Wellington, Fla. – Oct. 8, 2017 – On the final day of the GAIG/USDF Region 3 Dressage Championships, Nora Batchelder and her 13-year-old Hanoverian mare Bahai (Baroncelli–SPS Rose, Rotspon) topped the Grand Prix Freestyle Open Championship. The pair danced to pop music, including ‘Fancy’ by Iggy Azalea and Avicci’s ‘Wake Me Up’ in the International Ring of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and earned the tricolor ribbon with a 69.875 percent.
“I’m really proud of her!” Batchelder said. “I’m really happy with our test. She was a such a good girl. It’s a freestyle that I actually did two years ago and I haven’t ridden it since so we decided to pull it out again. We were a little off of the music at the beginning because we did not practice it but we got caught up. The canter work was really good. The piaffe-passage was not as strong as I wanted but it’s very hot.”
Batchelder, of Williston, Florida, has owned Bahai since she was born. Her family bred her in Germany and then imported her with the dam. Since starting the talented Hanoverian at 3-years-old, Batchelder has had quite a successful career with her including multiple regional championship titles, placing sixth in the Developing Prix St. Georges division at the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships, and competing at the US Dressage Finals.
“She’s really fun!” she said. “We started out doing jumper stuff with her when she was younger because she loved jumping. Then we stopped doing that when she was around 7-years-old and doing Prix St. Georges. We’ve been doing the Grand Prix for a few years and she is such a good girl.”
In 2015, Batchelder and Bahai won the Region 3 Grand Prix Open Freestyle Championship. The pair has competed at the US Dressage Finals in the Grand Prix division for two years, and they are hoping that their third try is a charm for a national championship Grand Prix title.
“I’ve been to the US Dressage Finals with her a few times so I’m looking forward to it,” Batchelder said. “I have a few other horses I’ll be taking too. We need to practice our freestyle a few more times before Finals to get the timing down better. I also want to work on getting the piaffe more active. I love her and she’s a sweetheart!”
Adult amateur, Kristy Truebenbach Lund and Blue Marlin Farms’ Akvavit, a 14-year-old Spanish Warmblood gelding, followed closely behind and earned the reserve championship with a score of 68.813 percent. Janne Rumbough rounded out the top three with a 67.625 percent on Junior, her own 15-year-old PRE gelding.
GAIG/USDF Region 3 Grand Prix Freestyle Open Championship
1. Nora Batchelder / Bahai / 69.875
2. Kristy Truebenbach Lund / Akvavit / 68.813
3. Janne Rumbough / Junior / 67.625
4. Lynette Wadsworth / Wietz G / 66.875
5. Bent Jensen / Chance / 65.688
6. Franziska Seidl / Romano K / 65.500