Second place in the championship for four-year-olds also went to a US-bred horse, Roccoca WF, a Hannoverian mare (Rienzi – Turtletaubchen by Tin Rocco), owned and bred by Veronica Carlson and ridden by Verena Stock, both from Caremore, OK. Stock immigrated to the US in 2002, when she came to the 100-day stallion test at Paxton Farm. She has been working for Carlton since then.
“[Roccoca WF is] a sensitive mare but not unusually spooky,” commented Stock. “She was born with only one eye and when I started working with her she often tilted her head to one side, but it never affected her while riding. She is homesick and wasn’t too happy to be here the first couple of days but she is doing better now.” Yesterday Stock competed Roccoca in a class at the Kentucky Dressage Society show that is taking place at the Horse Park at the same time as the Finals, in order to earn points toward year-end awards. Since USDF rules don’t allow competing in two separate shows on the same day, she skipped the warm-up class for four-year-olds.
“I rode late in the day and I was wondering if I made the right decision, because a couple other horses skipped the warm-up and didn’t score very well today, but I was happy with how it worked out in the end,” she smiled. “I heard the judging was really tough yesterday, but I am getting a cold so after I rode I went to bed for three hours and didn’t watch any of the other horses. Today I thought the judging was really fair.”
Jayne Ayers commented, “This is a lovely mare with lots of potential. She has been started in the right way and has a clear, correct rhythm with good reach in all three gaits.”
Judge's Commentary - An Issue?
In the Young Horse classes, judges give a commentary to the rider and audience over the PA system immediately following each ride. Yesterday there was some concern from competitors that the judges focused more on riding style than on the horses, and in too critical a way, leaving some riders feeling defeated. Scott Hassler said that the judges had a discussion yesterday and today the judging reflected a more sympathetic style. “Knowing both judges as I do, I know they have tremendous respect for the riders,” he said. “We used the situation as a constructive discussion and will make improvements, whether through judges’ forums or other means. The program is meant to be positive and I know they didn’t mean to come off the way they did.
Hassler has conducted two workshops this year on riding Young Horses and is optimistic about the future of the program. “The quality here is tremendous and it’s growing. The depth of riders competing is fantastic, too. There are about 14 Grand Prix riders just at this show and horses from 21 states; what a contribution they are making to the sport.”