Wayne, Ill- Christian Hartung and Christiane Noelting's Oldenburg gelding Desario (De Champ-Rosaria, Rosario) were initially not sure that they would be making the trip to Lamplight for the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships.
The pair were the second alternates for the championship. They certainly proved that they deserved to be competing with the best young horses in the nation Saturday, holding their lead from the preliminary test and scoring an impressive 8.92 in the final test for an overall score of 8.824.
"This is all a big surprise," Hartung said. "My goal was to be in the top ten given where I stood coming here. He felt good going into the test, maybe I could have pushed a little bit more in the trot but overall I was quite happy with him. I think that the canter work was the highlight."
Desario will get a much deserved break after the show and spend time hacking out on the trails before spending the winter preparing for the 6-year-old tests next season.
Karin Persson and her own Giuliano B (Bon Bravour-Mondilia, Elcaro), a Dutch Warmblood gelding held on to their second place spot after the preliminary test to earn the reserve championship with a final test score of 8.46 and an overall score of 8.484.
"My horse was a bit tired today so I wasn't sure what I would have going in the ring," Persson said. "Now I know he has a great brain. If I ask him, he does it. I had a really nice ride.
"The judges loved the trot," Persson continued. "At the moment the trot is the strongest, which was not the case half a year ago so I'm very happy about that. He will get a little vacation and then we will start him back and start putting the changes on. I can't wait."
Rounding out the top three was Cyndi Jackson and Sir Amour (San Amour-Dorina, De Niro) The Hanoverian gelding is owned by Schuttler Stables "I think the canter was his highlight today," Jackson said. "It's the best canter work he has given me in the ring so far so I am really happy with him."
The Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse National Championships and Festival of Champions will conclude on Sunday with championships being awarded in the 6-year-old division and the Developing Grand Prix as well as the 13 & Under Dressage Seat Medal Finals, Young Adult 'Brentina Cup' and the National Pony Rider Championships.
For results and starting times, visit www.foxvillage.com. For more information about Lamplight Equestrian Center, visit www.lamplightequestriancenter.com. Live streaming will be available on the USEF Network.