Aug. 27, Wayne, Ill.
Even the panel of judges had to admit that an old adage held true in the 5-Year-Old Championship class at the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships. “It was absolutely amazing how the draw worked out,” said Janet Foy, speaking for herself, Anne Gribbons and Gary Rockwell. “They really saved the best for last.”
The last horse to go, Donna Tella ridden by Werner van den Brande, came in and laid down a seamless, expressive test. She took the top score of the day, 8.68, and the highest overall score of the 5-year-old division, 8.648, to finish over Caroline Roffman and San City.
“This mare has a lot of charm and personality. She has the best canter we’ve seen today,” said Foy. “We all want to take her home, and none of us would mind training her for the next five years up to Grand Prix.”
The judges awarded Donna Tella, an Oldenburg (Don Picardi—Gesa, Glorieux) owned by Hampton Meadows LLC, with an 8.9 for her canter, a 9.0 for the trot, an 8.0 for the walk, an 8.5 for submission and a 9.0 for general impression.
“She was really relaxed in the first test, and today she felt a little better,” said van den Brande, who rides for Belgium. “She was more awake, but still very relaxed.”
Van den Brande, Loxahatchee, Fla., found Donna Tella on a buying trip to the Netherlands last November. “When I saw her, I fell in love right away,” he said. “I tried her just one time and said, ‘This is it.’ ”
Alice Tarjan’s Somer Hit, ridden by Lauren Chumley, was second in today’s 5-Year-Old Championship test, but San City’s win from Thursday’s Preliminary test helped him still take the reserve championship.
San City, a Hanoverian (San Remo—Bounty, Bolero) stallion owned by Linda Crabtree, earned scores of 8.6 for his trot, 8.2 for his walk, 7.9 for submission, 8.6 for his canter and 8.6 for general impression. While his 5-Year-Old Championship test score of 8.38 was only good enough for third today, his overall score of 8.588 helped maintain second-placed standing.
“He has a very good uphill tendency,” said Foy. “The trot we liked quite a lot.”
Caroline Roffman, 22, started riding the horse for Crabtree and her daughter Katie Wooten just a few months ago in preparation for this championship and to fine-tune his dressage work for his intended career of eventing.
“The first day here he was the best he’s ever been,” said Roffman of Wellington, Fla. “He shows real quality and trainability. He’ll go home now and keep going on his eventing career, but hopefully I’ll get him back for the 6-year-olds next year.”
Furst Fiorano Victorious In 4-Year-Old Class
Alyssa Pitts has no trouble ranking Furst Fiorano among all the horses she’s ridden.
“He’s the best horse I’ve ever ridden,” she said after winning the 4-year-old division at the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championship.
Furst Fiorano, a chestnut Westphalian (Furst Piccolo—Donna Lorenza, Donnerbube I) owned by Melissa Mulchahey, earned a 9.2 for trot, 7.8 for walk, 8.7 for submission, 8.0 for canter and 8.8 for general impression for a total score of 8.5. George Williams and Horizon were second with 8.48.
“This is as good a horse as anyone has,” said Rockwell. “We were very impressed with the horse’s balance in the trot. He’s already cadenced at 4.”
Furst Fiorano had to travel 35 hours to the championships from Snohomish, Wash., but the gelding handled it all with aplomb.
“He was a little tired today in the canter, but the trot was still a highlight,” said Pitts, 32. “I have to thank Melissa for all her support; she’s been absolutely amazing.”
The judges remarked on the harmony between Williams and Horizon, giving Elizabeth Juliano’s Oldenburg (Hotline—Revue, Don Schufro) mare an 8.8 for submission and a 9.0 for general impression.
“She has three quality gaits, and her willingness and trainability was outstanding,” said Rockwell after the test.
Purchased at the PSI Auction in Germany last December, Horizon has proved a willing partner for Williams since the beginning of their short career together.
“I like mares in general, and I’ve always like working with mares,” said Williams. “Since I first sat on her I’ve felt a real rapport. She’s a dream to ride. What I loved best today was the final mark [for general impression]. She has three very good paces, but it’s the trainability that is really amazing. When I sat on her the first time, I felt that trainability. To have the supported by the judge’s comment meant a lot to me. I was really pleased with that.”