Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 25, 2017 – After all horses passed the jog inspection Thursday evening, young riders were ready to start the weekend off strong in the USEF Children Dressage National Championship and the AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship.
In both championships, the horse-and-rider combinations compete in two tests, the Team Test and the Individual Test, each making up 50 percent of the riders’ overall results. The FEI Children Team Test, designed for riders between the ages of 12 and 14, kicked off the competition in the SmartPak Grand Prix Arena at the Lamplight Equestrian Center on Friday morning. With 2017 being the inaugural year for the FEI Children division, the riders were eager to compete for the new honors.
It was 13-year-old Abby Fodor of Bloomsbury, New Jersey, aboard the 14-year-old Quarter Horse/Haflinger gelding Slip and Slide, who wrapped up the class with a winning performance. Fodor and Slip and Slide were awarded a score of 67.889 percent to take the blue ribbon on Friday morning.
Beatrix Leffingwell, 13, of Lake Villa, Illinois, and Luke Skywalker, a 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding, claimed second place in the class with a score of 66.389 percent. Rounding out the top three was 12-year-old Ellanor Boehning of Battle Ground, Indiana, with the 14-year-old German Riding Pony gelding Kabam. The pair earned a score of 66.056 percent.
In the FEI Junior Team Test, 18-year-old Isabel Linder of Kewadin, Michigan, took the lead with Elvis, a 13-year-old Westphalian gelding, after earning a score of 70.991 percent. Linder had grown up riding and training in Shanghai, China, where Elvis had been living prior to being partnered with her. When the gelding, who had previously been a jumper, was sent to the United States from Shanghai to train with Linder, she quickly realized that he had winning potential in the dressage arena.
Meredith Talley, 17, of Nicholasville, Kentucky, took second place in the class with the 10-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Romeo after receiving a score of 68.964 percent. Juliet Hess, 18, of Atlanta, Georgia, completed the top three in the Junior Team Test aboard Diano, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding. The pair earned a score of 68.509 percent to secure their third place.
The AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship will conclude tomorrow after the individual test, which begins at 8 a.m. in the SmartPak Grand Prix Arena, followed by the Children Individual Test set to begin at 10:30 a.m. The FEI Young Rider Team Test will kick-off at 1:15 p.m., followed by the FEI Pony Rider Team Test.
FEI Children Team Test
1. Abby Fodor / Slip and Slide / 67.889
2. Beatrix Leffingwell / Luke Skywalker / 66.389
3. Ellanor Boehning / Kabam / 66.056
4. Madison Waller / Diablo DC / 64.444
5. Tella Holloran / Usela / 63.556
6. Emma Claire Stephens / De Nouvelle Vie / 62.944
FEI Junior Team Test
1. Isabel Linder / Elvis / 70.991
2. Meredith Talley / Romeo DSG / 68.964
3. Juliet Hess / Diano / 68.509
4. Katelyn Mosle / Diavolino 5 / 68.423
5. Allison Nemeth / Dafoe / 67.658
6. Kayla Kadlubek / Freewill / 66.982
6. Gaylen Davis / Mojito RH / 66.982
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Abby Fodor – FEI Children Team Test winner
On Slip and Slide:
“His old owner from Canada bought him from an auction and trained him up to fourth level. I’ve had him for a year and a half.”
On her test:
“The simple changes were a highlight, and the lengthenings in the trot and canter. I wasn’t expecting to win. I’m grateful to be here.”
Beatrix Leffingwell – FEI Children Team Test second place
On Luke Skywalker:
“I’ve had him for about a year and a half now. We started out really slowly. It took me awhile to get used to him and get to know him, but now we are in the zone. I think my test went really well. We had a mistake, but we recovered. It went really well. Our simple changes and our trot lengthenings were pretty good today.”
On being a part of the inaugural FEI Children division:
“I think it’s an honor. It’s really cool that they came up with this because it’s hard competing against young riders and juniors when they’re a lot older than you. It was really special to be able to compete against people my age. I think it’s really cool.”
Ellanor Boehning – FEI Children Team Test third place
On her test:
“I thought it went really well today. We had one mistake, but it was good because I had enough time to fix it before our simple changes. Overall, I think our ride was really amazing. I’d definitely like to make our simple changes a little better, and have a little more bend and balance in our loops.”
On being a part of the FEI Children division:
“It’s really an honor to be here. I’m really glad that they made this division because we are able to compete against other riders our age. It’s really nice to be here.”
Isabel Linder – FEI Junior Team Test winner
“I’ve been riding him for two years. He used to be a jumper before I started riding him, so he’s come a long way. Now, we are working on more collection. He’s almost 18 hands and he’s really long, so he needs more collection and sitting. It was pretty good today, but can definitely improve tomorrow. Especially in the trot work, he can get a little choppy if he’s not sitting enough. Elvis was super. He was listening to everything I was asking him.”
On her background with Elvis:
“I’ve never ridden jumpers, I’ve always just done dressage. Elvis’ owner actually lives in Shanghai, China, and Elvis was in China for about four years. He wasn’t doing much over there, so they sent him to us. We saw he had potential, and now here we are.”
On the Lamplight Equestrian Center:
“I love the grounds. They’re just beautiful and the footing is really nice.”
Meredith Talley – FEI Junior Team Test second place
On her test:
“We had a lot of fun in our test today. Romeo is very comfortable to ride, and I felt comfortable to push him more today. I’m so proud of him. I’ve been working on keeping the quality of the trot. That’s my biggest weakness with him, but overall we’ve been doing better with that.”
Juliet Hess: FEI Junior Team Test third place
On her test:
“Today was good, Diano was a really good boy. He started out listening to me more than he did at the end, but that can be fixed. It’s still the first day. He was a really good boy. Compared to juniors, he felt a lot better. The test was a lot more smooth. Now I’m working on keeping him out in the throat-latch. He tends to get a little tight. So I’m focusing on keeping him out, up in the shoulder and sitting more.”