Wayne, Ill. - The USDF Region 2 Dressage Championship kicked off on Thursday at Lamplight Equestrian Center. The picturesque showgrounds are bustling with dressage horses and riders from around Region 2 vying for championship titles with the goal to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Dressage Finals in Lexington, Kentucky, in November. Championship classes will begin on Friday so many riders took advantage of the national classes offered on Thursday to get extra time in the ring.
Ten-year-old Ellanor Boehning of Battle Ground, Indiana, is feeling confident going into her Junior and Young Rider Training Level Championship class this weekend. She and her own Kabam, a 13-year-old German Riding Pony, tied for first place in the large Training Level 3 class Thursday with a score of 65.909 percent.
"I'm feeling great because we have been working a lot on sending him forward without him getting tense, and we had a good practice in the warm-up class," Boehning said. "My goal here at Regionals is to get good experience. I'm doing the equitation class here because I'd love to qualify for the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals for next year. I've been working on developing my seat and focusing on my leg position. I've been doing a lot of work bareback and without stirrups."
For Boehning, dressage is a family affair. "I grew up riding dressage with my mom," Boehning said. "She's not a professional but she trains my sister and I. My sister is 14 and just earned her silver medal."
Angela Jackson and Ferragamo TF, a 6-year-old KWPN gelding, made the trip to Lamplight Equestrian Center from Henderson, Kentucky. The pair will compete in the Open Training and First Level Championships. They finished second in their First Level Test 1 class on Thursday with a 73.333 percent, which was the gelding's third time down centerline.
"I love the facility itself because it is horse friendly," Jackson explained. "All the trails are wonderful, everything is beautiful and they go out of their way to make it safe for the horses. That's why coming here with the young ones is so great."
Carol Peterson and her own Troyano XI, an 8-year-old PRE gelding, traveled from Northfield, Michigan, and will compete in the Adult Amateur Training and First Level Championships. "This is my first summer showing him," Peterson smiled. "I'm just having the time of my life. This is my first time here at Lamplight and it's very fun. I love trail riding through the paths to the arenas."
Katelyn O'Brien also traveled to Lamplight from Michigan. She and Ruth Hill-Schorsch's Scirocco, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, will be vying for the Junior and Young Rider Training Level Championship on Friday.
"This is actually my first year showing dressage," O'Brien said. "I really like the discipline and all of the brainwork behind it because everything is so technical. I was a hunter/jumper rider before I began training in dressage. I was on Michigan State University's Intercollegiate Dressage Team and I really got into it there."
Friday will see the first of the regional championships awarded with eight championship classes being held.
Friday, Sept. 23 GAIG/USDF Region 2 Championship Schedule
7:53am- Training Level Junior/Young Rider Championship, Ring 4
8:00am- Third Level Open Championship, Ring 1
8:00am- FEI Young Rider Championship, Ring 2
8:00am- Training Level Open Championship, Ring 3
8:18am- FEI Junior Rider Championship, Ring 2
9:21am- Prix St. Georges Adult Amateur Championship, Ring 2
11:20am- Second Level Adult Amateur Championship, Ring 4
1:24pm- Intermediaire I Open Championship, Ring 1