Adult amateur riders showing off their Third Level freestyles were first in the Alltech Arena early Sunday morning, but it was the final competitor down centerline who impressed the judges the most on the last day of national championship action at the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, held November 5-8, 2015 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky.
Julie McCrady of Raymore, Mo. rode her six-year-old Hanoverian mare Remanessa (Rousseau x Leonessa by Louis Heslegard), and as the only pair to break 70 percent on their way to earning a score of 70.778% they took the Third Level Freestyle Adult Amateur Championship home to Region 4. This was the pair’s third trip to the Finals, where they were crowned as the First Level Adult Amateur Champions last year.
“It’s such a blast riding a freestyle! My horse likes to go with the music and her forte is flying changes so we do a lot of those,” said McCrady. “She traveled well coming to Kentucky again and got better the longer she was here – she doesn’t seem to stress, which is good because I do! I was the last ride in our class, so the waiting was torture but it worked out. I saw others warming up and just decided to go for it and ride my butt off, and my horse said ‘okay!’”
McCrady and her husband, an equine veterinarian, bred Remanessa but weren’t sure she’d become the horse they’d dreamed of. “She was very naughty as a baby so we even tried to sell her when she was a youngster. But then the first time I sat on her I knew she would be good. To this day she’s not nice on the ground and isn’t ‘lovey-dovey’ at all, but as soon as you put the bridle on her she’s all business. I do think it means more when you breed them, watch them grow up, and do a lot of the work yourself. It’s been quite a journey with her.”
Amy Hedden of Manassas, Va. (Region 1) was thrilled to earn Reserve honors her Oldenburg mare Sadira TWF (Starlight x Revlon by Routinier, bred in the U.S. by Laureen Megan) with 69.444%. “I was really happy with my ride, my mare was a little physically and emotionally spent so I went out there with the attitude that I’d be happy with whatever she could give me, and she gave me everything she had so I’m very proud,” explained Hedden. “I hadn’t done a freestyle since I was in Pony Club so I thought it would be fun to do it again. I work the late shift as a nurse and have a lot of hours at night to sit on the computer, so I did the music editing myself using a Batman theme. I call it my 99-cent freestyle!”
More information including final results, photo galleries, and news archives from the 2015 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® are available on the official event website www.usdressagefinals.com. Video on-demand from select championship performances is also available on the USEF Network at www.usefnetwork.com. A complete archive of each competition day's results is listed at this direct link