Wayne, Ill.—Aug. 23
From the first time Jennifer Schrader-Williams turned down centerline at the U.S. Dressage Festival Of Champions in 2005, she had her eye on winning one of the navy championship coolers. Though the venue’s changed and there have been a lot of horses over the last 15 years, Schrader-Williams finally has one to call her own.
Actually, make that two. In addition to topping the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship with Millione, she also brought home a red cooler as the reserve champion in the Markel/USEF Young Horse 6-Year-Old Dressage National Championship with Joppe K—another first.
“Oh my gosh, I came out of that arena with tears of joy and gratitude,” said Schrader-Williams. “We’ve been working so hard and long, and my first year at Festival was 2005, and I’ve wanted one of those coolers for 15 years. So to have this opportunity, and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for this horse. He’s 17 this year, and he just continues to get better. He has an incredible amount of try, and he just comes out every day loving his job, and he just can’t wait to get out there every time, so I’m profoundly grateful for that.”
Schrader-Williams has been riding the Danish Warmblood (Milan—Bakkely’s Roberta, Rawage Quintus) she co-owns with Millione Partners LLC since 2016, and the pair have competed at Grand Prix for the last three years. They finished third in the Grand Prix championship at Festival last year and have been working on the details to improve their performance.
“It has always been my goal to really gain experience with him,” said Schrader-Williams. “He is a horse that came in as a sale horse several years ago. He has just become my partner in crime, and I was really blessed to have him fall into my life. We have really just tried to take every opportunity possible that we can to learn, grow, get out here and compete and try to better ourselves in any way that we can with any opportunity that we can.”
After finishing second in the Grand Prix (70.50%), they topped the Grand Prix Special (69.48%) before taking the win in the freestyle (70.82%) to win the championship.
“I wanted to come out feeling like I rode it well,” she said of the freestyle. “The score was amazing. That was really a cherry on top, but I just felt like we were in unison; we were together; he was relaxed; there was enough power. He was really with me, and it was just one of those where I could relax and smile in between the movements and just really enjoyed ourselves.”
Watch her winning Grand Prix Special, courtesy of USEF Network:
Schrader-Williams, who hails from Olympia, Washington, went to Wellington, Florida, for the first time this winter season and sought out the advice and training of a number of top professionals, and their efforts have paid off.
“We were in Florida through March,” she said. “I have continued to work with Christophe Theallet monthly, either through FaceTime or, more recently, he has been having clinics at our place again. I see Debbie McDonald regularly as well. I just have a great support system that has helped us try to keep growing and learning.”
As for her young horse, Schrader-Williams couldn’t have been more pleased with the Dutch Warmblood (Rousseau—Dadina K) she co-owns with Joppe Partners LLC.
“When I was going around the outside the cheers went off for Marcus [Orlob] right before me, and my youngster isn’t used to that, so he got a little excited, but I thought he came back together quite nicely,” she said. “Went down centerline, put together a pretty mistake-free test. I would really love to make him softer in the contact, but he is such a willing athletic horse that I thought he gave a really nice performance, and I thought he tried very hard to keep his focus in the electric environment today.”