The afternoon session became a showdown as the top developing horse and rider combinations in the nation contested the second phase of the USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship presented by the Dutta Corporation and Performance Sales International. Emerging as the victor was Hilltop Farm’s “Cabana Boy”, who with rider Christopher Hickey pulled off an unprecedented feat in winning two National Championships as a young horse (2007 as a five-year-old, 2008 as a six-year-old) followed by a victory in the Developing Horse division, earning the acclaim of the judges and an overall average of 73.440%. “This horse is the poster child for American breeding,” said Hickey. “This kind of accomplishment comes along once in a lifetime and I’m so thankful to Jane McElree (of Hilltop) and the sponsors of this program, the Dutta Corporation and PSI.”
Cabana Boy, a bay Hanoverian gelding (Contucci – Britania by Bordeaux) was bred in Wisconsin by Douglas and Shannon Langer. “He’s a tremendous character, very confident, and this makes him a brilliant show horse,” says Hickey. “I’m so proud of him.”
Next stops for this pair include Devon, followed by a possible trip to Europe in the spring of 2010 to compete in the small tour internationally. Hickey was also pleased with the facility and continued growth of the Developing Horse program. “It is great to have more and more High Performance riders participating in this division,” said Hickey. “And Lamplight is such a beautiful setting, Lloyd Landkamer and all the staff know how to run a fabulous show and what is expected for a national championship. We appreciate everyone’s efforts.”
Finishing a strong second in today’s USEF Developing Horse Test (which was worth 60% of the overall average) was “Don Bailey” and George Williams, finishing with an overall average of 68.290%. “This horse loves to show up and compete,” said Williams. “Yesterday he was a little backed off, but today he was much more energetic and with me.” [#25491 override="Riding for owner Elizabeth Juliano" title="Riding for owner Elizabeth Juliano"] of Ohio, Williams has only worked consistently with Don Bailey since May 1st. The black Oldenburg gelding (Donnerhall – Pirola by Pik Bube) was bred in Germany by Renate Lange and purchased by Juliano from Performance Sales International in December of 2007. William trains with longtime friend and mentor Kathy Connelly.
Despite the short time together, Williams says, “We have a certain trust between us. He’s very athletic and has a strong sense of self. He definitely has the potential for Grand Prix, and allows me to carry on with my dream of continuing to ride at the top levels of the sport. I’m thrilled to have been a part of this Developing Horse program.”
Third in the Championship standings was California’s Heidi Gaian and “Chicago”, riding her own dark brown Holsteiner gelding (Calido I – Diana XI by Corleone, bred in Germany by Claus-Wilhelm Kuehl) to an overall score of 67.470%.