Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 13, 2018 – On the final day of competition at the US Dressage Finals, riders braved the cold temperatures to put their best efforts into their division championships. Martin Kuhn of New Berlin, Illinois, and Venivici heated up the competition in the Second Level Open Championship, which saw a field of 17 competitors, and earned a high score of 72.602 percent to be named the new champion.
With a name translated from Latin to mean ‘I came, I conquered’, Venivici proved that there is a lot in his name on Sunday afternoon. The 7-year-old Westphalian gelding, who Kuhn described as having a world-class work ethic, arrived ready to put his best foot forward even in less than ideal weather conditions.
Despite the temperatures, Kuhn expressed his gratitude to be able to attend the finals since its inception six years ago and witness its growth over that time period. Kuhn and the gelding, owned by Elizabeth Cronin, earned the reserve title in the 2017 First Level Open Championship at their first finals together, and returned this year to step up their game.
Taking the reserve championship in the Second Level Open Championship was Kathryn Stoy of Huntsville, Alabama, riding Flash Gordon HF. Stoy and the 6-year-old impressed the judges to earn a score of 71.911 percent. Flash Gordon HF, owned by Lisa Thompson Smith, have been together for two years developing their skills. The pair finished third in last year’s First Level Open Championship and was eager to return in the Second Level Championships.
Tom Noone of Abington, Massachusetts, and Venezia rounded out the top three in Sunday’s division. Noone and the mare owned by Kathleen Bisaro earned a score of 70.61 percent.
Results: US Dressage Finals Second Level Open Championship
Horse / Rider / Owner / Total Score
1. Martin Kuhn / Venivici / Elizabeth Cronin / 72.602
2. Kathryn Stoy / Flash Gordon HF / Lisa Thompson Smith / 71.911
3. Tom Noone / Venezia / Kathleen Bisaro / 70.61
4. Kathryn Fleming-Kuhn / Washburn SW / Kathryn Fleming-Kuhn / 69.675
5. Andrea Adkins / Udeck / Andrea Adkins / 68.089
6. Elizabeth Bortuzzo / Belongs To Teufer / John Witte / 67.52
7. Ericka Reinig / Bellisambrosso RTH / Alanna Sellers / 67.276
8. Cody Armstrong / Leonidas OWF / Elizabeth Ash / 66.87
9. John Mason / Savannah SWF / Mary Nuttal / 66.016
10. Kathleen Petersen / Godelieve / Susan Mitchell / 65.935
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Martin Kuhn – US Dressage Finals Second Level Open Champion
“I’ve had him for two years now and this is his second nationals. He can be a little hot under the collar, but today he was very with me and I was very pleased with the performance he gave me. He has a world-class work ethic. He is so happy to work and so eager to please. I think he didn’t always have the opportunity to show that off. He has a lovely trot, good canter and nice walk, but his work ethic is really top class.”
On his test highlights:
“Staying in the ring! Just knowing as nervous as he was that he still trusted me and let me help him through it, I’m really happy with how far he has come.”
On competing at the Finals:
“The support system of sponsors is great and everybody works so hard to make this a unique and fun experience. It’s been a real pleasure coming every year. We’ve come every year since the inception — seeing how much it’s improved and how much it’s grown. Really how amazingly smooth everything runs with this number of horses and it being spread out over such an amazing complex. It’s pretty impressive how well it’s been running.”
Kathryn Stoy – US Dressage Finals Second Level Open Reserve Champion
On Flash Gordon HF:
“He is 6-years-old, I’ve been riding him since he was four. We’ve started half steps of piaffe because he wants to go into passage more, and just trying to get a more collected and forward trot on his hind end with relaxation has been our goal. I’m just trying to keep him happy!”
On her test:
“I love his trot and I love the mediums. I thought his forward mediums were his best thing. His weakness happens to be his shoulder-in, and our last half today wasn’t the best, but he was with me the whole time so I was happy with him.”