Alice Tarjan Defends Numerous Championship Titles to Close Out U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions and Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage Championships

Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 29, 2021 – Competition at Lamplight Equestrian Center concluded on Sunday, with the final division championships being decided in the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions and the Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage Championships. Festival veteran and reigning champion of many divisions, Alice Tarjan of Oldwick, New Jersey, closed the week out with a bang, successfully defending her titles in both the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship and the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship.

Alice Tarjan and Candescent
Alice Tarjan and Candescent

The first class of the day for Tarjan to tackle, the Grand Prix Freestyle, was the final leg of the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship that accounted for 15% of her total score. Tarjan held the top two positions in the division after the Grand Prix test, worth 45% of their total, and the Grand Prix Special, worth 40% of their total, on her two top mounts Candescent and Donatella M. Candescent, her own 11-year-old Hanoverian mare who was named to the U.S. Dressage team’s Tokyo Olympic short list earlier this summer and participated in the Observation Event in Wellington, was the winner of last year’s open Grand Prix division after systematically moving up the championship’s ranks year after year. Still showing great promise and talent for the Grand Prix, Candescent carried Tarjan to a score of 73.673% in the Grand Prix, a 71.765% in the Grand Prix Special, and an impressive 77.165% in the Grand Prix Freestyle to snag the win. Their efforts throughout the week earned them a total score of 73.434%.

Tarjan and Donatella M, her own 10-year-old Oldenburg mare, took home the reserve championship honors. Donatella M was last year’s Markel Developing Grand Prix Dressage Horse National Champion, and made the jump to the Festival of Champions’ Grand Prix division this year. The pair earned a score of 71.782% for their Grand Prix performance, a  71.978% for their Grand Prix Special, and finished on Sunday with a 72.549% in the Freestyle. A total score of 71.975% was enough for them to hold onto second place and the reserve champion ribbon.

Alice Tarjan and Donatella M
Alice Tarjan and Donatella M

Katie Johnson of Greenwood Village, Colorado, and Kylee Lourie’s 13-year-old Bradenburg gelding Quartett finished with third place. The pair sat in third place after Thursday’s Grand Prix with a 68.934%, and earned a score of 67.574% for their Grand Prix Special. Sunday’s Freestyle earned them a score of 70.469%, allowing them to finish with a total of 68.62%. 

Shortly after the Grand Prix championship win, Tarjan switched gears to ride two more mounts in the Markel Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship. This time with Serenade MF, her own 8-year-old Hanoverian mare, and Harvest, her own 9-year-old KWPN stallion, she clinched yet another one-two finish. Tarjan and Serenade MF established an early lead in the division with their Intermediate II score of 75.048%, worth 40% of their total score. Returning Sunday for the Developing Grand Prix test, they were awarded a score of 75.833%, worth the remaining 60%, to finish with a total of 75.519%. Early this year in Wellington, Tarjan won her second consecutive victory in the 2021 Lövsta Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix Series Final with Serenade MF, and earned the second place finish with Harvest. 

Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF
Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF

Harvest held the second place position with Tarjan after the Intermediate II test, which earned them a score of 72.597%. Although the pair dropped down slightly on the leaderboard with Sunday’s Developing Grand Prix test that was awarded a 71.083%, it was still enough to edge them ahead of the competition with a total score of 71.689%. 

Emily Miles and Java Dulce, Leslie Waterman’s 10-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, finished in third place with a total of 71.241%. With a score of 70.979% in the Intermediate II and a 71.416% in the Developing Grand Prix, the pair edged ahead of Harvest in the class standings on Sunday, but did not quite have the total score needed to take the reserve championship.


Alice Tarjan – USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Champion & Reserve Champion

On her test with Candescent:
“I was really pleased, I thought it was clean and that I stayed with the music so that was a good thing. I lost a lot of the self-carriage I think. It’s hard, you prep these horses for so many tests, and they’re all different lines, and I guess in a perfect world the horse follows your aids and it doesn’t matter what line you ride it on. Maybe it messes me up mentally, and I don’t know if it messes her up, but to try to keep the self-carriage through the whole test, with different lines is still a challenge.  

