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12 New Champions Crowned on Third Day of 2018 US Dressage Finals Presented By Adequan®


NOVEMBER 11, 2018


By Yellow Horse Marketing for the US Dressage Finals


With six arenas of top dressage competition and championship festivities lasting well into the night, the Kentucky Horse Park was the place to be on Saturday as 12 new champions were crowned at the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, being held November 8-11 in Lexington, Ky.

SenSation HW Lives Up to His Name in First Level Open Championship

Michael Bragdell @Susan Stickle

As a foal, Carol McPhee’s Westfalen gelding SenSation HW (Sunday x Donata by Dancier) was given a promising name, and since then the young gelding has proven he has every ability to live up to it. In the hands of Michael Bragdell of Colora, Md. (Region 1), SenSation HW was crowned as five-year-old champion at this summer’s Markel/USEF Young Horse Championships, and now added another title to his resume by winning the First Level Open Championship at the US Dressage Finals with 75.049%.


“He is special, for sure. He’s so talented, but it’s more than that – it’s his great work ethic, which is so important. It’s hard to have talent without the brain, because then you have to force it,” said Bragdell of his mount. “In January, I felt like I was starting to tap into that amazing trot, but it was just a glimpse. But over the year it’s gotten stronger and stronger, and he really blossomed at Lamplight. We gave him a little break after that and focused on qualifying to come here, and the strategy paid off. These Finals have such an incredible atmosphere, and especially with my young horses when looking toward their future, I want them to have this valuable experience under their belts.”


Last year’s Training Level Open champion John Mason of Conroe, Texas (Region 9) and the now six-year-old Danish Warmblood mare Savannah SWF (Blue Hors Soprano x Nicolette by Diamant, owned and bred in the U.S. by Mary Nuttall) once again found success at the US Dressage Finals, this time with a score of 73.039% to earn Reserve Champion honors at First Level. “She’s a little bit delicate and a late bloomer, so we take our time. We’ve been on this journey together since she was a yearling,” Mason explained. “But she was fantastic in there today. She is a mare who can definitely be ‘mareish’, but today she was absolutely wonderful. I can’t try to predict it – I have to keep an open mind, because if I go in there with any agenda or expectation, she knows and feeds off of it. I just ride what she gives me, and today it was so much more than a hundred percent.”


Heart of Gold Earns Fabiola the First Level Adult Amateur Championship


As an orthopedic surgeon, it would be stating the obvious to say that Bethany Gallagher of Nashville, Tenn. (Region 2) has a demanding career. But ultimately finding a way to balance both work and riding turned into a winning formula as Gallagher earned the First Level Adult Amateur Championship over more than 30 rivals with 72.794% earned aboard her seven-year-old Hanoverian mare Fabiola.


“My mare was awesome today, she tried so hard to do her best and did everything I asked. She has a heart of gold and is a worker bee every day. I wanted to come back to the Finals because my horse deserves this chance to show off,” Gallagher explained. “As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that I can’t do it all, so I finally took the leap and my horse is now with my trainer more consistently which has been really good for me. I can go and ride and advance in my skills, and she stays in work and learning even when my cases go late and clinic goes long. It’s also nice because you take a lot of work home with you, and this way I can just relax when I ride her. It’s just easier and that’s been really good for me.”


Melissa Palmer of Purcellville, Va. (Region 1) was also pleased with her six-year-old Oldenburg mare Reagan 10 (Belissimo M x Relaunch by San Amour) as the pair earned the Reserve Championship with 71.814%. “I had a tough ride yesterday with the weather, so I rode a little conservatively today but I was very happy with how she stayed with me,” Palmer noted. “I bought her when she was just coming three, and the first time I sat on her was on a lunge line when she was only four days under saddle. She then competed in Europe before bringing her home so she has quite a bit of experience for her age, but we’re still developing our partnership together.”


Special Journey Earns Elgart Second Level Adult Amateur Freestyle Title

Mindy Elgart © Susan Stickle

When Mindy Elgart of Philadelphia, Pa. (Region 1) first saw her horse Spaniard (Sinatra Song x Russian Roulette by Rouletto, bred in the U.S. by High Point Hanoverians), he was just a tiny foal featured in an e-mail. Little did she know that six years later, the 17-hand Oldenburg gelding would help her win a national title in the Second Level Adult Amateur Freestyle Championship with a score of 70.922% at the US Dressage Finals.


“I bought Spaniard when he was just four months old,” Elgart remembered. “I first saw a photo of him in an email from the breeder, so we went there to look at several babies including him. He was very plain, but I just had to have him. So I’ve had him since he was a little guy, but he’s not so little anymore!”


Elgart credits the close relationship nurtured with Spaniard over the years with helping them win their first national championship. “He’s so big that he’s been a little slow to develop – I started him later and it’s definitely been a journey to bring him along, and not always an easy one,” she explained. “But he’s as sweet as can be and I always feel safe with him, and I think there’s a special bond that develops when you have them from the time they’re that young. He seemed very relaxed today, and I think he really likes the music. I felt like I could go for it and ask for everything, and he seemed to be showing off and having fun.”


Region 8’s Alexsandra Krossen of Basking Ridge, N.J. also has a longtime association with Nicene (Nimbus x Pamela by Portofino, owned and bred in the U.S. by Heather Mason). She was there when the now six-year-old Oldenburg mare was born, and on Saturday earned a Reserve Championship at the Finals with 69.533%. “She was great today. We’ve choreographed her freestyle to suit her strengths,” said Krossen. “She was the first foal I ever saw born, but I never thought I’d ride her because she was not an easy baby. She is a chestnut mare in every sense of the word. But she is also a worker when you ride her and usually doesn’t put a foot wrong.”


Fleming-Kuhn Keeps Her Composure to Win Second Level Open Freestyle Title

Catherine Fleming © Susan Stickle

Kathryn Fleming-Kuhn’s championship ride in the Second Level Open Freestyle division with her six-year-old homebred Swedish Warmblood gelding Washburn SW (Wolkentanz II x Opal) did not get off to a good start. “My horse is normally really solid, but something caught his eye right before we entered the ring and we had a pretty big spook,” explained Fleming-Kuhn of New Berlin, Ill. (Region 4). “That caused me to get off of my music from the very beginning. I knew I had to get it together pretty quick, that it was time to sink or swim.”


Fleming-Kuhn’s composure, as well as a slight pattern modification, quickly got the pair back on track for a winning performance with a top score of 71.778%. “You have to stay in the moment, and in a freestyle you have a little bit of the luxury in that no one knows your pattern, which allows a little wiggle room to make necessary modifications such as in a situation like this.” Fleming-Kuhn also noted how earning a national title aboard a horse she had bred made the success even more poignant. “He is so special and one of the most workmanlike horses I’ve had the pleasure to ride,” she said. “Whether it’s the first day of the show or the last, he’s the type who always rises to the occasion.”


