Johnny Be Goode and Harrold S became the winners of the Developing Prix St Georges and Grand Prix Horse divisions held at the 2022 U.S. Dressage Championships at Lamplight equestrian centre in Wayne, ILL, on 22 - 28 August 2022.
The developing Prix St Georges horse division is similar to the German concept of the "Nurnberger Burgpokal" and open to small tour horses aged 7 to 9. The developing Grand Prix division mirrors the format of the German "Louisdor Cup" and open to big tour horses aged 8 to 10.
Each division held two rounds that both counted for the final ranking. The first round counted for 40% of the points, the second for 60% of the points. This format is different from the German concept, in which only the final round is decisive for the ranking.
Developing Prix St Georges: Johnny Be Goode
Ten combinations completed their final PSG level test in the Developing Prix St. Georges Horse Championship.
Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Johnny Be Goode delivered another strong performance to win the class with a score of 72.333%. LaGoy-Weltz (Haymarket, Va.) and Fritz and Claudine Kundrun’s 2014 KWPN gelding won the first round with 74.558% and with another 72.333% to their tally, it brought their total to an overall score of 73.223, clinching the National Champion's title. He is by Dream Boy out of the Friesian cross bred mare Amazing Grace (by Tietse D x Farrington). He is bred by Trea Mulder-Dolsma.
“He's still new to me, and we're still learning a lot together. He's still quite young, and he needs quite a few miles,” said LaGoy-Weltz. “But I was really pleased with how he stuck with me and did everything I asked and handled everything despite being hot. So, you can't ask for more than that. I feel like this is such a great place to develop horses. USEF does a great job and really gives it a championship atmosphere. So, it's been really awesome experience to bring a horse like him along and bring him here and start to get to know him.”
Johnny Be Goode might be a new on the American scene, but is a familiar face in Europe. He was owned by Dutch entrepreneur Jan-Pieter Dalsem but was officially registered under business partner Eugene Reesink's company. Reesink renamed him Johnny Be Goode. He was first started by Marrit Reusien, but in 2019 Emmelie Scholtens rode him to a 7th place at the World Young Horse Championships and the reserve champion's title in the Pavo Cup Finals. He sold to the USA in the winter of 2020 and was meant to be a new ride for Allison Brock.
Lagoy-Weltz took over the ride in December 2021 and competed him lightly.
“We've done a handful of shows" said Olivia. "We qualified in two shows to come here. He is owned by Fritz and Claudine Kundrun, and so they just asked me to start riding him in December. They had all discussed it and Ali [Brock] is a good friend of mine and also helps coach me along with Debbie McDonald. When the horse needed a change of rider, they thought that it would be a good fit to put him in training with me. So. I'm the lucky girl who got to ride him.”
Martin Kuhn (New Berlin, Ill.) and Ronin, his and wife Kathryn Fleming-Kuhn’s 2013 American bred Hanoverian gelding (by Romanov x Sir Donnehrhall, were second in the first round (71.029%) and second in the finals with 71.333%. Kuhn took home Reserve Champion honours with an overall score of 71.211%.
Bred in the U.S.A. by Marcia Boeing, Ronin was discovered by the Kuhn's when he was a foal. "My wife found him as a foal and had our eye on him," said Martin. "We had a student (Debra Klamen) who was interested in him and bought him, so we've had him from the beginning.” Kuhn originally did not have the financial opportunity to purchase him as a weanling, but in 2019 he traded Ronin with one of their own horses who was a better fit for Klamen. Martin rode Kuhn to several victories in the 2018 and 2019 USDF Dressage Finals and regional championships.
Jackie Ahl-Eckhaus (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and Jett MVS, her 2014 home bred KWPN gelding by Bretton Woods x Flemmingh, were seventh in the first round (67.107%) but moved into third position in the second round (69.666%) and slotted in third overall with a score of 68.642%.
"I bred him. I foaled him at my house," said Jackie with pride. "And I kept him in the beginning because he was really little. The saddle would slide up the withers when he was four, but there was something about him. That’s how he got the name Jet. He used to spark around and he thought he ran the farm."
Ahl-Eckhaus was thrilled with her third spot but already grateful for qualifying. "The exciting thing is making it here. Just getting on the list and being able to come is just wow," she said.
Developing Grand Prix Horse: Harrold S
Nine combinations competed in the final test of the Developing Grand Prix Horse Championship.
Claire Darnell and Harrold S had strong performances throughout the week to earn the National Champion title on an overall score of 69.942%. After placing second in the first round with 69.250%, Darnell (Mt. Vernon, Wash.) and her 2012 KWPN gelding (by Vivaldi x Fidermark) claimed top honours in the Finals Test thanks to the score of 69.250%.
“My horse was super good today. He’s been super all week,” said Darnell. “I could not be more happy with how he's gone. I made a couple little rider errors in the tests today, but he just kept doing his thing. He made up for my mistakes, which is really great with a young horse like him.”
Claire produced the chestnut up the levels herself. "I got him when he was four, and as a five-year-old showed him in training and first level, six year old, and at the end of the year at Third Level, then just kept moving up," she explained. "It's just been so much fun to bring this horse up through the levels. He is so willing and so kind and the hardest trying horse I’ve ever had. The best thing about this horse is how reliable he is. I can bring him to any show anywhere and he's going to be the same. So, it's been really, really fun bringing him up through the levels. My goal for the year was just to qualify for this competition, so to come and have him win is really super, super special.”
Darnell and Harrold S will return home to California for new and get ready for the winter season. "We'll go home and have a little break," she said/ "And then I think we're going to head to California for the Thermal CDIs and we'll do either two of those or a whole series. Then, we’ll head to Wellington later in the winter.
The winners of the first round with 71.813%, Alice Tarjan (Oldwick, N.J.) and Jane, her 2014 KWPN mare (by Desperado x Metall), were fourth in the second round with 67.666% and earned Reserve Champion honours with an overall score of 69.325%.
“I think the horse just needs exposure, so we will try for [Dressage at] Devon," Alice remarked briefly after her finals test.
Marcus Orlob (Annandale, N.J.) and Spirit of Joy, Jeanette Pinard’s 2014 Westphalian gelding (by Sir Calypso x Sandro Bedo), were third in the first round with 69.166% and third in the second round with 68.833%. This put them third overall on a score of 68.966%.
Orlob commented that, "He will have a few weeks light work and then I think our home homework will start. I planned earlier this season to qualify for here because I had in the winter a lot of issues with allergies and he had a long time off. There’s a lot of green stuff for him. He's only eight. So, now I think I have to push to the next level, and then hopefully in Florida starting to do the national Grand Prix.
Text USEF Press Release, edited by Eurodressage - Photos © Sue Stickle/US Equestrian
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