Monday, Sep. 25, 2023

Simonson Stays On Top, Woolley Wins Day 2 At Festival Of Champions



The Neue Schule/USEF Intermediaire I National Championship and the Adequan/USEF Para Dressage National Championship continued with riders’ second tests Tuesday, the second day of competition at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions in Wayne, Illinois.

Christian Simonson, Ventura, California, took a firm lead in the I-1 championship with his second class win aboard Son Of A Lady in the Intermediaire I test Tuesday. Aboard Christina Morgan and Clifton Simonson’s 12-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Soreldo—Western Lady, Welt Hit II), he posted a score of 73.46%, after Monday’s victory in the Prix St. Georges test, keeping them in first-place standing for the national champion title. The Prix St. Georges test accounts for 40% of the total championship score, and the I-1 contributes 45%. The remaining 15% will come from the FEI Intermediaire I freestyle, which will take place Thursday afternoon, Aug. 24.

“Today I rode [Zeaball Diawind] first and had a couple of little mistakes, so then coming in on ‘Sonny’ today I really wanted to deliver a good, clean test,” Simonson said “I think that was my biggest goal. This is the last day of the important tests for Pan Am observation, so I wanted to make sure I delivered again for that as well.

Christian Simonson and Son Of A Lady. Leslie Potter/USEF Photos

“When he gets hot in there, there were a couple of times I was like, ‘Easy, buddy,’ and he actually listened to me,” he added. “He really calms down. I think over the past two years going all over the world, we’ve kind of developed this really deep level of trust with each other where I can be like, ‘All right, let’s do this,’ and he’s like, ‘OK, Dad. Let’s do it,’ and that was kind of the feeling today.”

Behind Simonson, Nora Batchelder and Nova took second (72.73%) and Anna Marek and Duvel finished third (71.55%). See complete results here.

Elle Woolley and Deucalion.

In the Adequan/USEF Para Dressage National Championship, Elle Woolley, Ocala, Florida, and her own Deucalion, a 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Dimaggio—Sandra Bullock, Sandro Hit), performed a clean FEI Para Grand Prix B test to earn a 69.33% from the judges, winning the class and moving into second place in the overall standings.


The win is proof of years of hard work developing her horse, Wooley said. 

“I imported him as a 3-year-old from Germany sight unseen. He was a handful,” she recalled. “I’ve had him six years—he turned 9 this summer—and we only started showing about two years ago. And when I started showing, I could not even get him down centerline, so this is a big deal for us. He kind of turned a corner, maybe six months ago, and he decided showing is all kinds of fun. 

“He loves it when people fawn over him,” she continued. “But we’ve really worked on the trust for six years, just done everything I could to formulate that bond and that partnership, which I think sets us apart.”

Monday’s winners Cynthia Screnci and Sir Chipoli finished second (69.21%) but remain the overall leaders, while Holly Bergay in Niguel took third (64.91%). See complete class results here.

The para dressage championship concludes with the freestyle tests today.



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