Alice Tarjan and Candescent
Alice Tarjan and Candescent

On what’s next for Candescent:
“We’ve done two CDIs and now we’re going to Aachen. I am terrified. I got outvoted on this one, but I think that you have to listen to the people who coach you. They give you their advice and it’s your job to listen, so that’s what I’m doing. Marcus [Orlob] will go over with me. I’m actually not too worried about [an environment that big], that horse can almost be aggressive i would say. The environment can affect her but she just gets bigger and bolder about it. She’s not the type to be spooky, it just comes out in tension in the walk. We just have to keep her happy and quiet there.”

Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF
Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF

On winning the Developing Horse Grand Prix with Serenade MF:
“I am pretty happy. There are a lot of things that we could improve upon, but that horse just goes out every time and does the job, and I don’t know what more you could ask for.” 

On her successful week:
“The whole thing has been so surreal. I’ve been busy all week just riding, so I haven’t had time to process anything yet. It’s just been jumping from horse to horse, making sure I remember the test, and know how to ride each horse for each test. Riding the young horses is a little different, I don’t bother to visualize a test, and maybe that’s a mistake, but I just get on and take them around. It’s been different having a bunch of young horses.” 

On Serenade MF:
“Shrimp just goes in and does her job. Harvest is a little more sensitive, and a little greener in the movements. He had several mistakes today. I think the quality is good, but it’s still very much developing.” 

Katie Johnson – USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship Third Place

On her freestyle:
“I was really, really happy with it. It’s the last day of a really long, hot weekend, and he tried so hard and put his best foot forward. It’s a brand new freestyle for us made by Terry Gallo. It rides so wonderfully and really showcases his good things. I was really happy with it. We made some mistakes, but there are still things to work on for the future.”

On Quartett:
“We bought him almost two years ago. He actually is the amateur horse for the owner of the farm. She graciously told me if we could finish him to Grand Prix in November that I could show him. His first and my first official Grand Prix were in December, then our first official CDIs were in January. He just keeps trying and trying, and he has a heart that is so big. We went to France for the Compiègne Nations Cup team. Unfortunately, we couldn’t compete there because of EHV stuff, but we still got to compete at Achleiten in Austria, which was a wonderful show and a really good first experience. This is the end to a very, very unplanned and very exciting year.”

Katie Johnson and Quartett
Katie Johnson and Quartett

On what’s next:
“We are going home and going to give him a good break. He deserves a nice, easy month, and I think his owner is going to ride him some and enjoy him. Then, we will just kind of play next season by ear.”

Emily Miles – Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix National Championship Third Place

On Java Dulce:
“I was so proud of Java. He came in ranked 15th, so we weren’t even sure if we were going to make it for a while. I was joking that it would be a fun class to watch, but I had no expectations. I knew that he was getting better consistently throughout the season, and he had that last year off. He’s gotten more solid. I’m super proud of him, I hope he keeps getting better and going on.” 

Emily Miles and Java Dulce
Emily Miles and Java Dulce


USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship

Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / Grand Prix / Grand Prix Special / Grand Prix Freestyle
1. Alice Tarjan / Candescent / Alice Tarjan / 73.673 / 71.765 / 77.165 / 73.434
2. Alice Tarjan / Donatella M / Alice Tarjan / 71.782 / 71.978 / 72.549 / 71.975
3. Katie Johnson / Quartett / Kylee Lourie / 68.934/ 67.574 / 70.469 / 68.62
4. Mikala Munter / Salsa Hit / Mikala Munter & Cara Broderick / 66.456 / 67.68 / 69.91 / 67.464
5. Michael Bragdell / Qredit Hilltop / Hilltop Farm Inc / 67.282 / 65.467 / 70.33 / 67.013
6. Mette Ronsencrantz / Dzeko / Mette Rosencrantz, Robin Cathey & Corey Walkey / 65.129 / 67.34 / 67.625 / 66.388

Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship
Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / Intermediate II / Grand Prix / Total Score
1. Alice Tarjan / Serenade MF / Alice Tarjan / 75.048 / 75.833 / 75.519
2. Alice Tarjan / Harvest / Alice Tarjan / 72.597 / 71.083 / 71.689
3. Emily Miles / Java Dulce / Leslie Waterman / 70.979 / 71.416 / 71.241
4. Katie Johnson / Paxton / Kylee Lourie / 70.881 / 71.333 / 71.152
5. Heather McCarthy / Au Revoir / Sandy Chohany / 67.646 / 66.375 / 66.883
6. Nicole Levy / Imposant MC / Nicole Levy / 66.568 / 66.291 / 66.402

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