Also riding a beloved homebred to national honors was Reserve Champion Suzanne Graham of Jacksonville, Fla. (Region 3) who braved the cold with her eight-year-old Rheinlander gelding Justice (Freedomhall x Helga de Carolina by Quick de Rouet) with 70.900%. “I was miserable, just frozen solid, but my horse was having a great time out there!” she laughed. “He just did his job and I was so proud of him. He’s so nicely forward and steady, and the music emphasizes that; it’s also very energetic which I like in a freestyle. I decided to breed my mare after she suffered an injury, and he was the first foal I ever bred. He was so scrawny when he was born that I thought he wasn’t ever going to be able to do much, but he has absolutely blossomed.”


Tarjan Proves to Be Unbeatable in Third Level Adult Amateur Championship

Alice Tarjan © Susan Stickle

To say that Alice Tarjan of Oldwick, N.J. (Region 1) has a barn full of equine talent would be an understatement. After winning two national titles with Candescent earlier in the week, Tarjan braved the cold in the Stonelea Arena as part of a field of almost 30 top horses and riders from across the country in the Third Level Adult Amateur Championship. Turns out, the only one Tarjan had to beat was herself as she earned both Champion (75.043%) and Reserve Champion (74.017%) honors with her seven-year-old Oldenburg mare Donatella M (Furstenball x Dorina by Jazz Time) and six-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion Harvest (Connaisseur x Naomi by Ulft), respectively.


“Here’s a funny story: I received a new helmet after winning yesterday’s class with Candescent, and I asked the representative if it had good luck, and she said ‘yes it does’, so I wore it today and clearly it worked,” Tarjan laughed. “I had a bit of any eventful start with Donatella this morning because busy warmup areas are hard for her to deal with, and then she took offense to a Kentucky Horse Park police horse and got so upset she was rearing in the warmup. But then once she was in the ring she was fine. Harvest is such an incredibly good boy and very different from Donatella. He’s like a computer: whatever you put in is what you get out. There’s nothing lost in translation. He’s so straightforward – you just kick, he grunts, and off he goes.”


Tarjan admitted that choosing to compete at the Finals in the Third Level division was a bit unusual for her, even though the venture proved successful. “I usually concentrate on the young horse classes because I like to focus more on their development and gaits as opposed to being too technical,” she explained. “When I look for a horse, I have a certain type and presence that I like, and I know it when I see it. Then I enjoy teaching them how to show off the brilliance that’s inside of them, and I do it by focusing on bringing out movement, not necessarily dwelling on correctness of technique. It may be a little different way of approaching things, but it works for me.”


Kuhn Turns the Tables to Win Third Level Open Freestyle Championship


Following a one-two finish in Friday’s Third Level Open Championship, Martin Kuhn of New Berlin, Ill. (Region 4) was able to turn the tables on fellow competitor Angela Jackson in the Third Level Open Freestyle Championship. But it took quite a bit of improvisation to get that victory on a score of 73.433% with Elizabeth Cronin’s seven-year-old Westfalen gelding Venivici (Vitalis x Sabrina by Sherlock Holmes).


“Apparently he knows his freestyle now even though he’s only done it about six times. He’s a very clever horse – maybe a little too smart for his own good. He was a very, very good boy except for that one brief moment today when he wasn’t,” Kuhn chuckled. “In our practice ride earlier this week, he put in a flying change early and I took a mental note of it. But today he put in that same flying change even earlier. So I corrected it, which now put me on the wrong lead. Then I realize that I can’t change back because I don’t have enough room to change again without it being a tempi, which of course isn’t allowed at this level. What a mess. So three-quarters of my canter tour ends up being completely improvised. But somehow we pulled it off and it worked out.”


Angela Jackson of Henderson, Ky. (Region 2) admitted she was prepared to “go big or go home” with Julie Cook’s six-year-old Hanoverian gelding Sandeman (Sir Donnerhall x Flora by Florencio), but a mistake relegated them to Reserve Champion with a still-solid score of 73.233%. “I was a little overconfident and really went for a big extended trot, which is a highlight for him,” Jackson explained. “But it backfired – we made it almost all the way across and broke. Martin [Kuhn] is a tough competitor and it’s a national championship so I knew I had to go for it. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but we still did great.”


Au Revoir Earns Third Finals Title in Fourth Level Open Championship


Sandi Chohany’s Oldenburg gelding Au Revoir (Ampere x Lara by Liberty M) is no stranger to the winner’s circle at the US Dressage Finals. Despite being only seven years old, the talented youngster has previously earned national titles at both First and Second Level in previous years in partnership with rider Heather McCarthy of Prairie Grove, Ill. (Region 4). And on Saturday the pair added yet another accomplishment to their resume: as the only combination to break 70%, McCarthy and Au Revoir topped a tough field in the Fourth Level Open Championship with a score of 71.370%.


“He was a little electric in warmup due to the cold, but once we went in the ring he settled and put in a great test,” said McCarthy. “He’s a special horse, and this has been a big year for him in that he’s really matured both physically and mentally. We used to call him a peanut but he’s a big boy now. This winter we’re going to get serious about the half-steps and work on his strength in the collected work, and hopefully be back to the Finals yet again. It’s been fun to bring him up through the levels, and I can’t wait to see what the next few years bring.”


Angela Jackson of Henderson, Ky. (Region 2) also believed in the talent of Sheila Borneman’s seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Gaston TF (Uphill x Neasandra by Sandro Hit, bred in the U.S. by KC Dunn/Timbach Farm), and her faith was rewarded with her second Reserve Championship of the day on 69.852%. “He’s been a little slow to mature so I have not brought him to the Finals previously, but this year I felt like he was ready for this type of atmosphere, and he was,” Jackson said of her mount. “It’s a tough test and keeping him focused has been a little bit of an issue in the past, but I couldn’t be more happy with him today because he was soft and with me the whole time, despite the cold. What I liked from day one about this horse was his biomechanics, and I felt like when he grew up he would be able to show what he can do.”


An Emotional Victory for Eye Candy in Fourth Level Adult Amateur Freestyle


All equestrians know that life with horses can be an emotional roller coaster, and Amy Gimbel of Tewksbury, N.J. (Region 8) is no exception. “With all the ups come some pretty big downs,” said Gimbel, who owns the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Eye Candy (UB-40 x Wednesday by Weltmeyer, bred in the U.S. by Judy Barrett). “After Regionals two years ago, I was looking forward to coming back to the Finals after doing so well in both 2014 and 2015. But one day she came in from the field and wasn’t quite right. What we thought was cellulitis ended up being a much bigger issue with a serious injury to her foot. We spent the winter hand walking and she was laid up for eight months. It took so much time and patience, all the while wondering if she’d ever be able to come back. But here we are finally, and I feel SO lucky to be here.”


