Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 26, 2018 – In 2014, Miki Yang was determined to perform her best as the youngest member of the U.S. Vaulting Team at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. The talented youngest went on to win a bronze medal at the Youth World Championships in Ermelo, Netherlands. Little did she know that only in a few years she would be shifting her focus from vaulting to dressage and riding away with a national championship title.
The USEF Children Dressage National Championship was established in 2017 and concluded its second year Sunday, Aug. 26th on the final day of the U.S. Dressage Festival of Championships at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. Competing against a field of 10 horse-and-rider combinations, Yang, 13, maintained their Day 1 lead on Four Winds Farm’s Garden’s Sam to win the tricolor with an overall score of 69.020 percent.
Yang and ‘Sammy’, an 11-year-old New Forest Pony gelding owned by Four Winds Farm, made the trip from Los Altos, California, with her mom, Akiko Yamazaki, the long-time sponsor of Olympian Steffen Peters. Yamazaki competed her KWPN gelding Chopin R in the USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championships also held during the week of competition at Lamplight.
Yang, who trains with Hillary Martin, topped the leaderboard in both of her division’s classes, with a 68.387 percent in the FEI Children Test and a 69.643 percent in the FEI Children Individual Test. Despite Sammy’s usual nerves in the show ring, she was thrilled with their performance in both tests.
Maintaining their second place position from the FEI Children Team Test, Averi Allen, 14, and Mary Adam’s Lady Lilliana rode away with the reserve championship title with an overall score of 67.633 percent. Lady Lilliana, a 9-year-old Friesian Sporthorse mare, and Allen earned a 67.885 percent in their first test and a 67.381 percent in Sunday’s test. Allen won the gold medal at the 2016 USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals 13 & Under Division.
Coming from Palmyra, Nebraska, Kylee Kment also held onto their position to finish third overall in the division with a total of 67.331 percent. Her mount, Manatee, is a 15-year-old Off-The-Track Thoroughbred who won a few races before switching careers to train dressage.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Miki Yang – USEF Children Dressage National Champion
On her test:
“I’m really happy with how it went. Sammy and I were both a little bit tired because we’ve been here for so long, but he gave me his all and I’m just really proud of him. We both went for it together and it was just a really great test.”
On being a national champion:
“I was not expecting this. I feel really proud and grateful to everybody that helped me get here, especially my trainer Hillary [Martin] because I would’ve never been able to do this without her. And to my family, especially my mom for supporting me. She loves horses as much as I do. It’s just everyone behind the scenes helping out so much. It was so fun to be able to compete with my mom; it was like a dream come true. It was very special.”
On her test:
“Even though he was on the tired side, I think getting him more in front of my leg was a definitely a highlight, as well as the jump in his canter and keeping him steadier in the contact throughout all the movements.”
“I’m not really sure, maybe next year FEI Ponies but we still haven’t decided for. The past year I’ve been more serious, focusing more on dressage. He came from Holland as a dressage pony, still green, and I got him when I was 10. We made it here and I’m really proud of him.”
Averi Allen – USEF Children Dressage National Reserve Champion
On her test:
“I’m very happy with my horse. We were both tired from our 2-hour ride on Friday, then we had a test yesterday and we just gave it our all. She was great and I’m so happy.”
Highlights of the test:
“She was a little behind the leg so trying to keep her up and forward was definitely one of the highlights. It was better than previous tests but she was a little harder to keep like that.”
On what’s next:
“I’m riding another horse and we got qualified for regionals, so we will go to that in a couple of weeks and try to qualify for the 14-18 equitation.”
Kylee Kment – USEF Children Dressage National Championship third place
On her test:
“I’m also super proud of my horse. He just went out there and did his best. I think our medium canter was much better and more balanced. We went for it a little more which I think was one of the main highlights.”
On what’s next:
“The rest of this year I think we will continue to work on this and maybe do the Children’s next year. Trying to get everything more consistent and concrete is our main goal.”
On her OTTB:
“He has raced about three times and he won two of those races which kind of surprised me because he’s not exactly the most energetic horse at times. He can be but usually, he’s kind of lazy. He’s amazing, we bought him from a girl who was going off to college. We leased him for about six months in the summer and decided to buy him so it was very exciting. I’m so proud of him.”
Results: USEF Children Dressage National Championship
Rider / Horse / Children Team / Children Individual / Total Score
1. Miki Yang / Garden’s Sam / 68.397 / 69.643 / 69.020
2. Averi Allen / Lady Lilliana / 67.885 / 67.381 / 67.633
3. Kylee Kment / Manatee / 67.756 / 66.905 / 67.331
4. Joslyn Allen / AAH Jabaskaset Star / 67.756 / 66.905 / 67.331
5. Ella Fruchterman / Recess / 65.641 / 65.774 / 65.708
6. Ella Fruchterman / My Second Fling / 66.090 / 64.107 / 65.099
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