USEF/Markel Young Horse Dressage Championships Final Presents the Horses For the Future

The Six-Year-Old Division

The long awaited showdown between the two international young horse six-year-old stars at the 2005 USEF/Markel Young Horse Championships was not to be. Hilltop Farm’s Royal Prince who had traveled to Verden, Germany for the World Young Horse Championships in June was withdrawn from the national competition held at the Kentucky Horse Park, September 9-11, as he was dealing with some “physical discomfort”. It was decided that while there was nothing really serious which could be pinpointed, it was time for the stallion (by Rohdiamant out of Piri Piri by Prince Thatch xx) needed a break. In a statement on the Hilltop Farm website Royal Prince’s rider Susanne Hassler said “Training and developing young horses means always listening to and adapting to their physical needs. In this case, the timing of the Championships was too great an obstacle and we’ve had to let go of the dream of capturing the Championship title for a much larger purpose.”

But even without the appearance of Royal Prince, there was still a showdown between the polished and confirmed Iron Spring Farm’s stallion Sir Sinclair (by Lord Sinclair out of Krishna by Flemmingh) expertly presented this year by Belinda Nairn Wertman, and Joli Burrell’s exuberant Rhinelander chestnut gelding Fino (by Fidermark out of Watchtel by Worldchamp) ridden by the young horse master rider, Jan Brons. The judges and crowd who gathered for the afternoon class at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park were treated to a full class of thirteen quality six-year olds, all presenting good quality. For some it was their day, and for others there would be another time to shine. Judge Anne Gribbons commented at the conclusion of both classes "In the end, the best riders on the best movers won."


Dr. Katie Stanton and Savanna

Katie Stanton, of Carmel Indiana, and her Dutch Warmblood mare Savannah (by Jazz out of Wanna by Doruto) returned to the USEF/Markel National Young Horse Championships in 2005 in the six-year-old Division clinching for the second year in a row the High Score for Amateur Rider. Stanton who has her Doctorate in Physical Therapy has a full time job at the University, as well as managing the busy stable operations for her trainer Jennifer Conour.

The lovely solid bay mare, which was bred in the Netherlands by St. Proefbr. Paardenhouderij and her rider presented a happy picture as they negotiated the much tougher six year old test. The test, a stepping stone to the FEI Prix St. George, requires more lateral movements and flying changes, often causing the undoing of some horses.

The panel of judges was impressed with her “exciting walk” which represented a good overstep and ground cover, rewarding them with an 8.0. The trot was “rhythmic and elegant, but could have been more off the ground and steady, earning a 7.7. In her canter work the changes were fluid but the judges were looking for better balance, and she had a tendency to lean into the bridle, scoring a 7.3. In the Young Horse Test the judges who are much more forgiving of the occasional “discussion between horse and rider” were not alarmed at the mare’s leaping buck during her canter work, but it probably affected the submission score as they gave her a 7.0, and they commented they would like to see her frame more “up in the pole”. Her type, a lovely mare with excellent potential for the future was a 7.5. Her overall score for the competition was a 7.58. moving her into a sixth place finish.


Grant Schneidman and Superman

Grant Schneidman, had represented the USET Eventing Team, won the Rolex Kentucky International Horse Trials in 1981 with the legendary Flying Dutchman. Returning to the Kentucky Horse Park as a dressage rider 24 years later, Schneidman, and the Dutch Warmblood gelding Superman (by Mondriaan out of Mikado by Cabochon) traveled from his training base at High Prairie Farm in Parker, Colorado to demonstrate for the judges their talents as the leggy handsome gelding was put through his paces.

The judges enjoyed the trot work the best which showed good “volume” giving him the impressive score of 8.3. His long walk had a steady and clear rhythm scoring a 7.3, and the canter, was big, but showed that sometimes he has difficulty in collecting himself. They recognized the horse was still developing in his strength and were impressed with his overall type, with an overall score of 7.77, placing fifth.


James Koford and Don Principe

Maryanna Haymon’s handsome dark bay Hanoverian stallion (by Donnerhall out of Papagena by Prince Thatch) had a very busy week. On Monday they swept the stallion division at the NCDCTA Breeding Show in Raleigh,NC, before heading for the USEF/Markel National Young Horse Championships in Kentucky. They not only competed in the 6-Year-Old Class finishing 4th overall, but they also took advantage of the MSEDA Breeders Classic, Stallion Championship, Mature Horse Championship, and Grand Championship.

