Lexington, Ky. - Top riders from across the country will contend for six USEF Dressage National Championships at the 2013 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp. This year the championships are being held for the first time at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., taking place October 8-12. Veteran competitors as well as newcomers to the championships make up the field of 59 who will ride down the centerline in the Rolex Stadium.
An elite field of eight riders will vie for the 2013 The Dutta Corp/USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship title. The 2012 USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Champion Steffen Peters (San Diego, Calif.) looks to defend his title with Legolas 92, an 11-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Four Winds Farm. The pair has had top performances on both the East and West Coast this year, as well as abroad. A win here would mark Peters' seventh USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship title. However, he will face stiff competition from the country's top riders.
Guenter Seidel (Cardiff, Calif.) will ride Coral Reef Wylea, after having several excellent performances with the 13-year-old Westphalian mare owned by Coral Reef Ranch this year. The pair claimed second-place finishes in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special at the Lingen CDI4*. Kathleen Raine (Murrieta, Calif.) will also aim for a first-class showing with Breanna, a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare owned by Jennifer Mason, David Wightman, and herself. Raine and Breanna, along with Seidel and Coral Reef Wylea, helped the U.S. score a second-place finish in the Hickstead CDIO3*.
Intermediaire classes at Dressage at Devon and plan to maintain their winning form. Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Danilo will pose a threat as they have had a stellar year. The 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Patricia Stempel has gained valuable experience competing in Europe over the summer. Twenty-five year old Caroline Roffman (Wellington, Fla.) won the championship last year but brings a different mount this year. She will ride her own Her Highness O, a 10-year-old Hanoverian mare, with whom she earned two second-place finishes at the Compiegne CDI3* this summer.
The USEF Young Adult 'Brentina Cup' Dressage National Championship has six entries in what will be a tight race for the national title. The USEF 'Brentina Cup' Program was developed to assist and encourage U.S. Young Riders in making the transition to Senior Grand Prix competitor. Kristen Becker (Athens, Ga.) brings her own Ramses, a 15-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding, with whom she has won numerous USEF Young Adult 'Brentina Cup' Tests this year.
Eleven riders will compete in the AGCO/USEF National Young Rider Dressage Championship, with Ayden Uhlir (Kirkland, Wash.) leading the field. She and her own Sjapoer, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding, return to the Kentucky Horse Park after winning Individual and Freestyle Gold medals and the Team Silver medal at the 2013 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC).
Lindsey Holleger (Whigham, Ga.) leads the field of 11 that makes up the AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship. She and her own Friedensfürst, an 11-year-old Trakehner gelding, also found success here during NAJYRC, winning a Junior Individual Gold medal.
The USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship's 11 entries rounds out the 2013 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp. Emma Patterson (Houston, Texas) and her own Wynshire's Valiant, a 14-year-old Welsh Cob gelding, will be aiming for their first national title after having solid performances all year.
In addition to exceptional competition, the Dressage Celebrity Mounted Games will be held prior to the start of the Grand Prix Freestyles on Saturday, October 12, featuring competitors participating in pony relay races as a fundraiser for the U.S. High Performance Dressage programs. To find out more about this added excitement, click here.
USEF Network will be streaming Friday and Saturday's competition live at www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2013FestivalOfChampions/. Retired FEI 5*judge Axel Steiner will provide commentary during the broadcast.
Find out everything you need to know about the championships at http://www.usefconnect.com/festival/.