This week the pair have been making up for lost time in Lexington, earning Reserve Championship honors in Friday’s Fourth Level Adult Amateur Championship, and then improving upon that performance the next day to claim the Fourth Level Freestyle Adult Amateur Championship with 71.467%. “She can be a little sassy and sometimes I never know where that sass will come out, so we built our freestyle to allow for some flexibility,” Gimbel laughed. “But despite it being unbelievably cold, Candy was a little more relaxed today and we were both very focused, and we were able to stick to our choreography.”


Also pleased with her performance was Reserve Champion Michelle Conrad of Northville, Mich. (Region 2) and her 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Cadiz (Vivaldi x Sylvana by Amsterdam), scoring 71.133%. “I was so happy with him. We had a couple of mistakes, but he was so attentive and good off the aids,” said Conrad. “Yes it was chilly out, but the sun was shining and we had a blast. My horse looks at life like a big party so our freestyle features ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams and it definitely suits him. I want to give a special shout-out to all the volunteers working out there in the cold so that we can have this opportunity to compete. It’s definitely appreciated by all of us.”


Hewitt Now Two-For-Two, Wins Intermediate I Adult Amateur Freestyle Championship


Finals first-timer Hannah Hewitt of Atlanta, Ga. (Region 3) is now two-for-two at the Intermediate I level after winning Friday’s Adult Amateur Championship class followed by Saturday’s Intermediate I Adult Amateur Freestyle aboard Tammy Pearson’s eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Fidens (Tango x Bliss by United). The pair ran away with the win by earning top scores under all three judges for 75.050%.

“I feel like Fidens and I are getting so much stronger as a partnership, and it’s just culminating here at the Finals,” Hewitt said. “I love our freestyle, and we hit our music marks with our tempi’s right off the bat on the centerline, plus I was happy with the overall fluidity and rhythm of our test.”


Hewitt credits her ongoing participation in national dressage programs for helping to set her and Fidens up for success. “I competed in Juniors/Young Riders and the Brentina Cup on my former horse, and those programs helped me develop as a rider and I feel like set me up really well to compete at a show like this,” she explained. “I also did the young and developing horse programs with Fidens, which I also think have helped keep us on a great path for the future.”


Courtney O’Brien of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (Region 3) was also thrilled with her ride aboard her 11-year-old Andalusian gelding Duque Top (Almirante XXXV x Duquesa XLIII by Faraon X), which earned the pair a Reserve Championship with 71.558%. “This is my third trip to the Finals but the first time getting a ribbon, so I’m very excited and proud of my horse,” she noted. “I’ve never done freestyles before either so this is our first year trying it. I love our music which is Cool Cat jazz, and my trainer purposely designed difficult choreography for me, but I like the challenge!”


Batchelder is a Girl on Fire in Intermediate I Open Freestyle Championship


Every fall, Nora Batchelder of Williston, Fla. (Region 3) makes coming to the US Dressage Finals a goal for herself, and this year she’s is on a roll in the small tour. After four hours of hard-fought competition in the Alltech Arena in the Intermediate I Open Freestyle Championship division, Batchelder claimed not only the Champion’s title but Reserve as well. Her 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding Faro SQF (Fidertanz x MS Rose by Rotspon, bred in the U.S. by Jill Peterson, owned by Batchelder and Andrea Whitcomb) earned a winning score of 77.383% to edge out stablemate Fifi MLW (nine-year-old Hanoverian mare [Fidertanz x Wolkenstanza MLW by Wolkentanz I], bred in the U.S. by Mary Winn) with 76.783%.


“His music is actually a professionally-made freestyle with Cirque de Soleil music which I re-used from another horse, but it fits him well,” said Batchelder. “But for Fifi I wanted something a little lighter, so her music has violin covers of popular songs like Taylor Swift. I made the freestyle myself and I think it suits her.


“I am so lucky to have two amazing horses in Faro and Fifi, but they are completely different,” Batchelder continued. “Fifi is really powerful but a bit of a girl – I have to be a little more careful with her. On the other hand, Faro is so easygoing and chill, just up for anything. He loves everyone and everything. It’s especially fun when I get to ride Fifi first like I did today, because when it goes well it takes all the pressure off and I can go out and just have fun with Faro. I didn’t think Fifi’s score could be topped, but I went back to the barn and told Faro what he had to get and he did it. I think he does the math in his head!”


Rumbough Braves the Cold to Earn Grand Prix Adult Amateur Freestyle Victory

Janne Rumbough © Susan Stickle

Coming to the US Dressage Finals created a bit of a temperature shock for Janne Rumbough of Palm Beach, Fla. (Region 3) and her 15-year-old PRE gelding Armas Zumbel (Escarzo x Delicia VI by Relampago II). But the pair braved the chilly weather to claim the Calaveras County Perpetual Trophy (presented by Olva Stewart Pharo) in the Grand Prix Adult Amateur Freestyle Championship with a score of 64.467%.


“He was cold and tense because we came from south Florida and I just clipped him, so he was a bit reluctant starting the test,” said the 74-year-old Rumbough. “I had to really try to make up for our rough start, but I know my music and my horse really well, so could make adjustments and work to earn back some points. Otherwise I was very proud of him to be able to come from 95 degrees at home to handle the cold here. Four years ago, I won the same title with my homebred horse Junior, so it is very special for me to come back and win it again with another horse. I love coming here and seeing people from all over the country – it’s a very special show where everyone is so friendly. We’re all winners just by being here.”


Kristin Herzing of Harrisburg, Pa. (Region 1) and her Hanoverian gelding Gentleman (Grusus x Rumpelstilzchen by Raphael, bred in the U.S. by Kathryn and Jeffrey Nesbit) earned their second Reserve Championship in as many days with 63.142%. “He was a little grumpy today starting out, but we’ve been together so long, we’re like an old married couple – we have our little spats but always go home together,” Herzing chuckled. “He felt pretty solid but was a little opinionated in his tempi changes – he put the ‘free’ in freestyle. I try to make it a goal to come to Finals every year, and we’ve gotten better and better each time. I love the camaraderie and the opportunity to ride with such wonderful riders who push you to be better.”


