Day One of US Dressage Finals Kicks-Off With Wins for Bragdell and Truebenbach Lund

Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 9, 2017 ­– The first day of competition at the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan in Lexington, Kentucky, kicked-off on Thursday, Nov. 9 in the Alltech Arena. Riders from across the country gathered to vie for the national titles they have been working towards all year in their regional competitions.

Kristy Truebenbach Lund and Akvavit
Kristy Truebenbach Lund and Akvavit

Small animal veterinarian, Kristy Truebenbach Lund of Wellington, Florida, and Blue Marlin Farms LLC’s Akvavit offered a strong performance in the Intermediate II Adult Amateur Championship, claiming the championship prize and national title. Truebenbach rode the 14-year-old Spanish Warmblood gelding to a total score of 65.088 percent.

The pair placed fourth in the Intermediate I Adult Amateur Championship at last year’s US Dressage Finals, and took the reserve championship in the Grand Prix Open Championship at this year’s GAIG/USDF Region 3 Dressage Championships in Wellington.

Kristy Truebenbach Lund and Akvavit
Kristy Truebenbach Lund and Akvavit

Selena Wilson, a dentist in Louisville, Kentucky, finished in second place aboard her own 12-year-old Holsteiner mare, Vanity. The horse-and-rider combination from Region 2 earned a total score of 64.298 percent. In addition to their success in the dressage arena, the duo has won multiple national one-star and Intermediate eventing championships.

Rounding out the top three in the Intermediate II Adult Amateur Championship was Amy Swerdlin of Wellington, Florida, and her own 10-year-old Oldenburg mare, Scholastica. Swerdlin and Scholastica of Region 3 earned a total score of 62.851 percent to finish in third.

Selena Wilson and Vanity
Selena Wilson and Vanity

In the Intermediate II Open Championship, Michael Bragdell of Colora, Maryland, came away with the tricolor ribbon with Hilltop Farm Inc’s Qredit Hilltop on a score of 71.535 percent. Earlier this year, the 9-year-old Oldenburg stallion finished in sixth place in the Markel/USEF Developing Grand Prix National Championship and the pair were reserve champions in the GAIG/USDF Region 8 Dressage Championships.

Michael Bragdell and Qredit Hilltop
Michael Bragdell and Qredit Hilltop

Judy Kelly of Clarkston, Michigan, rode her 13-year-old Hanoverian mare, Benise, to the reserve championship title with a score of 68.509 percent. To earn their spot in the national championship, they qualified by winning the division in the GAIG/USDF Region 2 Dressage Championships in Ohio.

Judy Kelly and Benise
Judy Kelly and Benise

Earning a score of 66.316 percent and finishing in third place was Erika-West Danque and her 19-year-old German Warmblood gelding, Incognito. They made the trip to Lexington from Williston, Texas.

Competition will resume at the US Dressage Finals on Friday, Nov. 10 at 8 a.m. with the Intermediate I Adult Amateur Championship, and seven other championship titles will be decided.

Results: Intermediate II Adult Amateur Championship
Rider/Horse/Total Score
1. Kristy Truebenbach Lund / Akvavit / 65.088
2. Selena Wilson / Vanity / 64.298
3. Amy Swerdlin / Scholastica / 62.851
4. Elizabeth Marco / Chrysler V / 62.544
5. Judy Ethell / Rubin Raphael / 59.886
6. Stephanie Mussmann / Siglavy Aga / 58.596

Results: Intermediate II Open Championship
Rider/Horse/Total Score
1. Michael Bragdell / Qredit Hilltop/ 71.535
2. Judy Kelly / Benise / 68.509
3. Erika-West Danque / Incognito / 66.316
4. Dawn Weniger / Don Derrick / 66.096
5. Jami Kment / Chivalry / 66.053
6. BrynCahill / QC Star Performer / 63.246

Kristy Truebenbach Lund – US Dressage Finals Intermediate II Adult Amateur champion

On her ride since competing in last year’s championship:
“My plan was to come back and win it. He’s hot. It’s nice to have a horse that will go, but you have to control the go. [After making a mistake in the first extended trot] You have to just remember, it was one move. I had ten other moves I could excel in – that’s the only way to think about it. The more you freak out the more he goes. I’ve had him for 7 years so I know him. The last centerline was all half-halt, breath, relax.”

