I’m Emily Wagner from LaCygne, Kansas, the mecca of dressage! I have been riding dressage since before I was born. Yes, literally—my mother, Jana, is a dressage rider, trainer and coach, so I was riding in utero. Currently I’m 25, and dressage still can’t seem to shake me. It’s an endless puzzle that is at the same time intensely frustrating and rewarding. I’m also very lucky to have some really awesome horses in my life.
WakeUp is my tall, dark and handsome 8 year-old American Warmblood stallion. He is currently showing Prix St. Georges/Intermediaire I and is simply so much fun to ride. He is by our Wagnis (Weltmeyer) and was bred by Bev McLean Tetrick in Kansas. We bought him as a 3-week-old colt and we have had a lot of fun together since.
In 2010 we represented the United States in the World Championships for Young Horses. In 2011 he was the National Champion 6 year-old. In 2012 we were reserve champions for the Developing Prix St. Georges. This year has been really amazing. We won the Developing PSG Championships with a 75 percent average.
We made it to the Festival of Champions for the I1 and then finished third overall. Needless to say, I was on cloud nine! The developing horse win was so important to me because I feel like the Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse National Championships has seen our progression year after year. The people are always so nice and cheering for us.
I rarely get nervous, but I was shivering at that show! I didn’t want to let anyone down and the expectations were very high. Luckily, WakeUp rose to the occasion like a champ. Hearing the score of 76 percent on that Sunday is one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments.
The Festival was a totally different feel. I was just a kid from Kansas thrilled to be stabled next to Guenter Seidel and Kathleen Raine. A big group of friends came with me to watch and we were just going to have fun. The Festival wasn’t easy to get to. The only CDIs we went to were Kentucky and Estes Park, Colo. We had no drop score and were ranked 12th going in.
At the Festival, we had our little bobbles but overall he was stellar. We have had issues with being scared of music so I was nervous about the freestyle. However, by the time Saturday came, he was so used to the ring that he didn’t flinch and we had a great ride. Finishing third overall, after being fourth each day, was a thrill! I mean, that is a medal spot! Now I eagerly await the end of show season so we can just buckle down and get that Grand Prix ready.
Weltdorff (aka Willie) is my 11 year-old Hanoverian gelding. He was the first horse I ever bought. My mother and I picked him out as a 3 year-old in Germany and we have climbed the ladder to Grand Prix together. It has been a very rewarding road… with plenty of ups and downs.
I will forever be grateful to him for being my first Grand Prix horse and I think other horses will be grateful to him too! He has taught me so much. I earned my gold medal with him in 2012 and we were seventh in the USEF/Markel Developing Grand Prix Championships.
This year we did the Brentina Cup. I felt him understanding more and more throughout the season, both of us gaining confidence. It was an unbelievable feeling to have two horses, both of which I owned and trained, qualify to compete at the festival. Then, Willie, my little redhead, won the Brentina Cup! Now I had two horses with national championship titles…. Wow!
His win meant so much to me because he has not always been easy and there were plenty of times where we were both confused and beyond frustrated, but, somehow, here we were, getting a trophy from Debbie McDonald. Just plain awesome.
Mama and I also have a breeding program and that keeps me excited about young horses coming up. I have a 4-year-old mare by WakeUp, named WideAwake who is gorgeous and a snazzy mover. I’m hoping to breed her next year and start showing her. Watson is a weanling colt that is a big mover in a small package with a large belly spot. Wakita is a stunning filly—Mama and I are already fighting over who gets to ride her and she is only 6 months old.
I live in Overland Park, Kansas, (about an hour from the farm) with my awesome boyfriend Jeff and our two German Shepherds, one just 9 weeks old. I commute every day to the farm and usually teach lessons on the way there and back. I love to teach, but that is probably because I have some of the nicest students in the world.
We always say planning with horses is like predicting the weather in Kansas… but I hope that Willie will continue to be an excellent guinea pig and can do some Grand Prixs at CDIs next year. WakeUp is schooling all the Grand Prix so hopefully the I2 and Developing Grand Prix will be possible next year. Wish us luck, because, let’s face it, you need it in this sport!