By Lynndee Kemmet for Dressagedaily.com
A Texan and an Oklahoman rode horses to the reserve championship titles in the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships. Elizabeth Poulin, based in Texas, rode Donatus (Diamond Hit – Grazienna by Rubinstein I), to a reserve championship in the Six-Year-Old competition. Verona Stock, of Claremore, Oklahoma, rode Roccoca WF (Rienzi – Turtletaubchen by Tin Rocco) to the reserve championship win in the Five-Year-Old competition.
Poulin was thrilled with her placing considering that as of the morning of the final day of competition it was not certain that Donatus, bred in Germany by Gerd Berges, would compete. “Donatus didn’t feel very good yesterday so he didn’t even school,” said owner Melanie Pai of Caanan Ranch. “It was kind of on and off today about what we were going to do. We didn’t know if we were going to go for it or not. I’m glad we did. We rode him conservative, but I think it was the right way to ride him today.”
Poulin said she knew in the warm-up that Donatus, an Oldenburg stallion, was ready to go. “We took him out and gave him an extra ten minutes in the warm-up to see where he was and he said, ‘I’m with you.’ So, we went for it.” When Donatus jumped and squealed as he circled the ring before entering, Poulin was certain she had him back. Still, she rode a tad conservative and the panel of judges – Hilda Gurney, Marianne Ludwig and Natalie Lamping – picked up on it.
“What a good guy,” Lamping said. “But I think there’s a lot more in there. He could use a little more energy with more connection and power in his mediums and extensions. I think you were being a little cautious.” Still, the judges were very pleased with what they saw and awarded Donatus with an overall score of 7.809 after two days of competition.
Although pleased with her score, Poulin didn’t need judges to tell her how wonderful is Donatus. “He’s super talented and we all believe in him. He’s heart came through and he has an excellent work ethic. I have no doubt in my mind that this horse is Grand Prix potential. His has an excellent brain and he loves me and trusts me. He’d walk off a cliff with me if I said so.”
Finishing third in the six-year-old division was Teresa Butt on her own Unitas, the five-year-old veteran who travelled to Verden Germany last year for the FEI World Young Horse Championships. Unitas is a dutch warmblood gelding by Niagra out of Nellyzora by Harald and was bred in the Netherlands by Heiner Hormann.
It’s Two Years in Row for Verena Stock and Roccoca WF at Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships
Last year, Verena Stock and Roccoca WF were reserve champions in the Four-Year-Old competition at the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships. And once again, Roccoca WF, the fabulous mare that has only one eye, showed she’s still a star by earning the reserve championship title in the Five-Year-Old competition.
“It’s fabulous that she was reserve last year as a four-year-old and comes back as a five-year-old,” Stock said. “It’s reserve again, but I think that’s pretty good. I’m very happy.” Stock could say enough about the wonderful Roccoca WF, owned and bred by Vanessa Carlson, of Claremore, Oklahoma. Stock said it’s not yet known if the Hanoverian mare will compete next year in the Six-Year-Old competition. “We haven’t really decided because the six-year-old test is rather hard for horses. We’ll see how she does through the winter. For now, we’ll keep showing her and then probably she’ll be a broodmare later on in her career.”
Carlson was very pleased with her mare’s showing and with the Young Horse competition in particular. “It’s a great program for breeders. We can’t really keep our horses to Grand Prix or FEI if we want to be in the breeding business. So this is a way for the breeders to showcase their horses when they’re four and five and six.”
The mare was born with only one eye, but it has no impact because of her tremendous trust in her ride. She clearly impressed the judges who gave her an overall score of 7.880. “She’s a very elastic horse, very springy,” Gurney said. “Her gaits are good in volume and ground cover. We particularly liked the trot work. It was also very elastic and we give it an 8.5. The walk was also quite rhythmical with quite a nice overstep and a clear transition back to the medium. We give it an 8.1.” With a bit of improvement in the canter, Gurney said the mare would have a super future.
Finishing third in the 5-year-old Championship was Stephanie Chandler Klingele riding her own Laccord, a Westphalen gelding by Laurentianer out of Desiree by D'Accord, and bred in Germany by Friedrich-Wilhem Schluter.