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Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF Lead Start to Finish in the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship
Sunday, August 28, 2022
US DRESSAGE FESTIVAL OF CHAMPIONS | DRESSAGE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS | DRESSAGE AT LAMPLIGHT
Twelve combinations started the day of competition in the Grand Prix Arena, riding the third and final test of the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship. Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF led from start to finish to collect the National Champion title with an overall score of 74.176%. Tarjan (Oldwick, N.J.) and her 2013 Hanoverian mare’s freestyle earned a score of 76.985% to win the class and secure the overall title.
Photo - Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF (SusanJStickle.com)
“It is the second time I have ridden through the freestyle,” said Tarjan. “I didn’t practice any of the lines until yesterday. But, I think overall, the quality is getting a lot better so it is exciting for what the future holds.”
Katie Duerrhammer (Greenwood Village, Colo.) and Paxton, Kylee Lourie’s 2011 Westphalian gelding, finished second with a score of 74.980% in the freestyle and took home Reserve Champion honors with an overall score of 70.597%. Emily Miles (Paola, Kan.) and Java Dulce, Leslie Waterman’s 2011 Danish Warmblood gelding, were third in the freestyle with a score of 72.384% and third overall with a score of 69.036%.
From the Mixed Zone:
How did Serenade MF progress through her tests this week?
Tarjan: “Keeping that hind leg underneath her and the balance uphill was a bit of a struggle, especially in the past years, so that’s getting better overall. With the energy, she kind of wants to be a show hunter, especially this year with trying to keep her in front of my leg and I could really ride her up in front of me.
“Over the week, she actually got hotter and hotter. I get on her and it’s like, ‘Whoa. This is a way different horse than what I’m used to riding.’ You almost have to turn it down now. It is exciting to finally have her breaking through that barrier. She has definitely heated up this week, which is a lot different than last year. [The energy] would sort of wear of by the end of the week, but now, I have to try and hold it back a little bit and keep it easy.”
Tell us about your musical freestyles.
Duerrhammer: “I was really, really proud of him today. He performed his ‘uncle’s’ (Quartett, who went to Herning) freestyle to qualify. We ran it really fast at Whites Fences to get a score.
“Terry Gallo made this one for me. I wanted the music to be fun and something people would know and wouldn’t overpower him. I feel like he is a very powerful horse, but he is very light-footed. So, something that could bring and showcase his power but also show how elegant he can be. Terry was very patient because I couldn’t really articulate what I really wanted and she worked and worked and worked and worked until we really found the pieces that worked for him. I think some horses say, ‘This is my music.’ And other horses you really got to really figure out what you want to showcase with them. He had not done this freestyle before, and he is not usually the most flexible in his plan in mind, and I was very proud of him. He tried very hard to accomplish everything in there. We had some mistakes, but he really stayed with me and really like the music, so that was really fun.”
Miles: “Erin Boltik did this freestyle. She calls me her ‘PITA’ because same idea [as Duerrhammer]. We would find something that would match the passage and was super fun, but that went with nothing else. It was really tough. I rode a different freestyle that she put together for me at the beginning of the year but I didn’t like it very much. She put this one together for me. It’s hard because I watched the video, , but I have never ridden it before [in competition]. I was actually super happy with how we hit our marks, knew where we were with the music, and it was a clean freestyle.”
Competition concludes Sunday at 8 a.m. CT in the Markel Arena with the FEI Six-Year-Old Final Test of the Markel/USEF Young Horse Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship, while the Grand Prix Arena starts at 8:30 a.m. CT with the FEI Children Individual Test of the USEF Children Dressage National Championship.
Watch the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions live stream this week on USEF Network.