Koford Rocks the House with Grand Prix Open Freestyle Victory


During festive evening performances of Grand Prix freestyles in the Alltech Arena, it was crowd-favorite Adiah HP and North Carolina’s James Koford (Region 1) who once again rocked the house to claim the Jazzman Perpetual Trophy (presented by Donna Richardson) and successfully defend their 2017 title in the Grand Prix Open Freestyle Championship. Koford and the 11-year-old Friesian Sport Horse mare (Nico x Marije ANT by Anton) unveiled a new freestyle featuring music from owner/breeder Sherry Koella’s former international magic show, which proved to be a hit with both the audience and the judges, earning a top score of 71.767%.


“I love it when the crowd cheers for us,” said Koford. “Our one tempi’s are still a little vulnerable and she can be noise sensitive, but I’d much rather have the audience be into it because when Adiah hits her piaffe, it’s like she’s saying, ‘these are my people’. I’m so happy to be here and playing the game, and winning is just ice on the cake.”


Heather Mason of Lebanon, N.J. (Region 8) was delighted to earn Reserve Championship honors with her 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Warsteiner (Riverman-ISF x Welona by Roemer) on 71.542%. “He was super, I’m so happy with him,” Mason noted. “He’s just a lot of fun. His energy level was good – we did 22 one-tempi’s, and I stopped counting the two’s. He was just really good in general.”


Watch archived streaming videos Championship classes on the USEF Network HERE, as well as Facebook Live videos of press conferences on the USDF Facebook page HERE. Championship competition concludes Sunday – 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 at this link: 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




MICHAEL BRAGDELL: Michael Bragdell and SenSation HW celebrate their victory in the First Level Open Championship at the 2018 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®.  Photo by Susan J. Stickle

MINDY ELGART: Mindy Elgart and Spaniard on their way to winning the Second Level Adult Amateur Freestyle Championship.  Photo by Susan J. Stickle

KATHRYN FLEMING-KUHN: A rough start couldn’t stop Kathryn Fleming-Kuhn and homebred Washburn HW from claiming the Second Level Open Freestyle title.  Photo by Susan J. Stickle

JANNE RUMBOUGH: Janne Rumbough and Armas Zumbel are presented with the Calaveras County Perpetual Trophy for the Grand Prix Adult Amateur Freestyle Championship. Photo by Susan J. Stickle


Jennifer M. Keeler

PH: 859-806-1557



Kuhn Weathers the Storm to Win on Second Day of 2018 US Dressage Finals Presented By Adequan®


NOVEMBER 10, 2018

 By Yellow Horse Marketing for the US Dressage Finals


Friday morning at the 2018 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington dawned with the type of weather conditions more suitable for staying in bed than having the ride of one’s life. Hailing from New Berlin, Ill., Martin Kuhn (Region 4) is no stranger to chilly weather, but when he entered the ring at 10am for the Training Level Open Championship, the persistent rain and 40 degree temperature was admittedly tough to handle. But his mount, Debra Klamen’s five-year-old Hanoverian gelding Ronin (Romanov Blue Hor x Something Royal by Sir Donnerhall I, bred in the U.S. by Marcia Boeing) held steadfast, earning the championship title with an impressive score of 72.803%.

Martin Kuhn
© Susan Stickle

“It was really cold and wet, but my horse seemed unaffected by the conditions – they bothered me much more!” Kuhn laughed. “Situations like this can often be ‘interesting’ with young horses, but even though he’s only five, at this point in the show season he’s been out a lot and in some challenging environments. So when the time came to go down centerline today, he put his head down and did his job. I couldn’t be more happy with him.”


Kuhn is no stranger to success at the US Dressage Finals, finding the winner’s circle with several talented mounts over the last six years. But in his opinion, Ronin stands out. “He’s an amazing athlete – I think he’s the most talented young horse I’ve ever sat on,” Kuhn explained. “I’ve had the privilege to work with lots of horses who have ability, are willing and fun to ride, but on top of that, Ronin is easily the most athletic and elastic horse I’ve ever ridden.”


Also impressed with the maturity of her young partner under adverse weather conditions was Reserve Champion Kelsey Broecker of Celina, Texas (Region 9), who rode Molly Huie’s four-year-old Hanoverian gelding Caelius (Christ x Hauptstutbuch Bonny by Buddenbrock) to a score of 71.818%. “By our ride time, I was ready to be done,” she laughed. “But like Martin’s [Kuhn’s] horse, mine was also unfazed by weather and the overall atmosphere. He doesn’t act like a typical four-year-old – he’s a bit of an old soul, so agreeable and so much fun to ride. He’s just a joy to bring to shows.”


Hometown Girl Laura Crowl Wins Big in Second Level Adult Amateur Championship


Almost 40 competitors from all across the country entered the Claiborne Ring to compete for this year’s Second Level Adult Amateur Championship title, but local eventer and newlywed Laura Crowl of Lexington, Ky. (Region 2) only had to drive a few miles down the road to claim the blue ribbon with her six-year-old U.S.-bred Dutch Warmblood mare Hana (UB-40 x Jolien E by Chronos). After overcoming an untimely hoof abscess right before the Region 2 Championships, Crowl and Hana successfully made it to the Finals and became the only combination to top the 70% mark from all three judges, earning the unanimous victory with 71.585% to earn their first national title.


“I loved almost everything about our test,” said Crowl. “She was really spot on the entire time and did everything I asked. Over the last month I’ve asked her for a little more expression in the movements, and I think the judges appreciated it. She really stepped up to the plate.”


As an eventer who has competed through the FEI 2* level, Crowl originally found Hana in the local barn of her breeder, Reese Koffler-Stanfield, when searching for her next prospect. But the relationship got off to a rocky start. “The first time I rode her she bit me, and it turned out she hated stadium,” Crowl laughed. “But she loved dressage so I had to adjust to what she wanted to do, and along the way I realized it’s fun, not just something you get through to go cross-country. It definitely was a little interesting in the beginning, but we’ve grown to love each other since then.”


In her first trip to the US Dressage Finals, Amanda Lopez of Sarasota, Fla. (Region 3) earned Reserve Championship honors with her nine-year-old Westfalen gelding Rubitanos Dream (Rubitano x Diva by Dream of Glory) with 69.431%. “I like horses with a little character, and we joke that he’s like one of the ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz – it has to fit, and we just really ‘click’ with each other,” said Lopez of her mount. “I feel so lucky that he chose me as his person. He aims to please with a heart of gold, and I was so honored to show him today in front of these judges and against this caliber of competition.”


Growing Confidence Earns Sandeman the Third Level Open Championship


Angela Jackson of Henderson, Ky. (Region 2) already knew Sandeman was a nice horse, since earlier this summer the six-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Sir Donnerhall x Flora by Florencio, owned by Julie Cook) earned reserve honors at the Markel/USEF Young Horse Championships at Lamplight. But it was the youngster’s ever-growing confidence in himself that carried the pair to the unanimous victory under all judges in Friday’s Third Level Open Championship with a total score of 73.632%.


