Category Archives: South Florida News

Wellington Dressage Coming Soon!

Official Prize List for the 
 Wellington Season Kick Off/NAYC 
January 4-6, 2019
Level Three Competition
At The Global Dressage Stadium At PBIEC
13500 South Shore Blvd,  Wellington FL 33414
Official Qualifying Competition for:
2019 Adequan FEI North American Youth Championships presented by Gotham North; 2019 USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship; 2019 Children Dressage National Championships;
2019 USEF Junior &Young Rider Dressage National Championships;
2019 USEF Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ Dressage National Championships presented by Dressage Today;  Official Qualifying Competition for the 2019 Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage Championships
2019 Great American/USDF Regional Championships


At The Global Dressage Stadium At PBIEC  
13500South Shore Blvd
Wellington, Fl  33414 

Nancy Holsing (R)

USEF Judges:

Dolly Hannon (S)

Thomas Poulin (S)


Manager & Show Contact
Noreen O’Sullivan
Ph: 561-714-9026

Send Entries To:

Ann Hart
14851 Wind River Drive
Palm Beach Gardens, Fl 33418

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



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

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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