Stars Line Up for Five USEF National Championships at 2008 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions
RELEASE: June 18, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Gillian Ellis
Lexington, KY - Five USEF National Champions will be crowned after two weekends of dressage competition in San Juan Capistrano, CA June 21-22 and June 27-29. Always an exciting competition
Kassandra Barteau and Gabriella (PhelpsPhotos.com)
amongst the nation’s best dressage riders, this year the National Grand Prix Dressage Championship is also the USEF Selection Trials for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team in Dressage.
The best horses and riders in each division are coming from across the country to compete in the different championships.
Here is a little bit more about some of the competitors.
National Grand Prix Dressage Championship/ USEF Selection Trials for Dressage
The National Grand Prix Dressage Championship is also serving as the USEF Selection Trials for the 2008 Olympic Games in Dressage. Three horse/rider combinations will represent the U.S. at the 2008 Olympic Games - the equestrian portion of which will be held in Hong Kong, August 8-24, 2008.
Debbie McDonald and Brentina are back and looking for a chance to add another Team medal to their long list of achievements. Brentina last competed internationally at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany where she helped the U.S. win a Team Bronze medal. The pair was also on the Bronze medal winning team at the 2004 Olympic Games and was third at the 2005 FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas. Brentina has made a very successful return to competition this year earning a first and second in the Grand Prix at the CDI3* Burbank.
“Brentina feels as good as ever,” said McDonald about the 17-year-old veteran mare owned by Peggy Thomas. “She feels fit and ready to go. I am prepared to fight for a spot on the team and knowing that it will be Brentina's last time to represent the U.S. makes me want it even more. I am enjoying every moment with her and hope that it can last a little longer.”
McDonald has also been bringing along another horse this year: Felix, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding. He has already made a name for himself winning three consecutive Grand Prix in 2007. In 2008, McDonald and Felix secured a win in the Grand Prix at the Los Angeles Winter Dressage and were second at the CDI-W Burbank.
“Felix is also going well, and seems to be handling the pressure well,” said McDonald.
McDonald bases her riding and training at River Grove Farm in Hailey, ID. River Grove Farm is owned by Peggy and Parry Thomas.
McDonald isn’t the only veteran from 2004 vying for another trip to the Olympic Games. Lisa Wilcox, of Loxahatchee, FL, has returned from Europe to attempt to make her second consecutive team too. She rides Naomi, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Janet Bell, in her quest for a spot on this year’s squad. They were first and second in the Grand Prix at the CDI-W West Palm Beach and haven’t missed the top five in 2008.
Local rider, Steffen Peters of San Diego, has two chances with Lombardi 11 and Ravel. Both horses are owned by Akiko Yamazaki and continue to improve in 2008. Lombardi 11 is also the defending champion of the National Grand Prix Dressage Championship, having won convincingly in 2007. Ravel has won six Grand Prix so far in 2008.
National Intermediaire I Dressage Championship
Last year’s Intermediaire I Championship served as the Selection Trial for the 2007 Pan American Games. The U.S. team selected there brought home Team Gold and Individual Gold and Silver from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This year’s Championship promises to showcase more future stars.
Olympic veteran Michelle Gibson has a new star in Don Angelo. Last year, they took home the inaugural USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship for seven to nine-year-old horses. In 2006, the team was Reserve Six-Year-Old Champion of the Markel/USEF Young Horse Eastern Selection Trial in Raleigh, NC. Gibson was a member of the 1996 Olympic Team in Atlanta and aided in bringing home a Bronze Medal for Team USA. She currently resides in Wellington, FL.
“I’m really looking forward to the competition,” said Gibson, “It’s exciting, this is his first year doing Intermediaire I and it’s exciting he’s made it into the top 12 in the country.”
Jennifer Hoffmann of Carlsbad, CA, has established quite a name for herself. She lived in Germany for 11 years while acquiring her German Riding License Class Two and the title of Bereiter (FN) from the German National Federation. Hoffmann is riding Susan Walker’s Farinelli in this year’s 2008 Collecting Gaits Farm/ USEF Festival of Champions. The duo has had several CDI and High Performance wins this spring, in addition to placing fourth overall in the 2007 USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship.
