Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 25, 2018 – On Friday afternoon at the Lamplight Equestrian Center, riders returned to the ring to perform their Intermediate I Freestyle for the USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship. Heather Blitz and Praestemarkens Quatero danced their way into the winners circle, earning a total combined score of 73.336 percent to claim the championship title.
Although Jennifer Baumert and Handsome earned the blue ribbon in Saturday afternoon’s Freestyle, Blitz and Praestemarkens Quatero’s close freestyle score of 74.045 was enough for them to maintain their lead. Combined with their Prix St. Georges score of 72.853 percent and an Intermediate I score of 73.529 percent, the pair beat out the competitive field of fifteen combinations to take home the championship title.
Blitz and her 9-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding made his small tour CDI debut in the spring of 2017, sweeping the Tryon Spring CDI3* in North Carolina. Since then, the pair has earned blue ribbon placings throughout the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida earlier this year.
Baumert and Handsome, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding, owned by Betsy Juliano LLC, started the division off in second place with their score of 71.735 percent in the Prix St. Georges, and a score of 72.824 percent in the Intermediate I. Today, the pair gave a strong performance in their freestyle that wowed the judges and helped them finish first with a score of 75.53 percent. They took home the reserve championship with a total combined score of 72.794 percent.
Earning the third place ribbon was Jodie Kelly-Baxley, of Destin, Florida, and Caymus, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Beth Godwin. Over the course of the week, they earned a 69.147 percent in the Prix St. Georges and a 71.912 percent in the Intermediate I. Remaining consistent, they earned a score of 71.13 percent in their Freestyle, contributing to their combined total of 70.689 percent.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Heather Blitz – USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Champion
On winning the national title:
“It feels amazing. I am going to live on this high for a little while now. I’m glad it’s over because I was pretty nervous about it—I have some really tough competition here. I’m really proud of rising to the top and I love winning, it never gets old. I’m super glad I came and it went as well as it did.”
On her freestyle:
“I used Marlene Whitaker for my freestyles and she is a genius. She heard some music and immediately thought of my horse, and I always take her advice. My horse is a very high powered and high energy horse and my music is the same. I love classical music but I didn’t want to go too classical. I think the energy matches my horse and encourages more and more ground cover.”
On her horse:
“I like to go wherever my horse is capable of going. He is a nice horse and he has team potential, so I hope I can keep doing the right thing by him. I want to keep enjoying the process, keeping him happy, and strengthening him.”
Jennifer Baumert – USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Reserve Champion
On her freestyle:
“Terry Gallo did my freestyle and she came out with a trot music, which is Titanium, and I instantly knew that was my song. It has a lot of power like Handsome does and has a lot of energy. It makes me ride his trot to the best trot it can be. We had a couple of choices for the canter music, but when I hear the music it just makes me turn on a little bit. I don’t get sick of it.”
Jodie Kelly-Baxley – USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship third place
On her freestyle:
“My music is from the movie ‘The Greatest Showman’. Leading up to needing my freestyle this past fall, I had been listening to a lot of music. I heard a lot of suitable music for him but nothing really spoke to me. I’m not super musical. Marlene Whitaker also created mine and she is a magician. I don’t hear the change in music very well so she really has to help me. I went to see the movie and I thought ‘This is it!” I didn’t really even watch the movie after that because I was just thinking about the music. I love it and every time it has a bold change in music and I’m right with it, it gives me goosebumps every time. I love my extended canter and it really speaks to me. Today was not so special, but in general, I love the freestyle and it’s a fun ride.”
Results: USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship
Rider / Horse / PSG Score / Intermediate I / Intermediate I Freestyle / Total Score
1. Heather Blitz / Praestemarkens Quatero / 72.853 / 73.529 / 74.045 / 73.336
2. Jennifer Baumert / Handsome / 71.735 / 72.824 / 75.53 / 72.794
3. Jodie Kelly-Baxley / Caymus / 69.147 / 71.912 / 71.13 / 70.689
4. Nora Batchelder / Faro SQF / 69.971 / 69.794 / 72.725 / 70.304
5. Nick Wagman / Ferano / 68.735 / 69.735 / 73.915 / 69.962
6. Nora Batchelder / Fifi MLW / 69.294 / 69.147 / 70.625 / 69.428
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