Leadline judge Klaus Balkenhol just couldn't decide. Hence, he gave all the competitors in the DressageDaily/PhelpsPhotos Lead Line Class a blue ribbon. It was the second year in a row that Balkenhol, coach of the U.S. Dressage Team, served as judge in the competition, which this year attracted more than a dozen youngsters.
"It was really nice seeing all these young people and the horses. They have so much fun on the horses," he said. "They all put so much energy and attention into the turnout of their horses that every one of them needed to win. It's wonderful that such a high caliber international competition offers a leadline class. That's exactly the way it should be. It brings the enthusiasm up from the bottom."
The young riders had as much fun as the judge. Nine-year-old Jade Lamb, of Coral Springs, Florida, participated in her very first leadline competition. "I thought that it was amazing and I liked it a lot and want to do another one." Claudia Gundersen, 9, of Wellington, Florida, said she enjoyed just walking about the ring – and getting dressed up. "I had fun."