Hannah Irons Claims First Title at the YR Dressage National Championship
Friday, August 21, 2020
Posted by Leslie Potter and Kathleen Landwehr
Thirteen combinations competed in their second and final test, the FEI Young Rider Individual Test, in hopes of claiming the Horseware Ireland/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship. Hannah Irons (Queenstown, Md.) and Scola Bella performed an excellent test to win the class with a score of 73.088%. Irons was the 2016 USEF Pony Rider Dressage Reserve National Champion, and she has continued to develop her skills over the years and was able to clinch a national champion title with the help of the 11-year-old Oldenburg mare she leases from Dressage4Kids, Inc. The pair earned the top overall score of 71.471%.
Photo - Hannah Irons and Scola Bella (SusanJStickle.com)
“I have had her three years now,” Irons said of Scola Bella. “It has taken a little bit of time to develop our partnership and figure her out in the ring. Today, I felt like for a big venue and not showing very much this year, I am super proud of her for going in there. She got a little nervous but really stayed rideable and trusted me so that is the best feeling in the world in my opinion. I was then able to add expression to that.”
Katherine Mathews (San Marcos, Calif.) and Soliëre, Peridot Equestrian LLC’s 16-year-old Hanoverian stallion, earned the Reserve Champion title with an overall score of 70.810%. Kayla Kadlubek (Fairfax Station, Va.) and Perfect Step, her own 19-year-old Oldenburg gelding, finished third in the overall standings with a score of 69.804%.
From the Mixed Zone:
Tell me about your ride.
Mathews: “I went into the ride today really excited because it went very well yesterday. It went super well again today. He is such a good boy; I love him. He has been such a great horse for me to learn on and gain experience with because he himself is very experienced but he is also challenging and I love that about him. Today was one of those days where I had to work with him a little bit and I feel like that’s really special to have that in a horse. Overall, I am very proud of how it went. Unfortunately we did have a mistake in our three tempis today, which I think cost us a little bit but overall I am very happy with how it went.”
How does it feel to be a national champion?
Irons: “I want to start off by saying I am very grateful to USEF and [HITS Chicago at] Lamplight Equestrian Center for being so dedicated to even making this show happen. We haven’t shown much this year, and I actually think the training at home definitely paid off. Just having the opportunity to come here to this beautiful facility and to show and to show off our hard work from this spring during COVID is very exciting to me. Hats off to all the organizers. I think they did a fantastic job making this show safe and everyone definitely did their best to do their part and social distance and wear their masks and it great to see that teamwork come together to make a successful event.
You have been to Festival of Champions a few times before, correct?
Irons: “I had two ponies in 2016. I actually still have the one; we are doing the I-II, working toward the grand prix now. I haven’t done Juniors or Young Riders here, so to finally have everything fall into place to make it here and to have a horse, I am very grateful for that.”
What do you plan to do next?
Irons: “I can do Young Riders again next year. I will probably aim toward NAYC and potentially the European Tour. Fingers crossed COVID goes away before then. U25 is definitely a goal of mine in the future. I am very grateful to ride such a talented mare and to all my trainers and my family who have been so supportive of me so I think the future is very exciting.”
Mathews: I am going to try and go for the European Young Rider Tour. This is my second year in Young Riders, so I am very excited to see how it has gone. I hope to go on the tour next year and hopefully move up the levels from there.
Keep up with the 2020 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions on USA Dressage Facebook and Instagram featuring Instagram Stories. Use #USADressage and #FestivalofChampions.