Nicole Bellah and Winsor, Christopher Hickey and Cabana Boy Win Divisions in the 2008 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship presented by Collecting Gaits Farm
RELEASE: September 15, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Stacey Meier
Lexington, KY— In the final day of competition with fierce winds gushing around 50 miles an hour, it was Nicole Bellah and Winsor who prevailed by winning the five-year-old championship division while Christopher Hickey and U.S.-bred Cabana Boy swept the six-year-old division of the 2008 Markel/United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) National Young Horse Dressage Championship presented by Collecting Gaits Farm.
In the five-year-old division, Bellah and her horse Winsor came into the final phase of the competition with a strong score in the preliminary class and finished with a total score of 8.028. Winsor (San Remo x Para Lady by Julia Mariner) is a dark bay Dutch Warmblood stallion who was bred in The Netherlands by PPW Janssen.
Despite the winds, Bellah felt very good about her test. “It was super challenging,” said Bellah. “Actually, when I rode, it was just starting to pick up so it wasn’t near as bad. And, unfortunately for the other riders, it was really kicking around.”
Bellah bought Winsor in June 2007 in The Netherlands and at that time, he was only broke to walk, trot and canter. Since then, she has made quick progress with him.
After some encouragement from friends, Bellah decided to show Winsor in the five-year-old division, even though this was only Winsor’s fourth show in his career and her first championship. After sizing up the competition, Bellah was not confident that they could win their division, but in the end, they proved that they were worthy of the championship title.
Bellah did not hesitate when asked if she would return with Winsor for the six-year-old division of the Young Horse championship.
“After the experience now and understanding more of what it’s about and what it’s for, absolutely, absolutely,” said Bellah. “It was a great experience.”
Securing Reserve Champion in the five-year-old division was Joe Sandven and Ronatella S with a final score of 7.844. Sandven etched out Lientje Schueler and Lucky Girl BC, who also had a total score of 7.844. In the event of a tie, the U.S.-bred horse receives the top spot but in this case, Sandven and Schueler both had German-bred horses. It then becomes up to the three judges to discuss and determine the final outcome, which in this case was Sandven and Ronatella. Ronatella (Rotspon x Ronja by Raphael) is a black Hanoverian mare owned by Helen Wiest and bred in Germany by Dieter Loch.
In the six-year-old division of the Young Horse championship, Hickey and Cabana Boy topped the competition by placing first in both phases of the championship, ending with a total score of 8.74. Owned by Hilltop Farm, Cabana Boy (Contucci x Britania by Bordeaux) is a bay Hanoverian gelding bred in the U.S. by Doug and Shannon Langer.
If fighting the wind was not enough, Hickey encountered some other problems, including having his hat blow off during the test along with an error on course. Even so, Cabana Boy was unfazed and his performance was strong enough to secure the championship.
“I’m very happy with my horse,” said Hickey. “He came out and did his job. The mistakes in the ring today were mine. I got a little flustered and second guessed myself and went off course when I should have listened to my first instinct—I was right the first time. My hat fell off but in a good place. I was able to go around it everywhere.”
Hickey plans to give Cabana Boy some more “miles” to help bring him along so that he can take him to a higher level of competition.
“I think he has an amazing attitude and an incredible work ethic,” said Hickey.
Hickey plans to bring Cabana Boy back to the National Dressage Championship again next year along with two other horses.
In the Reserve Champion spot were Shannon Peters and Weltino’s Magic with a total score of 8.212. This was Peters first time at the competition, which proved to be successful with the help of Weltino’s Magic, wh