In the Third Level Adult Amateur Championship, Katherine Lewis of Region 3 put the talent and energy of her Oldenburg gelding Donneur (Donnerschwee x Akorina by Cordeur) to good use as the only competitor in the division to break the 70% banner, earning a score of 71.239% for the win. “I have such an incredible horse – he always gives 500 percent. But he used to ‘self-destruct’ in his paddock, so now he goes out in a big field with a retired show hunter where he stays safe and sound and is doing super. He’s very brave and tries so hard – he’s an overachiever but a joy to ride,” said Lewis, who is retired from a career in mechanical engineering and now owns Black Forest Equestrian Center in Aiken, S.C. with her husband.
She explained how she’s also enjoyed her first Finals experience. “The footing here is incredible everywhere, we’ve met the most wonderful people, and the volunteers are so dedicated and friendly to everyone. I just love it all, it’s very well done.” Hometown favorite and middle-school language arts teacher Cariann Wlosinski of Lexington, Ky. (qualified in Region 1) has competed successfully in every edition of the Finals so far with her seven-year-old Oldenburg mare Rhiannon (Rousseau x Odette by Riverman) who she bred herself.
Today the pair earned another Reserve Championship on a score of 69.231%. “We spent all summer working on our flying changes, and I really enjoy Third Level. We get so excited to be here each year.”
A friendly Region 1 rivalry continued on the national stage today in the First Level Open Championship as Michael Bragdell of Colora, Md. rode Hilltop Farm, Inc.’s five-year-old Hanoverian Sternlicht Hilltop (Soliman de Hus x Rhapsody GGF by Rascalino, bred in the U.S. by Rachel Ehrlich) to the win with 74.363%, just ahead of Stacey Hastings of Mooresville, N.C. with hers and Ronald Woodcock’s Oldenburg gelding Fürst Aurum (Fürst Romancier x Kapela by Rohdiamant) on 72.598%.
“I was really happy with how he was today – we had a great warm-up class yesterday and he felt really good so I went for it today,” said Bragdell of the young stallion. “He’s a really good boy and no matter what I ask he puts his best foot forward. The weather’s been great this year, and it’s such a fun experience coming here. As an athlete, you really feel like it’s something special. There’s all these people from across the country who come to compete, and it gives you the sense that it’s a true national championship and makes for such a special event.”
Hastings was also pleased with her mount’s performance. “He was pretty spicy yesterday so I was a little concerned that there might be more of the same today, but we took our time warming up and it paid off. This trip has been really special because his co-owner has had a long illness this year, and this was the first time since last year’s Finals that he was able to attend a show and see his horse go.”
The US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® will conclude on Sunday as the last group of 10 champions for 2015 are crowned. Follow the action through updates on the USDF Facebook page and the US Dressage Finals website, as well as watch live online streaming on the popular USEF Network. To learn more about the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, download competition information, review day sheets and results, and read daily news releases, visit the official event website at www.usdressagefinals.com.