Wayne, Ill., Aug. 25
What’s the best way to top winning the 6-Year-Old Markel/USEF Young Horse Championship and the USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Championship? By winning the USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Championship, of course, and that’s just what Lisa Wilcox did with Pikko del Cerro HU today. The stallion topped the Developing Horse Grand Prix test on a score of 71.08 percent to take the overall title with a 70.94 percent. Endel Ots and Agastrofos were second on 67.81 percent.
Pikko del Cerro HU, a 9-year-old Hanoverian (Pik L—Rohweena, Rohdiamant) owned by Horses Unlimited, also won the Intermediaire II (70.74%) on Thursday, but Wilcox knew there was room for improvement. In his test on Thursday, Pikko del Cerro had a bobble in the one tempis and a late change after the extended canter.
“My biggest issue with him is always going to be the day after the jog,” she said. “He gets excited, and that hangs around for a day. Also, it was a late ride on Thursday, and he’s usually a morning person. You had the combination of him being a little bit grouchy and behind my leg and not participating. The schooling I had on him yesterday was phenomenal, and he came right in today just like we left off yesterday. From the minute I got in the saddle, he was just relaxed, his head was comfortable, he was right with me.”
Wilcox, 45, was happy to highlight the horse’s piaffe and passage tour today.
“He had so much energy when we turned onto the centerline,” she said. “He blossomed right down centerline; it’s just a great feeling, all that energy going into the piaffe. Then you just sit there, and it happens.”
Next on the horizon for Pikko del Cerro is preparation for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (France).
“I’m working toward Normandy,” said Wilcox. “That’s where my head is at now. I’ll probably start the adult Grand Prix classes in December maybe, so I can start to school those tests. I have his freestyle ready. The plan is to go to Germany in 2013 to hit the CDIs there.”
Final results for USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Championship:
1. Lisa Wilcox/Pikko del Cerro/70.94%
2. Endel Ots/Agastrofos/67.81%
3. Petra Warlimont/Rohmero/63.96%
4. Lauren Sprieser/Victorious/63.62%
5. Jodi Cressman/Frederik/62.27%
6. Elena Golubitsky/Adesco C/61.89%
7. Emily Wagner/Weltdorff/61.59%
8. Claire Darnell/Calimar/59.74%
9. Laurie Hutchinson/Veva Rose/54.27%
Regalo Leads 5-Year-Old Championship
At last year’s championship, Lientje Schueler rode Regalo to third in the 4-Year-Old Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Championship. This year Schueler brought Regalo, an Oldenburg (Rosario—Dandiell) gelding owned by Pinky Roberts, back and topped that placing—winning the 5-Year-Old Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Championship with a score of 7.91 over Alice Tarjan on Elfenfeuer.
“He’s coming along the right way with the training scale. The horse looks confident. Everything was really on for you today,” said the judging panel of Marianne Ludwig, Axel Steiner and Jane Weatherwax. “We were very impressed with the picture and the harmony we saw.”
Today, in the FEI 5-Year-Old Finale test, Regalo earned an 8.8 for his trot, a 7.5 for his walk, a 7.9 for his canter, an 8.4 for submission and an 8.2 for general impression.
“It was my priority to have a happy, healthy horse here,” said Schueler. “He felt good training the first day. I was pleased with the first ride. I didn’t change much because it felt good in the ring. Yesterday he had the day off and went for a trail ride. He wasn’t going to learn anything new yesterday. I was very thrilled today that the judges told me that I had a harmonious ride and a happy horse. That’s what I was after, and it felt very nice to hear that.”
Schueler and Regalo made the long trek from California, where they’re based at Shannon and Steffen Peters’ farm in Del Mar, for this competition.
"After last year, he spent a month in a pasture eating grass," said Schueler. "Then we took him back home, and Steffen and I made a little plan for the season. They're challenging tests. They're FEI tests for a reason. We took it show by show. He did well with it, so we stuck with it and went from there."
Top 10 final results for the 5-year-old division:
1. Lientje Schueler/Regalo/7.91
2. Alice Tarjan/Elfenfeuer/7.86
3. Patricia Becker/Freedom/7.61
4. George Williams/Horizon/7.59
5. Debbie Hill/Boccaccio Iof/7.58
6. Debbie Hill/Sir Sherlock/7.52
7. Holger Bechtloff/Clapton JP/7.37
8. Sarah Hippenstiel/Hot Royal/7.23
9. Kim Gentry/Leonrdo/7.21
10. JJ Tate/Summersby/7.15
Hemmingway Writes A Winning Chapter
The judging panel of Marianne Ludwig, Axel Steiner and Jane Weatherwax didn’t mince words when it came time to describe Hemmingway, piloted by Michael Bragdell.
“It was so consistent and steady, we forgot we were looking at a 4-year-old,” they said. “He looks so confident in his work.”
Hemmingway earned marks of 8.0 for his trot, 8.5 for his walk, 8.0 for his canter, 8.3 for submission and an 8.5 for general impression in the 4-year-old test. His score of 8.26 gave him first over Christopher Hickey on Qredit Hilltop (8.22). The 4-year-olds only do one test for the title.
Both Hickey and Bragdell are based at Hilltop Farm in Colora, Md.—with Hickey riding as the trainer and Bragdell as the assistant—and Qredit and Hemmingway stand at stud there as well.
“I really love his trot, and the canter really feels good,” said Bragdell of Hemmingway, an Oldenburg (Hofrat—SPS Alsonara) owned by Theresa Schnell. The walk is not bad, but today the walk scored great, and I’ve been really working on trying to find that nice rhythm in the walk. I was trying to slow everything down in the test. It’s easy to get caught up in it and get going too quickly. I tried to slow the tempo down in the trot. I felt I had little bobbles [in the warm-up class] on Thursday, and I wanted it to be nice and fluid.”
Bragdell, 39, started riding at Hilltop Farm 17 years ago as a working student.
“He’s been there for so long that when I first got there, I would ask him questions about how things worked,” said Hickey. “He’s been a tremendous asset to Hilltop Farm.”
Both Qredit and Hemmingway leave for a 70-day stallion testing tomorrow.
“They’ve been being prepared all summer long with free jumping, and then Michael been jumping both horses cross-country and getting them ready to jump a stadium course. So these two horses have had three jobs all summer long—competition dressage horses, breeding stallions and then preparing for the 70-day testing. I couldn’t be happier with the way the horses presented themselves,” said Hickey.
Results available online at FoxVillage.