Wayne, IL-Christina Vinios and Folkestone were sitting second after Thursday's first test of the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Championship. Leading up to Saturday's final test to determine the championship, Vinios decided it was time to go all out.
"I really wanted to fight for every point," Vinios said. "I wanted to rev it up a little. The first day I wanted a clean test, and I was a little nervous, but today, I told myself that if I want to beat these people, I need to step it up! Luckily it worked."
Vinios earned a score of 72.402 percent in Saturday's USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges test to claim the championship with an overall score of 71.248 percent, switching places with Heather Blitz and Ripline, who took the reserve championship with an overall score of 70.158 percent. Thursday's FEI Prix St. Georges test counted for 40 percent of the final score, while Saturday's test counted for the remaining 60 percent.
Folkestone, a 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Fidertanz-EL. Kattulika, Rubenstein), has been with Vinios since he was 4, and she has brought him up through the levels with help from several trainers along the way. Juan Matute is coaching her at the Championships, and she credited him with being "the last piece of the puzzle" and making a big difference in her performances this week.
Although Blitz moved down in the rankings from Thursday, she said she was pleased with the reserve championship result for Ripline, a 7-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion (Blue Hors Hotline-Riviera, Blue Hors Cavan) bred in the U.S. and owned by Oak Hill Ranch. "I think his reliability is one of his highlights," she said. "In general, there are no surprises. He is the most honest horse I have ever shown. Just to think that a horse his age can be ranked second in the nation - I couldn't be happier."
Five-Year-Old Young Horse Championship
Carly Taylor-Smith describes Rosalut NHF as a very easy, uncomplicated horse, and the pair made winning look like a piece of cake as they sailed to victory in the 5-year-old division. Over two days of competition, they earned an overall score of 8.46, giving them a lead of half a point over their nearest competitors.
Saturday's panel of judges - Jayne Ayers, Jeanne McDonald and Louise Koch - praised Rosalut's quality, noting that the horse "looks like a pleasure to ride" and "makes it look so easy." They awarded scores of 9 for submission, 8.5 for overall impression, 8 for both trot and walk, and 8.4 for canter.
"The horse was on today," Taylor-Smith said. "We have such a good partnership, and I know him so well. We fit like a glove - I think that's the best part about us. I know him, and he knows me. We have so much trust that the test just felt flowing." Rosalut NHF, an Oldenburg gelding (Rosenthal-Legacy, Salut), was bred in the U.S. by Margaret D. Neider and is owned by Taylor-Smith's mother, Nikki Taylor-Smith.
Gail Redinger rode Formancier, her own Dutch Warmblood gelding (Furst Romancier-Baileys, Don Romantic), to the reserve championship with an overall score of 7.96, moving up from fifth place after Thursday's preliminary test. Redinger drove the gelding from Idaho over three days to make it to her first Young Horse Championships.
"I'm thrilled!" Redinger said. "I was hoping I could improve from Thursday and show him off a little bit more. He's so reliable, and if I ask him correctly he is always there for me. I probably was a little tense the first day - I've never been here before. You really want to do well!"
Four-Year-Old Young Horse Championship
Alice Tarjan had a strong hand to play in the 4-year-old division after qualifying two of her own outstanding young horses. After the first test on Thursday, she was sitting in first and second, and she went on to take the championship with Tiko and third place overall with Donatella M.
Tarjan said rider error was to blame for Donatella's lower score on Saturday, but that motivated her even more to give Tiko the best ride she could and clinch the championship. She and Tiko, a Danish Warmblood mare by Temptation and out of a mare by Akinos, finished on an overall score of 8.06 with highlights in the trot and canter. "Tiko was really good; I was quite pleased," Tarjan said. "She showed what she can do at home, so that's all I can ask for."
Moving up from third place to take the reserve championship were Brooke Voldbaek and Sonnenberg Farm LLC's Generosa S. While Generosa S, a KWPN mare (Uphill-Zen Rosa, Farrington), was initially the second alternate for the 4-year-old division at the Championships, she proved she truly belonged among the rest, earning an overall score of 7.79.
"I'm so excited to be in second," Voldbaek said. "I came out today and I was tearing up just because it's not where I expected to be. This is a great place. The horses have done really well here; it's really horse-friendly. I can't wait to come back."
The USEF Network will feature live streams of Sunday's competition at Lamplight Equestrian Center.
For starting orders and results, visit www.foxvillage.com.
For more information about Lamplight Equestrian Center, visit www.lamplightequestriancenter.com.