A Family Affair in Grand Prix Open Freestyle Championship at US Dressage Finals

Sunday, November 10, 2019
Posted by Yellow Horse Marketing for the US Dressage Finals



Crowd favorites James Koford of Winston-Salem, N.C. (Region 1) and the 12-year-old Friesian Sporthorse Adiah HP (Nico x Marije ANT by Anton, owned and bred in the U.S. by Sherry Koella) know how to put on a show, and once again they did not disappoint as they danced their way to thunderous applause and a top score of 75.108% with a unanimous victory under all three judges in the Grand Prix Open Freestyle Championship, claiming the Jazzman Perpetual Trophy (presented by Donna Richardson) for the third year in a row (watch their winning ride HERE).

Photo - Susan J. Stickle

“She’s quite a performer. She loves the music and she loves the crowd. When I’m warming up she keeps trying to go into the ring before it’s time. It’s so rare and so special to have a horse that loves to go into the show ring like that,” Koford said.

After she earned Reserve honors in the Intermediate II Open division earlier in the week, Kristin Wasemiller-Knutson of Oklahoma City (Region 9) remarked that she hoped to give Koford a run for his money in the Grand Prix classes, especially since she was riding Adiah HP’s talented younger half-sister Vashti (10-year-old Trakehner/KWPN/Friesian cross mare [Nico x Thekla by Onassis] bred in the U.S. by Sherry Koella). And she obviously meant it as the pair finished in Reserve with a score of 72.358%, evoking a cascade of cheers from the audience before even giving their final salute.

“I am super happy with the ride,” Wasemiller-Knutson said, also pleased that her Grinch Who Stole Christmas freestyle was a hit with the crowd. “I wanted to do something with a Christmas theme and this was my chance to do that. I did the choreography and the music myself, and we only put it together three weeks ago.”

Not only was Koford beaming with pride over his mount Adiah HP, he was thrilled to see her younger half-sister Vashti take the Reserve Champion title. Watching two of Nico’s offspring sweep the class meant a lot to Koford and breeder, Koella. “Their sire has produced so many Grand Prix horses, but he had a short breeding career because he died in a barn fire,” Koford remarked. “It’s amazing to see the talented horses he has produced.”

Watch archived streaming videos of Championship classes on the USEF Network HERE. Championship competition resumes Sunday – follow the action through updates on the USDF Facebook page and the US Dressage Finals website, as well as watch live online streaming on the USEF Network. To learn more about the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, download competition information, review day sheets and results, and read daily news releases, visit the official event website at http://www.usdressagefinals.com.