Wayne, Ill.—Aug. 26
When Anna Stovall started working for Catherine Haddad Staller as a rider and trainer about three years ago, she had a goal: learn to train Grand Prix horses.
With the help of Staller—and a mare named Frankie—she’s well on her way. Frankie topped today’s USEF Developing Prix St. Georges test today (71.17%) to jump up the rankings and win the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Championship with Stovall in the tack. After the pair did their victory gallop, with Frankie flying along at a gallop and Stovall grinning widely, Stovall took a second to think about the future.
“Developing Grand Prix is next! She’s ready,” said Stovall. “Through the fall we’re going to relax a little bit and enjoy being at home and have some fun out in the fields. For Florida, we’ll make a plan with the boss, Catherine, and we’ll go from there.”
Staller bred Frankie, a Hanoverian (Florencio—Aronja, A Jungle Prince), when she was still living in Germany, and then the mare made the move with her to New Jersey in 2013. When Stovall started riding her, she was schooling about third level.
“I have too many horses [to keep the ride on the mare],” said Staller. “Anna clicked with Frankie in such a way, I said, ‘OK, you’re going to stay with her.’ Also part of the reason I employed Anna was because she wanted to learn to train Grand Prix horses. And if I don’t give her the opportunity to train a couple of horses to Grand Prix, she doesn’t learn that. So it’s very important to me to not just breed good horses but also to share what I know in this country about training.”
Now 8, the mare moved up to Developing Prix St. Georges over the winter in Florida. They placed fourth in yesterday’s Prix St. Georges test (68.42%) and finished on a final score from the two tests of 70.07 percent.
“In the first test I wanted to ride a little conservatively and point to point and demonstrate we can execute the test technically,” she said. “Today I felt comfortable giving a little gas, and it paid off.
“Frankie has always been a partner. She’s a star,” she continued. “And she really exhibited this weekend that not only is she a partner and a star, but she’s a true competitor. Her attitude is 100 percent willing every day. I couldn’t be more fortunate to work with a better horse.”
And everyone else was happy for her good fortune, too. When Stovall and Frankie finished their test today, the small crowd gathered around the ring went crazy with applause—spooking three of the horses in the adjacent warm-up ring and causing them to gallop off for a few strides. But Frankie just soaked up the attention.
“Anna took a lot of risk today and said, ‘I’m going to open her up and trust her and do it,’ and she asked for more,” said Staller. “And the mare said, ‘Whatever you want. Let’s go.’ ”
Watch their winning test:
USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage National Champ…Anna Stovall & Frankie (Florencio x Aronja x A Jungle Prince) are the 2017 Markel Horse/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage National Champions. “Today I felt comfortable to give a little gas and it paid off” she said. The pair earned an overall score of 70.076%, the only combination earning an overall score over 70%. #JoinTheJoy
Posted by USA Dressage on Saturday, August 26, 2017
Endel Ots and Lucky Strike took the reserve title with a 69.82 percent.
Other winners today included:
Isabel Linder topped the AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship on Elvis with a total score of 68.96 percent. She placed third in the test today, but it was still enough to hold her placing.
“He felt really good today. We did have a pretty big mistake in the first extension. He broke into canter at the end, which was completely my fault,” she said. “But he felt really good through the entire test, really listening. I think the trot work was better than yesterday, so I was really happy with it and happy with him.”
For the Markel/USEF 5-Year-Old Championship, FEI Preliminary test winners Darius 555 and Alyssa Doverspike tied for first in the FEI Finale test with a score of 7.74, scoring first overall (7.74) over Quintess, ridden by Judy Kelly. But Darius’ previous score boosted him to the championship with a 7.74 overall.
“I’m so proud of him,” said Doverspike of the Hanoverian (Don Darius—Barcelona, Boss). “He’s such a good boy, and I left the walk as-is like I tried to do the day before. He was a little tired in the canter, but I felt like I had a little more forward movement in the trot and a little better change in terms of showing a difference in the trot, and I was really happy with that.”
In the Markel/USEF 4-Year-Old division, Alice Tarjan made a clean sweep with her two mounts, Serenade MF and Fairouz. Serenade MF finished on a final score of 8.46 after earning an 8.48 today. Her highest score, a 9, came in the walk. Fairouz earned a 9.8 for her trot today, and she finished the division with a 8.19.
“Serenade put in a really solid test the first day, and I would have been happy to duplicate that,” said Tarjan. “I think the canter work was better. The judge said she was tight in the neck, which I believe, so we’ll work on that and be more aware of that.”
In the USEF Children’s Dressage National Championship, which is a new division at the U.S. Dressage Festival Of Champions, this year, Abby Fodor earned the title with Haflinger-Quarter Horse Slip And Slide on a score of 68.47 percent. Beatrix Leggingwell was reserve champion on Luke Skywalker (66.58%).
“I’m really shocked [to win], and I’m really happy with him,” said Fodor, who also events with a different horse. “I’m really proud of him. He likes hugs. He likes treats. He likes bananas.”