For the last two years, 28-year-old Adult Amateur competitor Taryn Anderson of Erie, Colo. has successfully qualified to represent Region 5 at the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®. And for both of those years, she also had to make the gut-wrenching decision not go to simply because she couldn’t afford it.
But this year she was determined to save enough money to take advantage of the opportunity, and thanks to plenty of hard work and some help from a new USDF travel grant program, her efforts paid off in spades as she earned Championship titles with both of her mounts on the final day of the 2017 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, held November 9-12 in Lexington, Ky.
Aboard her nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Romulus (R. Johnson x Starlight by Incognito, bred in the U.S. by Hearts Meadow Farm), Anderson claimed the First Level Freestyle Adult Amateur Championship with 72.556% for their performance featuring music from Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory” and The Script’s “Hall of Fame”, which Anderson described as “feeling like they tell a little story about the two of us.” Not to be outdone, her second ride aboard her mother Tammy Anderson’s 10-year-old Oldenburg mare Addison (Allerhand x Felicia by Falkland, bred in the U.S. by Kim Weindel & Zacrossed Farm) earned 70.011% to win the Third Level Freestyle Adult Amateur Championship in the Alltech Arena. “For Addison, we chose Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ song because it fits her perfectly – she really is a firework,” Anderson laughed. “We also use American Authors’ ‘Best Day of My Life’ for our canter work, which seemed especially appropriate today.”
In finally achieving her goal of competing at the Kentucky Horse Park, Anderson said her Finals experience turned out to be everything she dreamed of. “The anticipation of wanting to come for three years and not being able to, but then finally being here…it’s even more than I expected,” she explained. “The competition is really tough, and coming from a smaller region I was like, ‘whoa’. But I love it – the huge atmosphere, the arenas, and everything going on…it’s all just awesome, and it surprised me a little in that the horses really took to it as well. Even though it took a couple of days for all of us to settle in, I felt like we really hit our stride today. Both of the horses love their music and were really expressive in their tests and gave me great rides. We’ll be back!”
Finishing in reserve in the Third Level Freestyle Adult Amateur Championship was the 2016 Third Level Freestyle champion Birgitt Dagge of Region 3 on her eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding Laxwell (Lingh x Dessous by Donnerhall) with 68.389%. “I rode in six classes here this year with my three horses and got a ribbon in all of them, so it’s been a great show for us,” said Dagge, a realtor in Bonita Springs, Fla. “With this horse we took six months off after last year’s Finals and restarted in time to come back here this year, but now there will be no more time off for us because we’re looking to move up for next season.”
More information including final results, photo galleries, and news archives from the 2017 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® are available on the official event website www.usdressagefinals.com. Video on-demand from select championship performances is also available on the USEF Network at www.usefnetwork.com.