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Jennifer Schrader-Williams and Millione Get the Win in the Grand Prix Special

Sunday, August 23, 2020
Posted by Kathleen Landwehr and Leslie Potter
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US DRESSAGE FESTIVAL OF CHAMPIONS

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Talented combinations delivered quality performances on the penultimate day of competition at the 2020 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions at HITS Chicago at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. Four titles were determined on Saturday in the Markel/USEF Young Horse Four-Year-Old Dressage National Championship, Markel/USEF Young Horse Five-Year-Old Dressage National Championship, Adequan®/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship, and Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage National Championship.

USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship
The USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship continued on Saturday with the FEI Grand Prix Special Test. Jennifer Schrader-Williams (Olympia, Wash.) and Millione were the top finishers in the class with a score of 69.489%. Schrader-Williams and Millione Partners, LLC’s 17-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding were third in the 2019 national championship, and they showed off the hard work they have done in the past year.

Photo - Jennifer Schrader-Williams and Millione. (SusanJStickle.com)

“I have been competing Mickey at this level for the last three years and it has always been my goal to really gain experience with him. He is a horse that came in as a sale horse several years ago. He has just become my partner in crime and I was really blessed to have him fall into my life,” said Schrader-Williams. “We have really just tried to take every opportunity possible that we can to learn, grow, get out here and compete and try to better ourselves in any way that we can with any opportunity that we can, so we have continued to train. We were in Florida through March. I have continued to work with Christophe Theallet monthly, either through FaceTime or, more recently, he has been having clinics at our place again. I see Debbie McDonald regularly as well. I just have a great support system that has helped us try to keep growing and learning.”

Nora Batchelder (Williston, Fla.) and WGangster Girl, Sally Seaver’s 17-year-old KWPN mare, finished in second place with a score of 67.830%. Dawn White-O’Connor (San Diego, Calif.) and Bailarino, Four Winds Farm’s 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding, was third with a score of 67.787%.

From the Mixed Zone:

Tell us about your ride.

Schrader-Williams: “Today, he gave me a little bit more of a tense feel in the warm-up. He’s starting to get a bit tired, so I had to really manage the warm-up and try to diffuse him and make him feel confident and work to keep everything light and happy.

“In the test, he stayed quite rideable. I tried to be a little bit braver in the changes. It can be a little sticky at times if he is getting tense, so I tried to be more forward and be more bold and powerful in my changes and that worked out for the most part. The piaffe and passage have always been real strong suits for him so I really try to let him enjoy himself in those pieces where he can shine. Just really try to keep the confidence going in the ring and keep the relaxation to the best of my ability while we are in the test.”

Can you give us a preview of your freestyle?

Schrader-Williams: “We changed our freestyle from the last two years and we debuted it in Florida. I really enjoy it. It is music from [the television show] Vikings. He is my little Danish Viking. He has just got a heart of gold. He is always ready to work and power forward, so I thought it was fitting for him. The music fits him well and we really enjoy doing it. He enjoys getting out in front of the crowd any time he can.”

Ride times and results

Competition concludes Sunday with classes in the Young & Developing Horse Arena beginning at 8 a.m. CDT and the Grand Prix Arena at 8:30 a.m. CDT.

Keep up with the 2020 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions on USA Dressage Facebook and Instagram featuring Instagram Stories. Use #USADressage and #FestivalofChampions.