Check out the gallery below of all the Festival of Champions Entrants! Lexington, KY - With six USEF National Dressage Championships and selection for U.S. Dressage Team for the 2012 Olympic Games on the line, the 2012 USEF Dressage Festival of Champions promises to deliver excellent competition this year. Running over two weeks June 8-10 and June 14-17, the best dressage combinations from ponies to Grand Prix will be vying for National titles. The USET Foundation Headquarters plays host to the prestigious event in Gladstone, NJ which is headlined by the Grand Prix National Dressage Championships which also serves as the selection trial for the 2012 Olympic Games. Returning to vie for the title in the Grand Prix is Steffen Peters. Peters, who won in 2011 with Ravel, will bring his new star, Legolas 92, to defend his title. Ravel was granted permission to not attend the Trials based on the criteria outlined in the USEF Selection Procedures for the Olympic Games. More information about that is available here.
A recent acquisition at the end of 2011, Legolas 92 has been taking the West Coast by storm for his owners Four Winds Farm and Akiko Yamazaki, but he and Peters will be testing their talents together in the East for the very first time. Peters (San Diego, CA) will be looking to add another National Championship title to his resume. Ravel and Legolas 92 are ranked first and second respectively on the Grand Prix Ranking List.
Adrienne Lyle has gone from strength to strength this year delivering huge performances with The Thomas' Wizard. A former national champion at the Young Adult "Brentina Cup" level, Lyle and legendary trainer Debbie McDonald have produced Wizard into a horse for the big occasions. After a great winter in Florida, which included a win in the Freestyle at the $120,000 5* Wellington - the Idaho-based combination sits third behind Peters' pair in the rankings.
The Team Gold and Individual Silver medalists from last year's Pan American Games, have made a smooth jump up to the Grand Prix level - and Heather Blitz (Wellington, FL) and Paragon will be the third highest ranked combination in attendance at the National Championships. Only nine years old, the huge moving Paragon is always a crowd-pleaser.
Here is the complete list of horse/riders combinations competing in ranked order:
Steffen Peters/Legolas 92
Tina Konyot/Calecto V
Shawna Harding/Come On III
Susan Blinks/Robin Hood
Pierre St. Jacques/Lucky Tiger
Cesar Parra/Van The Man
Lauren Sammis/Sagacious HF
The remaining five national championships will showcase the best Intermediaire I Riders, Young Adults (in the Brentina Cup), Young Riders, Juniors and Pony Riders in the country.
All Gallery Photos Taken by Mary Phelps for Phelpsphotos.com