In the four-year-old championship, Michael Bradgell (Colora, MD) and the stallion Hemmingway (Hofrat-SPS Alsonara by Archipel) scored a narrow win over to claim the National Title. Theresa Schnell's Oldenburg stallion was awarded 8.5, 8.0 and 8.0 for walk, trot and canter respectively. Hemmingway's supreme gaits were rewarded highly in addition to earning an 8.3 for submission and 8.5 on general impression. The pair earned an overall total of 8.26. Placing second was Christopher Hickey (Colora, MD) and Qredit Hilltop (Quarterback-Dream Rubina by Dream of Glory). Hilltop's Oldenburg stallion (Judy Yancey as the breeder) earned high marks for his gaits including an 8.4 on the walk and 8.0 for his trot and canter. He also received 8.2 and 8.5 for submission and general impressions respectively.
"I knew it was going to be hot so I didn't do too much in the warm-up," said Bragdell of his preparation with Hemmingway. "I felt I had a few bobbles in Thursday's Warm-Up [class] so I worked on those and had a nice fluid ride today. I kept telling myself to stay relaxed."
"Today was the best test Qredit has ever done," said Hickey. "I knew I needed to bring up the submission scores. My goal was to have him be as steady as he could be in the contact."
Both Champion and Reserve horses are trained and stand at Hilltop Farm in Maryland and Hickey believes the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Program is extremely important both in terms of breeding and development. "This is an important step. As American breeders we want to keep supporting this program." Both stallions are headed from Lamplight Equestrian Center for the 70 Day Stallion testing in Tulsa, Oklahoma at Silverwood Farm.
Anna Marek (Williston, FL) and AJ Stapleton's Dutch Warmblood mare Dilona (Lord Leatherdale-Vajda by Kennedy) collected third place honors with a score of 8.2. Marek, who trains with Belinda Nairn-Wertman in Ocala Florida was thrilled with her first experience in the Young Horse Championship.