Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 19, 2020 – The opening leg of the USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship saw a field of fourteen horse-and-rider combinations Wednesday afternoon. The San Marcos, California-based rider, Katherine Mathews, 17, rode to a dominating win in the Young Rider Team Test earning a score three points higher than her competitors. Receiving multiple scores of 8 for her extended walk, three-tempi changes, and rider marks, Mathews received a total score of 72.157% on Soliere, a 16-year-old stallion owned by Peridot Equestrian, LLC.
The black stallion by Sandro Hit was a showstopper during his career in Europe prior to his importation to the U.S in December 2018. Under the tutelage of Eva Möller, Soliere won silver at the 2010 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Verden with scores over nine and he also won silver as a 6-year-old in the German Bundenchampionate. Spaniard Borja Carrascosa developed Soliere up to FEI small tour and racked up solid CDI scores throughout Europe prior to Peridot Equestrian LLC purchasing him.
“I’ve only had him for a year and a half, so for the time I’ve had him, engagement and collection are the things we’ve really been working on,” Mathews said. “I’ve been training with Guenter Seidel since around last year’s Festival, at the beginning of the summer. I’ve known him since I moved to California in 2016 and he’s been amazing. Training with him has completely changed my riding and that’s incredible.”
With his new young rider, Soliere has competed at a handful of CDIs in California with wins in the Young Rider division at the 2019 CDI-W Del Mar National Horse Show. Wednesday’s results for the pair marks a personal best with Soliere.
“He was a little slow, even a little bit lazy in the warm up, so going in I didn’t quite know what was going to happen in the ring,” Mathews explained. “The ride itself felt a little bit different than it looked — learning that I got the score I did felt miles better knowing what I worked for in the ring to get there. It was a difficult one but it was really good. At home we’ve been working on trying to go up the levels a little bit to get more experience there, and in particular we’ve been working on engagement with him. He’s a big horse, big bodied and very powerful, but getting more of a light step in there is something we’ve been working on for a while.
“Next year I’m going to try to go on the Young Rider European Tour, assuming that will happen,” she continued. “After that, I’m hoping to go up the levels, but for now I’m very happy in Young Riders with him. For the next test, I’m working on the suppleness and lightness in the hand. Getting that responsiveness from him is something that I think really would help us get higher scores in the future.”
Despite the percentage distance between first and second, the second through fourth riders battled it out with only a point separating them. Hannah Irons, 20, riding Scola Bella, an 11-year-old Hanoverian mare, secured the second position with a score of 69.853%. The mare, who was graciously donated to Lendon Gray’s Dressage4Kids program by Deb Mullaney, gave Irons the opportunity to continue up the levels with her three years ago. Since then, the pair has competed at the 2019 North American Youth Championships where they helped the United States’ Region 1 Team earn the gold medal, as well as the Florida International Youth Championships together.
Rounding out the top three was the division’s reigning champions, Kayla Kadlubek and Perfect Step with a 69.117%. The 19-year-old Hanoverian gelding was also donated to the Dressage4Kids program. With Kadlubek, 20, in the irons, they have acquired many experiences under their belt including winning the 2019 USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship, a team gold medal at the 2019 North American Youth Championships. Together they also represented the U.S. in Europe as a member of the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athletes Program.
The division concludes Thursday, Aug. 20 with the Young Rider Individual Test beginning at 12:40 p.m.
Results: Young Rider Team Test for the USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship
Rider / Horse / Owner / Team Test
1. Katherine Mathews / Soliere / Peridot Equestrian LLC / 72.157
2. Hannah Irons / Scola Bella / Hannah Irons / 69.853
3. Kayla Kadlubek / Perfect Step / Kayla Kadlubeck / 69.117
4. Melanie Doughty / Fascinata / Melanie Doughty / 68.873
5. Meredith Talley / Romeo / Meredith Talley / 66.863
6. Tillie Jones / Qi Gong TF / Tillie Jones / 66.471
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