Anna Buffini of Escondido, CA. started off the USEF Young Adult 'Brentina Cup' Dressage National Championship presented by Dressage Today with a bang, taking home the top two spots in the FEI Young Rider Grand Prix 16-25 Test.
Buffini was the first rider to head down the centerline aboard her own Wilton II, a 13-year old Dutch Warmblood gelding. The pair posted a score of 67.488 percent to claim second place. Buffini was also the last rider to go in the class and earned an impressive 71.256 percent to take home the win with her 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Sundayboy. Buffini who trains full time with Olympian Gunter Seidel is also earning her college degree online with a bachelor in Humanities through Thomas Edison University.
"We are really comfortable together in the show arena which is nice," Buffini said. "I've never ridden a horse like this before and I've never had this kind of connection. I am just enjoying every ride on him. We wanted to go in there today and put in a clean test and we did it together, I was so proud of him."
Buffini was also pleased with her test on Wilton II and was enthusiastic about the connection that she is developing with him.
"I just wanted to go out there and put in the best test we could and not ask for more than we've been getting in practice," Buffini explained. "We are fairly new together so it's been nice to feel him connecting more and he was there for me. It was fun to see how much more he trusted me. I'm just really really proud of him."
Buffini praised the Under-25 Grand Prix program as an important stepping stone between the Young Rider division and the Grand Prix. "There is such a huge jump from Young Riders to the Open Grand Prix. You're either competing against 21 year olds or you're competing against Guenter [Seidel]," Buffini laughed. "This is our first big tour year and I think it's a great way to get us prepared for the Open Grand Prix."
Rounding out the top three was Kerrigan Gluch and HGF Brio, an 11-year-old Andalusian stallion owned by Hampton Green Farm with a score of 64.233 percent. Gluch was happy with the test that she put in aboard her HGF Brio especially given that their partnership began in January.
"Today our test was extremely rideable," Gluch said. "I was able to settle in and really ride every movement more than I've ever felt before so I think that's a huge accomplishment for us. I couldn't ask anything more from him."
FEI Young Rider Grand Prix 16-25 Test
2.Anna Buffini/Wilton II/67.488
3.Kerrigan Gluch/HGF Brio/64.233
4. Kayla Barteau/Merlin/63.209
5. Sean Sierra Keasler/Lux Stensvang/62.093
6. Sarah Thomas/Argo Conti Tyme/60.000
7. Katie Foster/Sacramento/55.977