Saturday's Championship classes came to a close with 13 of the best horses from the 2009 foal crop completing the USEF Dressage Test for Four-Year-Old Horses for a second time to earn the remaining 60% of their championship score. 2013 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships presented by HorseShow.com National title for the Four-Year-Old Champion was earned by Brandi Benedict (Lovettsville, VA) and High Valley Hanoverians' Rebellienne HVH (Rotspon x EM Whitney/Welser). The pair turned heads throughout the week to be named the Four-Year-Old Champion on a score of 8.760. The Hanoverian mare was the winner of Thursday's Qualifying Class, in a performance made all the more impressive because they competed in the deluge of rain. He returned Saturday and was a little tired but nonetheless persevered to finish third in the Championship Class on a score of 8.720. Rebellienne HVH and Benedict have only been partnered together for two weeks but nonetheless were able to earn top marks. On Saturday, the mare's gaits were regarded highly scoring 8.8, 9.5, and 7.5 for the trot, walk, and canter respectively.
"Thursday went really well, it was our first test together, it was interesting in the pouring rain," joked Benedict. "Today she was a lit bit more tired but still really tried." Additionally, they received 9.0 for submission and 8.8 on general impression. Benedict credits the mare's great performance this week to her early training and breeding. "All of her training really came through, as did her breeding. I really have to thank High Valley Hanoverians for giving me this opportunity." The pair also received the Highest Place U.S. Bred award.
Earning Reserve Champion honors was the KWPN gelding Encore (Jazz x Aloha SE/Sir Sinclair) with owner/rider Amy Miller on a score of 8.736.The pair were the second place finishers in both the Qualifying and Championship Class. In an interesting twist, they tied with Benedict and Rebellienne HVH in Saturday's class on a score of 8.720. Generally, when there is a tie it is broken by breeding nationality, but as both were U.S. Bred the tie remained in place. It was then turned to the judges to choose the winner, and it was determined that Encore would earn the red ribbon.
For his performance on Saturday, the gelding received 8.5, 8.5, and 8.8 for their trot, walk, and canter gaits, as well as 9.0 for submission and 8.8 for general impression. "I got him at the end of his two-year-old year," said Miller. "On Thursday, he scared himself a bit with the tractors in the other ring but got it back together. Today he tried so hard and you can't ask for more than that."
Anna Marek (Williston, FL) and AJ Stapleton's Elain (Sir Oldenburg x Barliane/Santano) collected third-place honors on an overall score of 8.700. The KWPN gelding was the winner of the Championship class on a score of 8.780. They received scores of 8.8, 8.5, and 8.8 for the trot, walk and canter, in addition to 9.0 for submission and 8.8 for general impression.
The 2013 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships presented by HorseShow.com comes to a conclusion tomorrow with champions being crowned in Six-Year-Old and Developing Horse Prix St. Georges. The day begins at 8:35am CT with the Six-Year-Old division.