Last year, Kristy Truebenbach Lund’s trip to the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® did not get off to a good start with her mount Akvavit in the Intemediate II Adult Amateur Championship.
“My horse doesn’t particularly like indoor venues anyway, and last year when we came into the Alltech Arena someone was using a camera with a flash throughout our entire test,” said Lund. “It completely unnerved my horse and ruined our ride. So I was determined to come back this year and win.”
Mission accomplished for Lund, a small animal veterinarian from Wellington, Fla., as she rode Blue Marlin Farm, Inc.’s 14-year-old Spanish Warmblood gelding (Silvester x Onni by Jazz) to finally claim the coveted championship with 65.088% in the Intermediate II Adult Amateur division, the first of 30 national titles to be awarded over the next three days across all levels from Training to Grand Prix for both Open and Adult Amateur competitors at this year’s fifth-annual Finals, being held November 9-12 in Lexington, Ky. Finishing in reserve was Selena Wilson of nearby LaGrange, Ky. with her 12-year-old Holsteiner mare Vanity (Cotopaxi x Silvershulace) on 64.298%.
Lund took an initial leap of faith when purchasing Akvavit off a video from a bankruptcy auction in Spain years ago, but it’s been her continued patience that has finally allowed her mount to blossom in the show ring. “He’s hot, and while it’s nice to have a horse with a lot of go, the trick is controlling it,” Lund explained. “Even today when he tried to bolt on our first trot extension on the diagonal, I just have to take a deep breath, remember it’s only one bad movement, and go on to the next. I pride myself on having a special connection with my horses, and this is the first year I finally feel like we’ve achieved that together – trusting each other enough for me to let go and allow him to show what he can do.”
Lund and her fiery gelding will have two more chances to return to the winner’s circle this week as they compete in the Adult Amateur Grand Prix and Freestyle divisions, and if victorious the pair will once again join other Region 3 competitors in proudly sporting pink polo wraps during awards ceremonies in honor of cancer awareness. “This event is the only show that really feels like a national show – it’s like the Olympics for us,” said Lund. “I always said that adult amateurs are the backbone of USDF but sometimes we felt a bit forgotten. There are plenty of programs for juniors and young riders, and professionals of course have Gladstone and their national championships. Finally we have something that recognizes the adult amateurs on this kind of scale. It’s wonderful that after all the years of talking about creating an event like this that USDF finally got it done and it’s going so well, and it means so much to so many competitors.”
Wrapping up a busy first day of championship action and open classes in the Dressage in the Bluegrass competition, exhibitors enjoyed a Competitor Welcome Party and Trade Fair Kick-Off on the concourse of the Alltech Arena. Championship competition resumes Friday at 8:00am ET – 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.