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.
Coming into the final day of competition, equine orthopedic surgeon Ashlee Watts of College Station, Texas (Region 9) had already had a successful Finals as she previously earned her division’s First Level Reserve Championship. Despite an early morning ride time, she trotted into the picturesque Stonelea Arena and set a whopping mark of 75.152% that could not be caught to claim the Training Level Adult Amateur Championship.
Watts couldn’t stop smiling when talking about her Danish Warmblood gelding Hampton (Blue Hors Hotline x Madigan L). “I warmed up the exact same way and didn’t change a thing and it all worked, from the moment I put my foot in the stirrup he was so solid. He was amazing and right with me the entire time – he never changed his frame and was so soft, it was perfect harmony,” said Watts. “He grew up a lot here, and it’s been a great week and a great atmosphere for him. I think this weekend was worth two years of training at home! Just watching all the incredible riders and horses here has been inspiring.”
Christine Malpartida of St. Petersburg, Fla. (Region 3) had her hands full at first with the four-year-old Hanoverian gelding Freudentänzer (Fürst Nymphenburg x Design-Ra by Donnerhall) but ended up with a great ride for 72.273% and the Reserve Championship. “My horse warmed up really hot and I was a little surprised, but once we started the test he came together and I think my smile got bigger and bigger as the test went on,” she explained. “I was so happy that he came back to me even though he was feeling so frisky. I’ve only had him a short while, but he has an amazing mind and that was one of the reasons why my trainer selected him for me. He’s so talented and I just adore him.”
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.