Gladstone, N.J. – After Friday's reprieve, the rain returned for day three of the 2009 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions, being held at the U.S. Equestrian Team headquarters. Despite the steady rain, riders and horses plowed on through puddles and by day's end, champions were declared in Brentina Cup and Junior Rider competition. The second leg of Grand Prix Championships presented weather challenges Californian riders rarely face, while a former Olympic groom holds onto the lead of a stong Intermediaire division.
PhelpsPhoto: Debbie McDonald checks footing before the Grand Prix Freestyle
Brentina Cup Declares a New Star Rising From the Young Rider Ranks
Jocelyn Wiese, 21, and Lamborghini, a 12-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding held on through two rounds of competition to take the Brentina Cup Championship with a total score of 65.368 percent. It was a tough competition with Reserve Champion Alyssa Eidbo, 19, and the Dutch Warmblood gelding Johnny Cash right behind them with a total score of 64.697.
The winner of the Young Rider Grand Prix, which served as the second round of Brentina Cup competition, was Lauren Sprieser riding Clairvoya.
Wiese, who is heading off to college in the fall to finish her degree in government and politics, couldn't have been happier. "This is a really big accomplishment for me. It tells me that we're going in the right direction," she said.
Wiese plans to continue riding while attending college full-time and gave much credit to her coach, Pam Goodrich, for her success. "I couldn't have done this without her."
Eidbo was rather surprised by her reserve champion finish saying, "I didn't expect this." While she admitted to some minor errors in Saturday's second round, Eidbo said she gained points where it counted most. "He nailed some of the coefficients. He did his ones and twos beautifully."
She is also heading off to college in the fall to begin pre-veterinary studies at Auburn University.After doing so well in this year's Brentina Cup competition, Eidbo said she's now quite certain that she'll continue making time to train and compete Johnny Cash even while in college.
Juniors Show the Big Boys How It's Done
In Junior Rider competition, 17-year-old Riana Porter, who trains with Sue Curry Shaffer in California, earned the title of National Junior Rider Champion with the help of the 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Romax Foldager. Her total score after two days of competition was 68.427 percent. It may have been her 'can-do' attitude that got her through after the skies opened and rain poured down during her ride.
A second of self pity quickly gave way to determination. "I thought 'why me?' But I didn’t think I couldn’t do it, because we’ve done it before and rain isn’t an excuse for us."
Finishing in the Reserve Champion position in Junior Rider competition was Lauren Knopp, who rode Rho Dance, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Rohdiament to a final score of 68.347 percent. The 18-year-old said that while the footing held up very well despite the rain, she was a bit conservative in her ride Saturday, especially in her extensions. Knopp said the next big stop on her competition calendar will be the FEI North American Junior/Young Rider Championships.
Bateson-Chandler and Dea II Hold Onto Lead in Intermediaire I
The final day of competition is Sunday and both riders and show officials are hoping the rain hold off and the show will go on. Three championships have yet to be decided – Young Rider, Intermediaire and Grand Prix. In Intermediaire competition, Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Jan Brons continued their battle for the top spot on Saturday with Bateson-Chandler and Dea II, a nine-year-old Hanoverian mare sired by Diadalos owned by Jan Clark holding on to their lead. The pair won Friday's Prix St. Georges and also Saturday's Intermediaire I with a score of 74.579 percent.
Bateson-Chandler who was Robert Dover's long time groom and then assistant trainer, now has two world class horses and will be the one to watch as she moves to Grand Prix after the Championships. And as in Friday's competition, Brons and Teutobod, a nine-year-old KWPN gelding, were right behind them. The pair's score in Saturday's Intermediaire I was 74.526 percent. Sunday's Intermediaire Freestyle will decide who will earn the title of national champion.
Adrienne Lyle Uses Sweet Persuasion To Entice Wizard to Victory in the Grand Prix Freestyle
The Grand Prix championship will be decided by Sunday's Grand Prix Special. Saturday's Grand Prix Freestyle, which served as the second-leg in the three-round championship competition, was won by Adrienne Lyle and the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding Wizard. It was quite a jump up from the pair's ninth-place finish in Friday's Grand Prix. Their freestyle score was 74.950 percent. Placing second in the freestyle were the winners of Friday's Grand Prix – Leslie Morse and Tip Top 962, a 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood stallion. They scored 74.250.
Lyle earned her victory riding to country music, including the popular tune "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy." She said country fit her, not only because she hails from Idaho, where she trains with Debbie McDonald, but also because country is her favorite type of music. "It's all I listen to," she said. Lyle, last year's Brentina Cup champion, was determined from the get-go not to let the rain impede her performance.
Knowing that Wizard is no fan of puddles, she got up early in the morning and took him out for some 'puddle training' that consisted of giving him sugar for daring to follow her into water. The strategy clearly worked as Wizard splashed right through the wet ring, perhaps in anticipation of sugar cubes at the end. In reality, Lyle and Wizard performed well a rather difficult freestyle, one that Lyle said they had only ridden once before. "I'm very proud of him," she said.
Morse was just as proud of Tip Top, who, she said, performed well in footing that, while holding up after days of rain, was beginning to get "heavy. It was a bit tricky, especially on the centerline."
Morse and Tip Top rode to a new freestyle that included music from Stevie Wonder and The Eurythmics and while she liked the freestyle, Morse said it still needs some improvement and she'll be making some changes down the road. She and Tip Top lead the Grand Prix Championships going into Sunday's final round, which is the Grand Prix Special. It was to have been held earlier in the week prior to the freestyle, but wet weather forced it to be moved to Sunday.
Coming in third in the Grand Prix Freestyle was Lauren Sammis and Sagacious HF, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Hyperion Farm. The pair, members of the gold-medal winning 2007 U.S. Pan American Dressage Team, scored a 72.450 percent. Sammis was thrilled with the gelding's performance especially since this is only his first season at Grand Prix. His mistakes are no surprise, she said, considering that for a Grand Prix horse, he is young and green.