Claire Darnell and Harrold S Conquer the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship

Monday, August 29, 2022
Posted by Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian



Nine combinations competed in the final test of the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship. Claire Darnell and Harrold S had strong performances throughout the week to earn the National Champion title on an overall score of 69.942%. Darnell (Mt. Vernon, Wash.) and her 2012 KWPN claimed top honors thanks to the score of 69.250% in the USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Test.

Photo - Claire Darnell and Harrold S (SusanJStickle.com)

“My horse was super good today. He’s been super all week,” said Darnell. “I could not be more happy with how he's gone. I made a couple little rider errors in the tests today, but he just kept doing his thing. He made up for my mistakes, which is really great with a young horse like him.”

Watch the winning ride.

Alice Tarjan (Oldwick, N.J.) and Jane, her 2014 KWPN mare, scored 67.666% in the USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Test and earned Reserve Champion honors with an overall score of 69.325%. Marcus Orlob (Annandale, N.J.) and Spirit of Joy, Jeanette Pinard’s 2014 Westphalian gelding, were third in the USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Test with a score of 68.833% as well as third overall on a score of 68.966%. All of the top three combinations are members of the Kundrun USEF Dressage Development Program.

Overall championship results

From the Mixed Zone:

Tell us about your horse’s background.

Darnell: “I got him when he was four, and as a five-year-old showed him in training and first level, six year old, and at the end of the year at Third Level, then just kept moving up. It's just been so much fun to bring this horse up through the levels. He is so willing and so kind and the hardest trying horse I’ve ever had. The best thing about this horse is how reliable he is. I can bring him to any show anywhere and he's going to be the same. So, it's been really, really fun bringing him up through the levels. My goal for the year was just to qualify for this competition, so to come and have him win is really super, super special.”

What is next for your horses?

Darnell: “We'll go home and have a little break. And then I think we're going to head to California for the Thermal CDIs and we'll do either two of those or a whole series. Then, we’ll head to Wellington later in the winter.

Orlob: “He will have a few weeks light work and then I think our home homework will start. I planned earlier this season to qualify for here because I had in the winter a lot of issues with allergies and he had a long time off. There’s a lot of green stuff for him. He's only eight. So, now I think I have to push to the next level, and then hopefully in Florida starting to do the national Grand Prix.

Tarjan: “I think the horse just needs exposure, so we will try for [Dressage at] Devon.”

Watch the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions on demand on USEF Network.

Complete Results