Callie Jones Dominates in Field of Professional Riders at US Dressage Finals
Monday, November 13, 2017
Posted by Yellow Horse Marketing for the US Dressage Finals
For the last two years, Callie Jones of Region 2 has competed with her nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding Don Philippo (Dancier x Wildnight by Warkant) at top FEI Junior and Young Rider competitions, including the North American Junior & Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) and the USEF Festival of Champions.
And at just 19 years old, Jones had to draw upon all of that experience to successfully top a field full of adults and professionals and win the Fourth Level Freestyle Open Championship with 74.078%. “I think it was the best freestyle we’ve ever done – it was so consistent and flowing and he was with me the whole time. I even cried at the end because I was so happy,” said Jones, a college sophomore in Henderson, Ky.
“I tried to keep the choreography relatively simple and have really solid rides, and I think that’s what really helped me,” Jones continued. “’Phil’ and I have been together for about a year and a half, but I feel like we bonded immediately and I love this horse with everything I have. He’s not an easy horse to ride, but it just seems like we ‘get’ each other. We give each other confidence and he’s always there for me. These Finals are a big show for someone young like me, and being here is exciting and such an honor.”
Heather Mason of Lebanon, N.J. (Region 8) and 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding RTF Lincoln followed up on their previous day’s Fourth Level Open Championship win to claim reserve freestyle honors at this level on a score of 72.767%. “He was a bit spooky going around the outside of the ring, but he was great once we started,” said Mason. “His changes were great and he got his pirouettes – he’s just a happy horse.”
But Mason wasn’t done quite yet – she also added the First Level Freestyle Open Championship to her roster of successes from the 2017 US Dressage Finals. Riding Anne St. Martin’s five-year-old Canadian Warmblood gelding Enlighteningh (Polansky x Flemmingo 777 by Flemmingh), Mason scored 73.467% for yet another national title.
“I thought he was super today – he was more relaxed, we were right with the music and he rode really well,” Mason explained. “This is a freestyle I got about 15 years ago, and it’s tried and true and has worked well with various horses I’ve had over the years. It has a high degree of difficulty with a change of lead through trot to counter canter, and it suited this horse. He belongs to a client for whom I recommended that she buy this horse sight unseen, and she did. He’s recovered from colic surgery about two years ago and the owner became pregnant this year, so I have the ride for now. Hopefully she’ll have him back here herself in the adult amateur division next year, where I think she’ll do really well.”
Earning their second reserve championship title of the weekend with 70.989% was Martin Kuhn of New Berlin, Ill. (representing Region 4) and Washburn SW, a five-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Wolkentanz II x Opal by Opus) owned and bred by Kuhn’s wife, Kathryn. “Washburn seems to love his music – my wife picked it out, and the first time I heard it I said ‘no way’ but it grew on me. Everyone seems to like it and it works for him,” said Kuhn. “I would like to mention that he is our ‘second-born’ and we were looking for a name for him. A very dear friend of ours provided the name, and she wanted to be here but due to some unfortunate reasons could not come. So I wanted her to know that our thoughts are with her.”
More information including final results, photo galleries, and news archives from the 2017 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® are available on the official event website www.usdressagefinals.com. Video on-demand from select championship performances is also available on the USEF Network at www.usefnetwork.com.
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