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

“I think I was more excited about the class this morning than the riders,” commented Anne Gribbons, who shared judging duties for the final, Sunday at the USEF/Markel Young Horse Dressage Championships, held at the Kentucky Horse Park, the site of the proposed 2010 World Equestrian Games. While the KHP executive director John Nicholson, and the USEF director John Long await the final decision of the FEI due this fall, they both noted, that of the horses in the Young Horse competition held this weekend, it is very likely that one or more could be returning in 2010 to compete for their country as members of the USET Dressage Team.

Friday’s Preliminary Test set the tone for an exciting Final on Sunday with close scores in both divisions, and one super quality horse after another. But in the end, Gribbons noted it was “The best riders on the good movers who won.” The Young Horse tests are not about a perfect performance, and occasional “discussions between rider and horse” were forgiven where quality movement, throughness and balance were correctly demonstrated.

The Five-Year-Old Class - An Exciting Future for American DressageDonegal Forced to Withdraw After Minor Injury

The morning began with a moment of silence for the victims of September 11, and the recent devastation by hurricane Katrina. Over the past week as a result of a huge effort synchronized by the USEF over $40,000 has been raised and sent to aid in the rescue and recovery of the many horses and animals suffering in the Gulf Region.

Sadly for Hokan Thorn and Joanne Balling’s Donegal, the large Hanoverian gelding who had done so well in the Preliminary Test on Friday, scratched due to a slight pull in the stifle after they suspected he was cast in his stall the night before. While disappointed not to be part of the final, the veterans of the World Young Horse Championships held in Verden, did what was best for their horse, and were still pleased at their second place and the positive response the judges had for the Davignport offspring on Friday.

Hokan's assistant, Cathy Giambalvo told DressageDaily “the one thing that we discovered after we scratched that Danny has quite a fan club and so many wonderful people at the horse show came up to us to tell us how sorry they were.” Monday morning a vet attended to Donegal, and everything was fine and back to normal, leaving all to wonder, "What if that had been the case, the day before."

Hilltop Farm’s Pacino and Tami Glover

With 13 horses to go in the class, each one presented had something positive to show. In sixth place was Hilltop Farm’s handsome American bred Oldenburg, Pacino, ridden by Tami Glover, by Hilltop Farm’s stallion, Parabol out of Corthena by Cor Noir. Judge Cara Whitham, who spoke for the panel, commented on his “natural uphill top line and lovely ground covering walk”, giving his highest score of 8.7.

While his trot and canter not yet through in the top line and consistently balanced, he still received a respectable score of 7.3 in both gaits. With a solid score of 7.0 for submission, Tami Glover improved her 9th placed position from Friday’s Preliminary Test to sixth overall.

Wolkenwand and Anthea Kin

Anthea C. Kin brought her lovely Hanoverian gelding, Wolkenwand, from her farm in Mounds, Oklahoma. The chestnut by Wolkenstein II out of Warina by Walt Disney was bred in Germany by Bernd Meyer, impressed the judges with his big walk, scoring a 7.8. His trot work showed a “lovely cadence and potential” earning an 8.0, and his canter earned a 7.3, while clean in rhythm required “more jump” for a higher score.

Whitham congratulated the rider on her training and riding giving the team who had traveled far for the event an 8.0 on submission, and 7.8 for type. Kin a breeder who trained for years in England, has a farm in Oklahoma with more prospects for the future, and will certainly be appearing again in this class.

Cash Confetti and Merrie Velden

Californian Merrie Velden trailered to the Kentucky Horse Park giving her own Westfalen gelding Cash Confetti a few days of R&R before the Young Horse competition. Her first trip to Kentucky, Velden shared the opinions of all the visitors to the Kentucky Horse Park on the beauty of the facility and its surroundings, as well as the warm and friendly southern hospitality of the management of the competition.

It was worth the trip as the large dark brown gelding by Cordobes II out of Drossana by Drossan, with a handsome face and expressive eyes impressed the judges’ panel with his “effortless, energetic trot” earning an 8.5, and his canter showing a “good jump” scoring a 7.7. A horse for the future, the judges gave the gelding, bred in German by Martin Lange, an 8.0 for his type. In his submission scores, they suggested he be encouraged to come more through, giving him more access to his hindquarters.

