Every November since 2013, Julie McCrady and her husband have made the trek to Kentucky from Raymore, Mo. with their home-bred Hanoverian mare Remanessa in tow to compete at the US Dressage Finals presented. They can’t wait to do it again, and if things go well at this weekend’s Region 4 Championship in Mason City, Iowa, they may get their chance. McCrady will join 600 other competitors who are preparing to ride down centerline over the next two weeks as the first round of USDF Regional Championships get underway across the country, vying for not only a wealth of awards but also a ticket to Lexington for the Finals, which will be held November 10-13, 2016.
Even though McCrady admits that her mount was so naughty as a youngster that she tried to sell the temperamental redhead, Remanessa has found her purpose in life inside the dressage arena. The pair competed at Training and First Levels during the inaugural Finals in 2013, and then claimed their first national title the following year in the First Level Adult Amateur division. Last November their journey to the Kentucky Horse Park once again proved worthwhile as McCrady and Remanessa stole the show in the Alltech Arena, dancing to victory in the Third Level Freestyle Adult Amateur Championship. “To this day she’s not nice on the ground and isn’t ‘lovey-dovey’ at all, but as soon as you put the bridle on her she’s all business,” McCrady explained. “When you breed them, watch them grow up, and do a lot of the work yourself, I think it makes it all the more special.”
Now McCrady is hoping to qualify for the Finals in the Fourth Level Adult Amateur ranks as well as with a Fourth Level Freestyle. “I really love the show – every year it seems to get better and better, and the people who put the event on are great. They make the drive worth it,” she said. “Even the hotel staff, residents and everyone around the Horse Park are so friendly and really seem to cater to riders, bending over backwards to help you. I’ve even encouraged my friends to go there to ride in the open show just so they could be part of the Finals experience.”