Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 21, 2018 – In preparation for the 2018 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, the USEF Dressage Medal Seat Finals and the USEF/Markel Young and Developing Horse Championships kicking off at the Lamplight Equestrian Center, the Grand Prix, Intermediate I, U25 Grand Prix and Young Rider divisions completed their health inspection. Though a handful of horses were asked to trot down the jog lane a second time, Jennifer Baumert and Handsome, set to compete in the USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship, were the only pair held for re-inspection but later passed.
Nick Wagner, a competitor from Southern California riding two horses in the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship and the USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship, is excited to be participating in the championships for the first time at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. He will first be going down centerline in the Prix St. Georges test with Ferano, an 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, on Wednesday morning.
“I’ve been riding Ferano since he was five,” Wagner explained. “I’ve shown him from First Level to Prix St. Georges, and this is our first season at Prix St. Georges/Intermediaire I. It’s really exciting to be here! It’s a big accomplishment for an 8-year-old horse.”
Wagner will also be taking on the Grand Prix with Don John, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding that he has been riding for five years. The pair competed in this year’s inaugural Adequan West Coast Dressage Festival in Del Mar, California, taking home consistent high placings. As he has also ridden Don John up the levels and witnessed his development first-hand, he is thrilled to be participating in the championships during his first season competing at the Grand Prix level.
Wagner explained that his main goal is to walk away happy with his rides aboard both horses. “That’s what I do it mostly for,” he said. “Then secretly I want to place well. I’m very competitive, but I’m also on two green horses for this level so I’m aware that we still have a lot of growth to do. I’m just here to do my best and represent the west coast!
“This is my first time here, it’s a beautiful facility,” Wagner continued. “It’s just gorgeous, and everyone has been so hospitable so it’s nice to be here. I’m really excited to have more west coast riders here this year. It’s nice when you go to an event to also see some familiar faces.”
Sophia Schults, showing in the USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship with Idolo Americano HGF, a 15-year-old PRE stallion, is also full of anticipation for the week of competition ahead. Schults has been partnered with the stallion owned by Hampton Green Farm for a couple of years, competing at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, at the FEI Junior Rider level in 2017. This year, they moved up to Young Riders in Florida and gained more experience at the Adequan/FEI North American Youth Championships in New York earlier in the month.
“To me, he’s perfect,” Schults said. “In New York at NAYC, he gave me 110 percent so I can’t complain. I just want to do the best that we can do and that’s all I can ask for. It would be my dream to do an awards ceremony, but as long as he’s happy, I’m happy.
“We’re fortunate enough that our farm in the summer is only three hours from the Lamplight Equestrian Center,” she explained. “We were able to come here about a month ago and rode fairly regularly in the national shows. It’s an amazing facility!”
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 Grand Prix 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 USEF/Markel Young and Developing Horse Championships and the Junior, Pony, and Children divisions of the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions will take place in the Dunham Ring 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.
For more information about the Lamplight Equestrian Center, please visit http://www.lamplightequestriancenter.com.