Gladstone, NJ - Bentley just couldn't help but to create a little excitement, he had been on his best behavior since arriving at the USET Foundation Headquarters but there was an instant in the left half-pass of the Young Rider Individual Test that the overnight leader of the National Young Rider Dressage Championship at thehad a moment of indiscretion.
Meagan Davis (Stone Ridge, NY) rode the 16-year-old Danish Warmblood confidently through the moment of mayhem into the next movement where she executed a beautiful flying change. She salvaged the test and the championship with her clear thinking.
"I think my horse got scared," said Davis, 20. "I hung on and kept riding. I have been taught to put it behind me and what happens, happens. You have to keep going."
Bentley arrived in Davis' barn because of a tricky personality and Davis has worked diligently to overcome it. She wasn't going to let one blown movement destroy her chance at a championship.
"I know his quirks, and I stick on, I ride a lot of young horses too so that helps." she said. "He's an amazing horse... he's done it to me a couple of times before and I've been taught to ride the next movement."
There was plenty good about Davis' test and she was very proud of the trot work. Her score of 69.105% left her second in the class but with the overall win in the championship.
Mackenzie Pooley (Coto de Caza, CA) maintained her overall second place in the standings on 19-year-old Jonkara with a very strong third place finish in the Individual Test. In what may end up being the classy mare's final competition, Pooley made definite improvements from the previous day to score 68.632% for a result of which she is incredibly proud.
"I'm so happy," said Pooley. "She was really great today. She gave me everything she had. The trot work was so much better today. I just had one little mistake."
Pooley, a 17-year-old high school senior was the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Reserve National Champion in 2008 with Jonkara, and their career together has spanned five years and success from coast-to-coast.
Jillian Kemenosh (Haddonfield, NJ) had the ride she anticipated in the Individual Test on Nelzon, she just hadn't had the ride she was looking for the previous day. Her winning test on Sunday (for a score of 69.562%) was consistent with how the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood has been going all season.
"He was super today," said Kemenosh. "He was the horse I had all competition season. Its bittersweet because I didn't quite have the test I could have yesterday. But today in the warm up and in the test he was right back to where he has been all season. It was one of my worst rides all season, he really came back for me today."
Kemenosh rode deliberately and accurately for her win, in a polished effort. The sophomore at the University of Delaware heads back to college this week.