Alyssa Doverspike a full-time groom for her trainers David Wightman and Kathleen Raine of Adventure Farms in Wildomar, California, came across the country with her boss to ride in the same division and won 5-Year-Old National Title at the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championship. The judges enjoyed the elegant Hanoverian gelding's cadence and elasticity of his trot and gave her an overall score of 7.748 clinching the national title. But for Wightman and Raine who have always had a strong presence in the Young Horse program, it was a victory for all.
"I'm so proud of him," she said of Darius 555 (Don Darius-Barcelona, Boss). "He's such a good boy. We left the walk as-is like I tried to do the day before. He was a little tired in the canter, but I really felt like I had a little bit more forward movement in the trot. I felt like we really showed a difference in the trot so I was really happy with that."
"It's an honor to be here at Lamplight, amongst the best young horses in the country and really good riding."
"The tests are a little more complicated and challenging for the young horses. I think it really pushes the horses. You can see what they're made of a little bit. The atmosphere can be a little more intense. It pushes you and your horse, and you can see how they handle that type of pressure. It's such a good group of people. The young horses are challenging, so you get a lot of good insight and advice from a lot of other riders and trainers who have been down that road."
Judy Kelly of Clarkston, Michigan, jumped up from fifth place after Thursday's test on her Hanoverian mare Quintess (Quarterhall-Wakira, Wolkenstein II) to earn the reserve championship. She purchased the mare last year in Germany and the pair received a 7.684 as their overall total. "I tried to go for it a little more and add more power. I know she does have power. She had a good school yesterday on the day off. I'm very proud of my girl too. She's a great worker." Kelly came last year and showed in the open show to "get a baseline" after owning her for just three weeks. "That was her only show last year. I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to qualify let alone make it here, but that's why I'm super happy with her. I had my eye on doing the young horse championships and was able to make it."
The 2016 4-Year-Old Young Horse National Champions, Craig Stanley and Habanero CWS (Idocus-Caliente DG, OO Seven), returned to Lamplight Equestrian Center and rounded out the top three. Stanley, of Madera, California, and his homebred KWPN gelding earned an overall score of 7.636. The duo was awarded the U.S. Bred Award in the 5-year-old division. "I thought my test was better than Thursday's. We just had one bobble that was a little bit unexpected. I'm really grateful that I managed to get here and have a sound horse to take in. I'm really happy." Stanley, of Madera, California, and his homebred KWPN gelding earned an overall score of 7.636. The duo was awarded the U.S. Bred Award in the 5-year-old division.
5-Year-Old Young Horse Dressage National Championship
Rider / Horse / Preliminary Test Score (40%) / Final Test Score (60%) / Total
1. Alyssa Doverspike / Darius 555 / 7.76 / 7.74 / 7.748
2. Judy Kelly Quintess / 7.6 / 7.74 / 7.684
3. Craig Stanley / Habanero CWS / 7.72 / 7.58 / 7.636
4. Birthe Laufer / Furstentusch N / 7.66 / 7.52 / 7.576
5. David Wightman / Hotshot / 7.48 / 7.54 / 7.516
6. Nadine Schwartsman / Harvard R / 7.42 / 7.56 / 7.504