Riding on the Big Stage on the Second Day of 2021 US Dressage Finals
Saturday, November 13, 2021
Posted by Yellow Horse Marketing for the US Dressage Finals
Across eight rings of championship competition at the Kentucky Horse Park, horses and riders from across the country shared the excitement and camaraderie of coming together in one incredible venue to vie for national titles on the second day of the 2021 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, being held November 11-14 in Lexington, KY.
Photo - Mariah Crumbaker and Baroncelli trotted to victory in the Intermediate I Adult Amateur division in the Rolex Arena at the 2021 US Dressage Finals. (Susan J. Stickle)
Consistency is Key
Due to a sharp increase in entry numbers and the resulting addition of two more competition rings, for the first time in the eight-year history of the US Dressage Finals riders trotted down centerline in the huge Rolex Arena, a site made legendary by the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games and the annual Kentucky Three-Day Event. But even with the impressive atmosphere made even more intense by blustery November winds, the elegant pair of Mariah Crumbaker of Region 4 and her 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Baroncelli (Oscar x Vogue by Cabochon) kept their cool to ride to the top of the leaderboard over 30 rivals in the Intermediate I Adult Amateur Championship with a top score of 69.755%.
“Of course with the excitement of that arena – the horses feel it and we feel it, plus things were blowing around in the wind – but for me it was actually exhilarating to have that little extra chill,” Crumbaker explained. “Baroncelli had just one little moment of being startled but we held it together. You’ve got to just keep going and keep riding through it because every point counts, so I think our consistency is what may have made the difference. This is my second time at the Finals, and when you drive into the Kentucky Horse Park it’s just such a grand feeling. You get to compete with so many different people from all over the country and the whole thing is just such an exhilarating experience.”
When she’s not in the saddle, Crumbaker works as a family physician in her small town of Beloit, Kansas, which only has about 3,500 residents. “I do everything from delivering babies to caring for seniors in their 90’s,” she explained. “I have a great family who supports me, otherwise I wouldn't be able to do all of this. I came here to the Finals with my two kids ages 9 months and 5 years as well as my 65-year-old mother, while my husband is at home holding down the fort. Plus my coach Melissa Allen does virtual coaching with me via Google Duo all the way from North Carolina. We may be a bit of a hodgepodge group but we’re also a great team.”
Kevin Kohmann and Five Star Wow the Crowd
As soon as Kevin Kohmann of Wellington, FL. and the stunning 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion Five Star (Amazing Start x U-Padoeska PB by Jazz) entered the Alltech Arena for the Intermediate I Open Championship, onlookers knew they were in for a treat. After the bell was rung, the pair did not disappoint as they presented a breathtaking ride from start to finish on their way to easily winning the class with an impressive score of 74.069%, a unanimous victory under all three judges in a class of nearly 30 combinations representing some of the best in the country.
Watch the entire class on-demand from the USEF Network HERE.
“He makes it look easy. He’s one of those horses where you go from the warm-up to the competition ring and nothing changes, and even though he’s never seen an environment like this, I had every confidence that he was going to be amazing,” Kohmann said. “Even though he’s an active breeding stallion, his temperament is so incredible that his adult amateur owner rode him last month at this level and scored almost 70%. He just absorbs everything like a sponge and is the most rideable horse I’ve ever known.”
Kohmann explained that Five Star was Reserve Champion as a six-year-old at the FEI World Breeding Championships in 2016, and was consequently purchased by current owner Olga Hartsock (Equitas LLC). Upon arrival in the USA he ended up next door to Kohmann in quarantine, and fate brought them together. The pair took advantage of their qualification at the 2020 Region 3 Championships to come to this year’s Finals, which was a new experience for Kohmann for more than one reason. “I just became an American citizen in April and I couldn’t be more proud to be here,” he explained. “I’ve been to the Finals before but only as a coach for my students, so this was my first time actually riding down centerline. I think this will be Five Star’s last big outing at the small tour level and now he’s ready to look towards Grand Prix.”
Watch archived streaming videos of Championship classes on the USEF Network HERE. Championship competition resumes Saturday – follow the action through updates on the USDF Facebook page and the US Dressage Finals website, as well as watch live online streaming on the USEF Network. To learn more about the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, download competition information, review day sheets and results, and read daily news releases, visit the official event website at http://www.usdressagefinals.com.