Brigadeer and David Wightman Highest American Bred 5-Year-Old

Deena Smith of Olath, Kansas was with her horse Brigadier when he was born at the home of his breeder Page Hinds-Athan. Sired by Batido, the legendary stallion earned the 1995 USET Pan American Silver Medal with Guenter Seidel, then placed high in the Intermediaire rankings with Kathleen Raine in 1998, and went on to earn the NAYRC Bronze Medal with Nicole Perry. Raine’s husband David Wightman, in the irons of the Oldenburg gelding out of an Art Deco mare, Lady Deco, impressed the judges to a third place win, and the highest scoring American bred horse.

A willing horse with an energetic walk which earned him a 7.9, he showed the judges a good trot with clear rhythm, but the judges wanted to see more swing through the back. Nonetheless they were impressed with his aptitude, and gave him a 7.5. His canter work while active did not always maintain balance, the biggest challenge for 5 year olds, yet still he scored an impressive 7.5.

Grand Makana and Laurie Falvo-Doyle Resrve 5-Year-Old Champion

Another Californian, Laurie-Falvo Doyle, who won the USEF/Markel Western Young Horse Selection Trials at Flintridge in June, traveled a long way with no regrets. With Joan Cvengros’s Hanoverian gelding, Grand Makana, a Davignport offspring out of Guadeloupe by Grundstein bred in Germany by Manfred Schaefer, Falvo-Doyle presented a picture of harmony and lightness, delighting the judges and audience as well. Long time friend Emmy Adwers showed up to help coach the pair to win the Reserve Championship of the 5-year-old division.

“This is truly a quality horse.” began Whitham. The long ground covering walk earned an 8.0. The rhythmic and balance trot work had “joie de vivre that said sit up, wake up and watch me” scoring an 8.8. The canter was big, demonstrating correct training, with a large scale but not debilitating the horse, increasing her overall average with a 7.9. With a submission score of 7.9, and a whopping 8.6 for type, the USEF/Markel Red cooler was placed on the pair for the awards ceremony and victory round.

Currency DC and Susan Dutta 5-Year-Old USEF/Markel Young Dressage Horse Champion

“What we just witnessed,” began Cara Whitam after the breathtaking presentation of Susan Dutta and Currency DC, “was a real star for the future.” The dark bay Oldenburg gelding was purchased by the Tim Dutta Corporation from their partner in the shipping business, Guido Klatte family's breeding facility Zuchterhof Klatte in Lastrup, Germany.

The only American combination in the World Championship Finals in Verden, Germany in June, Susan Dutta and Currency DC rank eleventh in the 5-year old Finals, featuring the greatest young horses in the World. Finishing with a final over all score of 8.36, Dutta and Currency DC who some say remind them of a young Flim Flam, an American Dressage icon, now rank number one in the United States as their new national hope for the future.

The handsome expressive Oldenburg gelding by Clintino out of Cinderella by Classiker, affectionately named “Curry”, and his world class rider, wowed the judges with their “amazing trot work which displayed a wonderful rhythm and engagement” earning the applause from the crowd when the score of 9.5 was announced. The canter work had a “wonderfully articulate gait” which was scored an 8.7. The walk, the judges commented, could have shown more ground cover, but had a clear rhythm and the potential to improve got a 6.9. Whitham congratulated Dutta on her world class riding and correct training, and rewarded the pair with a 9.0 for submission and a 9.0 for type.

Dutta, who currently trains with Lars Petersen in Pennsylvania and Florida, also benefits from their close personal and business association with P.S.I. and Ulf Moeller, the master of training and showing Young Horses in Germany.

At the end of the 5-year-old class, Cara Whitham thanks all the competitors and owners for bringing their horses, many from long distances to participate in this program and treating them to a top quality.

Horsesdaily 'On the Scene' at the USEF/Markel USEF/Markel Young Horse Dressage Championships

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