Melissa Taylor Yee, 34, of Wellington, FL, aboard her Schumacker won the Intermediaire I at the 3rd Annual Zada Enterprises LLC Dressage At The National today, topping a field of 18 horses. Judge Jeanne McDonald at C awarded 253 and Judge Brenda Minor at B tallied 277 for a final score of 66.250%, which clinched the victory for Yee. Second place went to Heather Bender with Winwood who earned 64.875%. The third place ribbon was awarded to Betsy Steiner riding Diamore who scored 64.625%.
Yee summed up the best part of her test with one word, “Control,” she smiled. “He was really hot and really fresh, so just being able to control his energy was what I was most happy about. We had a good rhythm and a good connection throughout the test. In the warm-up he was bucking and spinning and leaping all around and then he kicked out when I put my leg on him. But it’s his energy I love. He’s just a sweet, loving, cool horse. I’m very excited about this win.”
Schumacker is a 10-year-old Danish warmblood gelding that Yee purchased 18 months ago from her trainer of the past two-and-a-half years, Lars Petersen. His wife, Mette Petersen, had competed Schumacker through Fourth Level
The Intermediaire I class had the largest number of entries at the show today, and the competition was very close. Yee assessed what was special about Schumacker’s performance that gave him the edge. “He has that brilliance about him. You just have to be able to control his energy into all the movements,” she said. “His trot extensions were amazing. He was sitting down underneath himself and was through his back and was rocketing. It was beautiful. I was very happy with him. My shoulder-ins felt good, and all of my half passes to the right felt super.”
The 2003 show circuit was Yee and Schumacker’s first season at the Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I level. The duo competed in last year’s Dressage At The National, but Yee noted that they did not score well. “I didn’t know how to control the energy at that point,” she explained.
“Raleigh 2004 was a turning point for me. I won at the Allentown, New Jersey, CDI in both the Prix St. Georges and I-I and I also won the Region I Championships at Allentown. I went up the ladder and am peaking now.” Yee noted that the streak of wins encountered a slight glitch at this year’s Devon. “He was a little too fresh, too hot, and I was nervous, but hopefully we’ll stay on track now,” she grinned.
Yee plans to show Schumacker in the Grand Prix soon but is not pushing the debut date. “He does almost all the Grand Prix movements at home now. I try not to make too big of a plan to bring him out because I want to bring him out when he’s super ready,” she explained. “We may come out I-II at the end of February or first part of March. We’ll just let the horse let us know when he wants to do it.”
Yee’s long-term goals include riding on a U.S. team, and she keeps her goals high – the Olympic Games are on her list. “I still have all those aspirations,” she said. “I would love to represent the U.S. That’s what I’m working so hard for, definitely.”
In addition to Schumacker, Yee owns two other horses – Dacardo, a six-year-old Swedish warmblood gelding, and Cidor, her Grand Prix schoolmaster that is leased to a friend. “Lars is showing Dacardo. I ride him at home, not at shows. He’s too much for me right now,” Yee said.
Yee recently changed her status from amateur to professional and has taken on her first horse in training – Lucky, a six-year-old owned by Emmy Adwers that she will be bringing out and showing this winter in Florida. Yee plans to build a training business. “I’d like to take on some more clients and start using my professional status and make money for a living,” she said with a smile. She is the president of her Legacy Farms in Pennsylvania, but said that for the past year she has resided mostly in Florida to pursue her training with Lars Petersen, who will be based out of Arlene ‘Tuny’ Page’s farm this season.
The Intermediaire I win was Yee’s first victory at the Zada Enterprises LLC Dressage At The National, which is in its third year at Wellington. The development of her partnership with Schumacker from a year ago was evident in the duo’s performance today. “It feels great! It’s a good way to end the weekend,” Yee said. And she was especially pleased with Schumacker and what a great match he is proving to be with her. “He’s special. He’s a ‘go- boy’ and I’m a ‘go-girl’!”