Five-Year-Old Selten HW and Four-Year-Old Aesthete Crowned Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Champions for 2009



Cabana Boy Leads USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship presented by the Dutta Corporation and Performance Sales International

Wayne, IL – Crowds hurried to the entrance of Lamplight Equestrian as the day started early with the first phase of the USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship presented by the Dutta Corporation and Performance Sales International.

Christopher Hickey and “Cabana Boy” did not disappoint, and were rewarded by judges Linda Zang, Hilda Gurney and Maryal Barnett for their efforts.

This two-time Young Horse National Champion (2007 as a five-year-old and 2008 as a six-year-old) made convincing work of the FEI Prix St. Georges test with a resounding score of 72.895%.  Cabana Boy, a 2002 bay Hanoverian gelding (Contucci – Britania by Bordeaux) was bred in the United States by Douglas and Shannon Langer of Wisconsin and is owned by Hilltop Farm, Inc. of Maryland.

Second in today’s class (which counts towards 40% of the overall championship results) was California’s Heidi Gaian and “Chicago”, her own dark brown Holsteiner gelding (Calido I – Diana XI by Corleone, bred in Germany by Claus-Wilhelm Kuehl) with a score of 70.526%.  Third was George Williams riding “Don Bailey” (black Oldenburg gelding, Donnerhall – Pirola by Pik Bube, bred in Germany by Renate Lange) with 67.719% for owner Elizabeth Juliano of Ohio.


The day’s excitement grew as the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship for Four-Year-Olds got underway late morning. Karen Monks-Reilly and “Aesthete”, ranked first in the nation coming into the Championship, trotted away with the title and a score of 8.68.

“My ride today was all I hoped it could be,” said Monks-Reilly of Kennett Square, PA.  “It was energetic and supple, and this horse is so sensible.”

Monks-Reilly, who has an eventing background, rides foxhunters for owner Betsy Spence of Unionville, PA, and they found Aesthete (a bay Dutch Warmblood gelding, Trento B – Unusual by Gribaldi, bred in the Netherlands by GEBR Van Der Steen) in Europe when he was only two weeks under saddle, but it was love at first sight for Monks-Reilly.

“Now we do lots of hacking and cross-training, and he offers FEI movements, but it’s all in fun at this point and dressage doesn’t seem like work for him,” she said.  “We’ll head to Devon next and hope to come back for the five-year-old division next year.”

A close score of 8.64 earned the Reserve Championship Four-Year-Old trophy for Caroline Roffman riding her own flashy chestnut Hanoverian gelding “Bon Chance” (Belissimo M – Wintersong by Weltmeyer, bred in Germany by Marefield Meadows, Inc.).  “He has a ‘look at me’ attitude, but even though he was a little intimidated by the championship atmosphere, he stayed with me,” said Roffman, who is coming off a successful performance at the NAJYRC last month. “This is my first time riding in these Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships, and this competition at Lamplight is the best show I’ve ever been to.  I love this program and appreciate that this gives horses the experience they need to go on in their performance career.”

Roffman reported that Bon Chance will return to Florida for a well-deserved vacation with plenty of time “to be a young horse” before taking on the five-year-old classes next spring.


The highest-placed U.S.-bred honor for the four-year-old division went to “Sabati”, a dark bay Oldenburg gelding (Sandro Hit – Rosalea by Rubinstein), bred and owned by Nancy Holowesko of Trappe, Maryland.  Sabati was ridden to a third place overall finish by Ulla Petersen with a score of 8.38.

A highlight of the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Program is to encourage young horses as they progress through the age divisions year after year, and last year’s National Champion Four-Year-Old “Selten HW” let no one down as he once again claimed Championship honors with a Final Test score of 8.68 and overall championship score of 8.52.

“I am so pleased with our ride,” said owner and rider Elizabeth Ball of Carlsbad, California. “This is an incredible venue and atmosphere, and despite changing weather and some wet footing, my horse got better every day.  He really came into his own and rose to the occasion.”

Ball has owned this striking black U.S.-bred Hanoverian (Sandro Hit – High Princess by Hohenstein, bred in the United States by Irene Hoeflich-Wiederhold of Florida) for several years but only brought him to California and began riding him in June.  “After I bought him I left him at Hilltop Farm in Maryland until June 1st of this year,” explained Ball.  “Michael Bragdell (who rode the gelding to the 2008 National Championship for Ball) did a fantastic job bringing him along.”

Despite her horse being “a little tired” and an unfortunate distraction when entering the ring, Louise Koch and her own black Westfalen stallion “San Shivago” rose to the challenge of the FEI Five-Year-Old Final Test and earned the Reserve Championship with an overall score of 8.284.

“This is a horse everyone would dream to have,” says Koch, who traveled with San Shivago across the country from Westlake Village, California.  “I am 62 years old, and he has given me a second chance to continue my riding career in the exciting young horse divisions.  This program provides so much exposure for these youngsters and provides a tremendous opportunity for us as riders to learn much more about our horses as they develop from one level to the next.”

An approved Westfalen and Oldenburg stallion, San Shivago (Sandro Hit – Donna by Donnerhall, bred in Germany by Walter Huning) will have limited breeding but “our focus is riding,” said Koch. “For now, we have a long drive home, but we will take some time off and then continue to build his training towards the six-year-old division next year.”

Finishing third both in today’s class and overall in the Five-Year-Old division with a score of 8.016 was “Zatino H”, a bay Dutch Warmblood gelding (Sir Sinclair – Karma by Equador, bred in the Netherlands by J.A. de Haas) ridden and owned by Emily Gershberg of Hudson, New York.

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