Lexington, KY - With three horses earning qualifying scores of 8.2 or better at the 2011 Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Selection Trials and four earning qualifying scores in Europe, the U.S. had a competitive list of seven - more than ever before - to choose from when considering who will make up the team for the FEI World Breeding Championships held in Verden, Germany, August 3-7. "The number of horses that qualified this year was a true testament to the Markel/USEF Young Horse Program," said USEF Young Horse Coach Scott Hassler. "We had impressive horses come from all areas of the country with many competing overseas and doing quite well against top quality horses. The Young Horse Program is progressing in the U.S. just the way we hoped it would."
The U.S. is invited to field a team of four in Verden - two 5-year-olds and two 6-year-olds. This year's U.S. team will consist of a total of three (a 5-year-old and two 6-year-olds). The final team includes the 5-year-old Westphalian stallion, Florentinus (Florestan I - Lady in Red by Londonderry), owned and ridden by Jennifer Hoffman. The duo qualified by earning a score of 8.5 in Europe. The 6-year-olds include the Austrian Warmblood stallion Ratzinger (Riccione - St. Pr. St. Inschella by Pablo), also owned and ridden by Hoffman, who qualified with an 8.5 in Europe. The second 6-year-old is the Oldenburg mare, Royal Couer 2 (Royal Hit - Riva by Le Coeur), owned and ridden by Marne Martin Tucker. The pair earned a score of 8.36 in Europe to qualify for the team.
Also earning a qualifying score in Europe was Allison Brock and Shumacher (Stedinger - Wildrose by Weltmeyer) with a score of 9.0. Brock and the Westphalian gelding, owned by Fritz and Claudine Kundrun, have opted to compete at the 6-year-old International British Young Horse Championships at Hickstead instead of Verden.
Three additional riders qualified via the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Selection Trials held in Illinois, California and Virginia with the top two North American qualifiers being American bred. Emily Wagner and WakeUp (Wagnis - Maiden Montreal by Macho), a 6-year-old American Warmblood stallion owned by Wagner and bred in the United States by Beverly McLean, traveled to Verden last year and competed in the 5-year-old class. A score of 8.244 at the Central Selection Trial qualified the pair for the short list again this year.
Sabine Schut-Kery rode the 5-year-old Hanoverian stallion Sanceo (San Remo - St. Pr. Hauptstutbuch Rivera by Ramero's Son II), owned by Alice Womble-Heitmann, to a score of 8.228 at the Western Selection Trial earning them an opportunity to head to Verden.
The Eastern Selection Trials were dominated by the seventh and final pair to earn a qualifying score for Verden. Lauren Chumley and the Hanoverian stallion Somer Hit (Sandro Hit - Rhussia by Rotspon) earned an 8.376 overall in the 5-year-old division.
Somer Hit is owned by Alice Tarjan and was bred in the U.S. by Mo Swanson of Rolling Stone Farm. The U.S. riders have opted to stay in the states and prepare their horses for the 2011 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois, August 26-28. All three of these riders earned automatic spots in the championship by earning a score of 7.8 or better and by finishing in the top five overall for their age division.
More information on the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Program can be found at http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/breedsdisciplines/discipline/alldressage/NatlYHProgram.aspx or by contacting Jeannie Blancq, National Director of Dressage Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859.225.6918.
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