Piloted by James Koford, the pair presented a lovely picture with a long and elegant walk, scoring an 8.5. The trot was “elegant and rhythmical, and earned a 7.8. The only fault found was in the canter which had a lovely rhythm, but he was not always able to stay round. Still the busy stallion earned a 7.5, and an overall score from both tests of 7.87. Next stop for the Hanoverian superstar is Dressage at Devon, Sept 27, through October 1.


Susan Dutta and Golden Choice DC

“This is a lovely, lovely mare, which makes a beautiful picture and is quite finished in her level of training,” judge Cara Whitam commented at the end of Susan Dutta’s ride on the beautiful Hannoverian mare by Grand Cru out of Wesbe by Westbury. Purchased by the Tim Dutta Corporation from the famed PSI Sales in Germany, the pair were rewarded with a solid score for a “clear correct walk, which could use a bit more energy” with a 7.5.

Her trot work was “elegant, light and expressive” but the judges would have liked to see more “thrust and power” and gave her the mark of 8.0. Her canter work was “steady and clearly defined, showing the ability to collect, getting an 8.3. Her submissive score jumped to 9.0, and for her type, and what Anne Gribbons called “a top line to die for” the mare scored a 9.0. Dutta skillfully piloted the sensitive and talented mare presenting a delightful picture and clear example of how it’s done finishing third overall.


Jan Brons and the Fabulous Fino

For Jan Brons, and Joli Burrell’s striking Rhinelander chestnut gelding Fino, it came down to the wire, and very close to topping Sir Sinclair’s winning score. The young gelding (by Fidermark out of Wachtel by Worldchamp) bred in Germany by Eberhard Schulte-Bocker, had gone through a big growth spurt in the spring, and Brons, who was training in Franklin, Tennessee for the summer, had to back off and give him a break. Still it was all he could do to lasso the power he had beneath him to hold together the tough test in front of the judges, clearly impressed with his ability.

While Fino demonstrated his tremendous talent in all three gaits, he was also somewhat explosive and nervous, jumping away from the rail as the footing hit the PVC fence, and eyeballing the banners around the arena.

“We have just witnessed an attractive and amazing horse,” commented Cara Whitham after their ride. "With a horse of this ability, the rider may be encouraged to ask more of the horse to show his talents, this is not quite so.” Brons, an extremely talented trainer and rider with a barn full of talented young horses, more than understood such a comment, knowing his horse’s insecurities. Clearly impressed with the overall performance the judges gave the pair a 9.2 for an “expressive and elastic trot, an 8.5 for a ground covering walk, and a 7.9 for his canter work where Brons had some difficulty with the changes (as they were going towards the banners). Brons plans of giving the future superstar plenty of time over the winter months at his training headquarters in Wellington, Florida, taking his time before moving up to Prix St George.


The Sensational Sir Sinclair and Belinda Nairn Wertman

Known for stallions which are not only extremely well bred, well built and well trained, Iron Spring Farms also develops and promotes stallions who are good in their mind. Iron Spring Farm’s owner Mary Alice Malone’s philosophy makes simple sense. “Why do it if you can’t enjoy the ride?” Iron Spring Farm had an incredible day the Sunday of the USEF/Markel National Young Dressage Horse Championships. Not only did the handsome Dutch Warmblood stallion Sir Sinclair (by Lord Sinclair I out of Krishna by Flemmingh) top a strong and impressive field of six-year-olds, at the Kentucky Horse Park, but across the country, at Spruce Meadows in Canada, their jumper stallion Judgement won the Spruce Meadows International Grand Prix with Beezie Madden becoming the first American bred stallion to win over 1 Million dollars.

Sir Sinclair presented a “finished picture of a happy and contented horse mature in his connections.” commented Cara Whitham for the panel. “and,” she added with a grin, “I am sure it will not be long before we see this horse at the next level, Prix St. George quite soon.”

His trot work showed a “lovely cadence, and clear rhythm” earning a 9.0 and cheers from the crowd. His canter was “well balanced with clean transitions and changes” gainined an 8.8. It was only in the walk where the judges commented the horse was "not always even behind" the percentage dropped to a 6.2. With a huge score for submission at 9.5, and a 9.0 for type, Iron Spring Farm’s Sir Sinclair was crowned the USEF/Markel National Young Dressage Horse undisputed champion of America’s best six-year-old young Dressage horses.

The Kentucky Horse Park and horse show management headed by Margie Koffler once again demonstrated their ability to produce a world class competition for a world class event. As America anxiously awaits the final decision of the FEI as to whether they will be awarded the 2010 World Equestrian Games, we will hopefully look back on this past week as one which has produced our future team, American owned and trained.

Horsesdaily 'On the Scene' at the 2005 USEF/Markel USEF/Markel Young Horse Dressage Championships - More coverage and results.

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