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen in July. This equals the highest ranking ever by a U.S. dressage combination. Germany’s Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD remain world-ranked number one. Great Britain’s Carl Hester and Nip Tuck are ranked third.

Previously, Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and the 2002 KWPN gelding, who defeated Werth and Weihegold OLD in the Grand Prix Special in CDIO5* Aachen, held the number four spot since August 2016 following the Rio Olympic Games where they won a team bronze medal and placed fourth in the Grand Prix Freestyle. Graves and Verdades first appeared on the world standings in February 2014, ranked 458th, after their first two international competitions at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival.

U.S. combinations Steffen Peters and Ravel were world number two in June and July 2009, and Debbie McDonald and Lisa Wilcox were frequently world number two from 2003 to 2005.

Complete world rankings

By US Equestrian Communications Department

US Athletes Look for Success at 2017 FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors

Lexington, Ky. – Artistry, athleticism, and talent will be on display this week when U.S. vaulting is showcased at the 2017 FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors. Running from August 2-5, 2017, in Ebreichsdor, Austria, the U.S. brings a contingent of 14 vaulters competing for titles in the Individual Female, Individual Male, Pas de Deux, and Squad Junior Championships. Chef d’Equipe Mary McCormick and Assistant Chef d’Equipe Jessica Garrod will guide the U.S. vaulters.

Individual Female Championship
Tessa Belardi (Aptos, Calif.) and Ana Schult (Longmont, Colo.) will make their first appearances at the junior world vaulting championships. They will be joined by Bodhi Hall (San Jose, Calif.), who competed in the 2015 junior world vaulting championships. She will vault on First NoBady, a 2004 PZHK gelding, and will be assisted by Lunger Emma Seely.

Recently, Belardi placed third in the Individual Female CVIJ2* competition at the Pacific Cup CVI in May and she will vault with Diva 506, a 2003 Oldenbug mare, and Lunger Carolyn Bland. Schult won the Individual Female CVIJ2* title at the Pacific Cup CVI. She will vault with Dresdn, a 2007 Hungarian Warmblood gelding and Lunger Elke Nousse.

Individual Male Championship
Luke Overton (Stanwood, Wash.) makes his return to the FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors after competing in 2015. Jace Brooks (Eagle Mountain, Utah), the 2016 Silver Individual Male USEF/AVA National Champion, will join Overton. Both competed in the Pacific Cup CVI and Canada Cup CVI in May where they placed first and second in both competitions, respectively. Overton and Brooks will vault with Dresdn and Lungers Stefanie Nussmuller and Devon Maitozo, respectively.

Pas de Deux Championship
Hall, a 2015 junior world vaulting pas de deux champion with Michelle Guo, will team up with Caroline Morse (Los Gatos, Calif.) for a chance at the 2017 title. The pair began vaulting together in the spring of 2016 where they have earned four top three finishes. Most recently they won the Pas de Deux CVIJ2* competition at the Canada Cup CVI. They will vault with First NoBady, a 2004 PZHK gelding, and Lunger Nousse.

Bridget Kiernan (San Mateo, Calif.) returns to the FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors following a third place finish with Sarah Dunn in 2015. She brings a new partner in Janie Salisbury (Atherton, Calif.). The pair placed first in Pas de Deux CVIJ2* competition at the Pacific Cup CVI. They will vault with Diva 506 and Lunger Bland.

Squad Championship
A talented squad has high hopes in the FEI Squad Championship. Miki Yang (Los Altos Hills, Calif.) and Audrey Kiernan (San Mateo, Calif.) are the most experienced vaulters in the squad, having represented the U.S. at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and the 2015 FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors. Their teammates, Belardi, Bridget Kiernan, Annika Malmstrom (Palo Alto, Calif.), and Lena Nicoletti (Sunnyvale, Calif.), are up for the challenge of their first world championship appearance. Earlier this year at the Pacific Cup CVI, the squad finished second in the CVIJ2* squad division. The squad will vault with Amontillado 9, a 2008 Holsteiner gelding, and Lunger Bland.

Watch the entire championship live on FEI TV.

Find out more about the 2017 FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

US Dressage Team Wins Bronze in FEI Nations Cup CDIO3* Hickstead

Spidge Event Photography.

US Finishes Second in FEI Nations Cup Dressage Series

Hickstead, England – The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team clinched the bronze medal after having solid performances at the FEI Nations Cup CDIO3* Hickstead. Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover guided the U.S. team of Katherine Bateson-Chandler, Susan Dutta, Chase Hickok, and Charlotte Jorst to deliver quality tests throughout the three days of competition. The U.S. team earned bronze with a score of 421.920, finishing behind gold medal-winning France with a score of 424.811 and silver medal-winning the Netherlands with a score of 424.053. In addition, the FEI Nations Cup Dressage Series came to a close at Hickstead, with the U.S. finishing second behind Sweden and ahead of Denmark.

“I was very proud once again of our U.S. Nations Cup athletes here in Hickstead. Under extremely difficult weather conditions, our riders rode with class and did their very best,” said Dover. “Our goal this year was not to simply do well, which we did by winning in Rotterdam and placing second in Aachen, along with other results in the series, but to show off both our fabulous veterans as well as fresh, new human and equine faces. We are all very proud of our second-place finish in the series, the only nation to have supported every competition in it!”

The competition began on Friday with all team members performing the CDIO3* Grand Prix Test. Hickok (Wellington, Fla.) and Hyperion Farm, Inc.’s Sagacious HF were the top U.S. finishers in second place with a score of 71.640%. Jorst (Reno, Nev.) and Kastel Denmark’s Kastel’s Nintendo were not far behind in fourth place with a score of 70.880%. Bateson-Chandler (Wellington, Fla.) and Jane Clark’s Alcazar had a nice test to score 69.320% to finish in 15th place, while Dutta (Wellington, Fla.) and Tim Dutta Inc.’s Currency DC received a score of 63.640% to finish in 26th place.

On Saturday, two U.S. combinations competed in the CDIO3* Grand Prix Special with both of their scores counting towards the team score. Hickok and the 1999 Dutch Warmblood gelding had another stellar performance to finish third with a score of 70.843%. Bateson-Chandler and the 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding delivered a great test to finish eighth with a score of 69.412%.

The Nations Cup came to its conclusion on Sunday with the CDIO3* Grand Prix Freestyle. The remaining two U.S. combinations competed, and the best score counted for the team score. Jorst and the 2003 Dutch Warmblood stallion put forth a good effort to score 69.825% to finish seventh. Dutta and the 2000 Oldenburg gelding performed their first freestyle of the year and received a score of 66.625% to finish in 12th place.

View the complete results.

By Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian Communications Department