November 9, 2014--Kentucky women seemed to claim home field advantage as they swept the top spots in the Satuday evening's Intermediate I Open Freestyle Championship. Angela Jackson earned her second national title of the day, this time aboard Kerrin Dunn's lovely Dutch Warmblood Allure S. Even though the mare wasn't feeling quite like her normal self on Thursday, when she entered the arena as the first combination down centerline for the class, "she rebounded and put her game face on today," said Jackson. "The feeling you get from her in the arena is just amazing. The crowd was really into it, and she loved it. I just love a good mare." Linda Strine from nearby Versailles, Ky. also had high praise for her mount, Julie Roche's Friesian mare Inke FCF (Erik x Nynke Marije by Nikolaas 310) who improved upon a fourth-place finish in this division at last year's Finals to earn tonight's Reserve Championship with 67.292%. "The best horses I've had have been mares," said Strine. "She was fired up - she's very expressive but also so reliable. I can always count on her, and she knew she was there to show off."
It may have taken North Forks Cardi four days to travel across the country from Battle Ground, Wash. (Region 6) to attend the Finals with owner/rider Jessica Wisdom, but it only took a matter of minutes for the charismatic Welsh Cob stallion to become the fan favorite on his way to winning the finale class of the night, the Grand Prix Open Freestyle Championship. "Freestyle is where he really shines - he hears that music and he becomes a big horse. Nobody told him that he's only 14.3 hands!," said Wisdom. "All he has to do is go out there and be the rock star that he knows he is. And you saw what happens! He has an ego the size of Texas. He seemingly becomes three hands taller and says, 'watch this." The Reserve title went to Region 4's Emily Miles of La Cygne, Kan. (69.833%), who today found success aboard her Hanoverian gelding Weltdorff, a horse she's had since he was a youngster and has risen up to the Grand Prix level together. "It's always seemed that he's played the role of bridesmaid to my other horse WakeUp, so I'm happy for him to earn this," said Miles. "I have to admit I don't particularly like my music, but I trusted my freestyle designer who insisted that it works for my horse. Obviously she was right! The best moment was coming down centerline as we did 25 one-tempi's one-handed and the crowd started clapping. And turns out my husband was watching our ride from home on the USEF Network! So it's been a really fun night."