Vaughn, Somer Hit and Her Highness O Win Final Championship Crowns

Genay Vaughn (PhelpsPhoto.com)

Wayne, IL – The 2012 USEF National Dressage Championships came to a conclusion Sunday at the Lamplight Equestrian Center with champions crowned across three divisions. Intermittent rain could not dampen spirits as final competition was held in the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by Dressage Today, the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships and the USEF National Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage Championship presented by The Dutta Corp. and Performance Sales International. In the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by Dressage Today Genay Vaughn clinched her first equitation National Title riding in the 14-18 division. Alice Tarjan and Somer Hit claimed the final Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship of the weekend; winning the six-year-old division. In the final championship class of the weekend Caroline Roffman and Her Highness O earned a decisive victory in the Developing Horse division.

USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by Dressage Today

Elk Grove, CA’s Vaughn claimed top honors in the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by Dressage Today 14-18 division after demonstrating a strong foundation in equitation. The 18-year-old has already claimed third place in the Young Rider Championship at the USEF Dressage Festival of Champions and a Team Silver medal at the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North in 2012 and added another accolade to her impressive junior and young rider career.

Vaughn is a firm believer in having a solid base in equitation and its importance for succeeding at the top levels.

“Equitation is really important. It’s nice to get feedback on whether you’re effective while looking pretty, which is the whole base of the sport.”

Vaughn had added difficulty on her quest to winning the Gold medal in that she had only ridden Kaye-Eileen Willard’s Anakin a total of four times. However, the pair quickly forged a partnership and found little difficulty in the pattern that called for leg yields and three changes of lead across the diagonal.

“I like the trot-canter-trot across the diagonal and the halt. It was really fun, he was great. I had nothing to worry about.”

Placing second and earning the Silver medal was 16-year-old Rachel Robinson. The Orlando, FL resident gave Vaughn a run for her money in the Championship displaying effective aids and a strong position.

Robinson has just recently imported the rangy 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Ucarius. Due to his size and ground covering gaits, Robinson had a few reservations heading into Sunday’s pattern. The pair will continue to solidify their partnership and have big aspirations for 2013.

“I was a little worried about the lead changes across the diagonal, because he’s such a big guy,” said Robinson. “We’re going to start doing juniors together next year.”

Earning third place honors was 17-year-old Molly Mead of Charleston, SC.

Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships

Alice Tarjan and Somer Hit (PhelpsPhoto.com)

Tarjan (Oldwick, NJ) and her own Somer Hit (Sandro Hit-Rhussia by Rotspun) proved to be at the top of the class of the 11 horse field in the Six-Year-Old Championship claiming victory on an overall score of 8.05. They were the only six-year-old combination to end the competition with a score above 8.

The Hanoverian stallion was lacking some of the brilliance from Friday’s Preliminary Test, but still scored 7.8, 7.9 and 8.0 for his walk, trot and canter as well as 7.6 for submission and a general impression mark of 7.9 to score 7.83 for Sunday’s performance.

“I was really pleased we got through it,” said Tarjan. “He was a little flat compared to Friday, but I’m thrilled.”

Tarjan, who also collected Reserve Champion honors in the five-year-old division, understands that it is very important to get horses early and train them from the very beginning. She is also very pragmatic about when Somer Hit will move into the Developing Horse ranks.

“I thought the only way to get a good horse was to buy a foal, so I went and bought a foal,” said Tarjan. “We’ll see how it goes; we always say we’ll take it one day at a time.”

Somer Hit also collected the Highest U.S. Bred Horse award.

Cesar Parra (White House Station, NJ) and Michael Davis’ Simply Nymphenburg (Sir Donnerhail I-Wendy by Weltmeyer) improved on their performance from Friday to collect the top score (7.86) in the Final Test on their way to Reserve Champion honors. They scored 7.6, 8.0 and 8.2 for their walk, trot and canter gaits and 7.5 on submission and 8.0 for their general impression.

Parra first saw the Hanoverian gelding in Germany just after Christmas last year and knew he was something special.

“I love my horse; he’s absolutely a wonderful horse. I saw him and he was so elastic… we are always working towards FEI.”

Parra also believes that programs such as the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Programs are extremely beneficial to U.S. riders and horses.

“I really think the programs are fantastic; we are very lucky to have them,” said Parra.  “It’s the only way we can keep competing against the Europeans.”

The pair finished the championships on a final score of 7.796.

Placing third was Roberta Carleton (Salisbury, CT) and Kir Royal (Kopenick-Ronja by Rotspon). The Warmblood gelding earned a championship score of 7.672.

All three top place finishers benefitted from the 2012 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Program, taking part in Observation Events, Selection Trials and Training Sessions.

USEF National Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage Championship presented by The Dutta Corp. and Performance Sales International

Roffman (Wellington, FL) rode to a decisive victory in the USEF National Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage Championship presented by The Dutta Corp. and Performance Sales International by more than two and a half points on a final score of 72.579%. Roffman and Jennifer Lind’s nine-year-old Hanoverian mare Her Highness O (Hohenstein De-SPS Wild Lady O by Weltmeyer) demonstrated a fluid trot-tour and solid changes Sunday to score a 73.333% in the USEF Developing Horse Test.

Caroline Roffman and Her Highness O (PhelpsPhoto.com)

The 23-year-old Roffman has done all the work on the classy mare and has enjoyed seeing her progress over the last few years.

“It was really fun it came full circle. She was dropped off in Florida for me after having four or five foals. I didn’t know what I had, but I thought she had potential,” said Roffman. “It’s great to be here two-to-three years later. What she lacks in talent she makes up in heart. I think she has great potential.”

There are also high hopes that Her Highness O can pass on her potential and attributes to feature U.S. stars.

“I’m truly lucky to have her and I want to breed her through embryo transfer and have some American bred horses.”

Roffman has ridden many horses at USEF National Dressage Championships and collected numerous accolades with horses that have progressed through the Young and Developing Horse programs. Along with business partner Endel Ots, who won reserve honors in the 2012 USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Championship supported by Hilda Gurney and Carol Lavell, Roffman has plenty of rising talents in her barn.

“I’m really lucky because I can rest horses. All of the horses we have developed ourselves and it makes me proud of what we have done.”

Placing second in the Championship was 2011’s six-year-old winner, Emily Wagner (La Cygne, KS) and Wakeup (Wagnis-Maiden Montreal by Macho). The seven-year-old American Warmblood stallion owned by Wagner showed great potential for future successes at the highest level. A slight mistake kept them from breaking the 70% barrier, but they completed Sunday’s test with a score of 69.461%.

“I was super happy with him. He was a little bit fresh and we had that little bobble on the five loop serpentine, but I can’t blame him; he’s only seven.”

Along with collecting second place honors, the pair also earned the Highest U.S. Bred award with a championship score of 69.905%.

Earning third place was Jessica Jo Tate (Wellington, FL) and Faberge (FlorestanI-Baroness by Brentano II) with the nine-year-old Westphalian gelding earning a championship score of 69.760%.

For news and photos from the competition, click here.

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