August 24th, 2013 -- The first three of five 2013 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships presented by HorseShow.com National Titles were awarded Saturday at the Lamplight Equestrian Center, in Developing Grand Prix and Four and Five-Year-Old divisions. All competitors rode in front of the star-studded panel of Lilo Fore, Anne Gribbons and Sandy Osborne. In the Markel/USEF Developing Grand Prix Horse Dressage National Championship presented by HorseShow.com, Zandor earned his first National Championship. In the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Five-Year-Old National Championships presented by HorseShow.com, Fashion Designer OLD impressed the crowds and judges to head the field. The day came to a conclusion with Rebellienne HVH earning top honors in the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Four-Year-Old National Championships presented by HorseShow.com
Developing Grand Prix
The field of six Developing Grand Prix horses returned to Lamplight's Championship Arena to earn the remaining 60% of their championship score by performing USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Test. They carried forward the score from Thursday's FEI Intermediaire II Test which composed the first 40% of their score.
Laura Wharton-Mero (Woodstock, Ga.) and her own Zandor (Florencio x Nancy BS/Amulet) were the winners of Thursday's Qualifying Class and returned to the Championship Arena looking to earn the National Championship. The nine-year-old KWPN gelding once again demonstrated his aptitude for the Grand Prix movements to finish third in the Championship Class on a score of 66.542% to finish on an overall total of 66.715%.
"Zandor had a nice ride Thursday, he was a little tight at the beginning but got better," said Wharton-Mero of the expressive gelding. "Today he stayed very consistent, there were a couple bobbles but he stayed consistent."
Zandor has been a part of the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Program since he was a four-year-old and competed in last year's Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Championship. His win this weekend is not only a testament to the program but also the Wharton-Mero's training.
"I've come through this program, this horse has been doing this since his four-year-old year," said Wharton-Mero. "It's a wonderful feeling to win."
Reserve Champion honors went to Kathy Priest (Versailles, Ky.) and her own 10-year-old KWPN Wild Dancer (Florett AS x Reality B). The impressive mare improved upon her performance on Thursday to best the field in the Championship Class with a score of 66.708%.
"I'm happy with my girl she stayed pretty consistent," said Priest. "I'm happy she hit her one-tempis and the passage piaffe tour is improving. I'm thrilled."
They finished on a championship score of 66.253%.
Katie Riley (White House Station, N.J.) and her own nine-year-old KWPN stallion Zanzibar (Consul x Juventafee/Farmer) secured third place honors with a championship total of 66.090%. On Saturday they cruised to 66.583% to earn second place in the Championship Class as well as the Highest Place U.S. Bred award.
Thirteen entries contested the Five-Year-Old Championship, for which the first 40% of their score was earned in the FEI Five-Year-Old Preliminary Test on Thursday. With the remaining 60% awarded in the Championship Class on Saturday, where combinations performed the FEI Five-Year-Old Final Test.
Nadine Burberl (White House Station, N.J.) entered the Championship Arena with Michael Davis' Fashion Designer O.L.D. (Faustinus x Forst-Design/De Niro) knowing that with a strong performance she could claim her first National Title. She did just that scoring 9.060 in the Championship Class to finish on an overall total of 9.012.
Burberl, who is originally from Germany but has been based with Cesar Parra for four years, was impressed with the Oldenburg gelding on both Thursday and Saturday.
"Both rides went amazing; on Thursday we had some work to do and worked on that on Friday," said Burberl who believes that training a young horse takes time and patience. "It's not just three weeks; it's done throughout the year."
Fashion Designer O.L.D. impressed the judging panel on Saturday with his fabulous gaits including his trot for which he was rewarded a 10, the gelding also received 9.0 for the walk and 8.5 for his canter. Additionally, he received high marks for submission and general impression; 8.5 and 9.3, respectively.
"It's just amazing; I have goose-bumps every circle, every canter stride," said Burberl. "and the trot is just amazing."
