Alice Tarjan and Elfenfeuer (Florencio I-Elfensonne by Sion) the first combination to perform their Preliminary Test for the five-year-old division set the standard no one else in the 14 horse field could rival. The Oldenburg mare owned by Tarjan (Oldwick, NJ) scored an overall 7.66 after earning high marks for submission, 8.0, and 7.8 for their canter and general impression. They also scored 7.7 and 7.0 for their trot and walk respectively in the Preliminary Test, which counts for 40% of the overall Championship score. Tarjan and Elfenfeuer were the winners of the East Coast Young Horse Trials held in May, at Morven Park, Virginia.
Elfenfeuer is competing in her first Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship after having bypassed the annual event as a four-year-old. Heading into Saturday's Final Test, Tarjan is hoping the mare will be more settled in her second Championship test.
"She was really tight and on the muscle (today), it was not our best test. (Saturday) I hope she is a little more relaxed and we can have fun."
Placing second on Thursday was Jocelyn Hamann (Reno, NV) and Casanova (Lauwersmeer Laka-Abolien by Indiaan) earning an overall total of 7.64. The pinto KWPN gelding scored 7.0, 7.9 and 8.0 for their walk, trot and canter respectively. The pair also earned solid marks for their submission, 7.5, and general impression, 7.8.
The champion in the Five-Year-Old division will be crowned Saturday following the Final Test, for which the remaining 60% of the overall score will be awarded.