“It was one of our nicest rides of the year, so to do that here is special,” Jackson explained. “Sandeman has grown up a lot. I could finally ride each movement of the test with a little more confidence today, and everything fell into place. This is definitely ‘the’ show of the season. I’m so thankful for all of the sponsors who support this event, and everyone who makes it possible. It’s the highlight of our year.”


Martin Kuhn (Region 4) participated in his second awards ceremony of the day, this time taking Reserve Champion with 72.265% at Third Level aboard Elizabeth Cronin’s seven-year-old Westfalen gelding Venivici (Vitalis x Sabrina by Sherlock Holmes), who earned First Level Open Reserve Championship honors last year. “It was a little exciting in the cold and the rain, but he stayed with me,” Kuhn noted. “It was definitely a little bit of a conservative ride, but he trusted me and was happy to do his job. He used to be a little bit of a nervous type, but like Angela’s [Jackson’s] horse, as he’s matured he’s become much more confident.”


Sara Stone Rises to the Challenge in Fourth Level Adult Amateur Championship

Sara Stone
© Susan Stickle

As Sara Stone of Lake in the Hills, Ill. (Region 4) and her seven-year-old American Warmblood gelding Gotham (Gabriel x Mystic, bred in the U.S. by Indian Hills Stables) prepared for their afternoon ride in the Fourth Level Adult Amateur Championship, she knew she was facing quite a challenge. “It was a very tough class, and I didn’t think we had a chance at all,” Stone admitted. “But Gotham was in a great mood this afternoon, and he actually likes this chilly weather. When we came out of the ring, I was so focused on what we were doing that I actually wasn’t sure what to think about our test.”


Not long after, all Stone could think about was how proud she was of her mount as the pair emerged as victors with a winning score of 67.704%. “I bought him when he was just three, and he’s the first horse of my own that I have ridden at this level. He’s my best friend,” said Stone, who works in commercial insurance in addition to raising a family. “As an adult amateur, all of the hard work, passion, sweat and tears that goes into having an everyday job and being a mom all while trying to ride…to be able to come to a show like this and lay it all on the line with so many people supporting you…it’s the icing on the cake at the end of the year, and I can’t wait to come back again next year.”


Reserve Champion Amy Gimbel of Oldwick, N.J. (Region 8), who also works in the insurance field when not in the saddle, was equally delighted with her nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Eye Candy (UB-40 x Wednesday by Weltmeyer, bred in the U.S. by Judy Barrett) and their second-place score of 67.407%. “We had some nice moments as well as some tense moments, but overall I was pleased,” Gimbel noted. “We’ve been to the Finals before but took a few years off – Eye Candy had an injury and it’s been a bit of a slow, arduous journey back, something that so many horse people can relate to. Just to be back here is a big accomplishment for us and means a lot.”


Romantico SF Bounces Back To Claim Intermediate I Open Championship


Over the course of more than four straight hours of hard-fought competition on Friday afternoon in the Alltech Arena, competitors battled for top honors in the Intermediate I Open Championship. With a score of 72.157%, ultimate victor Heather Mason of Lebanon, N.J. (Region 8) explained how her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding Romantico SF (Romancero H x Wesermelodie by Wenzel I) had already proven to be the winner of a much bigger battle – for his life.


“He was laid up for a year with an injury, and I only had about two rides on him when he went in for colic surgery the week after I returned home from last year’s Finals,” Mason remembered. “But amazingly here we are. He’s not an easy horse, which is how I originally ended up with him for just a dollar. But he was great today: the first medium trot was a little bit tentative, but as we got more comfortable in there he was very good. His canter work is generally strong, his pirouettes were very solid, and his zig zag was good.

He’s back and better than ever.”


Finishing in Reserve with 71.373% were last year’s Prix St. Georges Open division champions Nora Batchelder of Williston, Fla. (Region 3) and the 10-year-old U.S.-bred Hanoverian gelding Faro SQF (Fidertanz x MS Rose by Rotspon, bred by Jill Peterson). “He was super brave and ready to go today – there’s always a lot of atmosphere in the Alltech Arena but he dealt with it really well,” Batchelder said of her mount. “The canter work is always his strong suit, and I also thought his trot extensions were nice. It’s even more exciting for him to do well because his co-owner and my cousin Andrea Whitcomb is here to watch this year, which makes it extra special.”


Finals First-Timer Hannah Hewitt Wins Intermediate I Adult Amateur Championship


Hannah Hewitt
© Susan Stickle

It may have been Hannah Hewitt’s very first time cantering down centerline into the impressive atmosphere of the Alltech Arena, but she and Tammy Pearson’s eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Fidens (Tango x Bliss by United) looked like Finals veterans as they came away with the victory in the Intermediate I Adult Amateur Championshipon a score of 67.745%.


“I’m so excited to be here for my first Finals, and it’s been amazing. My trainer, Karen Lipp, has been here several times and really encouraged me to try for this,” said Hewitt, of Atlanta, Ga. (Region 3), who attends law school and finds time to train by being in the saddle before 7am almost every day. “I was very happy with the energy we had today: a little more expression in the trot, and I loved our pirouettes. He’s still young, but has grown up a lot even in just the last few months, and he surprised me a little bit in that he was unaffected by the Alltech Arena – he was very steady and good. He’s a small horse with a big personality, and is just a joy to ride.”


After claiming the 2017 title at this level, defending champion and director/cinematographer Elma Garcia of Mill Spring, N.C. (Region 1) returned to the Finals to claim this year’s Reserve Championship with her 16-year-old Hanoverian mare Wenesa (Westernhagen x Dancing Girl by Davignon) with 67.696%. “Since this spring I have a new program with Wenesa because we’re preparing for the Intermediaire II, so she’s changed a lot since last year – she’s feeling very powerful and is more sensitive,” Garcia explained. “I love coming here and showing in front of so many top judges, and experiencing the camaraderie among the competitors from all over the country and seeing so many different breeds, all in one place. It’s a special feeling.”


Alice Tarjan Wins Second Straight 2018 Finals Title in Grand Prix Adult Amateur Championship


After emerging victorious in Thursday’s Intermediate II Adult Amateur division, Alice Tarjan of Oldwick, N.J. (representing Region 1) is now two-for-two at this year’s US Dressage Finals with her eight-year-old Hanoverian mare Candescent (Christ x Farina by Falkenstern II). The pair returned to the winner’s circle in the Grand Prix Adult Amateur Championship with a score of 64.203%. “She was on fire in the warm-up,” said Tarjan. “Even though we had a couple of mistakes today, I’m thrilled because she’s a young horse and the quality keeps getting better and better. She’s so much better than she was just six months ago.”


