Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 10, 2017 – In an exciting atmosphere on Friday night in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park, 26-year-old Melanie Montagano of Wellington, Florida, topped the leaderboard in the Grand Prix Open Championship of the US Dressage Finals.
Montagano rode her longtime partner, Ga Deva, a 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare to the tricolor ribbon with a score of 65.3 percent. Throughout their career together, Ga Deva has helped Montagano earn USDF bronze, silver and gold medals, and now they can add a national Grand Prix championship to their resume.
Laura Noyes Putnam of Cumberland, Maine, claimed the reserve championship with her 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Galveston just behind Montagano, earning a total score of 65.2 percent with their performance. The horse-and-rider partnership also came away with a reserve championship in the Grand Prix Open Championship during GAIG/USDF Region 8 Dressage Championships, earning them their qualification for the finals in Kentucky.
Nicole Harrington of Amelia, Ohio, earned a third-place finish with the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding Wizard of Oz. The pair was awarded a total score of 64.1 percent.
Results: US Dressage Finals Grand Prix Open Championship
Rider / Horse / Total Score
1. Melanie Montagano / Ga Deva / 65.3
2. Laura Noyes Putnam / Galveston / 65.2
3. Nicole Harrington / Wizard of Oz / 64.1
4. Nora Batchelder / Bahai / 63.633
5. Stacy Parvey-Lars / Benidetto / 63.367
6. James Koford / Adiah HP / 63.1
7. Kayla Barteau / Merlin / 62.133
8. Barbara Strawson / Ivan / 61.633
9. Judy Kelly / Benise / 61.567
10. Noel Williams / Sir Velo / 60.033
11. Kim Gentry / Leonardo / 59.533
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Melanie Montagano – US Dressage Finals Open Grand Prix champion
On her ride:
“This was one of my best rides so far. She was really with me and super focused. I could tell when she walked down here that she was laser focused. She definitely has a game face. The piaffe/passage is always her highlight. The pirouettes I was having some trouble with before I came here so I was a little worried about those but they were actually quite good tonight. I was really happy with that. Since she has such a nice piaffe/passage, sometimes the extensions can get a little quick, but I thought they were quite nice today.”
On Ga Deva:
“We’ve been together eleven years. I got her as a 6-year-old and I got my gold, silver and bronze medals on her. We did Juniors, Young Riders and Brentina Cup. It’s a journey. It hasn’t been a smooth ride all the way, but I don’t think anything really is, but she’s amazing. She’s my soulmate. I wouldn’t change anything about it. The hard and difficult times only make this moment that much more special.”
Laura Noyes Putnam – US Dressage Finals Open Grand Prix reserve champion
On her ride:
“It was great. I was really happy with how relaxed he was in there. A couple little mistakes that I’m kicking myself for, but overall I was really happy with how confident he went into the ring.”
“I’ve had him since he was five. He’s fourteen this year, so I’ve brought him along myself. He’s really my buddy.”
On her experience at US Dressage Finals:
“We had a really good year. Our overall average was in the 70s for the year, and each time we went into the ring he felt better and better. This is our first year competing in the Grand Prix, and I just had a really good feeling this year that it’s all starting to come together.”