Thursday's winner DG Dancing Queen (Jazz x Princes Lincom/Junior) and Ashlyn De Groot (Hanford, Ga.) earned Reserve Champion honors after scoring 8.860 in the FEI Five-Year-Old Final Test, they finished on a championship score of 8.916. DG Bar Ranch's KWPN mare was awarded 9.2, 9.0, and 8.6 for the trot, walk and canter. A mistake in the simple change kept the talented mare from earning higher submission and general impression score, they were awarded 8.5 and 9.0 respectively.
"I'm just so excited; we all have our days. She's just such a great horse and fun to work with," said the 19-year-old De Groot who is a longtime participant in the Young Horse Program. "They (young horses) are fun to work with; you see them learning and progressing, it's so rewarding."
Burberl also collected third place honors with another Davis' ride, Fiderhit O.L.D. (Fidertanz x Fleur/Sandro Hit), on a championship score of 8.620. The Oldenburg mare received 9.5, 9.0 and 8.2 for the trot, walk and canter. She also was awarded 7.8 for submission and 9.0 for general impression, to finish on a score of 8.700 in Saturday's test.
Qredit Hilltop (Quaterback x Dream Rubina/ Dream of Glory) ridden by Chris Hickey (Colora, Md.) was awarded the Highest Place U.S. Bred honor. The Oldenburg/Gov stallion finished in fourth place overall on a score of 8.480.
Saturday came to a close with 13 of the best horses from the 2009 foal crop completing the USEF Dressage Test for Four-Year-Old Horses for a second time to earn the remaining 60% of their championship score.
Brandi Benedict (Lovettsville, Va.) and High Valley Hanoverians' Rebellienne HVH (Rotspon x EM Whitney/Welser) turned heads throughout the week to be named the Four-Year-Old Champion on a score of 8.760. The Hanoverian mare was the winner of Thursday's Qualifying Class, in a performance made all the more impressive because they competed in the deluge of rain. He returned Saturday and was a little tired but nonetheless persevered to finish third in the Championship Class on a score of 8.720.
"Thursday went really well, it was our first test together, it was interesting in the pouring rain," joked Benedict. "Today she was a lit bit more tired but still really tried."
Rebellienne HVH and Benedict have only been partnered together for two weeks but nonetheless were able to earn top marks. On Saturday, the mare's gaits were regarded highly scoring 8.8, 9.5, and 7.5 for the trot, walk, and canter respectively. Additionally, they received 9.0 for submission and 8.8 on general impression.
Benedict credits the mare's great performance this week to her early training and breeding.
"All of her training really came through, as did her breeding. I really have to thank High Valley Hanoverians for giving me this opportunity."
The pair also received the Highest Place U.S. Bred award.
Earning Reserve Champion honors was the KWPN gelding Encore (Jazz x Aloha SE/Sir Sinclair) with owner/rider Amy Miller on a score of 8.736.The pair were the second place finishers in both the Qualifying and Championship Class.
In an interesting twist, they tied with Benedict and Rebellienne HVH in Saturday's class on a score of 8.720. Generally, when there is a tie it is broken by breeding nationality, but as both were U.S. Bred the tie remained in place. It was then turned to the judges to choose the winner, and it was determined that Encore would earn the red ribbon.
For his performance on Saturday, the gelding received 8.5, 8.5, and 8.8 for their trot, walk, and canter gaits, as well as 9.0 for submission and 8.8 for general impression.
"I got him at the end of his two-year-old year," said Miller. "On Thursday, he scared himself a bit with the tractors in the other ring but got it back together. Today he tried so hard and you can't ask for more than that."
Anna Marek (Williston, Fla) and AJ Stapleton's Elain (Sir Oldenburg x Barliane/Santano) collected third-place honors on an overall score of 8.700. The KWPN gelding was the winner of the Championship class on a score of 8.780. They received scores of 8.8, 8.5, and 8.8 for the trot, walk and canter, in addition to 9.0 for submission and 8.8 for general impression.
The 2013 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships presented by HorseShow.com comes to a conclusion tomorrow with champions being crowned in Six-Year-Old and Developing Horse Prix St. Georges. The day begins at 8:35am CT with the Six-Year-Old division.
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