Fellow Region 1 rider Kristin Herzing of Harrisburg, Pa. and her Hanoverian gelding Gentleman (Grusus x Rumpelstilzchen by Raphael, bred in the U.S. by Kathryn and Jeffrey Nesbit) have been together for 15 years, and traveled to Kentucky this year for their fourth US Dressage Finals. The pair’s persistence paid off with Reserve Champion honors in the Grand Prix Adult Amateur division with 61.667%. “Coming to the Finals is on my list of goals every year,” Herzing explained. “I’m so pleased with my horse today. He may be 20 years old but he is a bit of a nervous type. He knows his job and the test, so I just try to keep him calm and steady. I knew I needed to have a clean test, and we did.”


Adiah HP Wows the Crowd in Grand Prix Open Championship

James Koford
© Susan Sticke

At first glance, the colorful mare Adiah HP may not look like your stereotypical Grand Prix dressage champion. But everyone knows a book can’t be judged by its cover, and this 11-year-old Friesian Sport Horse (Nico x Marije ANT by Anton, owned and bred in the U.S. by Sherry Koella) is no exception. In the experienced hands of James Koford of Winston-Salem, N.C. (Region 1), Adiah HP had the crowd cheering in the Alltech Arena as she claimed the Grand Prix Open Championship with 69.130%.


“I am so pumped! She’s getting so mature – now she goes in the ring and gets excited, but I can channel that energy,” said Koford after the win. “I saw her in a clinic four years ago and thought she was the most fun horse I’d ever seen, and I had to sit on her. Now she’s gone on to do everything I’ve asked and more. She’s like my dirt bike: I just get to run around and have fun, without stress or drama. It just gives me goosebumps because it’s so much fun to get on a horse like this that loves to go in the show ring.”


Last year’s Intermediate II Open Reserve Champion Judy Kelly of Clarkston, Mich. (Region 2) returned to the Finals with her 14-year-old Hanoverian mare Benise (Breitling W x Rubina by Rubinstein) and added another Reserve title to their resume, this time in the Grand Prix Open division with 67.862%. “This is her second year at the level so she can do everything, I just wanted to be able to guide and direct her and show her off. Now we’ll try to do the same thing tomorrow night in the freestyle,” said Kelly.


Watch archived streaming videos Championship classes on the USEF Network HERE, as well as Facebook Live videos of press conferences on the USDF Facebook page 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 at this link: 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


Jennifer M. Keeler, Yellow Horse Marketing,

November 9, 2018

Candescent Finds Her Calling on First Day of 2018 US Dressage Finals Presented By Adequan®

By Yellow Horse Marketing for the US Dressage Finals

It’s hard to miss New Jersey’s Alice Tarjan and Candescent when they enter the ring, and the elegant black Hanoverian mare’s extravagant movement and mistake-free performance caught the attention of not only spectators but also the judges on the first day of the 2018 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, being held November 8-11 in Lexington, Ky. The pair cruised to a unanimous win under all three judges with 69.069% in the Intermediate II Adult Amateurdivision, the first of 30 championship titles to be awarded over the next three days across all levels from Training to Grand Prix in this unique national showcase for both Open and Adult Amateur competitors (watch Tarjan’s winning ride on the USEF Network HERE).

After earning reserve championship honors with Candescent (Christ x Farina by Falkenstern II) at the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship at Lamplight in August, Tarjan has continued to work on developing her eight-year-old mare’s dressage skills, even though she was bred for a very different sport. “All of my friends jump, event and foxhunt for fun, so I wanted to find a horse for that too, but I wanted it to be a black horse with white socks,” she laughed. “So I bought her out of the Hanoverian auction as a four-year-old and I thought I would jump her, but she was quite sour when I got her and not so easy to ride. Then as we got going it became clear she would be best as a dressage horse, so here we are!”

Tarjan, who qualified for this year’s Finals in Region 1, was pleased with how her young mount was unfazed by the atmosphere of the Alltech Arena, where the pair will return on Friday to also contest the Grand Prix Adult Amateur Championship. “I’m really pleased with her. Even though it’s her first year at this level so it’s still a work in progress, she does all the movements really well and now it’s just improving the transitions and consistency,” Tarjan explained. “It’s getting better and better and you can really ride her in the ring, which makes it fun. She fought for me today, and it’s been such good experience for her to do this.”

Laura Maloney’s long journey to her very first US Dressage Finals from Rancho Santa Fe, Cal. (Region 7) with her Dutch Warmblood stallion Winsor Rox (San Remo x Para Lady by Julio Mariner) proved to be worthwhile as the pair claimed Reserve Championshiphonors in the Intermediate II Adult Amateur division on a score of 61.275%. Maloney claimed the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 7 title at this level last month in Burbank, Cal., and the victory gave her the confidence to take the next step onto the national stage.

“Not only did it give me the confidence, but it gave me the wild card to come,” said Maloney. “It’s been a great year for us, and it all kind of came together for us to be here. I just wanted to experience this – none of us are getting any younger, so you have to do it when you have the chance. My husband supported me and yes, it’s expensive and difficult, but I’m thrilled to be here and am so glad I did it.”

The pair have been together for four years, and Maloney was delighted with her mount’s performance in the Alltech Arena. “I loved my tempi’s today – they were big and straight and I think they were a highlight for us,” Maloney explained. “I came all this way for one ride, and now I have the chance to enjoy the rest of the weekend. It’s a long way to come, but it’s worth it.”

Hay All Smiles in Winning Intermediate II Open Championship

Bridget Hay of Flemington, N.J. (Region 8) and her homebred nine-year-old Oldenburg stallion Faolan (Freestyle x Wyoming by Weltstern) already have an accomplished resume as they’ve risen through the levels together. But on the first day of the 2018 US Dressage Finals, the pair earned their biggest win to date with a victory in the Intermediate II Open Championship on the strength of a score of 67.794%.

“He felt super in the warmup and I was hoping it would carry over into the ring,” Hay explained. “We’re both new to this level and we’re still gaining experience, but he’s unflappable so the atmosphere wasn’t really a concern for me. The one tempi’s felt super, his pirouettes were really good…overall, he tries his heart out in the ring, and I was thrilled with him. He gives me everything. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so much in a ride in my life. I just love this horse.”

