The USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals, held Sunday at Lamplight, tested youth riders on their dressage equitation. Judges scored riders' position and the effectiveness of their aids, and the horses' performances were only considered as they related to the riders' aids. Averi Allen won the gold medal in the 1
3 and Under division while Allison Hopkins earned the gold medal in the 14-18 division.In the 14-18 division, riders were first judged in a group and then were given a pattern to ride individually that involved leg yields as well as two simple changes of lead across the diagonal - a movement that proved tricky for some pairs to execute.
Hopkins impressed the judges throughout the group flatwork as well as in the pattern earning an impressive 87.00 percent.
"He tends to get a little bit nervous in the ring," Hopkins said. "I could feel him getting a little bit hot but once we started the pattern he started to settle down. He felt like he was really on my aids and listening I was really pleased with how he behaved."
Hopkins was riding Celtic Grace an 11-year-old German Sport Horse gelding that she had borrowed for the competition season from owner Michael Mayes. She is hoping to find a mount for the next year to allow her to compete in the Young Rider division.
Madison Peer took home the silver medal with a score of 85.00 percent aboard her own Stella Luna a 9-year-old Friesian mare. Peer has had the mare since she was a 3-year-old and plans to work on getting her silver medal and trying to qualify for Young Riders next season.
Rounding out the top three was Jenna Upchurch and Greystoke. Upchurch had a fantastic weekend winning the AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship on Saturday.
"This week has been amazing for me," Upchurch beamed. "Especially since it is my last year as a junior, winning the junior championships yesterday was fantastic. Being in the top three now is crazy to me because I started as a hunter-jumper rider. Its really exciting to be able to say that my seat is starting to get there.
"I thought overall the pattern went really well," Upchurch continued. "The [simple] changes on the diagonal could have been a little bit more polished but they came off. It's a pretty difficult pattern especially if you have horses that know some upper level movements like the [flying] changes, to keep them on your aids and from anticipating but I was really happy with him today."
In the 13 and Under division, 12-year-old Averi Allen rode a borrowed mount, Celtic Grace, to an impressive score of 83.00 percent to clinch the win. Allen has put in lots of time at home with trainer Johnny Allen and her hard work paid off Sunday.
"I have been working on correcting my head tilting and trying to sit deeper," Allen explained. "As well as breathing and being confident. We do a lot of work without stirrups too."
The silver medal went to 13-year-old Ella Angelo and her own Here-be Seren Gwyn with a score of 82.00 percent.
"I thought my pattern was pretty good today," Angelo said. "In the lengthening it was a little bit hard to get her bending to the left after she had already done the canter lengthening. She was a hunter pony so the dressage is new to her I thought she was really good today."
Claiming the bronze medal was 12-year-old Lucienne Bacon also riding a borrowed horse for the class, Humble Hazel. Bacon had only put in eight rides on the 12-year-old mare before competing her.
"I was a little bit worried as this was only my 8th ride on her," Bacon said. "I was concerned about being able to bring her back from the canter lengthening. I think that in the ring we both wanted to try really hard and she wanted to do what I asked her."