Six-Year-Old competition at the Lamplight Equestrian Center shined as 13 up-and-coming horses showcased their talents in the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Six-Year-Old National Championship Final Test to earn the remaining 60% of their overall score in front of the judging panel of Christel Carlson, Sandy Hotz, and Jane Weatherwax. Oak Hill Ranch's Ripline (Blue Horse Hotline x Riviera/Blue Horse Cavan DH) continued to impress to win the Six-Year-Old Championship. Ridden by Heather Blitz (Medfield, Mass.), the Danish stallion demonstrated athletic, expressive gaits, including the canter, for which he was awarded 9.0. He also received an 8.4 for the trot and an 8.9 for the walk. Additionally, the judging panel rated his submission and general impression highly, giving 8.8 and 9.0, respectively. The stallion received 8.82 on Sunday and finished on an overall score of 8.612. He was also the Highest Place U.S. Bred award-winner, and Blitz stressed the importance of riding American horses.
"I was really impressed - I read through the program and at least half of the horses in each one of our young horse classes are U.S.-bred, and that's huge," Blitz said. "That's a lot more really nice horses being bred in this country than we've ever had. I'm really encouraged by that. You can find a nice horse anywhere in the world, but it's very encouraging that our country is starting to get good enough broodmares that we can make horses that can compete with the European horses. We need that kind of talent in the horses, and the trainers need to keep matching the talent of the horses that we're breeding. Then we can really be a strong force world-wide."
Earning Reserve Champion honors were Angela Jackson (Henderson, Ky.) and Theresa Schnell's Hemmingway (Hofrat x SPS Alsonara/Archipel) on a class total of 8.7 and an overall total of 8.572. The Oldenburg stallion was regarded highly for his trot, walk, and canter, earning 8.8, 8.8, and 8.7, respectively. He earned scores of 8.3 for submission and 8.9 for general impression.
Fashion Designer OLD (Faustinus x Forst-Design/DeNiro) earned third place on an overall score of 8.120. Ridden by Nadine Buberl (White House Station, N.J.), Dr. Cesar Parra's Oldenburg gelding received a score of 8.32 on Sunday. He received 8.8, 8.0, and 8.4, for the trot, walk, and, canter, respectively, as well as 7.9 for submission and 8.5 for general impression.
Camilla Van Liew (Charleston, S.C.) rode her own KPWN gelding, Dartesch (Special D x Sedesch/Jazz) as the only Adult Amateur in the class. She expressed her excitement in competing with such esteemed riders and horses.
"It's really heady for me," said Van Liew. "It's kind of crazy to look around and see who I'm surrounded by. A lot of hard work has paid off. I'm really proud of my horse and myself to be here. It's pretty awesome company."
To learn more about the 2014 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships visit here!
To see scores from the 2014 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships visit here!