Wayne, Ill.—Aug. 26
After winning the Grand Prix on Wednesday (72.47%) and the Grand Prix Special (69.82%) on Thursday, Codi Harrison and her own Katholt’s Bossco danced to victory in today’s Neue Schule/USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship.
“He was right with me the whole way, he felt great,” Harrison said. “The drop in temperature helped him too. He felt great in the heat, but it was nice today to be able to sit back and relax and he took me around.”
“Bossco,” a 16-year-old Danish Warmblood (Don Schufro—Katholt’s Farceur, Michellino), and Harrison have been a team since she bought the gelding when he was 8 in Denmark.
“I was lucky enough to have a trainer who did not want me to buy a made horse and would not make the horse for me but taught me how to make a Grand Prix horse,” said Harrison of her trainer and employer, Lars Petersen. “Bossco and I learned together.”
Coached by Petersen, Harrison and Bossco have moved up the levels together. In the early years of their partnership, the pair competed in the North American Young Rider Championships (“we struggled through learning that together,” she recalled) followed by a very successful career in the U25 division.
They won the USEF Young Adult Dressage National Championship, the Brentina Cup, at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions in 2018 before moving up to the Grand Prix level in 2021.
“It is so fun to be back, and be more secure in our Grand Prix movements,” Harrison said. “When I came for the Brentina Cup, he did his first piaffe ever in the warm-up, before we went in. So it’s exciting to have something that’s a little more finished, and comfortable. And with this heat on Wednesday and Thursday, it was nice to have a horse that knows his job, and I could do a quick and to-the-point warmup and know that he knew what to do when in the ring.”
Harrison and Bossco were one of two teams contesting today’s Grand Prix championship that are also shortlisted for the Pan American Games to be held this October in Santiago, Chile. Fellow Pan Am hopefuls Anna Marek and Janet Simile’s Fire Fly finished in fourth place, earning a 74.21% with her “Stranger Things”-themed freestyle, a crowd favorite.
Those closest to Harrison did not predict her rise to the international equestrian stage.
“We did five years of training level, test 1, and I thought that was going to be it,” said Harrison’s father Warner Harrison, who is not a horse person. “I thought that she was going to grow out of horses. Boy, was I wrong.”
Harrison’s iron grip on the top placing in the first two tests loosened on day three, enabling Lehua Custer to win the freestyle with a score of 76.35%, which earned her and Wendy Sasser’s F.J. Ramzes, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Juventus—J. Rambiance, Rampal), the reserve championship title.
Watch their winning freestyle, courtesy of USEF Network and ClipMyHorse.TV:
“His owner and I go on road trips all the time together, and the music we like, which is his freestyle music, is kinda upbeat, it keeps us awake while we’re driving,” said Custer. “ ‘Ramzes’ is a trooper and always says yes. I knew if I rode well, he’d be there for me.”
Grand Prix stardom was not the initial plan for the gelding. Custer and Sasser found Ramzes, who was bred at Cornell University, as a yearling 12 years ago, while searching for a competition horse for Sasser. Eventually, his gaits and quality prompted his owner to reevaluate his future career.
“[Sasser] is amazing in that when she realized he was a little bit more, a lot more, than we expected, she handed the reins over to me and believed in me. And now it’s the three of us, all the time, through everything,” said Custer.
Much like Ramzes, third place finisher Katie Duerrhammer’s mount Paxton (Dante Weltino OLD — Desiree, Don Marco 3) wasn’t supposed to be a professional’s horse.
“When we got him home, we realized he was a little hotter than we expected and a little more spooky than we expected. So I rode him for a while, until [her coach] Adrienne [Lyle] said, ‘You’re never selling him, he could be the best horse you could have for a long time.”
Iverson Repeats Brentina Cup Win
After winning the Intermediaire II test on Wednesday and the Grand Prix 16-25 test on Thursday, Quinn Iverson and Beckham 19 brought home the Adequan/USEF Young Adult Brentina Cup Dressage National Championship with a freestyle score of 68.50%, which earned them second place in the class.
Bille Davidson’s “Ham” and Iverson brought home the U25 national title last year, too.
“I’m very excited and very proud of him,” said Iverson. “In the past, we’ve had lots of bobbles here and there, but we’re finally starting to smooth it out. I’m glad we could show things that we’ve learned over this year.”
Winning the Brentina Cup was the second podium finish of Iverson’s day. In the Markel/USEF Developing Prix St. Georges National Championship, Davidson’s Gremlin 41 (Grey Flanell—Daytona, Hardenberg Donnerschwee) earned a 70.23% to finish third behind David Blake and Sabine Schut-Kery.
“I didn’t really expect these results,” Iverson said. “I came in, especially with ‘Griffin,’ being like, ‘Whatever happens, I am very excited for the future with this horse.’ ”
See complete results here.