USEF/Markel Young Horse Championships
The horses arrived in great shape out in Chicago, with Sternlicht coming all the way from Hilltop and Jim Koford and Doctor Wendell MF (Don Principe-Sandro Hit) joining us from Kentucky. The show management does an excellent job with this Championship and it’s become one of our favorite shows. Despite substantial rain over the weekend, the Lamplight Equestrian Center looked wonderful and the footing drained well.
Sternlicht’s first test on Thursday showed some brilliant moments and the scope that he offers, but also showed his need for more strength in balancing those gaits throughout the entire test. It was a good first day within a strong group of four year-olds. That same day, Doctor Wendell MF and Jim Koford used the Third 2 for a quick warm-up. It was a great decision and earned a 70% for this newly established pair.
Day two of the show started out with Duet, another Don Principe offspring, and Doctor Wendell MF in the FEI Six Year-Old Preliminary Test. With Brendan Curtis, Duet put in a harmonious, fluid test early in the class. Jim Koford and Doctor Wendell pulled out all the stops just a few horses later and were rewarded with an 8.06.
Saturday at Lamplight brought lots of rain and thunderstorms that delayed the start of the 4yr old final by almost 2 hrs. Unfazed by the interruption to warm-up, Sternlicht laid down a very solid test with a more consistent balance and beautiful harmony with Michael. His score did improve on Thursday’s test and moved him up to 8th place overall in the final rankings. We are very happy with his effort and the positive buzz he generated amongst many at the show.
Sunday brought the finals for the FEI Six Year Old division. Doc and Jim presented another test filled with energy and expression. The walk was again a highlight score and they earned an overall 7.92. They finished in fifth for the overall standings — an achievement of which we are very proud. It highlights how quickly Jim and Doc have formed such a great partnership as well since they have only been together from July after Doc completed his cooled semen season here at Hilltop. To cap off the weekend, Doc also showed in a Third 3 test and won with a 74%.
Having Sternlicht’s breeder, Rachel Ehrlich, present for the week made this first trip to Nationals with Sternlicht very memorable. This show really does an excellent job of promoting the breeders and recognizing US-bred offspring and is an excellent model that hopefully other disciplines will follow.
Hilltop Farm is thrilled that three of our stallions have been named USEF Leading Sires of the Year for 2009. Contucci (Caprimond-Lungau)is the Dressage Sire of the Year; Riverman (Redfort-Landego) is the Eventing Sire of the Year; and for the second year in a row, Royal Prince (Rohdiamant-Prince Thatch xx) is the Dressage Breeding Sire of the Year (and Bugatti was ranked second in this category).
Once again we made the long drive out to the beautiful Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, IL for the Markel/USEF Young Horse Championships. Michael qualified two horses for the Championships this year.
Hilltop Articles & Interviews
In the second day of competition at the 2008 Markel/United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) National Young Horse Dressage Championships presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, claiming the title in the four-year-old division was Michael Bragdell and Selten HW besting 19 other horses to win with a score of 8.56.
A Sport Horse Handler, whether at a show, inspection or exhibition, constantly strives for that 'magical moment' as he guides a horse in hand around the arena, often negotiating a large triangle formed from flower pots and jump poles. Together the two lift off and eat up the ground, matching stride for stride -- the horse seeming to float, to collect and extend on his own, all in perfect rhythm. The handler is as discreet as possible so that all attention focuses on the horse looking his best.