The Judges’ panel of Lilo Fore, Lois Yukins, and Jayne Ayers have traveled the country coming from the West Coast Trials at Flintridge to the East Coast Trials of the Markel/USEF Young Horse program, held at the beautiful Morven Park show- grounds, managed by the VADA/NOVA team. They were clear and solid on their understanding and vision of what the horse needed to represent for this unique and valuable program. The Young Horse classes offer commentary for riders and spectators alike, and a select group of learner judges were being guided by Jeanne McDonald as they learned how to perfect the art of not only judging but delivering the scores on each gait, submission and overall impression. “This is a program which should be inspiring and fun for the horse and rider,” said longtime USEF Young Horse Coach Scott Hassler. Those looking on as well as the riders and trainer receiving the commentary were hearing from the best. “What a lovely mare,” was the opening commentary delivered by Lelo Fore, on Biscaya, the winning mare of the six-year-old class.
“She has power, she goes forward for you, she shows presence, has nice elegance, and the trot has always the same tempo, she stays nicely in the contact, she has definite capabilities to earn an 8.5. The walk is clear and pure. We would just like to see a little more ground cover in the extension so we gave it an 8.1. The canter, very impressive, has a lot of lift, has power, and covers the ground in both the medium and extension. What we like so much is when she comes back and goes into the collection again and she sits and she carries herself already lovely on the hind leg, to earn an 8.4. For the submission score as you know the flying changes are still in the learning stage, but everyone was a little bit better, and the last one was the best so we gave it 7.9 Talented elegant presentation, this is a young horse which has a lot of potential, we gave it an 8.5.
The final Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Selection Trial was held over the past weekend in conjunction with the VADA/NOVA Summer Dressage show in Leesburg, Virginia. A field of eight horses entered the competition, three in the five-year-old division and five in the six-year-old division, to try and earn a spot on the USEF Young Horse Dressage Short List. At the end of the weekend, two horses from the six-year-old division managed to score better than the required 7.8 and earn that spot on the short list, which in turn could grant them an automatic invitation to the 2012 Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage National Championships. Horse/rider combinations on the USEF Young Horse Short List who have earned an 8.2 or higher could also be invited to compete in the FEI World Breeding Championships on August 5-10 in Verden, Germany.
Six-year-old division winner Biscaya (Johnson-SPS Hauptstutbuch Audrey by Argentinus) bred in Germany by Claus Huppe was superbly ridden into the top spot by Ulla Parker. Together the pair managed to score an 8.24 on the Preliminary Test, which counted for 40% of the total, an 8.28 on the Final Test, which counted for the remaining 60%, and end up with a final score of 8.26. Nancy Holowesko's Oldenburg mare won the division and secured herself a position on the USEF Young Horse Dressage Short List.
The overall 8.26 will also count as the qualifying score for the 2012 FEI World Breeding Championships for Young Horses in Dressage. The weekend was an unquestionable success for Biscaya, but she was not the only young horse that had a good couple of days. Biscaya competed as a 5 year old in the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships finishing 5th out of 13 entries with an 80.84. As a six year old she continues to increase in strength and confidence. “I am so proud of this mare,” said her rider and trainer who together with Holowesko have been focused on the young horse program developing and breeding quality Oldenburgs both imported and now American bred on their farm in Trappe, Maryland. Longtime supporters of the Markel/USEF Young Horse Competition, they have had horses in the Finals since 2009.
Alice Tarjan's Hanoverian stallion Somer Hit (Sandro Hit-Rhussia by Rotspon), who finished third in the 2011 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships, finished the six-year-old division in last weekend's event with a 7.94 that secured the second place position behind Biscaya. This score will also earn Somer Hit a spot on the Young Horse Short List. Tarjan purchased as a foal from Maureen Swanson of Rolling Stone Farm in Slatington, PA a well-known and respected breeder as well as importer of quality horses for the American Dressage program. “Alice has an exceptional eye for very young horses,” commented Scott Hassler as he was preparing the duo for their final test. “It is how I can afford to have nice horses,” added Tarjan who together with her husband runs a trucking and rigging company transporting heavy equipment throughout the US.
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