Alice Tarjan Takes Top Two Spots in Developing Grand Prix Championship

Monday, August 24, 2020
Posted by Kathleen Landwehr and Leslie Potter



Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship

The Developing Grand Prix horses closed out competition in the Young and Developing Horse Arena on Sunday afternoon. Twelve entries completed the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Test, and in the end, one owner/rider took home both the National Champion and Reserve National Champion titles from the division.

Alice Tarjan (Oldwick, N.J.) and her nine-year-old Oldenburg mare, Donatella M, added another win to their resume, scoring a 71.708% to earn place first in the class and the division. With Harvest, her eight-year-old KWPN stallion, Tarjan was second in the class and reserve in the division. Even with her decisive victories, Tarjan was pleasantly surprised to find herself sweeping the top two spots.

“I’m thrilled,” said Tarjan. “It’s not what I was expecting at all. They’re both pretty green. It’s been a good week. We’ve had our ups and our downs, but that’s horses for you.”

Tarjan first came to the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions 10 years ago, and she reflected on how her program has developed through the decade.

“I came the first time on a four-year-old, so it’s really fun to come back to try to build up the horses,” said Tarjan. “You start from the bottom and you get them trained to the top, so that’s kind of exciting.

From the Mixed Zone:

Take us through your two rides.

Tarjan: “Donatella put in a pretty decent test, same as she did on Friday. It’s about where she’s at right now. The changes are green and they swing a little. Piaffe/passage, we’ve got to work on the rhythm a lot. But she’s very honest and very rideable in the test. That’s good, and she’s pretty good on the connection.

“Harvest is much greener at this level. He’s only eight. We just brought him for the experience. He put in a better test than he did on Friday, so I’m very pleased about that. We got our ones, so that’s good, and the piaffe was better. He’s really green. It’s just a work in progress. I really wasn’t expecting much. I know we made a lot of mistakes still, so to have done so well, I’m happy.

Are you planning to go to U.S. Dressage Finals?

Tarjan: "That’s kind of the tentative plan. Everything’s up in the air. They are qualified. That was sort of the idea was to try for regionals and then Kentucky to get them some more ring time."

What’s your plan for next year?

Tarjan: "We go down to Florida for the weather. Beyond that, [my plan is to] keep the horses happy in training and sound. They’ll get some downtime after this for sure, and then start legging them back up for regionals and train on them and see where it goes. The horses kind of tell you what they’re ready for or not."

Do you have any goals with these two?

Tarjan: "I really think that the horses tell you when they’re ready to do stuff or not, so I just kind of follow where they lead. It’s nice to have three grand prix horses now. I’ve been working for it for a long time. I’ve been going to Lamplight now, ten years ago was my first time. I think I missed maybe two years."


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