Gladstone, N.J. - Drastic changes in weather proved to be the theme of the second day of the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp as Young Rider, Junior, Pony Rider, and Intermediaire I competition was all on tap at the USET Foundation Headquarters, until thunderstorms cut the day short. Friday began with Young Riders and Juniors performing their respective Team Tests in deluges of rain in the Dick and Jane Brown Arena and then, following the lunch break, rain was replaced with sunny skies for the Pony Rider Team tests. However, the pleasant conditions did not hold for long as storms rolled back in after the first Intermediaire I test of the day, leading to the remainder of Small Tour competitions being delayed until Saturday morning. In the AGCO/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship Anna Buffini and Sundayboy seized the early lead with an impressive performance in the FEI Young Rider Team Test, while in the AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship, Allison Cyprus and Madoc Gareth proved unbeatable on Friday. Katrina Sadis and Poldy 10 produced an impressive effort to win the first test of the USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship
AGCO/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship
The soggy conditions did little to deter the field of 10 combinations in the AGCO/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship, as they kicked off Friday's competition by earning the first half of their weekend total in the FEI Young Rider Team Test. As the penultimate combination came down centerline in Young Rider competition, Buffini (Escondido, Calif.) and her own 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood performed an expressive and accurate test. The pair demonstrated why they have been dominating competitions on the West Coast as they scored 72.105% to finish nearly four points ahead of the second-placed combination.
"It was an absolutely amazing experience," said Buffini of her ride on Friday morning. "I've never ridden in (that type of wet footing) before but it was really fun."
Heading into Saturday's test, the 20-year-old will make a few adjustments but looks to replicate the effort and performance Sundayboy produced in the Team Test.n"Every time I asked for something he gave it to me. There's always little things you want to improve but I was really happy with him."
Finishing in second place in Young Rider competition were Cassidy Gallman (Poway, Calif.) and Joan Cvengros' Grand Makana. As the first combination into the Dick and Jane Brown Arena of Friday, the Team Silver medalist from the from the 2012 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) and the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding held the lead for much the division after scoring 68.684%.
"He was a little unsure about the footing at first but once we got going, he was great," said Gallman of Grand Makana. "He was a real trooper, I was really happy."
Finishing in third place in the AGCO/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship was Devon Wycoff (Boulder, Colo.) and her own 17-year-old Oldenburg gelding Power Play on 67.184%.
Photos provided by Susan J Stickle - the Official Photographer of The U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp