Conyers, GA – Oct. 13, 2019 – Jim Koford’s popular Grand Prix mount, Adiah HP, may have to share her celebrity spotlight soon as U.S. Dressage Team rider Nora Batchelder recently took to a championship ring aboard another colorful mare with a lot of presence.
Region 3’s Batchelder has had a busy summer, which included traveling to Peru as a member of the silver medal-winning U.S. Dressage Team at the Pan American Games, then turning around and driving to Chicago to compete in the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions. And she’s not done yet: after hauling six hours from her home in Williston, Fla. to the Georgia International Horse Park to participate in the Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Region 3 Championships (held October 11-13, 2019 and hosted by the Georgia Dressage and Combined Training Association), Batchelder will now need to pack her bags one last time for a trip to Kentucky to attend the US Dressage Finals next month.
Aboard Sally Seaver’s U.S.-bred bay pinto Dutch Warmblood mare WGangster Girl, Batchelder was the only competitor in the Region 3 Grand Prix Freestyle Championship to break the 70% mark, earning the unanimous win under both judges with a top score of 70.388%. Despite this only being the colorful mare’s fourth show at the Grand Prix level, their poised performance was enough to top the leaderboard and punch their ticket to Lexington.
“Despite her name, she’s about as far from a gangster as you can get – she’s so sweet and safe,” Batchelder laughed. “She’s a dream amateur horse, so she spends about half her time with her owner and I get to ride her the rest of the time. She’s so willing and such a pleasure to work with, and I’m so grateful for all of Sally’s support and for the chance to ride her. Sally got really excited about trying to have this horse qualify for the US Dressage Finals this year, so she turned over the reins for me to get her there, and today we did it!”
Batchelder praised the mare’s canter work and growing confidence in the piaffe and passage. “Even though she’s been schooling Grand Prix for a while at home, it’s always a different story at shows but even though she’s relatively inexperienced at this level in actual competition, over the last three shows she’s gotten better and better,” Batchelder explained. “We’ve had a great time here at the Georgia International Horse Park this weekend – we really enjoy coming here, the stabling is so nice and the entire venue is very pleasant. It’s spacious and even though there’s a lot of horses here, it feels like there’s plenty of room for everyone and makes it feel quiet and relaxed, even though it’s a big championship show.”