June 9, 2011 -- The Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Selection Trials 2011 qualifying season concluded last week at the Eastern Selection Trials in Leesburg, Va.
The top five 5-year-olds and top five 6-year-olds that earned a minimum score of 7.8 in the selection trials from the three dressage competitions will make up the short list of horses moving forward to the 2011 Markel/USEF Dressage National Championship at Lamplight in Wayne, IL, August 26-28.
The first Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage selection trial was held at Dressage at Lamplight, May 20-22. The 6-year-old class was dominated by Emily Wagner and WakeUp (Wagnis - Maiden Montreal by Macho), an American Warmblood owned by Wagner and bred in the United States by Beverly McLean. WakeUp's final score was an 8.244. Wagner and WakeUp were the only U.S. pair to compete at the 2010 FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships. Reserve Champion in the 6-year-old class went to Angela Hecker-Jackson and Allure S (by Rousseau - Sizarma by Farrington). The Dutch Warmblood is owned by Kerrin Dunn and was bred in the U.S. by Sonnenberg Farm with a score of 7.156. There were no 5-year-olds that qualified for the Central Selection Trials.
The second leg of the series, the Western Selection Trials, were held the following weekend at Dressage at Flintridge, May 26-29 in La Canada-Flintridge, Calif. The 5-year-old champion was the bay Hanoverian stallion Sanceo (San Remo - St. Pr. Hauptstutbuch Rivera), owned by Alice Womble-Heitmann and bred by Gerhard Dustmann. Sabine Schut-Kery rode the stallion to a score of 8.228. Reserve champion went to Willy Arts and Bakara (Sir Sinclair - Thea by Idocus) with a score or 7.512. The Dutch Warmblood was bred and is owned by Janice Kissel. The 6-year-old champion was Sherry Van't Riet and Sir Deauville (Sir Donnerhall - Estella), a brown Oldenburg gelding owned by Van't Riet and bred by Karl-Heinz Drees. The pair earned an overall score of 7.092. Reserve Champion went to Bekki Vrono and Soleil (Sunny Boy - Ricoletta), a bay Oldenburg gelding owned by Vrono and bred by Werner Martens Achternhoff, with a score of 6.744.
The final selection trial was held in Leesburg, Va., at the VADA/NOVA Summer Dressage Show, June 3-5. The Eastern Selection Trial saw the third qualifying score for the FEI World Breeding Dressage Championship when Lauren Chumley and Somer Hit earned an 8.376 overall in the 5-year-old division. Somer Hit (Sandro Hit - Rhussia by Rotspon) is a black Hanoverian stallion owned by Alice Tarjan and bred in the U.S. by Mo Swanson of Rolling Stone Farm. Somer Hit earned a fourth-place finish in last year's Markel/USEF Dressage National Championship ridden by Tarjan. Reserve Champion went to Ulla Parker and Biscaya (Johnson - SPS Hauptstutbuch by Argentinus), an Oldenburg mare owned by Nancy Holowesko. Their final score was a 7.996. The Eastern Selection Trial 6-year-old champion was Silva Martin and Aesthete (Trento B - Unusual by Gribaldi) with an overall score of 8.148. Aesthete is no stranger to the Markel/USEF Young Horse Program; he was the Reserve Champion as a 5-year-old at these trials in 2010 and was the 2009 Markel/USEF National 4-year-old Champion. The bay, Dutch gelding is owned by Faye Woolf. Reserve Champion, with an overall score of 7.864 went to Jules Nyssen and Allegro (Son de Niro - Sonate by Ferro). The black Dutch gelding is owned by Nyssen.
During this three competition series, three horses earned overall combined scores of more than 8.2, and an invitation to the 2011 FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships in Verden, Germany, August 3-7. Additionally, U.S. horses competing abroad have the opportunity to earn qualifying scores for this prestigious World Championship. Invitations will be extended to the selected horses in June.