Gladstone, N.J. – In the final class on Thursday at The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, Molly Paris won the Intermediate II 16–25 aboard Countess, a 15-year-old Danish Warmblood mare, with a score of 67.079 percent.
“My mare came out as well as she could,” Paris said. “There is still room for improvement, but I am super thrilled with how today went.”
“[The U25 division] is a great stepping stone for young riders to get out there and try the Grand Prix,” she continued. “This is my first time here and it’s awesome. It’s a lovely venue. I can’t believe we’re actually here! It’s just lovely and well kept — I couldn’t be happier.”
Paris reflected on her U25 career with Countess thus far and explained the teaching value that she has provided as a mount. “We’re coming on two and a half years [together],” Paris explained. “We’ve just been getting better and better. She’s amazing — she’s teaching me a lot and she’s the sweetest mare. I really could not love her more.”
Coming in second place was Kaitlin Blythe with Don Principe, an 18-year-old Hanoverian stallion, with a score of 66.684 percent. “I’m really thrilled with my horse,” Blythe said. “He tried really hard in the heat. I feel so lucky to be able to ride this stallion — I think he’s really enjoying being a teacher and helping me refine my riding and ride better in a test.
“I am extremely grateful to be here and so thankful for everything that goes on behind the scenes to make all this happen,” she continued. “It’s such a magical venue. It’s my third time competing here, and every time it just keeps getting better. I love being a part of the U25 division.”
Natalie Pai and Unlimited, a 16-year-old KWPN gelding, claimed third place in the final class of the day after earning a score of 66.447 percent. “He was awesome,” Pai said. “He was a little tense today because of the traveling and everything, but he was phenomenal. He did his best.”
“It’s incredible here,” she continued. “I think it’s awesome to be able to watch the older riders in the Grand Prix and the Intermediate 1, so it’s really awesome to be here. I didn’t think that it was going to happen, but here we are!”
The Intermediate II score will count towards 40 percent of the riders’ overall percentage, along with the Grand Prix 16–25 which counts towards 45 percent and the Grand Prix 16–25 Freestyle, which counts towards 15 percent.
For more information visit dressagefestivalofchampions.org
Intermediate II 16–25 Results
1. Molly Paris/Countess/67.079
2. Kaitlin Blythe/Don Principe/66.684
3. Natalie Pai/Unlimited/66.447
4. Mallory Chambers/Urithmic/64.395
5. Ariel Thomas/Heraldik Star/63.237
6. Geena Sturzebecher Martin/ Bon Chance/62.158
7. Jacquelyn McMaster/ Rampart/57.816