Impressive Achievements Conclude 2021 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions

Sunday, August 29, 2021
Posted by Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian Communications



The U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions came to a close on Sunday with the final national championship titles of the weekend. Five divisions performed their respective tests in hopes of taking home top honors. It was an exciting day of competition to conclude a week full of talented athletes and horses from across the country.

USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship

Twelve combinations rode the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle to determine the winners of the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship. Alice Tarjan stamped her place atop the overall leaderboard, claiming the top two spots with Candescent and Donatella M. Tarjan (Oldwick. N.J.) and Candescent, her 2010 Hanoverian mare, won the class with a score of 77.165% and finished with an overall score of 73.434%. Tarjan and Donatella M, her 2011 Oldenburg mare, earned reserve-champion honors with an overall score of 71.975%. Tarjan is a member of the Kundrun USEF Dressage Development Program with both horses.

Photo: Alice Tarjan and Candescent (SusanJStickle.com)

“I was really pleased. I thought it was clean and that I stayed with the music, so that was a good thing,” Tarjan said of her freestyle with Candescent. “I lost a lot of the self-carriage I think. It’s hard; you prep these horses for so many tests, and they’re all different lines. And I guess in a perfect world, the horse follows your aids and doesn’t matter what line you ride it on, and maybe it messes me up mentally, and I don’t know if it messes her up, but to try to keep the self-carriage through the whole test with different lines is still a challenge.”

Katie Johnson (Greenwood Village, Colo.) and Quartett, Kylee Lourie’s 2008 Brandenburg gelding, were third overall with a score of 68.620%. Johnson received the Patsy Albers Award, which is presented to the highest-placing rider in the Grand Prix division who represented the U.S. at the FEI North American Youth Championships. The award provides financial support for continuing education and training of its recipient.

Overall Results

From the Mixed Zone:

Tell us about your freestyle.
Johnson: “I was really, really happy with it. It’s the last day of a really long, hot weekend, and he tried so hard and put his best foot forward. It’s a brand-new freestyle for us made by Terry Gallo. It rides so wonderfully and really showcases his good things. I was really happy with it. We made some mistakes, but there are still things to work on for the future.”

What is your horse’s background?
Johnson: “We bought him almost two years ago. He actually is the amateur horse for the owner of the farm. She graciously told me if we could finish him to Grand Prix in November that I could show him. His first and my first official Grand Prix were in December, then our first official CDIs were in January. He just keeps trying and trying, and he has a heart that is so big. We went to France for the Compiègne Nations Cup team. Unfortunately, we couldn’t compete there because of EHV stuff, but we still got to compete at Achleiten in Austria, which was a wonderful show and a really good first experience. This is the end to a very, very unplanned and very exciting year.”

What’s next with your horse?
Tarjan (on Candescent): “We’ve done two CDIs, and now we’re going to Aachen.”

Johnson: “We are going home and going to give him a good break. He deserves a nice, easy month, and I think his owner is going to ride him some and enjoy him. Then, we will just kind of play next season by ear.”

Watch the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions live stream presented by Adequan® this week on USEF Network.