USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship
Monday, August 30, 2021
Nine combinations completed their third and final tests by riding their FEI Intermediate I Freestyle Test of the USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship. Dawn White-O’Connor and Hudson M led from start to finish to clinch a national championship title. White-O’Connor (San Diego, Calif.) and Four Winds Farm’s 2012 KWPN gelding had a solid freestyle to score 76.355%, finishing with an overall score of 75.287%.
Dawn White-O’Connor and Hudson M (SusanJStickle.com)
“I have had him just over a year and a half. He is the best horse; I could probably talk about him all day,” White-O’Connor said of Hudson M. “I think everyone gets sick of me constantly showing them videos of what he is doing. He is a really, incredibly special horse. Even if he wasn’t as talented as he is, he has got the best personality and he is the most fun horse to be around. He is pretty much good about everything. He is one of a kind I think.”
Lindsey Holleger (Middletown, N.Y.) and MW Ave Maria, Jennifer Vanover’s 2013 Oldenburg mare, took home reserve-champion honors with an overall score of 73.323%. Karen Lipp (Ball Ground, Ga.) and Infinity, her 2013 KWPN gelding, were third with an overall score of 70.227%. The top three are Kundrun USEF Dressage Development Program members.
Laura DeCesari (Tuscon, Ariz.) and Flower-Power, Pamela Farthing’s 2010 KWPN mare, won the EquiFit best Turned Out Pair Award, which is presented to the best turned out dressage athlete and horse during the horse inspection.
From the Mixed Zone:
How did your freestyle compare to your other tests earlier in the week?
White-O’Connor: “I don’t think I improved upon anything in the freestyle. I think the other tests were definitely better. Riding them, I probably spend more time working on those two patterns, so I think I am more comfortable and he is more comfortable with those. The freestyle we definitely haven’t ridden as much or worked on as much, so I hope to be better at that in the future.”
Did you get to know Hudson M better this week while competing at a championship?
White-O’Connor: “I guess anytime you spend time with him you get to know him better. But I spend a lot of time with him, so I feel like I know him pretty well. I think in Florida I obviously had less horses than I do at home, so I spend all day with him: cleaning his stall, walking him, doing his turnout. I just had five horses [in Florida in the winter], so I pretty much did everything with him. That was kind of nice. I like these kind of shows because when you only have one horse you get to spend the whole day with those one or two horses. It like that part of it.”
How was your freestyle?
Holleger: “It was pretty good. I got a little ahead of the music, so I had to improvise at the end, but I was really proud of her. This was her first big arena ever. She is only eight years old. I’m thrilled with her.”
Lipp: “I got ahead of my music as well. I’m the old lady here; I struggled with the heat. I have to say he took care of me. He is a young horse and I have done the freestyle three times, so it is kind of like [White-O’Connor said] it is my weakest thing out of the tests, but he went in there and tried really hard.
Did MW Ave Maria compete in the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage National Championship last year?
Holleger: “She did. She was great there, too. I think she got third and second. She was second the last day. But that [arena] down there is a different story. It is a lot more electric. She is very electric herself so I was kind of curious how she would handle it, but she handled it really well, so I’m really proud of her.”