August 23, 2013 -- The 2013 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships presented by HorseShow.com kicked off Thursday at the Lamplight Equestrian Center under intermittently stormy skies. The first three of five divisions completed their Qualifying Classes in front of the judging panel comprised of Janet Foy, Bill Warren, and Linda Zang. In the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Four-Year-Old National Championships presented by HorseShow.com Rebellienne, HVH holds the lead following day one. DG Dancing Queen has jumped out to the early lead in the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Five-Year-Old National Championships presented by HorseShow.com. Championship competition came to a conclusion Thursday afternoon with Zandor seizing the pole position in the Markel/USEF Developing Grand Prix Horse Dressage National Championships presented by HorseShow.com.
"At the beginning of this year, I thought we had a really talented and exciting group and I'm really pleased with how they have continued to develop. The quality here is great; I'm honestly blown-away. I think you are really seeing horse that will come through the pipeline," said USEF Young Horse Dressage Coach Scott Hassler. "You saw the same thing in the Developing Grand Prix. A couple of these horses came through the Young Horse Program. I am really excited about this group."
The day got underway with four-year-old competition beneath grey skies, which opened up following the mid-morning break to soak the second half of the division in a deluge of rain. Despite the inclement weather, all 14 entries put their best efforts forward in the USEF Dressage Test for Four-Year-Old Horses to earn the first 40% of their championship scores.
Brandi Benedict (Lovettsville, Va.) and Rebellienne HVH (Rotspon x EM Whitney/Welser) entered the championship arena in some of the worst weather of the morning. However, the pair, which has only been together for two weeks, was undeterred by the pouring rain as it stormed to an overall score of 8.820 and an early lead. High Valley Hanoverians' Hanoverian mare was rewarded for her impressive trot and walk gaits, scoring 9.5 and 9.0, respectively. They also earned 7.5 for the canter.
The mare also was praised highly for her submission and general impression, being rewarded with scores of 8.9 and 9.2.
Earning second-place honors on Thursday were Amy Miller (Fullerton Calif.) and her own KWPN gelding Encore (Jazz x Aloha SE/Sir Sinclair). The pair impressed the judging panel as the last entry before the break earning an overall 8.760. They earned 9.0, 8.5, and 8.8 for their trot, walk, and canter.
The gelding demonstrated maturity beyond his four years as he continued to settle after spooking while circling the arena. For his submission and overall impression, he earned 8.5 and 9.0.
Rounding out the top three are Anna Marek (Williston, Fla.) and AJ Stapleton's Elain (Sir Oldenburg x Barliane/Santano) with a score of 8.58. The KWPN gelding earned 8.5, 8.5, and 8.6 for his trot, walk, and canter. He was rewarded for his rideability, scoring 8.5 for submission, and earned a mark of 8.8 for his overall impression.
The Four-Year-Old Championship comes to a conclusion on Saturday as entries again perform the USEF Dressage Test for Four-Year-Old Horses to earn the final 60% of their overall championship scores.
Rain welcomed in the afternoon session and the first few entries of the Five-Year-Old Championship before the skies cleared for the remainder of the 2008 foal crop. The field of 13 earned the first 40% of their overall scores in the FEI Five-Year-Old Preliminary Test.
As the last combination in the championship arena, Ashlyn De Groot (Hanford, Calif.) and DG Bar Ranch's KWPN mare DG Dancing Queen (Jazz x Princes Lincom/Junior) earned the best score of the division, 9.0, with a polished performance. The talented mare was rewarded for her impressive gaits that demonstrated great swing and athleticism, earning 9.7, 9.0, and 8.6 for the trot, walk, and canter, respectively.
The mare not only showed great potential for the future in her gaits, but also with her rideability and harmonious work, for which she was rewarded an 8.7 on submission. For her quality work Thursday afternoon, DG Dancing Queen earned an overall impression mark of 9.0.
Second place in the Five-Year-Old Qualifying class went to Nadine Burberl (White House Station, N.J.) and Michael Davis' Fashion Design O.L.D. (Faustinus x Forst-Design/De Niro). The Oldenburg gelding was also rewarded for quality gaits, earning scores of 9.7, 9.0, and 8.5 for the trot, walk, and canter.
The gelding earned a Qualifying Class score of 8.94 on Thursday after being rewarded with a 8.5 on submission and 9.0 for overall impression.
Third place went to Silva Martin (Unionville, Pa.) and Melinda Walton's Hanoverian gelding Benefactor RRS (Bonheur x Heidekleid/Rubenstein I) with a score of 8.62. For the trot, walk, and canter, he received 9.5, 9.0, and 7.8. Additionally, they earned 8.3 for submission and earned an overall impression score of 8.5.
The Five-Year-Old entries return to the arena on Saturday for the Championship Class and the remaining 60% of their overall scores in the FEI Five-Year-Old Final Test.
Developing Grand Prix
Thursday's Championship competition came to a close under clear skies with a field of six performing the FEI Intermediaire II Test for the first 40% of the overall score.
Heading the field following the first of two days of competition is Laura Wharton-Mero (Woodstock, Ga.) and her own Zandor (Florencio x Nancy BS/Amulet). The nine-year-old KWPN gelding demonstrated a great amount of presence throughout the test to cruise to a score of 66.974%.
The talented gelding's test was highlighted by an impressive canter tour including accurate pirouettes and clean changes. A break to the canter at the first trot extension held Zandor from achieving an even higher score.
Second-place went to Kathy Priest (Versailles, Ky.) and her own gelding Wild Dancer (Florett AS x Reality B). The 10-year-old KWPN demonstrated a solid foundation in the Grand Prix movements and a particular aptitude for the one-and-two-time changes to score 65.570%.
Zanzibar (Consul x Juventafee/Farmer) was ridden to third-place by Katie Riley (White House Station, N.J.) as the final horse down centerline. Michael Davis' nine-year-old KWPN stallion earned a score of 65.351% on Thursday.
The 2013 Champion will be crowned Saturday as the final 60% of the overall score will be earned in the USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Test.
To learn more about the 2013 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships presented by HorseShow.com visit: http://usef.org/_IFrames/breedsDisciplines/discipline/alldressage/DressageChampionships.aspx
To see scores from the 2013 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships presented by HorseShow.com visit: http://www.foxvillage.com/fvdshowresults/(zdt2hk55gccd1aiflg5fmk45)/ClassList.aspx?sh=1484&st=1