National Young Adult “Brentina Cup” Championship
Named after the legendary Brentina, this championship showcases the country’s best riders between the ages of 20-25 and bridges the gap for young riders as they make the transition to the senior Grand Prix ranks.
Kelly Casey, 23, and Luzifer are a relatively new partnership but have already been racking up the ribbons. Casey and Luzifer hail from Livermore, CA and are looking forward to the short drive to San Juan Capistrano to compete at the Festival. Luzifer was recently imported in the late summer of 2007 but by the beginning of the fall the pair was already the 2007 CDS Intermediaire II champions. Since then they have been showing at the Grand Prix level.
Adrienne Lyle and Wizard have been together for two years. Lyle, 23, grew up in Ketchum, ID and began riding in Pony Club, but soon discovered her love for dressage. She started as a working student with Debbie McDonald at Peggy and Parry Thomas’ River Grove Farm in 2005 and hasn’t left. She now helps train and show the farm’s horses including Wizard, a nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding.
“It’s very exciting to be riding one of the Thomas’ horses in a competition named after one of their horses,” says Lyle.
National Young Rider Dressage Championship
Last year’s champions headline this championship for riders aged 18-21.
Kassandra Barteau of Gilberts, IL and Gabriella were the winners of the 2007 Collecting Gaits Farm/ USEF Festival of Champions and are back in 2008 to defend their title. Barteau, 20, is also competing in this division with two additional horses, which gives her three chances to walk away with the title again this year.
“I’m nervous, excited, and very happy to be riding Gabriella again at this Championship,” said Barteau. “I’m lucky and thankful to be able to bring all my horses.”
Looking to stop a repeat is Rachel Campbell and Wandango of Wylie, TX. The pair was awarded the 2007 USDF All Breeds Award by the American Hanoverian Society at both Fourth Level and Prix St. Georges. In 2006, Campbell won the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final (ages 14-18) and also competed at the USEF Junior Dressage Team Championship in Pebble Beach, CA. She rode at the NAJYRC in both 2006 and 2007 and hopes to be a member of the Region 9 squad in 2008 as well.
“Dango is doing well and I am looking forward to the show,” said Campbell. “It will be very beneficial and help me become a better rider. We are currently working on improving trouble spots and hiccups, to create flow and finesse.”
Ashlee Todosijevic, 18, and Sjoerd have been partners for eight years and have come up through the levels together. Sjoerd, the only Friesian competing at the Festival, will be sure to stand out from the crowd with his commanding presence. The pair, from Crown Point, IN, competed at 2007 Collecting Gaits Farm/ USEF Festival of Champions and was 6th overall in the Junior Division. They won a Silver medal at the USEF National Junior Dressage Team Championship in 2006 and were part of another Silver medal winning effort in 2007 at the NAJYRC representing Region 2. This is their first year competing in the FEI Young Rider division.
National Junior Rider Dressage Championship
The youngest riders at the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions will get their turn in the National Junior Dressage Championship for riders aged 14 – 18.
Jessica Deimler is an ambitious 16-year-old from Atlanta, GA. Diemler and Sion’s Shadow had a busy 2007 picking up the Region 3 Junior FEI Championship, placing seventh at the 2007 Collecting Gaits Farm/ USEF Festival of Champions and 10th individually at the North American Junior/Young Rider Championship (NAJYRC).
For the 2008 Festival of Champions, she has brought her new horse and rising star, Dina, a 10-year-old Danish Warmblood mare. The pair will travel across the country for the Festival of Champions.
“Dina’s doing really well,” said Deimler. “Getting ready for the trip is stressful with all the preparations, but I’m really excited.”
Mackinzie Pooley and Jonkara from Coto de Caza, CA have also been very successful preparing for the Championship. Pooley, 15, and her Oldenburg mare will be looking to improve on a stellar 2007 season. In 2006 they won the 13 & under division of the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals. They then won the 2007 Third Level Junior/ Young Rider Horse of the Year award and competed at the NAJYRC and brought home two Individual Bronze medals.
Competition gets underway on Saturday June 21 with the Young Rider Championship. Please see below for a complete schedule. For more information about the competition, qualifying procedures and a complete list of entries please see: http://www.usef.org/contentPage2.aspx?id=dressagefestival.