Everything went as planned for Heather Blitz getting from Europe to Chicago to meet her up with her mount, Ripline, in time to ride the 6 Year Old Test at the 2014 Markel USEF National Championships on Saturday. The 2008 Danish stallion (Hotline x Riveria - Cavan) owned and bred by Richard Freeman of Oak Hill Ranch in Folsom, LA, claimed second place honors with a score of 83% then went on to claim the FEI 6 Year Old Championship! "It was a bit tight," said Blitz, a United States Pan-American gold medalist who had been in Aachen with U.S. individual Para-dressage rider, Annie Peavy and her horse Ozzy Cooper, training in preparation for the Alltech/World Equestrian Games. "If something unexpected had happened, it would have been tricky but I was happy there were no travel issues for me or Ripline. My amazing assistant trainer, Katie Robicheaux, kept Ripline's training going while I was away and then arranged for him to be sent him on to Chicago. This was an important show for Ripline, so we wanted to make it work," noted Blitz.
Mary Wanless stepped in to bridge Heather's absence in Aachen as a familiar coach and colleague of Blitz who had worked with Peavy in prior clinics.
"This kind of championship put more pressure on training in general but to practice that is good for him and me as well. I learn more about him as a competition horse every time I take him out but this told me even more about his endurance and tolerance for a serious competition career. He really stepped up to the plate and peaked in the test on Sunday. I couldn't have planned it better!"
Blitz left Lamplight with satisfaction to fly back to France for start of the WEG in Normandy. Annie Peavy led off the U.S. riders and is currently ranked 10th after the first round of the Grade III Team Test.