Wayne, IL – August 25, 2016 – The first divisions of the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships took to the ring at Lamplight Equestrian Center on Thursday, Aug. 25. Adrienne Lyle was the first down the centerline for the Developing Prix St. Georges division on Betsy Juliano’s 9-year-old Oldenburg mare Horizon (Hotline – Revue, Don Schufro). The pair earned an impressive score of 74.649 percent and maintained their lead in a field of 14, the top three finishers all had Olympic experience.
“I was super happy with her today and I don’t really think I could ask for more from her,” Lyle explained. “We’ve been out of the ring since March for our last qualifying competition so you train hard, you try to be really picky at home and then you just hope you’re not rusty when you go in there. She was just spot on for me and I couldn’t have asked for more from her.”
Though Horizon has experience in the young horse program from her previous rider George Williams, this is Lyle’s first year competing at the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships.
“I didn’t want to throw her right out into the open CDI’s first because it’s been all about developing her confidence in the ring,” Lyle said. “I think it is paying off because she’s gone from being a little bit nervous and hot feeling to feeling like she really loves it in there now. This championship gives us a good goal and it was a good stepping stone for going into the open CDI’s this coming season.”
Lisa Wilcox and Gallant Reflection HU (Galant Du Serein – Rohmanie, Rohdiamant), a 7-year-old Zweibrucker stallion owned by Horses Unlimited Inc. earned a score of 71.140 percent to place second.
“I’m very happy!” Wilcox said. “I was very impressed that he was as focused as he was because he got a little spooked coming in. I’m going to try for basically the same thing on Saturday as today, and I won’t be changing much.”
Cesar Parra earned a 70.658 percent on his 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding Fashion Designer OLD (Faustinus – Forst-Design, De Niro) to place third. The pair are no strangers to the championships at Lamplight as Fashion Designer won the national championship as a 5-year-old.
“I love the young horse program,” Parra explained. “It’s an incentive to keep doing things in the right way, in the right line, because there are no shortcuts. If you try to rush these young horses and try to show them in these classes without having the basics you won’t be successful. They start growing up and learning their job and loving it so I think it’s a beautiful program.”
Though Justine Wilson is relatively new to dressage having previously been a jumper rider, she is seeing her share of success at the Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse National Championships. In Thursday morning’s 4-year-old test, she rode her Dutch Warmblood stallion Hero BHS (Cover Story – Andante, Prestige VDL) to first place in a field of 14 with a score of 8.28.
“I think that I had a very reliable horse for a 4-year-old stallion,” Wilson said. “He has a pretty good mind. I was happy that I had 100% of what I asked for today and I’ll maybe ask for a little more on Saturday. I definitely had a partner in there which was a nice feeling.”
The judging panel was impressed with Hero BHS’s temperament, rideability and focus, and they gave a few suggestions on aspects to work on for Saturday’s final test.
“They loved his trot, his loft in his step, and how much he gets off the ground,” Wilson explained. “The judges would like to see more power behind, which certainly comes with strength and conditioning for a 4-year-old. He was very uphill and covered a lot of airspace but needed to reach more in the canter. We can push for that on Saturday but I think that we are starting at a good place today.”
Wilson was full of praise for Lamplight Equestrian Center and was enthusiastic about the opportunities that the young horse competition affords competitors.
“It’s a beautiful venue,” Wilson said. “It’s a special place and the championships really develops your eye towards what your goal is. While schooling a 4-year-old you can see the 6-year-olds schooling and see where you’re supposed to be in the next two years.”
Sitting in second place after the first class was Craig Stanley and his own Habanero CWS (Idocus – Caliente DG, 00 Seven) a KWPN gelding just behind Wilson with a score of 8.22. Stanley had a bit of a tack mishap prior to Thursday morning’s test when a billet broke on his saddle and he had to scramble to find a new saddle right before the test.
“I guess I’m going to have to use that saddle on Saturday,” Stanley chuckled. “Now that he went so well in that saddle how can I change it?”
