Alice Tarjan All Smiles with Her All-American Girl 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022
Posted by Mary Phelps for HorsesDaily.com


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Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF
Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF (Photo: Mary Phelps)

For Alice Tarjan, trip to Europe to compete in the Nations Cup at the CHIO Rotterdam, with just one horse must have been more like a vacation. 

After their successful tour, placing 7th in the Grand Prix with a (71.239%), and third in the Grand Prix Special (71.191 %) to clinch a second place victory for Team USA, Tarjan was asked to stay on for the US Dressage Tour as a short listed rider to be considered for selection for the FEI World Championships for Dressage to await confirmation of their next event, potentially Kronberg CDI 4* July 14-17.

Main Photo - Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF (Shannon Brinkman)

Horses, Horses, Horses

With fourteen horses at home to train, at least seven qualified for the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Championships, August 22-28, 2022, Serenade gets a brief vacation staying behind in Europe, while Tarjan heads home to New Jersey to get back to work. Serenade will stay behind in Germany getting a break while the the herd back home are coming off of one after hacking and staying in shape on the treadmill. The only one with no break is Tarjan, but that suits her just fine.

Tarjan, has been competing in the Markel/USEF Program since 2010, and has lost count on how many horses she has brought to The Lamplight Equestrian Center, near Chicago, in Wayne, Illinois held every August, along with the US Equestrian Festival of Champions. 

In 2021 the head count was nine, and Tarjan has lost count of how many before that.

She Gets Them Young - Then Does Her Magic

Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF
Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF (Photo: Mary Phelps)

Tarjan bought Serenade MF, a nine-year-old American Hanoverian mare as a weaned foal, as she has done with many of her young horses, mostly fillies or young mares. “And an occasional stallion.”  Serenade MF was born and bred in the USA by Wendell and Maryann Haymon, Marydell Farms in Columbus, North Carolina. She is by Sir Donnerhall II out of the mare EM Duet MF by Haymon’s stallion Don Principe. 

The young mare and Tarjan came up through the levels gaining experience and exposure at the Young Horse Finals at Lamplight. “It’s a great venue for preparing young horses for what’s to come,” said Tarjan. “It gets horses prepared for bigger atmospheres.”

Bouncy, black and beautiful, the sensitive mare gave her all to Tarjan, riding in her first international team experience in the electric yet intimate Rotterdam arena where VIP seating and dining is practically on the rail. 

Early Influences 

Tarjan was an event rider, but while working for Christina Gray while she was in high school, she fell in love with dressage. While she continued to event in college, earning her law degree, she always knew eventually she would focus on Dressage.

Her primary influence in those early years was working with Silke Rembacz who was instrumental in helping her train her first horse to Grand Prix.

The process, the training and the focus on her young horses has made Alice Tarjan a force to be reckoned with throughout the years of the Markel/USEF Young Horse Program and Championships. 

Why It Works

Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF
Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF (Photo: Mary Phelps)

“I think it's a great way to get the horses exposure on a national stage which rewards the horses for potential rather than losing points for the occasional fresh or spooky moment, “notes Tarjan. “I think that way I can drill less and be more playful with the work since I don't have to be so worried about making the occasional mistake. “

While Herning and the FEI Dressage World Championships may be in the near future in September, Tarjan is also preparing for the third week in August and The Dressage National Championship, a show she hasn’t missed since 2008. 

Loving Lamplight

“Lamplight is a great way to get the horses exposed to bigger atmospheres at a younger age to prepare them for what is to come.  Plus, Lamplight is a fantastic show at a beautiful venue and a great opportunity to meet people from all over the country.  Also, lots of good horses and trainers to see there and be inspired by.”

It Takes a Team

Her team, husband Dennis Sargenti, super groom Lauren Chumley, and trainer Marcus Orlob are always close at hand and focused on the plan.

While the plan keeps changing the future looks bright whatever the outcome.