Wayne, IL. - On a beautiful summer day, the nation's top youth dressage athletes went to task in the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp. Coming away with top honors in the AGCO/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship was Catherine Chamberlain and Avesto Van Weltevreden.
Following day one's FEI Young Rider Team Test, Kerrigan Gluch (Wellington, Fla.) led by the slimmest of margins over Chamberlain (Murrieta, Calif.) after scoring just four-thousandth of a point higher. Both athletes entered the arena with determination this morning, but it was Chamberlain and Kimberly Pribble's KWPN, Avesto Van Weltervreden, who took the ultimate win in the class and were named National Champions. The pair scored 69.605% in the FEI Young Rider Individual Test for a final overall score of 69.430%.
"I was very happy with my ride today, it was really smooth and I liked the power we had in the medium trot and overall self-carriage and impulsion in the trot. His tempi-changes were also a highlight. He is still a little green at this level as he just started it in February. It has been a project all season getting to the point where we can really nail everything, especially the changes, so I was really happy those were super in this test. It was my last-ever young rider test because I am aging out this year, so I am really thrilled with the result," said Chamberlain.
This year's youth dressage national championships are coinciding with the Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage National Championships; Chamberlain expressed what this first-time pairing meant to her, "Having the other championships alongside has been really inspirational. To see all those top combinations and the quality we have in the United States is really fun."
Gluch and Hampton Green Farm's PRE, Vaquero HGF, put in a valiant performance today, though not as fluid as day one's test, to take Reserve Champion honors with an overall score of 68.794%.
"My canter tour was really energetic, the tempi-changes were really good, and our pirouettes were the best they've ever felt in the ring, so I was really happy. Vaquero HGF really surprised me doing this level this year, I wasn't expecting it, I can't ask for anything more," said Gluch.
After finishing seventh on day one, Hannah Bauer (Purcellville, Va.) and her own KWPN, Trustful, improved dramatically to finish second in today's class and third overall in the championship on a final score of 66.272%.
"I am happy with the overall control I had in my test; it was 10 times better than what I had in my first test. This is my first year at the Festival of Champions and I couldn't have had a better experience," said Bauer.