Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 20, 2019 – The first health inspection for the 2019 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions took place Tuesday, Aug. 20 at Lamplight Equestrian Center with athletes from the Grand Prix, Intermediaire I, Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ and Young Rider championship divisions passing the jog with flying colors. In total, 160 competitors from 31 states and one U.S. territory are set to face off at one of the most prestigious national championships of the year beginning on Wednesday.
Allison Gerlt of Salem, Wisconsin, is set to compete in the Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ aboard Sir Lommel. The 23-year-old rider has been determined to return to the championships aboard Sir Lommel, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Jennifer Quirk and John Gerlt, ever since they qualified for last year’s U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions but withdrew from the competition. Although the timing in the previous year was not right for the pair, they have been focused on their development both in and out of the ring with the goal of returning to the Lamplight Equestrian Center better than ever.
“I have lost 40 pounds since May of last year, so it has been an entire athletic and personal change for both him and I as a team, and for me as a developing athlete,” Gerlt said. “Patricia Becker, my coach, has been amazing throughout this entire process. To get ready for this has also been about improving our mental capacities for pressure. It has been an amazing journey.”
When speaking about her goals for the national championships, Gerlt explained that she is looking forward to performing to the best of her ability with Sir Lommel and making the experience as positive as she can for both herself and her teammate.
“I would like to get through every piece as a team together,” she continued. “I want to do the best I can and not go into it with any expectations because putting that pressure on yourself only creates a stressful environment that is unnecessary. I want to go in with a better mentality for the sport and just ride for me and him, not necessarily for anybody else.”
“I love Lamplight, the show grounds are amazing,” Gerlt continued. “It is a big environment here, so it is good practice for him and for me. Getting to see the people that I get to compete with in Florida and seeing the other athletes is fun!”
Competing in the USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship, Quinn Iverson, 21, made the journey from Colorado with her mount Black Diamond CL. Coached by Olympians Debbie McDonald and Adrienne Lyle, Iverson has made significant leaps in her training since going down centerline in her first CDI competition earlier this season in Wellington, Florida. Iverson and Billie Davidson’s 13-year-old KWPN gelding have been partnered together for three years, when she began training as a working student with McDonald and Lyle at their farm in Idaho.
“I was a jumper before this, so it is all still kind of new!” Iverson said. “It is absolutely incredible. I am so grateful for both [McDonald and Lyle] and everything they have done for me. Both of them are amazing trainers and I am very grateful for the opportunities and their support more than anything. I can’t thank them enough for putting the time into me. I am very blessed.”
“For this show, I want a very rideable, honest horse in the ring,” she continued. “I want to be able to do what I know we can do together. If we can produce that and have clean tests all week, I will be very happy.”
The first class of the championships, the FEI Prix St. Georges Test for the USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship, is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. in the Kay Arena. The FEI Intermediate II Test for the USEF Young Adult U25 ‘Brentina Cup’ Dressage National Championships and the FEI Young Rider Team Test for the USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship will also take place on Wednesday. The jog inspection for the Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage National Championships and the Junior, Pony, and Children divisions of the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions will take place in the Frey Arena beginning at 4:30 p.m.
For results and starting times, visit Foxvillage.
Live streaming will be available on the USEF Network.
Full competition schedule, click here.