Wayne, Ill., Aug. 26
When Alice Tarjan saw a picture of 3-day-old Somer Hit on Mo Swanson’s website, she thought he might grow up to be something special. He’s proved Tarjan’s suspicions correct, and Somer Hit topped the 6-Year-Old Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Championship today with a score of 8.05—the only horse to break into the 8s for a final score in his age group. Cesar Parra rode Simply Nymphenburg to second (7.79), and Roberta Carelton took third (7.67) on Kir Royal.
The judging panel for the FEI 6-Year-Old Finale test (Axel Steiner, Gary Rockwell and Natalie Lamping) gave Somer Hit a 7.9 for his trot, a 7.8 for his walk, an 8.0 for his canter, a 7.6 for submission and a 7.9 for general impression for a 7.83 in the Finale test. Somer Hit’s FEI 6-Year-Old Preliminary test, worth 40 percent of the overall total, scored much higher (8.38).
“It’s a lovely horse. I don’t think it was his best test today,” said Lamping. “We know there’s a lot more in there. He has a nice, elastic trot, however you were a bit conservative with the mediums and the extensions.”
Tarjan, Oldwick, N.J., agreed that the stallion’s test today wasn’t as strong as Friday’s.
“I was pleased I got through it,” she said. “I think it was a little flat compared to Friday’s test, but I’m thrilled with how the horse went.”
Parra, Whitehouse Station, N.J., thought the footing might have contributed to lower scores overall. With a steady rain falling throughout the day, riders were careful to avoid missteps in the competition ring.
“They were slipping, and it was hard to take a chance, otherwise Alice would have taken a bigger lead, I think,” said Parra. “Her horse is so wonderful.”
But Parra also complimented his own mount, a Hanoverian (Sir Donnerhail I—Wendy) owned by Michael Davis.
“He’s a wonderful horse,” said Parra. “The moment I saw him, I fell in love with him. I was thinking about that as we were going around the ring, thinking, ‘OK, here we are now.’ ”
Tarjan and Somer Hit, a Hanoverian (Sandro Hit—Rhussia), also competed at the Championships when the horse was 4. Her friend, Lauren Chumley, took over for the horse’s 5-year-old season.
“We’ve had our challenges,” said Tarjan, who also finished second in the 5-year-old section yesterday. “He’s a great horse. He’s come a long way, but we have a long way to go. We take it ride by ride.”
Roffman Gets Another Championship On The Record Books
Caroline Roffman is no stranger to good placings at the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Championships and the USEF Developing Horse Championships. She won the USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges title with Her Highness O today. Last year she placed second in the USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Championship with Pie and second with Bon Chance in the 6-Year-Old Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Championship. She won the 5-Year-Old Championship with Bon Chance the year before. But it’s not just the titles that make Roffman happy; she likes the process too.
“Pie, Bon Chance, this mare—they’re all horses I’ve developed myself. It makes me feel really proud of what we’re doing at home,” said Roffman, who runs a training business with Endel Ots. “I’m hoping to stay on track and go in the right direction.”
Her Highness O won today’s Developing Horse Prix St. Georges with a 73.33 percent, finishing on a total score 72.57 percent over Emily Wagner and Wakeup (69.90%) and J.J. Tate with Faberge (69.76%).
Roffman, 23, owes the ride on Her Highness O, a Hanoverian (Hohenstein—SPS Wild Lady O) owned by Roffman and Jennifer Lind, to the Young Horse Championships.
“A breeder came up to me a few years ago when I was riding Bon Chance here and said, ‘I have a horse; I’d like to sell her. I like what you did with that horse.’ The mare had had four or five foals, and she had a mane down to her shoulders,” said Roffman, Wellington, Fla. “They’d just weaned her, so she didn’t look like a sport horse at all. She’d been broke as a 3-year-old for her approval, and that was it. It was a long time before I knew what I had. She’s really, really talented, and what she lacks in ability she makes up for in heart. She’s hot, but she has a brain.”
Wagner, 24, and Wakeup are successful graduates of the Markel/USEF program. They won the 6-year-old title here last year. Wakeup, an American Warmblood (Wagnis—Maiden Montreal) stallion, was the highest-placed U.S.-bred horse this year in the USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Championship.
“I was super happy with him,” said Wagner. “He was fresh in the sense that we had that one little bobble in the serpentine. I don’t blame him for it. I think at the end of the show he gets a little mentally done. But he came back to me, and he rode with me. He’s coming into his own. Everything still feels raw, but it’s coming.”
Results available on FoxVillage.com.