Wayne, Ill.—Aug. 20
When Alice Tarjan first began training her horses for the Grand Prix, she thought the hardest part would be teaching them the movements. As it turned out, the movements were just the start.
“You think in the beginning, ‘Oh, I’m going to train my horse to do all the movements, and once we do all the movements it can go do the test, and it’s done,” she said. “And then you realize no, you trained all the movements, and maybe it knows all the movements in the Grand Prix by the time it’s 6, 7, 8 years old, and now you need to take another five or 10 years to work on the harmony and get more consistent and work on the brilliance and stuff like this. It’s been a learning curve for me to work with a horse that knows everything and try to get that better.”
Improving the quality has been Tarjan’s major focus with Candescent, and it’s been paying off in spades with the 10-year-old Hanoverian (Christ 3—Farina, Falkenstern II) posting the top score (71.47%) in the Grand Prix at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions. Jennifer Schrader-Williams and Millione slipped in behind them in second with a 70.50 percent.
“It’s a work in progress,” said Tarjan, 41. “It’s getting better; the horse is getting more reliable I’d say and slightly more relaxed. [We’re] still working on a lot of things. We’ve got some unsteadiness in the canter going on, so we’ll work on that. I’m really pleased. It’s been a funny year obviously, and there’s not been a lot of competitions. I think the horse is better when she’s consistently in the arena. It’s hard with so many shows being canceled. I’m pleased today.”
The amateur rider started her season at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival [Florida] competing in the Grand Prix in the national shows. They were just gathering steam and competed in one CDI before shows came to a halt thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
While things have not gone entirely to plan, Tarjan, of Oldwick, New Jersey, has been working with U.S. Dressage Development Coach Charlotte Bredhal to bring more polish to their show ring performance.
“Charlotte’s been great,” said Tarjan. “She’s always checking up on us. She came and saw us every show in Wellington [Florida]. She’s a judge, so it’s been helping a lot trying to work on how to present the horse in the arena. I look at it from a training perspective and how to train the horse and get everything done, and she looks at it how to refine it and get it beautiful and harmonious for the ring. She’s been instrumental in that.”
Watch Tarjan’s test, courtesy of USEF Network
The Grand Prix competition continues on Saturday with the Grand Prix Special. The championship concludes on Sunday with the Grand Prix freestyle.