Gjenganger, Easy di Fonte Abeti Ymas, Spirit of Joy, Stenagers Wyatt Earp, Donatella M Lead 2020 U.S. Young & Developing Horse Championships

Fri, 08/21/2020 - 22:40
2020 U.S. Young & Developing Horse Championship
Alice Tarjan and Gjenganger at the 2020 U.S. Young Horse Championships :: Photo © Sue Stickle

The 4-year old Gjenganger, the 5-year old Easy di Fonte Abeti Ymas, the 6-year old Spirit of Joy, the Developing PSG Horse Stenagers Wyatt Earp and the Developing GP Horse Donatella M led the way after round one of the 2020 U.S. Young Horse and Developing Horse Championships at Lamplight Equestrian Centre in Wayne, ILL

Gjenganger Leads 4-year old Category 

The youngest equine competitors of the show made their debut today with the first of two USEF Four-Year-Old Horse Tests. In a class of 15 excellent horses, one youngster stood out. Alice Tarjan’s (Oldwick, N.J.) homebred Danish Warmblood mare, Gjenganger, earned high praise from the judges. Scoring an impressive 9.5 for her quality canter and finishing with a score of 8.84, Gjenganger and Tarjan won with a comfortable lead in the class.

“She’s pretty reliable now for the four-year-old test,” said Tarjan. “She has a solid trot and a solid canter and I think a decent enough walk to pull it off. The warm up was a little bit of a rodeo, which it always is with the four-year-olds, but she went into the test really relaxed and did her job, so that was great.”

Marcus Orlob (Annandale, N.J.) took home second and third place with his two mounts. Jeanette Pinard’s Danish gelding, Flambeau earned second place with an 8.22 and Orlob’s own Glory Day, a Danish stallion, took third place with an 8.08.

From the Mixed Zone:

Tell us a little bit about your horse.

Tarjan: “I bred her and so we did the Materiale last year and she did one test this year because of course there are no shows. So being here not expecting much since she hasn’t been anywhere, I’m really happy.”

Is there anything in particular you’re working on ahead of the next test?

Tarjan: “There are little tiny things, but, for the most part, if we do the same thing on Saturday I’ll be happy. I think we’ll just hack around tomorrow, walk, and then see what we get Saturday. You have to be careful with the four-year-olds so you don’t run out of energy.”

What were your thoughts with the judge’s comments and the score of 9.5?

Tarjan: “I was definitely not expecting that. I think this is the most competitive four-year-old division I’ve ever seen, actually. There are probably maybe six horses who could probably win on any given day. The depth and the quality has improved so much over the years, especially in the four-year-olds. Every single horse that goes down centerline is like, ‘Wow, that was fantastic!’ So I was not expecting to do terribly well. I figured it would just be a good experience with her, so I’m thrilled.”

Can you talk us through how you chose who you did to breed to?

Tarjan: “I had a Don Schufro mare that I really liked. Her movement was fantastic, but she was a little long and it was a little difficult to get her to sit in the collected work. And she wasn’t hot enough for me—I like them a little hot. And I had an Apache Jazz mare that I adored, and Grand Galaxy, [Gjenganger’s] sire, is also Apache Jazz, so I thought maybe I’d breed to him. I think that’s a good combination. This one’s a little bit more compact than the mother and definitely a little hotter. And she certainly can sit, so it was a good cross I think.”

Has starting her been relatively straightforward?

Tarjan: “Yeah, you know she’s been pretty easy actually. She’s a good girl. She’s not been terribly exciting or out of the box really. She’s pretty straightforward.”

Did you have to alter your plans with her for this year with the competition schedule changing?

Tarjan: “Typically you have to do two qualifiers, which is good because it makes you get them in the ring twice. It was kind of nice not having to show twice. It also meant that the season was compacted into like four weeks. I think we did four qualifiers within two-and-a-half weeks. It was crazy. She only got out once for the qualifier. I don’t think it’s an ideal prep, but obviously she’s doing OK. I don’t like to show a lot anyway, so I kind of liked that we only needed one qualifier, I was all for that, except for it should be good to get them in the ring, but I don’t mind only having to show once.”

Easy di Fonte Abeti Ymas Leads 5-year old Division

Pablo Gomez Molino on Easy di Fonte Abeti
Fourteen horse-and-rider pairs went in front of the judges in Thursday’s Five-Year-Old Preliminary Test, closing out the first day of competition in the Young & Developing Horse Arena at Lamplight. In the end, Pablo Gomez Molina (Wellington, Fla.) rode Cristina Danguillecourt and Yeguada De Ymas S.L.’s striking black Rhinelander gelding, Easy Di Fonte Abeti Ymas, to the win with a score of 8.82.

“It’s been a short partnership, but the good thing with him is every day and every week he’s getting better and stronger,” said Gomez Molina. “Today he was really good in the test. It’s one of my best tests with him. I still feel like he can give me more and more in the arena and in everyday training. I’m really happy with him.”

Alice Tarjan (Oldwick, N.J.) concluded a busy Thursday of showing with a second-place finish with her own Summersby II, an Oldenburg mare. Michele Bondy (Wilsonville, Ore.) rode Sonnenberg Farm LLC’s KWPN gelding, Sonnenberg’s Kain, to third place.

