Wayne, IL - Eventful nights continue but Saturday evening was not about the recurring thunderstorms, instead the excitement at Lamplight Equestrian centered on a huge tree that fell on one of the stabling tents. Happily there were no injuries sustained, but crews worked through the night to untangle the mess.
Undaunted by the previous night's activities, Sunday morning's performance opened with a lovely cool breeze and a clear sky. Eleven vied for the title in the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final for riders 14-18 presented by Dressage Today. Clare Krska, 18, from Olathe, KS, rode her 16th birthday present Romincka to the Gold. This was Clare's first trip to the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals, she considers her win "a real honor against a bunch of great riders." She will not rest on the laurels of this victory as she heads on to NAJYRC competition in Lexington next week. The Silver went to the unassuming 16-year-old Rachel Chowanec from Columbia, CT, aboard Embrujado XI on loan from Lendon Gray and Hampton Green Farm. Jessica Foschi from Virginia, MN, rode Crescent Moon's Lancelo to an impressive Bronze medal.
Next up, the nine-year-old black Hanoverian gelding Rigo (Rotspun x Winnepeg H by Weltmeyer, bred in Germany by H. Martfeld) "Gave me his all and with all his heart" said Shawna Harding, who rode this extravagant mover to a score of 73.238 landing them an overall score of 71.697, more than enough to win the 2010 USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship presented by the Dutta Corporation and Performance Sales International. Rigo's owner, Tonya Rowe, said she was "charmed by him the first time I saw him. I am ecstatic. My decision to place him with a professional like Shawna really paid off." Their goal is to "keep climbing the ladder, we have high hopes for him," continued Harding. Reserve to the Champion was Kassandra Barteau riding GP Delano for owner Grand Prix Equestrian. Regarding the eight-year-old Rheinlander gelding (Diamond Hit x Wellcome by Weltmeyer bred in Germany by Rudi Henn) Kassie said, "Grand prix movements are easy for him, so we plan to keep moving up to the new format next year."
The day culminated in a historic moment when the stunning Hanoverian gelding Selten HW (Sandro Hit x High Princess by Hohenstein bred in the United States) turned out on top yet again with the judge's spokesman, Lilo Fore, refering to him as "a flamboyant young talent." With a score of 8.692 they are the very first to win the Four-Year-Old, Five-Year-Old, and now the Six-Year-Old divisions of the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships. Breeder Irene Hoeflich-Wiederhold watched with a proud eye as onlookers marveled at the cadence and scope of these young horses' gaits. When asked what comes next, owner and rider Elizabeth Ball commented, "I just want him to stay healthy. He is young for his age, but he really rose to the occasion today."
Competition Manager Lloyd Landkamer, USEF Young Horse Coach Scott Hassler and USEF National Dressage Director Jennifer Keeler received praise from Markel's John Seger for the "fantastic job they do and their passion for this program." Seger continued, "We are so pleased to see that this program affords top professionals, as well as amateurs, the opportunity to participate in a program like this. Judges Axel Steiner and Lois Yukins, speaking on behalf of a very esteemed group of officials adjudicating during weekend both agreed "the top horses here are very good horses."
Full results may be viewed at www.dresageshowinfo.com.