Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 11, 2017 – With a cowboy-themed freestyle, fan-favorites, Jim Koford and Adiah HP (Nico–Marje Ant, Anton), a U.S.-bred Friesian Sporthorse mare, entertained the crowd Saturday night in the Alltech Arena with a new routine. The pair danced their way to the win in the Grand Prix Open Freestyle at the US Dressage Finals with a score of 71.113 percent.
Koford picked up the ride on Sherry Koella’s Adiah HP, who is three-quarters Friesian and a quarter Dutch Warmblood, a year and a half ago. Earlier this season, the colorful duo placed third in the Developing Grand Prix National Championship at the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships in Illinois.
Nicole Harrington of Amelia, Ohio, rode Wizard of Oz, her 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, to a fitting freestyle consisting of instrumental songs from his classic movie namesake. They finished in second place with a 70.617 percent, improving upon her third-place finish in Friday’s Grand Prix Open Championship.
Barbara Strawson of Clarksburg, Maryland, and The Stables of Rolling Ridge LLC’s 15-year-old Friesian stallion Ivan took home a third-place finish, earning a total score of 69.975 percent in their freestyle.
Results: Grand Prix Open Freestyle Championship
Rider / Horse / Total Score
1. Jim Koford / Adiah HP / 71.113
2. Nicole Harrington / Wizard of Oz / 70.617
3. Barbara Strawson / Ivan / 69.975
4. Nora Batchelder / Bahai / 69.300
5. Erika-West Danque / Incognito / 67.068
6. Trish Kerwin-Bell / Daturo II / 66.808
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
James Koford – US Dressage Finals Grand Prix Open Freestyle champion
On Adiah HP:
“She just makes me so happy. I was actually feeling guilty this week thinking she wasn’t ready for the Grand Prix, she’s only done a couple of shows Grand Prix. When you’re this visible and different you don’t want to not be ready. My freestyle is kind of funny and cowboy-themed, and it’s so her. I thought, ‘Let’s just bring it on!’ She has so much talent, but there’s no place to school for this kind of competition. No matter how much you practice at home, it’s not the same. So I knew I had to expose her to this and see if she wants to go to the big city, see if she wants to go to Wellington.”
On his ride:
“She heard the applause for the horse before us and charged down the channel to go in. I said, ‘Game on sister, let’s go.’ She was like, ‘Hang on Jim, I’ve got this.’ She makes me laugh, she’s my funny, little buddy. She’s just bigger than life. I love riding her. This is not a sport that rewards diversity, so I’m so glad that the crowd got it. The audience was really connecting. It’s really fun.”
Nicole Harrington – US Dressage Finals Grand Prix Open Freestyle reserve champion
On her ride:
“The tempis were a highlight of our ride tonight. We do a pirouette on centerline directly into ones. He’s still a little green in the passage and piaffe since he’s young, but it’s coming along. He just keeps progressing.
On Wizard of Oz:
“He is an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding. We just started Grand Prix. He’s a really good, hard-working horse. It’s really a pleasure to bring him along and we have high hopes for what he may accomplish. He has a Wizard of Oz themed freestyle, and it just fits him to a tee. He loves his music. He’s going to go to Florida this year and we’ll see what happens. He is so hard-working, he just wants to do it for you. He’s such a partner. He’s a character in the barn too, he’ll lick right up your face like a big dog.
On her experience at US Dressage Finals:
“It’s a great show. It’s fun to see everyone come from all over the U.S. and get together to see people you wouldn’t normally see. The management does a great job running it. This is Wizard’s sixth show ever in his life. He has handled it absolutely fantastic because this is the biggest environment he’s been in yet.”