Markel Young Horse 2016 - The Ones to Watch and How to Watch

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Posted by Dana Rossmeier


Lisa Wilcox and Gallant Reflection HU

Lisa Wilcox and Gallant Reflection HU Photo: John Borys Photography

Wayne, Ill. – A mix of new names and familiar faces will go down the centerline to contest the 2016 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships August 25-28, at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. A total of 64 combinations will chase titles across the Four-, Five-, and Six-Year-Old divisions as well as the Developing Horse Prix St. Georges and Developing Horse Grand Prix divisions. Combinations in each division will perform two tests. The first test will count 40% towards their overall scores, and the second test will count 60%  for a combined score to determine the champions.

Four-Year-Old National Championship

Michael Bragdell and David Bowie

Michael Bragdell and David Bowie Photo: SusanJStickle.com

After winning the 2012 Four-Year-Old National Championship with Hemmingway, Michael Bragdell (Colora, Md.) will see if his new mount, David Bowie MF, Maryanna Haymon’s Hanoverian stallion, can do the same. They will join a field of 13 combinations when they begin on Thursday with the USEF Four-Year-Old Test. Although their horses are new to the competition, five additional athletes are veterans to the national championships. Craig Stanley (Madera, Calif.) will compete with his own KWPN gelding, Habanero CWS. Petra Warlimont (Evergreen, Colo.) brings Darkstar, Alysa Levine’s Hanoverian mare. Kim Gentry will ride her own Fine Art, a Rhinelander gelding. Lauren Chumley (Baptistown, N.J.) enters Hotstreak CF, Christopher Preston’s Hanoverian stallion, and Amy Lewis (Lemont, Ill.) will team up with her own Florentius, a Hanoverian gelding. Out of the 14 combinations, 10 horses were bred in the U.S. The Four-Year-Old National Champion will be determined on Saturday following the USEF Four-Year-Old Test.

Five-Year-Old National Championship

Championship veteran Mike Suchanek (Blaine, Minn.) will ride Hannigan L, a Hanoverian stallion, and Delta L, a Hanoverian mare, in the Five-Year-Old division. Owned by longtime supporter of the Markel/USEF Young Horse Program, Louise Leatherdale, they will compete against 11 combinations when they begin with the FEI Five-Year-Old Preliminary Test on Thursday. After competing for Developing Horse Prix St. Georges titles in 2011, 2012, and 2013, Heather McCarthy (Prairie Grove, Ill.) will try for a five-year-old title with Au Revoir, Sandi Chohany’s Oldenburg gelding. Ashlyn De Groot (Hanford, Calif.) returns to the championships riding Four Winds Farm’s Gaspard De La Nuit DG, a KWPN stallion. Debbie Hill (Gurley, Ala.) also returns and will ride Rebecca RSL, Robbie Rice’s Hanoverian mare. They will conclude competition on Saturday with the FEI Five-Year-Old Final Test.

Six-Year-Old National Championship

A group of recognizable horses will contest the Six-Year-Old National Championship. After competing as four-year-olds in 2014, Endel Ots (Wellington, Fla.) and Bragell return with mounts Lucky Strike, Max Ots’ Hanoverian gelding, and Sternlicht Hilltop, Hilltop Farm Inc.’s Hanoverian stallion, respectively. Ots and Lucky Strike competed in the Longines FEI/WBFSH World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses in July. Angela Jackson (Henderson, Ky.), who earned the 2014 Six-Year-Old Reserve National Champion title with Hemmingway, is back with her own Figaro H, a Zweibrucker gelding. Also returning from the 2015 Five-Year-Old Championship are Kenneth McGrath (Wauconda, Ill.) and De Blasio, Belinda Chu’s Oldenburg gelding, as well as David Wightman (Murrieta, Calif.) and Silberpfeil, Kathleen Raine’s Hanoverian gelding. Wightman and Silberpfeil also competed in the world breeding dressage championships. Cesar Parra (Whitehouse Station, N.J.), the 2014 Six-Year-Old Reserve National Champion title winner with Simply Nymphenburg, will enter his own Don Cesar, a Westphalian gelding. The 11 combinations will begin with the FEI Six-Year-Old Preliminary Test of Friday followed by the FEI Six-Year-Old Final Test on Sunday.

Developing Horse Prix St. Georges National Championship

Lisa Wilcox and Gallant Reflection HU

Lisa Wilcox and Gallant Reflection HU Photo: John Borys

The 2015 Six-Year-Old National Champions Lisa Wilcox (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Gallant Reflection HU, Horses Unlimited Inc.’s 2009 Zweibrucker stallion, will look to add another title as they advance to the Developing Horse Prix St. Georges division. The 2014 Five-Year-Old National Champions Kelly Casey (Oakley, Calif.) and Emilion SA, Amy Riker McGirl’s 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding, as well as the 2015 Six-Year-Old Reserve National Champions Emily Miles (Lacygne, Kan.) and Floretienne, Leslie’s Waterman’s 2009 Oldenburg gelding, will also compete. Miles will enter two additional horses in this division, Quantum Jazz, a 2009 Oldenburg gelding, and Sir Sherlock, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding, both owned by Waterman. Also returning are Parra with his own Fashion Designer OLD, a 2008 Oldenburg gelding; Groot and Dalina DG, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood mare, and Jessica Tate (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Summersby, a 2007 Hanoverian mare. The 15 combinations will begin on Friday with the FEI Intermediaire II Test followed by the USEF Developing Prix St. Georges Test on Saturday.

Developing Horse Grand Prix National Championship

Horses that have progressed from last year’s Developing Horse Prix St. Georges division are taking a shot at the Developing Grand Prix National Championship: Holger Bechtoff and Clapton JP, Peggy Mills’ 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding and James Koford (Lexington, Ky.) and Doctor Wendell MF, Haymon’s 2008 Hanoverian stallion. However, the Reserve 2013 Six-Year-Old Reserve National Champions Jane Karol (Concord, Mass.) and her own Sunshine Tour, a 2007 Oldenburg mare, and Developing Horse Grand Prix division veterans Warlimont and Highschool MCF, Susan Alvey’s 2006 Hanoverian gelding, as well as Abraham Pugh (Greencastle, Pa.) and Elfenperfekt, Alice Drayer’s 2006 Trakehner stallion, will provide tough competition.

The USEF Network will live stream all competition beginning Thursday, August 25.