While fall weather makes its way in, many riders are gearing up the US Dressage Finals. Travelling from all across the country, the riders all agree, Kentucky is the place to be! The inaugural US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan will take place November 7-10, 2013 at the Kentucky Horse Park in conjunction with the USDF Dressage in the Bluegrass that will offer non-championship classes. Qualified riders will go head to head for the championship titles in Adult Amateur and Open competition at Training Level to Grand Prix. There will also be some superb shopping at the Trade Fair with vendors for everything from saddles, supplements, photography and plenty of apparel for the dressage fashionistas out there. Be sure to follow upcoming coverage of the US Dressage Finals on DressageDaily for articles, results and image galleries.
Anna Marek (Ocala, Florida) who qualified with a 70% on Unico G, said, “First of all we are all so excited to have made it to the US Dressage finals. When we found out that that the US Dressage Finals would be held in Kentucky I knew I'd go if we qualified. The Kentucky Horse Park is one of my very favorite places. Unico G has been having a great year. Both of us are learning the Grand Prix together. I'm so thankful for him. He won the Open Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle at Regionals. I've ridden him since he was 6. We started out at training level together.
He was too much horse for his owner, but he and I worked really well. His old owner, Amy Awerbuch, is the whole reason I've had any of the opportunities thus far. She insisted that we keep going. I'm 24 years old and know that I still have so much to learn. I love Nico very much and appreciate everything he has done for me. Here we are going to Nationals and it just makes me think about the first time I was worried about showing him in a training level test." Marek said about her second horse who qualified with a 73.974%, "Cinderella is a very talented mare owned by AJ Stapleton. She's only 6yrs old so she was the big surprise winning the open 3rd level at Regionals. Every horse/rider story is special I'm very fortunate and looking forward to a fun show with friends, family and the horses!"
Laurie Moore (Grand Rapids, Michigan) qualified for the Intermediare I with a score of 66.447% and shared, "I first met Vinnie (Winnetou) while teaching a clinic. I rode him one time and left thinking the owner was lucky to have such an athletic, compact, sports car of a horse. A year later, I had the good fortune to ride Vinnie on a regular basis for about five months. I became an even bigger fan of his exceptional handiness and coordination. Another year passed, and this time Vinnie crossed my path as a contracted sale horse. He had successfully shown first level with his owner, but I felt some scores in the FEI would give some validity to my perceived value of him. I decided to debut him Prix St. George/Intermediare I and took him out twice over the summer - qualifying him for Regionals and the US National Finals. The fact that in only three times out, showing Intermediare I, he has made it to the Dressage Nationals, is an indication of the dynamic horse that he is. I am beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to show him in this inaugural championship show!"
Gwen Poulin (DeLeon Springs, Florida) and her young horse, Fluery's Fanfare qualified for the US Dressage Finals. She shared, "I purchased my horse a little over 2 year ago when he was just 9 days under saddle. Since then we haven't shown much, just stayed home training and focusing on developing the basics. We showed for the first time this year in September at a double show weekend and got high scores of 78% and 80%. Our training paid off and got us qualified for the Region 3 championships which was a big success as he was reserve champion. Since then I have continued to be creative on improving his suppleness and changing it up by galloping him outside the ring. I have also spent extra time in the gym to develop my own strength and flexibility so that I can help my horse go in the best way he can."
Claudia Chaplin Novick (Mount Holy, North Carolina) will ride her Marco von Laar shared, "Ever since I was a horse crazy little girl, I have always loved Friesians. So beautiful and impressive with their animated gaits and long, flowing locks of hair. A royal horse....a horse for a princess! As I started to ride more and eventually pursue a career as a dressage trainer, I was introduced to a variety of breeds, but mostly the sport-dominating Warmblood. I had some opportunities with Friesians owned by students, but never one that I had the opportunity to train completely on my own. Three years ago, my husband and I were blessed with twins. Upon returning to riding in the spring, I had the fortunate opportunity to meet Elizabeth Brown at a schooling show I was judging. She had recently purchased the beautiful Friesian gelding Marco Von Laar, aka Remy. It was difficult for her to find the time to ride, but she did not want to sell him. I was looking for a horse to jump start my career again after having the twins, so we formed the perfect partnership and decided to co-own Remy and develop him as a dressage horse. Remy had been imported and was previously a driving horse, so even though he had an incredible temperament and potential, the concept of pushing verses pulling was completely foreign to him. We spent a solid year retaining, strengthening, suppling, and teaching him how to push and carry himself. Patience and time paid off and Remy started to become the dressage horse we knew he could be. He is joy to ride and always gives his best. Winning the Region 1 1st level Freestyle class was the highlight of our career together. We had hoped all year he would qualify for Nationals and now we are actually on our way! I finally have my princess horse and what a joy it will be to take him down centerline in Kentucky."
Martin Kuhn(New Berlin, Illinois) will ride Rubinstar in the Fourth Level US Dressage Finals with a qualifying score of 71.250%. He shared, "The obvious supposition is that the road that leads to competing at Nationals is the same road that, naturally, leads to success. This is a simplistic view. The riding before 6 AM and the riding after 8 PM is a small part of the makeup. The determination to come to every work without the baggage of the previous horse, without the baggage of the previous ride, and without the baggage of life is necessary, but only part of the picture. The fortitude and focus to be consistent with every horse, every day is necessary, but not the whole picture.
The sad realization is that we are human and fallible. The slings and arrows of life assail us and we are incapable of preventing them from influencing us in every aspect of our day, unconsciously at least. But the horse doesn't know this and shouldn't know this. The horse need only believe that in the time we spend with them, we are thinking only of him. Then and there he is the center of our attention and purpose. We struggle, we fight, we fail, we fall, but we persevere; we rise from our shortcomings to meet the next ride, to meet the next day. We ask the horse's forgiveness when we ask in a better way the next time. The horse largely forgives us as we move forward, together. Every day, every horse, every ride. That's how we get to Nationals, certainly, but that's how we get through life, by growing, making new mistakes and learning from them."