Julia Lee Barton (Lawrence, Kan.) delivered another smooth, relaxed test in the FEI Pony Individual Test with her own Bonnaroo to capture the USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship title. Barton has worked up the levels with the 2009 Weser-Ems mare and their partnership showed when it mattered most. For their lovely test, they received a score of 67.439% to finish on an overall championship score of 66.220%.
"'Bonnie' was really fantastic today. She was really, really rideable which she usually isn't. A lot of times she gets tense and hot, and it makes it hard to make corrections without her overreacting, but today and yesterday were the same; she was so rideable and so relaxed. I'm just so, so pleased with her," said Barton.
Commenting on the experience of the USEF Dressage National Championships at the Lamplight Equestrian Center, Barton said, "It's been really fun to watch all the up-and-coming horses, the same with the young riders, and just kind of get an idea of dressage's future for both. I think it is a really interesting and exciting combination that they have here."
Hannah Irons (Queenstown, Md.) claimed the Reserve National Champion title with Festival of Champions veteran Bohdjan on an overall championship score of 66.179%. She and Dressage4Kids, Inc.'s 1999 Dutch Pony gelding had a nice test aside from a bobble during an extended trot movement. Their solid performance earned them a score of 64.837%.
"'Bobo' was really awesome today. He went out there and really tried hard, sometimes a little too hard. He got pretty excited about being here again. In the middle of the [trot] extension, he tried to run away, but I'm super proud of him for coming back to me and getting through the test," Irons explained. "He's just a really amazing pony and I'm really thankful to be here and to Bebe Davis for donating him [to Dressage4Kids, Inc.], Lendon Gray for choosing me to be his next rider, and all the friends and family for their support."
Irons also finished third in the championship with her own My Lucky Charm with an overall championship score of 65.296%, making her first Festival of Champions experience a memorable one. She has owned the 2009 Welsh Pony Cross gelding since he was a surprise foal from her first pony and trained him herself. Their partnership was evident as they performed a smooth test to earn a score of 66.220%.
Find more information about the championships can be found at USEF.org.
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