Wayne, IL- Ripline and Rosalut NHF are no strangers to success at the Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse National Championships. In 2014, Ripline claimed the 6-year-old championship while Rosalut NHF took home top honors in the 4-year-old division. In their 2015 return to Lamplight Equestrian Center for the Championships, both horses showed they have made successful transitions to the next levels, picking up first place ribbons Thursday in the first tests of their respective divisions.
Ripline, ridden by Heather Blitz of Medfield, Massachusetts, coasted to victory with a score of 72.895 percent in the FEI Prix St. Georges, the first test of the Developing Horse Prix St. Georges division. The 7-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion (Blue Hors Hotline-Riviera, Blue Hors Cavan) was bred in the U.S. by current owners Oak Hill Ranch LLC of Folsom, Louisiana.
Blitz explained that coming to Lamplight for the 2014 Young Horse Championships helped set Ripline up for success as he takes on a new challenge this year. "It's beautiful, and we love it here, which helps," she said. "This is a great program if your horse can rise to the occasion and do the difficulty of the test for the level. He comes to this major championship thinking it is just another show, and that is of course what you want in the ring: a very relaxed attitude about it so he can bring his best without really stressing."
While Ripline is among the youngest horses in his division, Blitz said she had plenty of confidence that he could make the step up from the 6-year-old classes to the Developing Horse Prix St. Georges. "I have noticed a very fortunate pattern with him that he makes very straight line progress," she said. "Many horses make a lot of progress and then take a couple steps back, and then they take a lot of steps forward and a couple back. Ripline is extremely gifted in that his level of progress is very consistent."
According to rider Carly Taylor-Smith, Rosalut NHF has likewise made a very smooth shift to the next level up. The Oldenburg gelding (Rosenthal-Legacy, Salut) impressed the panel of judges - Gary Rockwell, Lois Yukins and Kristi Wysocki - with an outstanding performance in Thursday's 5-year-old preliminary test. His score of 8.58 put him well ahead of his competitors and made Taylor-Smith's long trip from Malibu, California, more than worthwhile.
"He is super, super easy and super, super smart," Taylor-Smith said. "It's a first for me to have a horse that finds everything easy; it's like he's done it all his life already. He's really fun to ride, and I am very lucky. We have a really good bond."
Rosalut was bred by Margaret D. Neider at North Hill Farms in Fabius, NY and is owned by Taylor-Smith's mother, Nikki Taylor-Smith, who picked him out as a foal.
Also finishing in the top three in the 5-year-old preliminary test were Don Cesar, ridden by Katie Riley and owned by Cesar Parra, and Shyriana, owned and ridden by Marcus Orlob. Don Cesar scored a 7.9 while Shyriana scored a 7.88. In the Prix St. Georges, Christina Vinios rode her own Folkestone to second with 69.518 percent, while Jim Koford took third on Maryanna Haymon's homebred Doctor Wendell MF with a score of 69.035 percent.