The USEF/Markel Young Horse Dressage Program continued this past weekend with the second of three official Selection Trials at Dressage at Flintridge, held May 27 – 29 at the beautiful Flintridge Riding Club in La Canada Flintridge, California. This USEF/Markel Young Horse Dressage Western Selection Trial for the FEI World Breeding Championships showcased the Western region’s most promising dressage prospects in their quest to qualify for The World Young Dressage Horse Championships in Verden, Germany in July.
In a new format this year, the Selection Trial competition is comprised of two tests for each age division (Five- & Six-Year-Old): the Preliminary Test and the Finale Test. Held over two days, the Preliminary Test counts 40% towards the overall results, with the Finale Test being the determining factor at 60% of the total. In addition, all horses must have pre-qualified by earning a score of at least 6.8 in a previous Young Horse test in order to contest the Trial, thereby raising the bar for all entrants.
The 6.8% score is good enough to qualify for the USEF/Markel National Young Horse Championships in September, with qualifying classes at shows throughout the summer creating opportunities for Young Horse hopefuls. However, to make the short list for Verden the horses must earn a 7.5%, and in the 5-year old division at Flintridge, three horses achieved that task.
New Format Helps Riders Raise Their Score on the Second Day
On the first day of Selection Trial competition, the Five-Year-Old Preliminary Test was won by “Grand Makana”, a chestnut Hanoverian gelding by Goodman out of Hauptstutbuch Waidwerk by Werthurridden, ridden by Laurie Doyle of Escondido, CA and owned by Joan Cvengros of San Juan Capistrano, CA with a score of 7.82. Second was the dark bay Oldenburg gelding “Brigadier” (7.62) by Batido out of Lady Deco by Art Deco, ridden by David Wightman of Murrieta, CA for Deena Smith of Olathe, Kansas. Mr. Wightman also rode his own bay Dutch Warmblood gelding “Typhoon” by Havidoff out of Jouschika by Derrickto a close third with a score of 7.60.
The Finale Test on Day 2 provided some upsets in placings for both age divisions. However, Laurie Doyle and “Grand Makana” sealed the Five-Year-Old Western Selection Trial Championship with a test score of 7.84 for an overall score of 7.832. Doyle improved her score on the second day, benefiting from the judge’s commentary from the day before. “The judges commented that our trot work lacked energy.” said Doyle, “That was just me riding too conservatively, and it was easy to increase the pace on the second day”. Grand Makana’s owner Joan Cvengros admitted she is not allowed to see her horse at a show, or more importantly, he is not allowed to see her, until his work is over. “He loves people,” smiled Doyle, “especially his owner Joan. He has an amazing temperament and loves his job. We are still learning about the Young Horse class, and this has definitely been our goal for this year. It is very different from riding a second level test – we are allowed mistakes, and judged more on the overall training.”
David Wightman Qualified With Two Horses for Verden
Stepping up to claim the Reserve Championship was David Wightman’s “Typhoon”, overtaking his stable-mate “Brigadier” with a test score of 7.74 and a resulting 7.684 average overall. With both horses scoring over 7.5, Wightman, a veteran of the international Young Horse class and European competition is considering a trip to Verden, as well as the National Young Horse Championships in Lexington Kentucky in September. Wightman’s wife, USET Veteran Kathleene Raine’s sister, a thoroughbred breeder, lives in Versailles, so they are considering a family reunion.