By Amber Heintzberger

Consistency won out over moments of brilliance when Lars Baekgaard rode Dr. Mary Hughes’ black German-bred Oldenburg gelding Revolution (Royal Diamond out of Fuela by Furioso), to take first place with a 7.48. Scores were not quite as impressive in the division for six-year-old horses as they were in the five-year-olds.

Lars Baekgaard was riding in his first US Championship, but has competed in the FEI Young Horse classes before in his native Denmark. Training out of Hughes’ Eagle Crest Farm in Moorestown, New Jersey, Baekgaard has been riding Revolution since January.

“He was excellent today,” Baekgaard commented about the gelding. “He was soft and very forward.” In the near future, Hughes plans to be the horse’s primary rider, competing at the lower levels, while Baekgaard will continue to train the gelding.

It was good basics and correct training that kept this horse in the lead.

Ashley Fornell and Rykaard Reserve Champions

Second placed Ashley Fornell was just behind him with 7.46, having had a lovely ride but losing some points for an unclear canter rhythm on her Dutch gelding Rykaard (Kimberley out of Milonia by Caruso), a horse that was a gift to her from her father Richard.

Fornell, from Chadds Ford, PA, also competed Rykaard as a five-year-old in the World Championships in Verden, Germany last summer and then stayed on to train with the Theodorescu’s until October, also taking Kerido, her Grand Prix horse, with her.

Rachmaninoff, (Rubinstein I out of Gloriette by Glorieux), owned and ridden by Joseph Sandven of Fletcher, NC was a perfect example of how the Young Horse tests are judged differently than a normal dressage tests – and how judges might see things differently. Though he won on Saturday in front of a different panel of judges, the enormous, almost black gelding’s flamboyant gaits and moments of brilliance did not overcome some inconsistencies that brought disapproval from Sunday’s judges and resulted in a less than brilliant score of 6.88.

Rideability and Training Matter at the Championships

As Jane Ayers commented, “This is an exciting, impressive horse and shows us some real highlights but is inconsistent and very strong and wants to charge through the bridle….perhaps he is a horse for the future as he gains submission.”

Judge Axel Steiner commented that, “Overall we saw the nicest collection of young horses in the US brought together at one time from all over the country. The five-year-old group was better than the six-year-old group, but it shows progress. The program is taking root in this country and I hope it continues to grow in interest so that we can truly showcase the finest horses in the U.S. Hopefully in the not-too-distant future we will see even more American bred horses; our breeders need to get their horses properly prepared to showcase them.”

Related Links
Scoresource: View Complete 2004 National Y.H. Championship Scores
Royal Prince and Revolution Win 2004 USEF/Markel Young Horse Dressage National Championships
Royal Prince Reigned Supreme at the 2040 USEF/Markel Young Horse Dressage National Championships