San City, Wakeup and Pikko Del Cerro HU Set the Pace in the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships and the USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship sponsored by The Dutta Corp. and Performance Sales International
Wayne, IL - Competition was in full swing at the Lamplight Equestrian Center as the top 6-year-olds and developing horses in the U.S. took to Ring 2 for their first National Championship classes of the weekend. The day began with competitors in the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by Dressage Today 14-18 division performing in an optional warm-up class.
In the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship 6-year-old division the standard was set earlier. Members of the 2005 foal crop demonstrated fluid gaits and a strong foundation in advanced movements such as half-pass and flying changes.
Emily Wagner (La Cygne, KS) and her own American-bred Warmblood stallion Wakeup performed a strong and powerful test to score an 8.88. The judging panel of Janet Foy, Gary Rockwell and Anne Gribbons rewarded Wakeup (Wagnis - Maiden Montreal by Macho) for a mature performance demonstrating phenomenal cadence in the trot work and a fluid walk tour. The pair made their 10-hour drive from Kansas well worth the trip scoring a 9.2 for their trot, an 8.8 in the walk, 8.5 and 8.9 for the canter and submission respectively. Their general impression score, a 9.0, was the highest of the day.
For Wagner, today's performance was especially meaningful as Wakeup is a member of the second generation of horses she has competed successfully. "His dad was my Young Rider Horse. It's so cool because I know his whole family, his brothers and half-brothers," she said.
Silva Martin and Faye Woolf's Aesthete (Trento B - Unusual by Gribaldi) rode to a score of 8.62 for second place, last year's 5-year-old champion Bon Chance (Bellisimom - SPH Wintersong DE by Weltmeyer) owned and ridden by Caroline Roffman stand in third after scoring 8.16. With today's Preliminary Test accounting for 40% of the overall score, the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship for 6-year-olds is still up for grabs and will conclude Sunday with the Final Test being weighted at 60% of the championship average.
The quality field of this morning's competition means that the future of dressage in the U.S. shines brightly. Wagner was extremely complimentary of the entire Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Program and believes the focus on the up-and-coming horses will benefit the sport on every level.
"This is a fantastic program; it brings so much attention to the young horses," she said. "If we expand our base of young horses it will only help the High Performance base."
Fifteen horse and rider combinations contested the Qualifying Test in the USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship sponsored by The Dutta Corp. and Performance Sales International, which will count for 40% of the overall score. Judged by Gary Rockwell, Anne Gribbons and Janet Foy these competitors performed at the Prix St. Georges level. Lisa Wilcox of Loxahatchee, NM, and Horses Unlimited's Pikko Del Cerro HU (Pik L- Rohweena by Rohdiamant) were the only combination to score in the 70s. They scored a 70.175% for their crisp performance highlighted by an expressive yet steady trot tour.
Wilcox was pleased with the American-bred Hanoverian stallion's entire test but the flying changes were the highlight. "My absolute favorite thing were the changes," she said. "Both the 4s and 3s felt very expressive. He felt very nicely on the aids."
Going into Sunday's final which will count for 60% of the overall score, Wilcox hopes to get more of the same out of the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship veteran (he competed in both the 5 and 6-year-old divisions). "I am looking for the same horse I had today on Sunday," she said.
Warsteiner (Riverman-ISF - Welona by Roemer) owned and ridden by Heather Mason was second with a score of 68.86% and Sharon McCusker rode her own Wrigley (Son Deniro - Pinomia by Rohdiamont) to a third place finish scoring a 67.719%.
San City leads the way after Thursday
Competition kicked off Thursday at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in three of the National Championship divisions. Caroline Roffman (Wellington, FL) and Linda Crabtree's San City took the early lead in the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship 5-year-old division posting a score of 8.9 for the Preliminary Test. The Hanoverian stallion (San Remo - Bounty by Bolero) demonstrated a powerful canter tour and was rewarded for an exemplary canter to walk transition.
Roffman could not have been more pleased with the young horse's performance. "He was the best he's ever been and put his best foot forward," she said. "He did everything I asked for and more."
San City and Roffman lead the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship 5-year-old division after the Preliminary Test from Werner Van Den Brande who rode Hampton Meadows, LLC's Donna Tella (Don Picardi - Gesa by Glorieux) to a second-place finish on a score of 8.6. Lauren Chumley and Alice Tarjan's Somer Hit (Sandro Hit - Rhussia by Rotspon) stand in third place after scoring an 8.3.
The Preliminary Test, judged by Jeanne McDonald, Maryal Barnett and Linda Zang, counts toward 40% of the overall average determining the division's champion. The Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship 5-year-old division concludes Saturday with the Championship Class. This Final Test counts for the remaining 60% of the score
"If we can have that ride again in the final, I couldn't ask for anything more," Roffman said, looking toward Saturday's test.
Earlier in the day, warm-up classes for the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by Dressage Today 13 & under division and the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship 4-year-old division were held. Champions in these divisions will also be crowned on Saturday.
Competition gets back underway Saturday at 8:00 a.m. (CDT) with the Dressage Seat Medal Final presented by Dressage Today 13 & Under division at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. Tomorrow will also see champions crowned in the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship 4- and 5-Year-Old divisions.
For more information about the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage, Developing Horse Dressage, and Dressage Seat Equitation and Medal Programs please visit:
For news, results, video and photos from these Championships please visit http://usefnetwork.com/featured/2011USEFDressageNationalChampionships
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