Courtesy of eurodressage.com - U.S. young rider Meagan Davis wrote history at the 2010 FEI Young Riders World Cup Finals by being the first American to make it to the Kur to Music Finals at this prestigious invitational event which is hosted at the World Cup Qualifer in Frankfurt, Germany. Aboard Kelly Roetto's 17-year old Danish warmblood gelding Bentley, Davis scored 63.600% and finished seventh in the freestyle A-Finals. Fourteen international Young Riders participated in this event. In 2003, American Mary Haskins-Gray became third in the Euro Future Cup Finals in Frankfurt. The Euro Future Cup was the prototype-event which led to the FEI endorsed FEI Young Riders World Cup Finals, instated in 2005 and first won by Valentina Truppa.
Aboard her NAYRC gold medal winning mount Fregat, she scored 703.25 points and placed behind European Young Riders Champion Thamar Zweistra and German young rider Benjamin Werndl.
Davis, who competed despite a serious chest cold, produced an excellent round in the individual test - the qualifier for the kur finals - scoring 66.000%. In the freestyle, Bentley felt challenged by the difficulty of the show ring arena as well as the exciting atmosphere and closeness of the audience and decoration. In the canter he spooked in the corner and became tense and difficult in the flying changes and pirouettes. Davis handled the pressure well and came out of the ring with a smile, nonetheless.
Davis' home coach Lendon Gray is extremely proud of the achievements of her student. "I assure everyone in America that we were very well represented," said Gray. "Despite being quite sick, Meagan was always positive, did her best, smiled, rode well, and turned out to be a leader amongst the riders. The tope riders all have amazing horses — on a par with our Olympic horses, some are Grand Prix. I am pretty sure that she is the only rider who has done all the riding on her horse since she acquired him – she gets an average of maybe three lessons a month, and has to go in the ring never knowing if Bentley will pull a Bentley. It doesn’t happen often but when it does it’s pretty impressive."
Meagan was also the only young rider in Frankfurt to wear a helmet instead of a top hat. Her conscious choice for safety above style is prompted by both necessity and honour. Though 17 years of age, Bentley is known for unexpected goofy behaviour and it would not be the first time that the dark bay gelding bucked and jumped around as if he were a 3-year old. Also many American and Canadian riders decided upon wearing helmets, even at FEI level, in honour of Courtney King-Dye. The U.S. Olympian sustained severe brain damage when her horse tripped and fell in Florida in the spring.
The 21-year old Davis is from Stone Ridge, New York, and earned her ticket to Frankfurt by producing the highest U.S. young rider scores during the 2010 show season. Meagan also became the 2010 U.S. Young Riders' Champion at the 2010 Festival of Champions in Gladstone, NJ, in the summer. Her Danish warmblood Bentley is bred by Birgitte Rasmussen (horse's original name was Duncan) and owned by Kelly Roetto. The dark bay gelding is by Sorel out of Sacajawea (by Saskibard II).
Meagan's accomplishments this year have not gone unnoticed and she earned a $4,500 training grant from The Dressage Foundation to further her dressage education overseas. She will spent that money on training with Hubertus Schmidt in Paderborn, Germany, for four to six weeks.
"Dressage training and riding is my passion and will be my career," said Davis. "This is an incredible training opportunity that will further my education and advance my horse Bentley. The knowledge I will gain from this experience at Hubertus Schmidt will also benefit my students, the kids that I coach at Lendon Gray’s Youth Dressage Festival, the Dressage 4 Ponies Clinic riders, as well as the horses I train.”
Gray added that "this will be the first time that Meagan has some long term daily lessons. I am thrilled for her and can’t wait to see her when she returns for part of the Florida season — no longer a young rider, but showing with all the professionals."