Carly Taylor-Smith (Malibu, Calif.) and Nikki Taylor-Smith’s seven-year-old Oldenburg gelding Rosalut NHF (Rosenthal-Legacy, Salut) took top honors in the FEI Prix St. Georges Test (Developing PSG), placing them as the current leaders of the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage National Championship with a score of 7.04. Rosalut NHF carried Taylor-Smith to the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage National Championship in the four-year-old division in 2014 and five-year-old division in 2015. After an absence in 2016 from the championships, Taylor-Smith returned this year thanks to the help of a fundraiser from family and friends.
“[Rosalut NHF’s] biggest quality is that he is a born performer and every time I take him out, he just loves to show off to people,” said Taylor-Smith. “I had a pretty good ride I thought. Overall, the quality of my work felt really good. He was really soft so we are on the road to hopefully having the end result be the grand prix. This is a great stepping stone – I am very, very happy.”
Nora Batchelder (Williston, Fla.) and her own eight-year-old Hanoverian mare Fifi MLW (Fidertanz-Wolkenstanza MLW, Wolkentanz I) claimed second place with a score of 6.91 after holding the lead for the majority of the class.
“My horse is a little green at the Prix St. Georges level,” said Batchelder. “This is only the third time she has done it. She got in there and was a little nervous and kind of a little backed off by the atmosphere. I thought she got better as the trot work went on and she got through the canter work and I was really proud of her. For the next test, I want to get her a little more powered up and feeling a little more confident in herself and I think we will be in a really good spot.”
Endel Ots (Wellington, Fla.) and Lucky Strike (Lord Laurie-Heidi, His Highness) Max Ots’ seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding, were third with a score of 6.80. Lucky Strike carried Ots to the 2016 title in the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage National Championship Six-Year-Old division. Ots expressed that his horse has flourished under the USEF Young Horse and Developing Horse Program. “It gives you goals for your young horse,” said Ots. “To compete against horses in a similar age group is a really nice thing. To be able to compare your horse to other peers and see where they are and where you are and what you need to work towards - the end result is trying for the Grand Prix. I am super happy to be here among great people.”