August 25, 2013--The 2013 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships presented by HorseShow.com came to a thrilling conclusion on Saturday with two newly minted National Champions. Top Six-Year-Olds and Developing Prix St. Georges horses put their best efforts forward in Lamplight Equestrian Center's Championship Arena in front of the judging panel of Lilo Fore, Anne Gribbons and Sandy Osborne. In the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Six-Year-Old National Championships presented by HorseShow.com Vitalis earned his first U.S. National Title while Wakeup stormed to top honors in the Markel/USEF Developing Prix St. Georges Horse Dressage National Championships presented by HorseShow.com.
Six-Year-Old competition kicked-off the day at the Lamplight Equestrian Center as 12 up-and-coming horses showcased their talents in the FEI Six-Year-Old Final Test to earn the remaining 60% of their overall score.
Skagen Holdings' Vitalis (Vivaldi x Tolivia/Donnerschwee) continued to impress to win the Six-Year-Old Championship by a healthy margin. Ridden by Charlotte Jorst (Reno, Nev.), the KWPN demonstrated athletic, expressive gaits; including the trot for which he was awarded a perfect 10, he also received a 7.5 for the walk and a nearly perfect 9.8 for the canter. Additionally, the judging panel rated his submission and general impression highly, giving 9.0 and 9.3, respectively.
The stallion received 9.120 on Saturday and finished on an overall score of 9.152.
"I've just loved it here throughout the week," said Jorst. "Today I was focusing on me; I had a great ride on Friday, so I didn't want to change a lot."
Jorst and Vitalis represented the U.S. two weeks ago in Verden, Germany at the FEI World Breeding Championships for Dressage Young Horses. Jorst believes that the Young Horse competitions and championships are very important to helping the development of the sport.
"I think you put a stick in the ground and you train forward from that, you know where to focus and what to do," said Jorst. "The exposure is really important."
Earning Reserve Champion honors were Jane Karol (Concord, Mass.) and her own Sunshine Tour (Sir Donnerhall x History/Alabaster) on a championship total of 8.028. The Oldenburg mare was regarded highly for her trot and canter earning 9.5 and 8.3, respectively. However, their overall score was held back after being assessed a 6.6 for the walk. They earned a score of 8.180 on Saturday after receiving 8.2 and 8.3 for submission and general impression.
"I felt I wanted to go for it, but not too much," said Karol and felt that Sunshine Tour improved on Sunday. "I felt like I had more suppleness and she was more through the back."
Caliente DG (Oo Seven x Satina/Contango) earned third place and was the Highest Place U.S. Bred award winner on an overall score of 7.940. Ridden by Craig Stanley (Madera, Calif.) Brenda Linman's KWPN mare received a score of 8.180 on Sunday. She received 7.8, 7.6, and 8.7 for the trot, walk and, canter as well as 8.3 and 8.5 for submission and general impression.
Caliente DG is a credit not only to her breeders, owners and training she has received but also the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Program, having participated in the Four, Five, and Six-Year-Old Championships.
Developing Prix St. Georges
The 2013 Championships came to close Sunday afternoon, with 13 Developing Prix St. Georges horses performing the USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Test. Sunday's Championship Class was worth the remaining 60% of the overall score.
Last year, Wakeup (Wagnis x Maiden Montreal/Macho) was the Reserve Champion in the Developing Horse Prix St. Georges and in 2013 the eight-year-old American Warmblood gelding went one better. In Friday's Qualifying Class the stallion and owner/rider Emily Wagner (LaCygne, KS) led the field with a polished performance. On Sunday, they topped their previous performance with an expressive and near flawless effort to score 76.520%.
"On Friday, I had a little bobble in the walk and I didn't have that today," said Wagner. "I was also bolder in the extended canter and was able to show a good difference coming back. I think showing those differences really helps with the scores."
They finished on a championship score of 75.298%.
Wakeup has come through the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Program competing at the Four, Five and Six-year-old Championships and was also the winner in his six-year-old. Wagner believes that coming through the program was extremely helpful in gaining her second National Title.
"It's a roadmap; it's a good checkpoint and shows you're going the right way," said Wagner of the importance of the program. "I think coming to these big shows as a four, five, and six-year-old is really helpful. It definitely helped him and I could come here and really ride him."
Jorst returned to the Championship Arena later in the afternoon to claim the Reserve Championship with Skagen Holdings' Adventure (Special D x Sunette S/Mandrain) on an overall score of 70.859%. The pair improved upon their performance on Friday to score 71.520% in the Championship Class.
"I think he went great, especially because I didn't ride him the whole month in Europe," said Jorst. "I was thrilled he was so good. He tried his heart out and I was thrilled to get everything. He was amazing."
Silva Martin (Unionville, Pa.) and Rosa Cha W Syndicate's nine-year-old Warmblood mare Rosa Cha W finished in third place on an overall score of 69.724%. They scored 69.804% on Sunday.
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