Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 24, 2019 – To close out competition in the Frey Arena, Kathy Priest rode Damon’s Fantasy to the Markel/USEF Developing Prix St. Georges Dressage National Championship title with an overall score of 72.598%.
Priest and Damon’s Fantasy (Damon Hill–Frascaya, Florencio I) led the charge following their performance on Wednesday for the first leg of the division, the Prix St. Georges. With only fractions of a point standing Priest and the second place position, the pair laid it all on the line in their final test for a score of 72.5%, allowing the duo to hang on to their lead. Bred in Germany by Hans and Britta Scherbring, the 8-year-old Oldenburg mare has been owned by Priest since she was a 4-year-old and is expected to move up to the Intermediate II division by the end of the season.
Following very closely being the winner, the red tricolor ribbon was awarded to Emily Miles and Java Dulce (Jazz–JJ Dolche Gabbana, Deemster) with an overall score of 72.02%. Java Dulce was bred in Norway by JJ Horses and is owned by Leslie Waterman. Miles, who was coming off of a win earlier in the day in the Markel/USEF 5-Year-Old Dressage National Championship, rode the 8-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding to a 71.667% in the Developing Prix St. Georges on Saturday, maintaining their second place position that they had claimed after the Prix St. Georges earlier in the week.
New to the top three in the division was amateur rider Barbie Asplundh and her partner of a year-and-a-half, Gorgeous (Charmeur–Andecimoes, Special D). The black gelding was bred in Holland by LCCM Van Erp. During the first test of the division Asplundh and the 8-year-old KWPN gelding earned a 70.882% to place them fourth in the class. Together, the duo laid down a strong performance in the Developing Prix St. Georges to bump them up to third with a 70.792%.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Kathy Priest – Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage National Champion
On what it means to win the national championships:
“It is very exciting. We came in on Monday with four horses that we had qualified, [Damon’s Fantasy], a young rider and two 6-year-olds. This mare is one that I have had since she was four so I was looking forward to doing this with her. The facility is so amazing. It is such an amazing place to come to and it is very friendly for the horses as well, especially for the young and developing horses because you are not leaving the warmup and going into an inclosed stadium. It is also customer friendly as far as the people go and the stabling is nice. Everybody has been amazing so we are thrilled to be here.”
On her test:
“I was really happy that she had really good energy in there — that is what you have to have for the future. I felt like even with a few little mistakes I could really get her back and get her concentrated. She stayed wanting to go for it. I feel like she has the quality [for Grand Prix] and we have already started some of it so we will just continue on.”
On what is next for Damon’s Fantasy:
“I think now we won’t do anything and just train until Florida. I had to stop [schooling] the one tempis before this so I will pick those back up, start working a bit more piaffe-passage, get ready to do a few CDIs and hopefully be ready for Intermediate II by the end of the season.”
Emily Miles – Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage National Reserve Champion
On what it means to do well with a new horse in the division:
“I was so thrilled with Java. I had absolutely no expectations for him this week. I was so excited for him to be here. It has not been the easiest road with him. He is a super awesome horse to work with an he learns fast but we had some soundness issues. I have to give a huge kudos to Leslie [Waterman], his owner, because she 100% believed in him all of the time. We joked that he was a bad boyfriend for me for a while and he wouldn’t commit to the relationship! I am just so proud of him for putting in two consistent tests. In terms of me, you are only as good as the horses you get to sit on and each one teaches you so much. Java has taught me so much about sensitivity. Wake Up was not the most sensitive horse out there and I could push him. This is a very different ride for me in that difference of horses is educational for me as a trainer and a rider. I absolutely love him. I think that he has a huge future ahead and I am excited that he gets to be here.”
Barbie Asplundh – Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage National Championship third place
On her partnership with Gorgeous:
“I got him about a year-and-a-half ago and he makes me look good. I’m an amateur, these people ride more in a day than I ride in a week so to be able to keep up with them I need a horse that is cooperative and a big mover. He goes as well as I ride so for me the highlight was every time I stopped riding today, I started again. I still have to work on what my coach calls my equitation. As long as I am riding well, he goes well. He is a gift to me. I have been doing this since 1979 and he is the best horse I have ever had. He is gorgeous and I am blessed to have him.”
On her trainer:
“My trainer is Catherine Haddad-Staller and she has rocked my world. She has worked with me for seven years or so. Jennifer Haven, who is my sports psychology coach on the West Coast that I have never even met, has also turned my competition world around too. It takes a village. You are not out there alone for sure. I felt like I was carrying quite a few people on [Gorgeous’] board with me. It was so much fun to be here. I had never been to Lamplight before and I had no idea it was this fabulous! We are definitely coming back!”
Results: Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage National Championship
Rider / Horse / FEI PSG Score (40%) / Developing PSG Score (60%) / Total
1. Kathy Priest / Damon’s Fantasy / Kathy Priest / 72.745 / 72.5 / 72.598
2. Emily Miles / Java Dulce / Leslie Waterman / 72.549 / 71.667 / 72.02
3. Barbie Asplundh / Gorgeous / Barbie Asplundh / 70.882 / 70.792 / 70.828
4. Lindsey Holleger / Fenomenal JW / Julia Whitfield / 70.539 / 70.125 / 70.291
5. Cesar Parra / GK Don Cesar / Cesar Parra / 70.245 / 69.875 / 70.023
6. Heather McCarthy / Au Revoir / Sandi Chohany / 68.627 / 70.583 / 69.801