Tell us about your horse.

Gomez Molina: “It’s a horse that Cristina Danguillecourt, the owner of Yeguada De Ymas, she saw the horse in Italy and then she liked him, and we went to try it and we’ve had him since October of last year. It’s actually a short partnership but the good thing with him is every day and every week he’s getting better and stronger. Today he was really good in the test. It’s one of my best tests with him. I still feel like he can give me more and more in the arena and in everyday training. I’m really happy with him.”

What do you think are some of the highlights? Did you agree with what the judges said today?

Gomez Molina: “Yeah! Obviously the canter is really good, and like I said, he can still get better. But then all the scores were really similar. So for me, what it looks like is he’s a really complete horse. He doesn’t have something super strong and a weakness. He’s really good in everything.”

What are you hoping to do with him in the future?

Gomez Molina: “At the moment, it’s a short partnership, so we just want to know each other and get it better. But at the moment I will still compete him in Wellington and maybe if we have the opportunity next year to take him to Europe…this year was a little more difficult with all the COVID stuff, but at the moment, we’ll just keep getting better.”

Spirit of Joy in Charge of 6-year old Class

Marcus Orlob and Spirit of Joy
Thirteen horse-and-rider pairs completed their FEI Six-Year-Old Preliminary Test on Friday morning in front of the four-judge panel. Marcus Orlob (Annandale, N.J.) and Jeanette Pinard’s Westphalian, Spirit of Joy, turned in the final ride of the class, which was also the judges’ runaway favorite. The panel had nothing but praise for the powerful but obedient gelding, giving him scores that included a 9.5 for the trot and a 9.3 for canter and a final average score of 8.96.

“In the ride, I had a good feeling because he was really with me,” said Orlob. “When I heard the scores, I said, ‘Wow! That’s the highest scores I’ve ever gotten.’ I was very, very happy.

Jennifer Schrader-Williams (Olympia, Wash.) took second place with Joppe Partners, LLC’s Joppe K, a KWPN gelding. Pablo Gomez Molina (Wellington, Fla.) finished in third place with Cristina Danguillecourt & Yeguada De Ymas S. L.’s Spanish Sport Horse gelding Baltasar De Ymas.

From the Mixed Zone:

Tell us about your test.

Orlob: “To be honest, I’m very, very pleased with the horse because this is obviously, for young horses, a very beautiful but scary environment. And he’s sometimes a little bit afraid of shadows. But he handled it very well and I couldn’t be happier with him today.”

Tell us about the background with the horse?

Orlob: “I actually got him when he was four years old in Germany. And we imported him and I did last year here the five-year-old class. But he, he’s a very good horse, but the neck sometimes is very tricky. He’s very powerful and sometimes he gets a little bit too short. It was the killer last year in the five-year-old class, but now I get it better and better. I think this will be a very good FEI prospect.”

What about him made him stand out to you?

Orlob: “To be honest, first, the size. I’m pretty tall and I have long legs so I need something to cover me for the picture. I saw the video, my old boss sent me, and he has a special spark. Very powerful movement and when I saw him in the stall he immediately looked at me with bright eyes, and I was like, wow. Before I saw him go I thought, that’s probably the horse.”

Is there anything that you’re going to tweak on your second test?

Orlob: “To be honest I would like to get the same feeling. It will be hard because it was really an incredible feeling today. I hope I can pull it off a second time.”

Is there anything you’re looking to improve upon for your second test here?

Gomez Molina: “Yes, like I said, I felt him really good, but like they said, at the beginning, he was still a little bit tired because the place, our first big competition together, and I just want to have him a little more with me and the canter was the best, the highlight today, but I still think that he can get more points there. So I think maybe get him a little better in the canter, but I hope he’s like today!”

Hickey Leads Developing Prix St Georges Horse Championship

Christopher Hickey on Stenagers Wyatt Earp
Fifteen horse-and-rider pairs took their first turns in the arena to complete their Prix St. Georges Test in the U.S. Developing Prix St. Georges Horse Championship. Christopher Hickey (Wellington, Fla.) had the winning ride with Cecelia Stewart’s eight-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, Stenagers Wyatt Earp.

“I’m really happy with my test today,” said Hickey. “My goal today was to have a quiet beginning to our week. I’ve shown this horse in national horse shows at Tryon and Global, but he hasn’t done any CDIs before. It’s important to me that he goes in this kind of venue with this many judges’ boxes and the VIP—not that there are spectators—but it is busy surroundings and a busy venue and my horse can be a little hot. Which, I’m happy about, because I want that hotness later on as a grand prix horse. But my goal today was to have a quiet, ho-hum sort of test. And I feel like I accomplished that. He got a little hot a couple of times, but he really had no major mistakes and I’m super happy with that.”

Jennifer Wetterau (Mission Viejo, Calif.) took home second place with her own eight-year-old KWPN gelding, Hartog, scoring a 71.814%. Jennifer Schrader-Williams (Olympia, Wash.) rounded out the top three with her own Sandeman, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding, with a score of 70.147%.

