Lexington, Ky.—Nov. 8
Adiah HP has been on quite the road trip over the last months with her dancing shoes, with stops at the U.S. Dressage Festival Of Champions (Illinois), Dressage At Devon (Pennsylvania), the Region 1 Championships (North Carolina) and the Washington International Horse Show (D.C.) where she performed a freestyle demo to thousands of fans waiting to watch grand prix show jumping.
Her latest stop brought her to the Kentucky Horse Park for the open Grand Prix championship at the U.S. Dressage Finals where she topped the class on 69.05 percent with Jim Koford.
“I’m beyond psyched,” said Koford, who defended his championship title from 2018. “I thought, ‘Oh I’m going to pass the torch to Michael [Bragdell] or Heather [Mason].’ I’m really proud of her. She’s had a really challenging fall. We did a lot of shows and a lot of traveling. I thought she would be really tired, but what’s amazing and fun and what I’m so grateful for is that we used to do it a little bit on adrenaline, and my heart would be beating and her heart would be beating, and we would come up to bat and swing wildly. Now I actually feel like we know what we’re doing, and she’s doing it because she understands the exercises and there’s confidence in what to do in the ring—it’s showing off. I still feel like I threw some silly points away, but the things that I really wanted to work on—the pirouttes, the one tempis, the piaffe and passage—were really solid. I was fist-pump psyched.”
Koford was excited to take Sherry Koella’s 12-year-old Friesian-cross mare (Nico—Marije Ant) to Washington D.C. last month where he performed a freestyle in a glittery shadbelly under stage lights to show the audience what dressage was all about.
“That was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done as a dressage rider,” he said. “The logistics were crazy. She landed in Washington like she landed on Hollywood Boulevard. Her owner was like she was on Hollywood Boulevard, and I was in an anxiety attack the whole time! But she went in a 20,000-seat stadium with crazy spotlights, and she was like, ‘I got this.’ She blows me away.”
Koford will look to defend his 2017 and 2018 open Grand Prix freestyle title on Saturday night.
Watch Koford’s test via USEF Network.
We‘re on site at the Kentucky Horse Park for the U.S. Dressage Finals! Check back at coth.com all weekend for more news and stories. If you’re at the show with a cool story, let us know by emailing Lindsay at email@example.com. Look out for the Dec. 2 print edition of the Chronicle for more from the show.