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Last Two Youth Awards for the US Dressage Festival of Champions

Monday, August 24, 2020
Posted by Kathleen Landwehr and Leslie Potter
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US DRESSAGE FESTIVAL OF CHAMPIONS   |   YOUNG RIDERS

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USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final – 14-18
Fifteen youth riders entered arena to display their equitation in the 14-18 division of the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final. The young athletes rode in front of the judges, performing rail work and a pattern to demonstrate their skills. Sixteen-year-old Averi Allen (Pleasant Hill, Mo.) stood out in the class while riding Superman, Jonni Allen’s seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding. Allen earned a score of 86.000% to earn top honors in the competitive class.

“I just went in the class and rode my best and tried to breathe through everything,” said Allen. 

Seventeen-year-old Emma Teff (Renfrew, Pa.) rode Beaudacious, Rhianna Pankhurst’s 11-year-old RPSI gelding, to reserve national champion honors on a score of 84.000%. Seventeen-year-old Caroline McQueen (Milton, Ga.) collected third-place honors with a score of 79.000% on Mandolin RH, her 16-year-old Hanoverian mare.

From the Mixed Zone:

What did you work on at home to practice your equitation?

Allen: “Basically all of it—sitting deeper, keeping my legs quieter, sitting straighter, more up with my back, not leaning in the turns or anything.”

Teff: “I’d say my elbows are a bad habit of mine. I will tend to get too far back or too wide so I’m always trying to keep them in at my sides just by my body. I am always trying to get better at using my seat and sitting deep.” 

Did past experiences in the final help you today?

Allen: “Definitely because I know all the rules and how the whole class goes and what exactly you do, so I practiced in the warm-up. Doing it multiple times helped.” 

How does it feel to win the title after being third last year? 

Allen: “It feels really good, especially on the same horse. We had a lot of improvement.”

How does it feel for you with the result that you had?

Teff: “I am absolutely thrilled. I actually borrowed my trainer’s horse, Beaudacious, so I was super excited just to be here. Then, being able to come away with reserve champion is just icing on the cake.”

McQueen: “I’m really surprised. I have only had my horse for about eight months and this is our sixth show together. It is very new.”

What are your thoughts on a class focusing on equitation?

McQueen: “I did hunters and hunter equitation for a long time. Coming into dressage, I always had the mindset that your equitation kind of dictates how the horse will move, so dressage is really, really a tough sport. It means a lot when you are asking a horse to do hard movements.”

USEF Children Dressage National Championship

Lexie Kment
Lexi Kment and Manatee

Twelve combinations took to the Grand Prix Arena for the FEI Children Individual Test of the USEF Children Dressage National Championship. The FEI Children Tests have judges on the short side focusing on technical marks, while judges on the long side focus on the quality marks. Lexie Kment (Palmyra, Neb.) and Manatee were able to defend their 2019 USEF Children Dressage National Championship title after having a respectable test with a score of 71.982%. Kment was hopeful, though nervous, about trying to be a back-to-back national champion, but she and Jamie Kment’s 17-year-old Thoroughbred gelding keep their cool and managed to win the title with an overall score of 74.354%.

“It feels really great,” Kment said of her title. “I was kind of worried coming into this year with all the nerves of ‘Am I going to be good enough? Am I going to be as good as last year?’ Me and my mom, [who is] my trainer, we really talked about just keeping calm and working on the ride and not focusing on anything else other than riding.”

Maren Elise Fouché-Hanson and In My Feelings, her 25-year-old grade pony gelding, won the FEI Children Individual Test with a score of 75.236% to clinch the Reserve National Champion title with an overall score of 73.781%. Kat Fuqua (Atlanta, Ga.), an experienced hunter rider crossing over into the dressage arena, finished third overall with a score of 71.705% on Dreamgirl, her 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare.

From the Mixed Zone:

Tell us about your ride.

Kment: “I was kind of worried he was going to be tired. We have been here for a while. He has been really good. Today in the ride he was a little bit off of my aids. The first centerline was a little wonky, but it felt good after that. For the future, we can really work on getting my aids better and just continuing to get better.”

Fouché-Hanson: “I am so happy with this week. He has been really good. He has put in all his effort. I was a little worried in the beginning of the week because he was starting out stiff, and I was like, ‘I don’t know I will see.’ We don’t prepare him that much with equitation just to get him through the entire week, so we weren’t pushing him to do his second level, amazing, put-together test, so he came a little bit above the bit, which probably did not help. But so far in both warm-ups [for the children division], we have had amazing rides. Once I got in the ring I was like, ‘I hope I get what we had in the warm-up in the ring because this is going amazing.’ That is the highest score we have ever gotten in the individual test, and I am so proud of him.”

What are your plans for next year?

Kment: “This year was my last year in children’s, so next year I am hoping to do juniors. We will see what it brings.”

Fouché-Hanson: “I am actually not very sure where we are going with Drake. We might try ponies next year since he is still going amazing. I am really proud of him.

“Recently, we got a new donated horse from Dressage4Kids. Her name is Zahara. She is a 2009 imported Dutch Warmblood, and she has been trained up through fourth level. She has been so amazing for me so far. I am really excited to get home and get back to work on her and hopefully do juniors next year.”

Results

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