Markel/USEF Young Horse Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship

Monday, August 30, 2021
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Fourteen combinations competed in the FEI Six-Year-Old Final Test of the Markel/USEF Young Horse Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship. Madeleine Bendfeldt of Germany (Davie, Fla.) and Sonata MF had a solid test to take home the national title. Bendfeldt (Davie, Fla.) and Pegasus Equestrian Davies, Inc.’s Hanoverian mare (Sir Donnerhall I x Em Duet MF, Don Principe) earned an overall score of 8.148 as well as the Highest U.S. Bred Award.

Madeleine Bendfeldt and Sonata MF (SusanJStickle.com)

“It feels amazing and unexpected,” said Bendfeldt of the win. “I am super satisfied with the test. It was fine. Of course you always have something that you’d like to do better, but the mare was really good and I had a nice feeling, so I am super happy.”

David Blake (Cardiff by the Sea, Calif.) and Delilah, Leslie Allbright’s Hanoverian mare (Dr Watson x Warina, Wolkenstein II), won the class with a score of 8.120 and earned reserve champion honors with an overall score of 8.024. Alice Tarjan and Summersby II, her Oldenburg mare (Sezuan x Summer Night, Sandro Hit) were third with an overall score of 7.912.

Overall Results

From the Mixed Zone:

Talk about your horse.
Bendfeldt: “Sonata is quite uncomplicated. I think that her favorite thing to do is eating, that is more important than anything else. You know when she is comfortable because she will stretch before you put the saddle on. She is a funny personality. Here she felt nice and comfortable, and the week was fine!

“She is pretty even all of the time. There are not really ups and downs with her. It’s the same without being boring.”

Blake: “I found her in Germany when she was two-and-a-half and just broke, and I sat on her for a second and she trotted and so I said, ‘If she canters, I’ll take her!’ The seller said ‘No, she hasn’t cantered yet,’ but I cantered her a couple of strides and I decided I would take her.

“The horse peaked this weekend. She’s been slow to develop, a little immature, and now, all of a sudden, she got here and said, ‘Alright, I’ll take care of the rest.’ She’s a great horse with a lot of feeling, and very fun.”

Tarjan: “I bought Summersby as a foal, and she competed here as a four- and five-year-old, and to have her finish third today is awesome. She’ll probably stay home next year and prepare for the Developing Horse Grand Prix.”

What do you like about working with young horses?
Bendfeldt: “I like working with the young horses more than the older horses. It’s more exciting for me. You have something new—a new way to train, a new discovery about the horse, everyday it’s exciting. It’s exciting to train young horses and educate them yourself.”

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