Last year, Julie Forman of Franktown, Colo. traveled to Kentucky to attend the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® as a spectator with her long-time friend, coach, and FEI 5* judge Janet Foy. The trip left quite an impression. “It was unlike any event I had seen before,” Forman remembered. “What a treat to watch all the wonderful horses and riders in that amazing venue, which was much larger than I am used to. All I could think was that it would be such an honor to ride there.”
Forman may get her chance to qualify for this year’s US Dressage Finals as she and more than 500 other competitors prepare to ride down center line during this week’s first round of Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Regional Championships, being held in Parker, Colo. for Region 5 exhibitors and in Batavia, Ohio for Region 2. Additional championships are scheduled across the country in the coming weeks, including Regions 6, 7 and 8 on September 21-24; Region 4 on September 28-October 1; and wrapping up with Regions 1, 3, and 9 on October 5-8. Besides pursuing qualification for November’s US Dressage Finals, Regional Championship competitors will be vying for a portion of more than $180,000 in prize money and awards.
“I have to admit that I am super excited yet nervous about Regionals this year because I really want to do well,” said Forman, who will compete in the Second Level Adult Amateur and Second Level Freestyle championship divisions. Her partner will be Prince Berimba, her nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Pablo x Berimba by Banter) bred in South Carolina by Middlefield Farm. “The Colorado Horse Park is a wonderful venue, and it looks like it will be a big show as we are scheduled to compete in classes over four days in a row.”
Forman and Prince already know what Regional Championship success feels like: the talented pair was crowned Region 5 Reserve Champions at First Level in 2016, and actually received a wild card invitation to go to the Finals. At the time, Forman made the tough decision to turn it down – but she won’t if given the chance again this year.
“Last fall it was a complete surprise – I actually didn¹t know there was such a thing as a wild card, and I was very excited and honored to suddenly get a letter inviting me to attend the Finals,” Forman explained. “But after talking with Janet Foy we decided that I should just go and watch and see what this whole thing was about before I decided if I should go with my horse. I wanted to be sure that both Prince and I would have the necessary confidence and be ready for a big trip like that. Janet also thought I should do a freestyle for the level so if I drove the distance to Kentucky I would be entered in two divisions instead of just one, which is why we added a freestyle when moving up to Second Level this year.”
In order to ensure she wouldn’t miss another opportunity to compete at the Finals, Forman submitted an easy, online Declaration of Intent form long before packing her trailer for the Regional Championships. As a reminder for all competitors, a horse/rider combination must declare their intention to participate in the US Dressage Finals by completing the Declaration of Intent form by midnight on the day prior to the first day of their Regional Championship competition (including any open class day before the start of championship classes). There is no fee to declare, but horse/rider combinations must declare at the level(s) and eligible division(s) they intend to compete in at the US Dressage Finals. Declarations may be submitted at this link.
Don’t miss your chance to compete! The US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® is a unique national head-to-head competition which offers a wealth of championship titles and over $75,000 in prize money, all while showcasing adult amateur and open riders from across the country in Training Level to Grand Prix. To learn more about the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, download competition information, declare and nominate for the Finals, and sign up to receive news and updates, visit the official event website at www.usdressagefinals.com