Hometown girl Kathy Priest (Region 2) rode her Danish Warmblood gelding Fredensdals Zig Zag (Blue Hors Zack x Kristiansminders Elektra by Blue Hors Don Schufro) to the Reserve Championship in the Intermediate II Open ranks with 67.059%, and was pleased with not only her mount but her Finals experience. “Overall I was pretty happy with our ride, even though we had mistakes in the one’s,” Priest noted. “He’s still new to this level, but it’s coming along and he’s such a good boy in the ring – very confident and I can really trust him. I think the Kentucky Horse Park is such an amazing facility for this event. It takes a lot to put on a competition like this, and between the people and the venue, we’re lucky to have this and I hope it continues for a long, long time.”

by Jennifer Keeler

Watch archived streaming videos of both the Intermediate II Open and Adult Amateur Championship classes on the USEF Network HERE. Championship competition resumes Friday – 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 at this link: 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

A Show Like No Other: the 2018 US Dressage Finals Presented By Adequan® Starts Tomorrow – Watch Live!

By Yellow Horse Marketing for the US Dressage Finals

Last year, Ana DiGironimo and her Arabian pony Anna Miriah C traveled 15 hours to the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® on a bit of a whim. They returned home with not only a ribbon, but also a newfound determination to return to the Finals, and this time with friends.

“It’s a show like no other, and I kept telling everyone back home about what an incredible experience it was,” said DiGironimo, who owns DQ Performance Horses in Turnersville, N.J. “At the Finals, everyone is so happy to be there and grateful just to have qualified. There is such a supportive atmosphere with a special camaraderie among competitors, and to feel that while also being among the top horses and riders in America is like no other show experience.”

Now DiGironimo is back in Lexington, Ky. as one of 387 competitors from across the country representing a record-setting 42 states at this week’s US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, where open and adult amateur exhibitors from Training Level to Grand Prix will compete for national titles and $100,000 in prize money across 30 different divisions. DiGironimo and her talented pony will once again compete in the Third Level Open Freestyle Championship with their crowd-pleasing Wizard of Oz-themed freestyle, but this year it means even more to her to be cheering on two students: Mindy Elgart and Spaniard at Second Level, and Christine Capano with Sir Franky at Training Level, both of whom qualified for the Finals via tough competition at the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 1 Championships last month in Virginia.

“To be back here not only as a rider but now also as a trainer and mentor just makes it even more special,” DiGironimo explained. “Last year I was just thrilled to be at the Finals with my pony and representing the Arabian breed, but this year it’s a little different feeling having my team with me. I still have the opportunity to compete but also get to share in their experience, so it adds a whole new dimension.

“We set this goal to get to the Finals as a team and we all worked together throughout the season, and for everyone to end up making it is very special,” DiGironimo continued. “It became almost an inside joke that we ‘willed our way’ to Kentucky. One of my clients bought a Kentucky shirt and would wear it all the time as motivation! And then Regionals went well, and now it’s reality that we’re here. For so many of us, this is the biggest possible competition we can experience, and everything you may go through during the year all pays off when you come down centerline here for your final halt and salute. Of course our goal is to do well and hopefully get everyone in the top ten so they can experience the awards ceremonies in the Alltech Arena, but for now we’re just so excited to be here and enjoy everything that the show and the Kentucky Horse Park have to offer!”

DiGironimo will also be rooting for fellow riders participating on the Region 1 Team in the Fourth Annual Regions Cup Team Competition. With a regional team of three athlete/horse combinations representing each USDF region, competitors show their regional pride and compete for bragging rights as the top scoring eligible open and adult amateur rider/horse combinations from Training Level through FEI Regional Championships classes make up each regional team. The winning team is determined by averaging the highest final scores achieved by each athlete/horse combination in their respective US Dressage Finals class.

Once again, dressage fans around the world can follow the action from the US Dressage Finals via live-streaming on the USEF Network at, with coverage beginning Thursday, November 8 with the first round of national titles presented in the Alltech Arena (see the entire live streaming schedule HERE).

To learn more about the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, download competition information, review entry lists, purchase tickets to special events, and sign up to receive news and updates, visit the official event website at

Newly Approved USDF National Education Initiative Events Announced

Lexington, KY (October 29, 2018) – The United States Dressage Federation™ (USDF) is pleased to announce three newly approved educational events, as part of the USDF National Education Initiative (NEI). The primary objective of the NEI is to create and support new and affordable programs, hosted by USDF Group Member Organizations (GMOs) that engage members. Each of these events is USDF University accredited, with attendees automatically earning USDF education credits.  GMOs that participate in the USDF National Education Initiative demonstrate their commitment to providing affordable, quality education opportunities at all levels. The following events have been newly approved for 2019, and are also receiving funding support through USDF National Education Initiative Grants.

New Dressage Test Seminar with USEF ‘S’ Judge Margaret Freeman
Hosted by the Northern Ohio Dressage Association
January 5, 2019
Mentor, OH

Ride-a-Test with USEF ‘S’ Judge Joan Darnell
Hosted by Arkansas Dressage Society
January 27, 2019
Perryville, AR

Camp with FEI B Certified Instructor and L Graduate with Distinction Stacey Hastings
Hosted by the Coastal Empire Dressage Association
April 27-28, 2019
Rincon, GA

For more information about NEI opportunities, including information on how GMOs can apply for the program and grant funding, and to access a full list of upcoming education events, visit the USDF website at or contact the USDF office at

A Passion for Dressage


by Glenye Cain Oakford | Oct 23, 2018, 3:00 PM EST

Jenaya Olsen, a 14-year-old dressage rider from Naples, Fla., is one of the youngest equestrians to earn a United States Dressage Federationgold medal by achieving four scores of 60% or higher—two at Intermediate and two at Grand Prix level—at USEF-licensed/USDF-recognized competitions, achieved when she was 13. She credits her mom—dressage rider and coach Nicole Olsen—and coach Franziska Seidl in Ocala, Fla., with helping her achieve her gold medal. We caught up with her recently to find out more about the horses she rides and what she loves about her sport.

Jenaya Olsen on Kristine Petrella’s Rubiosos-Sohn at Foxlea earlier this year. Photo: Harry Furey

What makes dressage so special to you?

I think it is like dancing. I think it is also magical, the bond you have with your horse and the passion and the work you put into the sport with your horse to build the perfect team.

What do you feel dressage has given you? And what can it give any equestrian, regardless of their chosen discipline?

Dressage has taught me to be patient. Dressage needs a lot of core strength, balance, and skill, which helped me build on my strength. I think people should explore dressage to help them with their own discipline or to help build strength and balance.

Tell us about the horses you ride at home. Who are they and what are they like?

The horse I ride most often is Welcome, a 17.3-hand Hanoverian Grand Prix mare by Wolkenstein II out of Wolke. Welcome is the best horse I have ever ridden, but she can get a little hot sometimes. I ride her almost every day. She is owned by my mom, Nicole Olsen, who is also my daily trainer.

