Alice Tarjan Shows Promise for Grand Prix National Championship

Friday, August 21, 2020
Posted by Leslie Potter and Kathleen Landwehr



Competition picked up on Thursday at the 2020 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions. Both the Grand Prix Arena and Young & Developing Horse Arena at HITS Chicago at Lamplight Equestrian Center was busy all day with classes for young and developing horses, ponies, and grand prix. Additionally, the first champions of the show were crowned as the competitors in the Horseware Ireland/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship finished their final test.

Photo - Alice Tarjan and Candescent (

USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship
Six combinations began Thursday’s competition by performing the FEI Grand Prix Test, the first test of the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship. Alice Tarjan (Oldwick, N.J.) and Candescent gave a solid performance in their test to with the class with a score of 71.478%. Tarjan has piloted her 10-year-old Hanoverian mare at three previous U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, and the horse shows much promise as she continues to develop as a grand prix horse.

“It is a work in progress; it is getting better. My horse is getting more reliable and slightly more relaxed today,” said Tarjan. “We are still working on a lot of things. We have got some unsteadiness in the canter going on, so we will work on that. I’m really pleased. It has been a funny year obviously and there have not been a lot of competitions, and I think the horse is better when she has consistently been in the arena, which has been hard with so many shows getting canceled. I’m pleased today.”

Jennifer Schrader-Williams and Millione, Millione Partners, LLC’s 17-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, placed second with a score of 70.500%. Nora Batchelder (Williston, Fla.) and WGangster Girl, Sally Seaver’s colorful 17-year-old KWPN mare, finished in third place with a score of 68.848%.

Thursday’s FEI Grand Prix Test counted for 45 percent of the overall score, while Saturday’s FEI Grand Prix Special Test counts for 40 percent. Sunday’s FEI Grand Prix Freestyle Test counts for the final 15 percent.

From the Mixed Zone:

What have you been working on at home?

Tarjan: “A lot with the consistency and the harmony. I won’t say the horse can reliably do everything, but she at least has an idea of how to do all the movements at this point, so it is really about just trying to get the harmony and get the flow.”

How has the horse developed over her years attending the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions?

Tarjan: “This horse came as a five year old and did Festival and then last two years she did the Developing Grand Prix.

“It is interesting because I have trained all my own horses and I have never really had a trained one. You think in the beginning, ‘Oh I’m going to train my horse to do all the movements, and once it does all the movements I can go do a test and it is done.’ And you realize no, you train it all the movements and maybe it knows all the movements of the grand prix by the time it is six, seven, eight years old, but now you need to take another five to 10 years to work on the harmony and get more consistent and work on the brilliance and stuff like this. So it has been a learning curve for me to work with a horse who knows everything and kind of try to get that better.”

What has it been like to be involved in the Kundrun USEF Dressage Development Program?

Tarjan: “Charlotte [Bredahl] has been great. She is always checking up on us. She came and saw us at every show in Wellington and she would come to the farm and help us some. She is a judge so it has been helping a lot to try and present the horse in the arena. I look at it very much like a training perspective, how to train the horse and get everything done, and she looks at it much more like how to refine it and get it beautiful and harmonious for the ring, so she has been really instrumental in doing that.”

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