Gladstone, NJ – Dressage’s biggest names and most talented horses converged at the United States Dressage Federation’s headquarters in New Jersey for the annual USEF Festival of Champions. Serving as the National Championships for the discipline of dressage, the Festival of Champions also served as the 2012 US Olympic Dressage Team selection trials, where the Grand Prix competitors vied for a spot to compete in London in July. Among the nation’s top scoring riders, Steffen Peters, Tina Konyot, Heather Blitz, Caroline Roffman, David Blake, Kathleen Raine, and Shawna Harding and all share a common thread in that they are sponsored by Custom Saddlery. Steffen Peters lived up to his reputation by winning the Grand Prix division with Legolas, scoring a 77.653% overall. With the addition of his seasoned champion Ravel, Peters clinched the prime spot on the US Dressage Team heading to London.
Closely following Peters with an overall score of 76.873%, Tina Konyot and Calecto V cruised into the second team spot, scoring an impressive 80.149% in one of the tests. Heather Blitz and Paragon were chosen as the US Team alternates after putting in a solid performance, quite an accomplishment for Paragon as this is his first season at Grand Prix. Custom riders Kathleen Raine and Shawna Harding also qualified for the Championships and competed successfully in the Grand Prix. Rebecca Cohen, who also rides in a Custom, took the Reserve Championship in the Junior division during the Championships with her horse Downtown. The pair overcame a wealth of adversity, including a leg injury months prior and a bought of colic before the first day of competition, to take home a second place finish.
“We are very proud to be the saddle of choice for so many top riders,” said Cary Wallace, President of Custom Saddlery. “We focus on fitting our saddles to both horse and rider, and nothing could be more exciting for us than to see our riders competing on the world stage in London.”
Custom’s string of riders continued to rack up the wins in the small tour, with Caroline Roffman and Pie winning the Intermediare I National Championship with scores over 75%. David Blake and Royal Prinz were Reserve Champions in the Intermediare I, while Custom riders Mette Rosencranz, Shawna Harding, and Steffen Peters on Sundance 8 all scored in the top ten.
Custom Saddlery makes a wide range of styles to accommodate countless horse and rider combinations and in addition to their own high level of research and design, Custom Saddlery is dedicated to listening to the input of riders and trainers. “With our state-of-the-art facilities, qualified personnel and combined knowledge of listening to riders and trainers, we are able to offer a great selection of the finest dressage saddles available,” Wallace said. “By listening to riders and trainers we can continue to provide new models, styles and designs for maintaining our position as the top choice for dressage saddles in the market.”
For more information on Custom Saddlery, and the Custom Saddlery Young Ambassador Program nomination form, visit their website at www.mysaddle.com.