Another horse I ride regularly is my horse, Don Caster, a compact, 16.2-hand Hanoverian gelding by Don Frederico. Don Caster, also known as Cassie, is the kindest and most gentle horse you have ever met, but he enjoys being outside with his buddies a bit much sometimes. I also ride Flying Beauty, a 16.3-hand Polish Warmblood gelding by Asceta. Flying Beauty, also known as Biffi, is our big Labrador at the barn. He follows you around like a big puppy.

My first summer up in Ocala I met Sigalia, Franziska’s horse. She has owned him since he was a youngster and

Jenaya Olsen on her mother’s mare, Welcome at Foxlea in 2017. Photo: Harry Furey

trained him to be such an amazing Grand Prix horse. Sigalia has such a golden personality and is just the funniest horse you ever met. Franziska let me sit on him, and she piaffed him from the ground—I thought that was so much fun. I have learned so much in the past three-and-a-half years from both Franziska and my mom Nicole. I have also learned so much from the horses I have been lucky enough to ride.

You rode both Welcome and Sigalia to the scores that earned your USDF gold medal. Was it challenging riding Sigalia in the Grand Prix, even though he knew his job so well?

I got my Grand Prix scores with Sigalia, and Welcome was the horse I got my other scores with. Yes, riding a pro like Sigalia was difficult, because I didn’t know the proper way to ask for the tricks. So Sigalia did not always understand what I was asking, but he always tried his best.

My mom, Franziska, and I started working on my position on the horse. I was not a perfect rider, nor am I now. I had to learn how to properly ask for the tricks, like the piaffe, passage, doing my tempi changes in a nice line, and the canter zig-zag, which I found extremely difficult to learn. I especially had to work on not leaning back and looking down when I was riding.

What’s your favorite thing about dressage?

What I like best about riding dressage is the bond you have with your horse. My favorite movements are probably the piaffe and the passage. I just think they are fun to ride, but I also enjoy the extended trot and canter. My favorite dressage test to watch is probably the Grand Prix Special, but overall my favorite tests to ride and watch are the freestyles.

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Is Your Horse Bothered By Bots?

 (Photo Credit: Horse and Hound)

By Nikki Alvin-Smith


If your horse is bothered by bots you will most likely see small yellow, white or grey specks on your horse’s coat. These are eggs and may appear on your horse’s front legs, neck (mane and withers) or under his jaw. The eggs are laid on your horse’s coat by female flies that look a bit like honeybees, and the eggs will hatch into larvae when contacted by the saliva from a horse’s lips.


Other signs that your horse is infected with bots are excessive salivation, chewing issues and irritation of the mouth. A high population of bot larvae may even cause pus in the oral cavity. Not pleasant!


While horses can easily reach the deposited eggs on their front legs and consequently lick and ingest the eggs, given that most horses are not able to reach their own manes and wither area, grooming by another horse will enable transmission of eggs deposited at these locations to their respective lips and mouth.


As the eggs hatch into larvae they will burrow into the horse’s tongue, around teeth in gingival pockets and after 21 to 28 days will then molt and be swallowed by the horse and migrate to the stomach. Here they continue to develop while attached to the mucosal lining of the stomach and just past the stomach in the alimentary canal.


Amazingly aside from the mouth irritation the horse does not appear to experience discomfort or other issues from the ulceration that the larvae produce in the alimentary canal or stomach. A large population of bots hosted by the horse may cause many small ulcers that have the potential to become one large ulcer which could produce a colic risk, but this is unusual.


The larvae spend the winter inside the horse, to be excreted back onto the pasture during the warmer Spring months. Presence of bot larvae in horse fecal egg count test is seldom seen but certainly provides proof of bot infection. It is a good idea to deworm your horse once a year to mitigate bot populations. The ideal time to deworm the horse to break the life cycle of bot species is late Autumn, early Winter. A dose of Ivermectin or moxidectin should do the trick.


Meantime removal of the eggs visible on the horse’s coat will help defray the discomfort of these larvae stage bots reaching your horse’s mouth. There are many different methods for such removal. You can utilize a bot comb or bot knife, or carefully use a disposable razor. Lava stone grooming blocks act as a type of sandpaper and may successfully remove the eggs and the traditional method of wiping the eggs off with vinegar may work. Use gloves if you decide to pick them off by hand, you don’t want eggs underneath your fingernails! Bot eggs can be difficult to remove, so be patient.


If you apply mineral or baby oil to the horse’s coat after removing the visible eggs, more egg laying antics may be reduced.




This article is brought to you courtesy of Horsemen’s Laboratory Inc., Mahomet, IL. –


About Horsemen’s Laboratory: Established in 1993 by John Byrd D.V.M., an experienced lifelong horseman and a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. As an equine medicine practitioner in California for 13 years, Dr. Byrd served as ex-officio member of the board of directors of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association where he also served as the organization’s official sales veterinarian.  In addition, Dr. Byrd frequently officiated, as veterinarian for horse shows sponsored by the management of Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California.  Dr. Byrd’s extensive experience with horses led him to observe how a horse’s health could impact performance leading to the founding of the specialist lab for equine fecal worm egg counts. Please visit for more information. Dr. Byrd enjoys sharing his wealth of knowledge of equine parasitology with horse owners from all walks of life, and is available to provide lectures/symposiums for your club, organization or event. Please contact Dr. Byrd via his website for rates and further information.


About Nikki Alvin-Smith: International and national published freelance writer and photographer in such world renowned publications such as The Chronicle of the Horse, Horse and Hound, Dressage and CT, Warmbloods Today, The Horseman’s Yankee Pedlar, Reiter, The Equine Journal, Spur, Hoofprints, Horsin’ Around, Horses All, Field & Stream, Western Horse and Gun, Pony Quarterly, Horses All Canada, Catskill Horse to name a few. Ghostwriting, blog services, PR/Marketing copy either direct with manufacturer or for agencies, copy editing and editor services also available. Nikki also produces catalog copy, white papers, e-books, corporate brochures and advertising copy for international corporations and PR/Marketing for celebrities.


As a Brit who has called the America home for the past 34 years, Nikki brings a unique perspective to the equestrian world. Nikki is also an accomplished Grand Prix dressage trainer/competitor, competing at international Grand Prix level to scores over 72% and is a highly sought clinician offering clinics worldwide. She has been a horse breeder/importer of warmblood and Baroque breeds for more than 25 years. Together with her husband Paul who is also a Grand Prix trainer, they run a private dressage breeding operation and training yard in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York. Please visit to learn more.