Wayne, IL - Strong night-time thunderstorms delayed the start of Saturday's competition at the Lamplight Equestrian Center, giving way eventually to a lovely day that started with 11 junior riders competing for the Gold in the USEF Dressage Medal Seat 13 & Under Final presented by Dressage Today. Anna Campbell, aboard her new mount Mai, ended up on top, making her trip from Dallas, TX, well worth the effort. Silver was awarded to Jorde Trudel on Tunnes from Eagle, ID, while Michigan's Kerrigan Gluch on Bijoux was awarded the Bronze.
The focus then turned to the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Championship test when Tony and Betty Degroot's D G Bar Ranch topped the leader board as owners of both Champion and Reserve Champion in the Four-Year-Old division.
"This is awesome, but the honor goes to Willy," said Tony enthusiastically speaking about his longtime trainer and associate Willy Arts who piloted DG Brendo (Florencio x Sierra Siren by Volckmar bred in the U.S. by Lukes Bianko) to a score of 8.46. Arts attributes "super gaits combined with character" to the imposing grey Dutch Warmblood gelding who he described as a "very reliable young horse."
According to Degroot, the journey from Hanford, CA, is long, but "always worth coming, they do such a good job here and everyone makes us feel like it is home. Winning is icing on the cake," and the Degroots had lots of it. DG Bantana (Flemmingh x Lantana V by Hemmingway bred in The Netherlands by P.Verdellen Paarden Fok & Opfok) , the bay Dutch Warmblood mare ridden by Caitlin Masiel earned an impressive 8.32 from judges Lilo Fore, Jane Weatherwax and Lois Yukins placing her Reserve Champion in the division. Masiel has ridden at the D G Bar Ranch under Arts' tutelage for several years.
aturday's performance by21-year-old Caroline Roffman on her five-year-old chestnut Hanoverian geldingBon Chance (Belissimo M x Wintersong by Weltmeyer bred in Germany by Marefield Meadows) drew a rave review from the judges,reflected not only in the impressive combined score of 8.484, but in the comments delivered by Jane Weatherwax for the esteemed judges panel. Speaking to Caroline at the completion of the test she said, "When watching your trot work I could only say 'ooh la la.' It was a pleasure to watch, you are doing a wonderful job, and you are a very lucky girl to have a horse like this." Following her win, Caroline responded to questions about this flashy young horse saying "What's not to like about him? He is latchy, really smart, what he does not have in height he makes up in character." Reserve Champion in the Five-Year-Old division, Adje, a bay Dutch Warmblood gelding (Rosseau x Rodazdoruke by Jazz bred in the Netherlands by J.Pansier),was ridden by Willy Arts. The duo scored high with a performance on the championship test that elevated them from their fifth-place standing in Friday's Preliminary Test, finishing with a combined score of 8.116.
Competition continues on Sunday when the Dressage Today USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final for riders 14-18 gets underway first thing. The audience will be anxiously awaiting Shawna Harding's return to the arena with the black Hanoverian gelding Rigo now leading the USEF Developing Horse Championship presented by the Dutta Corporation and Performance Sales International. The day will end as the six-year-old young horses go head-to-head for the championship title. The question of the day....will Elizabeth Ball and her stunning Hanoverian gelding Selten HW be the first in history to sweep the Four-Year-Old, Five-Year-Old and Six-Year-Old divisions of the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Championships?
Full results may be viewed at www.dresageshowinfo.com.