An Unforgettable Ride Puts Blitz On Top At U.S. Dressage Festival Of Champions

Aug 23, 2018 - 7:35 PM

Wayne, Ill.—Aug. 23

Over the years, Heather Blitz has narrowed down the kind of traits she looks for in a horse, and today Praestemarkens Quatero showed her one of the most important qualities—reliability.

The 9-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Quarterback—Rohvia, Rohdiamant) topped yesterday’s Prix St. Georges test (72.85%) in the Intermediaire I championships at the U.S. Dressage Festival Of Champions and came back today to win the Intermediare I test (73.52%).

“I felt like my test had a bit more power and go for it,” she said. “I figured my horse would be a little bit tired because of the trip, and the first two days he was just on fire, but today he was really, really on. For him, I like that because the hotter he is the better. He’s a really passionate horse, so when he wants to do something, he does it with more passion than any horse I’ve ridden. I feel like that was really present in my test today. I’ll never forget that test today because of the feeling. He was giving me 200 percent on every single step. He’s such a good horse, and I’m a lucky person to be able to ride him.”

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Heather Blitz and Praestemarkens Quatero. Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

Blitz, 49, Wellington, Florida, last showed the gelding in March and has been working on preparation for the Grand Prix. She got an invite to the championship and decided to come.

“I was a little concerned if he was going to overthink in the ring and if he was going be different since it has been since March,” she said of her test yesterday. “There were a few unknowns; if he would go in the ring and try to passage and do ones, but he listened to me really explicitly so I was super pleased with that.”

Blitz joked that the gelding was a “pain in the behind” today since he didn’t compete until 5 p.m., but being able to rely on him in the ring is a relief.

Winning Ride: Heather Blitz & Praestemarkens Quatero FEI Intermediate I Test #FestivalofChampions“He’s a really passionate horse. When he wants to do something, he does it with more passion than any horse I have ever ridden… I’ll never forget that test because of the feeling. He was giving me 200 percent on every single step. He’s such a good horse, and I’m a lucky person to be able to ride him.” – Heather Blitz on winning the FEI Intermediate I Test scoring 73.52% aboard her own Praestemarkens Quatero, a 9-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding and continuing to lead the USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship at #FestivalofChampions!

Posted by USA Dressage on Thursday, August 23, 2018

“I think [being able to rely on a horse] is moving higher and higher up on my list of priorities that I want in a horse—soundness and then reliability,” she said. “If you don’t have reliability, it doesn’t matter how fancy they are, if you don’t know what you’re going to get, whether it’s from the warm up to the ring or from day to day, then you’re just always on edge and you get superstitious, like, OK I have to wear blue underwear for it to go right. When they’re reliable, you can come to shows and really take in your whole surroundings and ride the test and go, ‘Oh look what’s happening, this is nice.’ I’m pretty sure I can rely on him on Saturday to be the same horse he was today and yesterday, and I just want to have fun.”

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Codi Harrison and Kadolt’s Bossco. Photo by Lindsay Berreth

Codi Harrison leads the USEF Young Adult “Brentina Cup” Dressage National Championship aboard Katholt’s Bossco, an 11-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Don Schufro—Katholt’s Farceur, Michellino) with a 72.74 percent in today’s Grand Prix test. The pair topped the Brentina Cup Intermediaire II class yesterday (71.94%). Today’s test counted for 45 percent, while Wednesday’s test counted for 40 percent of the overall score.

“I was so proud of him today and yesterday,” said Harrison, 22, Loxahatchee, Florida. “He is such a big horse, and it’s a lot to ask of him two days in a row, so I was really happy with the overall feeling. He’s such a good boy. The last piaffe took a little bit to get into it, then it was a good feeling once I got into it.”

Harrison’s had “Bossco” for three years after she found him in Denmark with help from Lars and Melissa Petersen. She works for the couple in Florida.

“He’s been so fun to learn with and develop with,” she said. “He’s such a sweet boy. I think he’s a horse of a lifetime for me.”

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Ellanor Boehning and Kabam. Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

In the Pony Rider team test Ellanor Boehning rode her flashy German Riding Pony Kabam to a commanding win with a score of 71.52 percent ahead of Abby Fodor on Slip And Slide (65.85%).

The 15-year-old palomino gelding (Heidbergs Nancho Nova—Cahira, Mozart II) used to compete in combined driving with Miranda Cadwell as a single pony. He competed at the 2011 FEI World Driving Championships For Singles (Slovakia) where he finished fifth.

“It was definitely one of the best tests I’ve had on him,” said Boehning, 12. “Everything was really solid. His half-passes and lengthenings—basically the entire test!”

Boehning’s had the ride on Kabam for four years. She said he was schooled on the flat under saddle as a driving pony, but it was still a challenging transition to becoming a dressage pony.

“When I got him he was like a firecracker, but when I got on him he would just kind of chill out. He’s been really good lately. Everything with him is perfect!” she said. “They tried him in pairs but it wasn’t his favorite, so they were like, ‘Well, there’s not much more we can do with him as a single.’ We bought him, and he’s now a dressage pony! It was a little challenging because he loves to be expressive. But it’s kind of just fun to see where he can go.”

Boehning and Kabam enjoy trail riding in California where they recently moved from Indiana. She’s competed once at the Festival Of Champions in the FEI Children’s division. She currently trains with Patricia Becker but credited Anna Buffini with help before she moved west.

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Charlotte Jorst and Kastel’s Nintendo. Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

Charlotte Jorst and Kastel’s Nintendo took about three months off from showing this summer to have a much-deserved rest, but you wouldn’t have known it as they topped the Grand Prix, which counts for 45 percent of their overall score in the national championship.

“He was very fresh and excited to be back in the ring,” said Jorst, 53, Reno, Nevada. “He was really forward and nice and through my calf in passage. Everything was really balanced and nice. Because he was fresher than he usually is I had some mistakes, but overall he was just on fire, and we had a lot of fun. I’ve been looking forward to getting back in the saddle as well. It was a great day.”

Jorst is looking forward to a clean Grand Prix Special tomorrow on the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Negro—Rodieni R, Monaco).

“I need to get a clean test. That’s my goal. My goal is to get 75 percent consistently,” she said.

For full results, click here.

For more coverage from the weekend, click here.

USEF Network is live streaming the competition each day.

For more from the U.S. Dressage of Festival of Champions and the Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage National Championships check out the Sept. 24 print edition of The Chronicle of the Horse.

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