By Dana Rossmeier, US Equestrian Communications Department
Wayne, Ill. – The nation’s most talented group of young dressage athletes will gather at the Lamplight Equestrian Center for the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions running Friday, August 25 through Sunday, August 27. The event, which coincides with the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships and USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals, features four national titles up for grabs including the AGCO/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship, AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship, USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship, and USEF Children Dressage National Championship. The 43 combinations will each perform two tests in their respective division with each test counting for 50% of their overall score.
AGCO/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship
Marline Syribeys (Atlanta, Ga.), the 2016 AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage Reserve National Champion, returns with Hollywood to contest the 2017 AGCO/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship. She and Elizabeth Syribeys’s Hollywood arrive fresh off a Region 3 team gold medal and individual freestyle bronze medal at the 2017 Adequan®/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC) in July. Syribeys and the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding join 11 other combinations, including six U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions veterans, who begin competition on Saturday, August 26, with the FEI Young Rider Team Test.
Kristin Counterman (Ashburn, Va.) will make her third consecutive appearance in these championships. She returns with Dressage4Kids, Inc.’s Three Times. She and the 17-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding earned the 2015 AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage Reserve National Championship. Rebekah Mingari (Louisville, Ky.) returns to compete for the division’s national title with two rides: Elzarma TF, Kerrin Dunn’s eight-year-old KWPN mare, and Allure S, Dunn’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare. Mingari and Allure S won the team silver medal with Region 2 and an individual bronze medal at the 2017 NAJYRC. Anna Weniger (Apex, N.C.) advances to the young rider division with Dawn Weniger’s Don Derrick after spending the last two years in the junior division, placing third in the 2015 AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship. She and the 13-year-old NRPS gelding placed fourth last year in the junior division.
Other combinations advancing to the young rider division from 2016 include Callie Jones (Henderson, Ky.) and her own nine-year-old gelding Don Philippo, who were part of the Region 2 silver medal-winning team at the 2017 NAJYRC, and Abigail Fleischli (Dallas, Texas) and her own 12-year-old Hanoverian mare Laguna. The title will be determined on Sunday, August 27, following the FEI Young Rider Individual Test.
AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship
A field of 11 combinations will vie for the AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship beginning Friday, August 25, with the FEI Junior Team Test. Three combinations return from last year, including Juliet Hess (Atlanta, Ga.) and Diano, Kayla Kadlubek (Fairfax Station, Va.) and her own 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding Freewill, and Allison Nemeth (Flemington, N.J) and her own 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding Dafoe. Hess and Julia Stainback’s 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding placed third in the junior division in 2016 and will look to better their result.
Tillie Jones (Lincoln, Neb.) makes her return to the championships after placing fourth in the division with Boegley’s Mauricio in 2015. After losing “Mo” to colic in 2016, Jones developed a new partnership with Apachi, her and Tish Jones’ 12-year-old KWPN gelding. After fighting a slew of setbacks, Apachi led Jones to a junior individual freestyle gold medal at the 2017 NAJYRC. Read more about Jones’ journey to the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions here. Isabel Linder (Kewadin, Mich.) makes her first appearance at Lamplight with Hai Wei’s Elvis. She and the 13-year-old Westphalian gelding earned bronze in the junior freestyle at the 2017 NAJYRC. The champion will be determined on Saturday, August 26, following the FEI Junior Individual Test.
USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship
Sailor Boden (Canyon Lake, Calif.) makes her second appearance in the USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship when competition gets underway on Saturday, August 26, with the FEI Pony Rider Team Test. She and Blitzwane, Susan Hoffman-Peacock’s 19-year-old German Riding Pony gelding, join eight combinations all aiming for their first national title. After placing third in the 2015 USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 13 & Under division, Camille Molten (Mount Pleasant, S.C.) will advance to the pony rider division riding Heather Valentine’s Magnito II, a 10-year-old Mustang/Trakehner-cross gelding. The title will be determined on Sunday, August 27, following the FEI Pony Rider Individual Test.
USEF Children Dressage National Championship
In a new division to the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, 11 combinations will go after the inaugural USEF Children Dressage National Championship. For 10 combinations, this is their first time competing at Lamplight, while Charlotte Ferguson (Charleston, S.C.) advances after participating in the 2016 USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 13 & Under division. The children’s division will serve as a great opportunity to learn how to handle an intense environment and take valuable advice as they grow in their young careers. Competition for the USEF Children Dressage National Championship begins Friday, August 25, with the FEI Children Team Test, with the champion determined on Saturday, August 26, following the FEI Children Individual Test.
Find out more information about the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions online.
The USEF Network will live stream all competition beginning Friday, August 25. The live stream is only available to US Equestrian members; however, a special promotional code for viewing will be available.