Rounding out the top three was Nadine Schwartsman and Nancy Weaver’s Harvard R (Sir Donnerhall – Coco Chanel R, Farrington) with a score of 7.98. Harvard R was purchased, unbroke, last year with the goal of becoming his amateur owner’s competition horse, but when he began to excel with Schwartsman, Weaver was happy to support their success in the young horse program by the side of the ring. Schwartsman was happy with how her horse comported himself on Thursday.
“I’m just so happy that he’s so comfortable in his own skin at such a young age and that he’s handling the big environment as well as he is,” Schwartsman said about her ride. “He was very relaxed and happy to be here, I love how much he enjoyed himself! He tried his best and he was just very relaxed so we are going to give him a nice day off tomorrow and I hope I have a little bit more energy on Saturday to improve the scores.”
In the 5-year-old division it was Christian Hartung and Christiane Noelting’s Oldenburg gelding Desario (De Champ – Rosaria, Rosario) who topped the leaderboard after the first test with an impressive score of 8.68. Hartung balances a full time job as a business analyst with riding several horses per day in California.
“He went in and he tried to show off,” Hartung said. “He hasn’t had a test like that before so I was quite happy.”
While he has qualified horses in previous years this is his first trip to the Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Championships, and Hartung is pleased he made the three day trip
“The facility is great,” he sad. “It’s a great venue for this show to happen. The young horse program has the right process and policy in place, and I hope that we get some good horses out of it for the next big championships.”
Sitting close behind Hartug in second place was Karin Persson and her own Giuliano B (Bon Bravour – Mondilia, Elcaro), a Dutch Warmblood gelding with a score of 8.52.
“I’m very happy with my test!” Persson said. “He was relaxed and energized, and I actually didn’t have any complaints because he was perfect. He’s such a competitive horse and he loves it.”
Rounding out the top three was Cyndi Jackson and Sir Amour (San Amour – Dorina, De Niro) with a score of 8.02. The Hanoverian gelding is owned by Schuttler Stables and Jackson has only had the ride on him since the end of December. She was thrilled with her ride today as it was a personal best for the pair.
“I wasn’t sure how he would take to the pressure of a big competition like this,” Jackson said. “This was our best score at this test so far, so I was happy that he came out and knocked out his best score on this ride when it counted.”
The 4 and 5-year-old horses, as well as the Developing Prix St. George horses, will return to the ring on Saturday for their final test. The first test will count 40% towards their overall scores, and the second test will count 60% for a combined score to determine the champions.
For results and starting times, visit http://www.foxvillage.com. For more information about Lamplight Equestrian Center, visit http://www.lamplightequestriancenter.com. Live streaming will be available on the USEF Network. The 6-Year-Old division will begin at 8:00 a.m. Friday, Aug. 26.
Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championship Results
4-Year-Old Preliminary Test
1. Justine Wilson/Hero BHS/8.28
2. Craig Stanley/Habanero CWS/8.28
3. Nadine Schwartsman/Harvard R/7.98
4. Jennifer Wetterau/Hartog/7.72
5. Caroline Hoerdum/Jagger/7.62
6. Anna Wood/Hotshot/7.62
7. J.T. Burnley/Won Million/7.50
8. Kim Gentry/Fine Art/7.44
5-Year-Old Preliminary Test
1. Christian Hartung/Desario/8.68
2. Karin Persson/Giuliano B/8.52
3. Cyndi Jackson/Sir Amour/8.02
4. Christian Garweg/Chancellor/7.90
5. Marne Martin-Tucker/Dante Coeur/7.68
6. Mike Suchanek/Delta L/7.42
7. Ari Lopez/Fuerstin Delia/7.36
8. Ashlyn De Groot/Gaspard De La Nuit DG/7.16
Prix St. Georges Test
1. Adrienne Lyle/Horizon/74.649
2. Lisa Wilcox/Gallant Reflection HU/71.140
3. Cesar Parra/Fashion Designer OLD/70.658
4. Nicholia Clarke/Finesse/70.351
5. Nicholia Clarke/Quincy/70.263
6. Jessica Jo Tate/Summersby/70.219
7. Kelly Casey/Emilion SA/69.430
8. Emily Miles/Sir Sherlock/68.114