From the Mixed Zone:

Tell us about your test.

What are your goals with this horse?

Hickey: “On Saturday, I hope to have another test like this that is quiet and easy going. The horse has plenty of quality, but sometimes those hot horses make mistakes and it’s really important for me to have this horse trust me in this kind of venue. My sponsor, Cece Stewart, purchased this horse as he was already trained, whereas a lot of my other horses we’ve bought as young horses and I’ve brought them along. This horse went through the young horse world championships in Europe. To do those shows, they have to have their legs coming out of their eyeballs and it’s very important that this horse allows me to turn the volume up and turn the volume down and that he settles and he can be quiet as well as electric and hot.

“I’ve worked with Anne Gribbons a lot with this horse. Anne unfortunately couldn’t be here this weekend due to the virus and just family safety, which I totally respect. I’m very happy that my friend Christine Traurig has been my eyes on the ground this week, which has been tremendously helpful.”

How has this year been? Have you been worried about not being able to get him out as much as you would have liked?

Hickey: “I haven’t worried about it because we’re close to Tryon. We’re an hour and a half from the Tryon shows, which can be a busy venue, and so he shows there, although he’s shown once since Florida. I have been very careful at home when we’re all in this, not travelling and not horse showing. I’ve been trying to get my horse out in the woods and trotting over cavaletti and trotting poles in the field and having a long-lining day. I’ve been very cautious and careful because when riders and trainers aren’t travelling and they’re stuck at home, it’s easy to over work your horses. So I’ve been trying to stay conscientious of that and not make them crazy.

“This horse can be hot. Somebody was a little bit excited going in for the awards and it made my horse sort of bronc a little bit, but I trust him enough now that I can give him a long rein and pat him and tell him he’s okay and bring him back down to earth. And that’s very important, because that’s what he’ll need later on as a grand prix horse.”

How long have you had the ride on him?

Hickey: “We bought him in October of 2018. He did two Florida’s. This last November we’ve had him for a year, so it’s been a year and a half.”

Final thoughts?

Hickey: “I want to thank USEF and the office and all the people that have been able to make the show happen. I think that it’s good for the sport and it is, it keeps us all looking forward and I think that’s really important. I know Hallye and many others have worked very hard to make this the safe place for us all to come and compete and in my position, I’m very, very thankful for that.”

Donatella M Leads Developing GP Horse Championship

Alice Tarjan on Donatella M
The U.S. Developing Horse  Championships for Grand Prix is a show case of some of the brightest rising stars in American dressage. Twelve combinations performed the FEI Intermediate II Test on Friday, the first of two tests they’ll complete to determine the national champion.

Alice Tarjan (Oldwick, N.J.) brought two developing grand prix horses to compete, and they both rose to the top of the leaderboard. Tarjan’s 9-year-old Oldenburg mare, Donatella M, took first place in the class with a 72.696%.

“Donatella put in a pretty good test,” said Tarjan. “It was basically clean. It’s about what we can do at home, so I’m thrilled with her. She’s a good horse; just goes in and does her job.”

Tarjan and her 8-year-old KWPN stallion, Harvest, placed second in the class with a 67.647%. James Koford (Raleigh, N.C.) and Mary McKenna’s 10-year-old Hanoverian stallion, Flavius MF, finished in third place with a score of 67.157%.

From the Mixed Zone

How long have you been working with her?

Tarjan: “I got her at the beginning of her four-year-old year. So she actually came here and did four year olds. I had a little trouble keeping her sound, so she had two years off and had a baby. She came back at the end of her six-year-old year. She’s not really had much training, so she’s a little green still, but we’re working on it.”

Did you expect to go first and second?

Tarjan: “I say she can reliably get to the test and you make a couple of mistakes, but she’s pretty reliable in the ring. She definitely tries for you, so I figured we could hopefully put in a halfway decent test. Harvest is incredibly green at this level. We just brought him to get the experience. I think it’s just good for him to get in the ring and get experience. He has some super qualities, so I guess the judges rewarded that, which was nice. He needs another two years before he’s very reliable. We’ll take what we’ve got.”

How do you switch your headspace to ride both of them in the same class?

Tarjan: “Both these horses are very willing and they really help you out in the ring for the most part. They’re both green, but they both want to play along. The other grand prix mare, Candescent, she’s a little bit of a handful and is not always going to be so cooperative. These horses are kind of easier to ride than she is. They’re both more consistent in the contact and they fight for you a little bit more. Candescent will fight for you once you get her on your side, but you have to negotiate. These two, you don’t. You can just ask and they’ll give you the answer every time. They really try.”

Was there anything specific that you really want to work on for the second test?

Tarjan: “I think the test basically showed what she’s able to do right now. I think going forward for sure the changes swing so that’s something that we’ve got to work on. The rhythm in the piaffe and passage needs a lot of strength yet. But, I’m not going to fix that in a day. If I can get the same thing I got out of her today, that’s what she can do at home so that’s what I can hope for.”

Related Links
Scores: 2020 U.S. Young and Developing Horse Championships