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.
This weekend Michael Bragdell headed down to the CBLM Championships & VADA Fall Show in Lexington, VA. Balissa HTF (Bugatti-Contucci) tied for 1st in her Third Level Test 1 on Friday with a 66.184% and improved her score in Saturday’s Third Level Championship with a 67%.
It is with a broken heart that we share the news of Royal Prince’s passing this week. Late in the afternoon of January 20th Royal Prince presented an acute colic and was immediately taken to New Bolton Center. Unfortunately due to complications discovered during surgery, the only humane choice was to euthanize him.
Hilltop Articles & Interviews
Whether you are learning about showing your horse in hand or just looking for some tips, this excerpt from the 2015 USDF Sport Horse Breeders/Handlers Seminar is for you – Showing Sport Horses In Hand with Michael Bragdell.
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.