On Akvavit:
“I got him from a bankruptcy sale in Spain. He was turned out for two years so he was very behind in his training. It took me about five years to get him to extend his neck, and even now the judges still want his neck out more. I train all my horses from babies — I have a special connection with all my horses and I pride myself on that. This is the first year where we have an awesome connection and we completely trust each other. That’s why we did so well at Region 3, I was able to just let go and let him do what he needed to do. It takes a lot of patience.”

On her future plans:
“He’s now officially retired from the Intermediate II in Region 3! My goal once I feel like he is really going to respond is to do the big boy grand prix under the lights at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. We aren’t there yet, so we will do the Adult Amateur CDI at Global, then I will go to Tryon in April. ”

On the pink polo wraps:
“Terri Kane of Diamante Farm in Region 3 gave pink polo wraps to wear in the awards ceremonies because October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She wanted that represented because breast cancer has affected her life and everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer. I felt that we should bring that here to the national level as well. All the south Region 3 riders will have pink polo wraps on during the awards ceremonies.”

On showing at US Dressage Finals:
“This is the only show where you feel like it’s a national level show. For us, it’s like the Olympics. It’s nice to have after all the years of talking about it. We finally got it done and it’s going so well. It’s a beautiful facility too. It means a lot, especially to the amateur riders. We are the backbone of the USDF, so we really appreciate this show that recognizes the amateurs.”

Michael Bragdell – US Dressage Finals Intermediate II Open champion

On Qredit Hilltop:
“He schooled really well yesterday and my game plan was just to have him happy, nice and relaxed and comfortable in the ring. I did a pretty light warm-up and he felt super in the ring. I was very excited about him — he was great in the test. He came here last year and he caught me by surprise because he was big-eyed, but this year he was more laid back. I took the time to get him happy and relaxed in the arena. That was the piece that made it much better today.”

On his progress with Qredit Hilltop:
“Every show is a learning experience and this is his first year showing in Intermediate II. I’ve been lucky to work with my coach Morten Thompson over the last few years, and every year is a new level. You have to figure out what your warm-up process is. What I learned from Chicago [at the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse] was that I may have done too much and I didn’t have as much horse on the last day like I would have liked. I think he really peaked here so I was quite excited about my ride.”

On his future plans:
“I’d love to take him to grand prix. He is 9 years old, so I want to take my time and get a bit more mileage at Intermediate II. When he feels right, then I’ll make the move up to grand prix. That’s the plan.”

On showing at US Dressage Finals:
“This is a nice finish to the year. Coming here, it feels like a national championship. With all of the support from the volunteers and the sponsors, you definitely feel like it’s something special. I think all the riders that come here have that feeling.”

Judy Kelly – US Dressage Finals Intermediate II Open reserve champion

On her ride:
“I was happy with it. This is our first year at Intermediate II and Grand Prix. We qualified for both tests to come here, so I was really excited about that. Working and improving everything, my coach Jan Ebeling helps me quite a bit. I was here the inaugural 2013 year in the Prix St. Georges, then we had a couple years in California to move her up to the Grand Prix. I’m excited because it’s her first year and things are coming along. We had some mistakes in the changes but we are learning and figuring things out. Piaffe and Passage I was really happy with, and everything else was super. She was a good girl and she really tries hard. She has the best temperament.”

On her future plans:
“Since we are already doing the grand prix, our plan is just to keep improving. There is definitely room for improvement and getting things more consistent. I don’t need to show her a lot. She’s pretty good at the shows, so I would just like to work on consistency and getting better scores.”

On showing at US Dressage Finals:
“We have to thank Adequan and all of the sponsors. Adequan has been here since the first year and we really appreciate that. It’s always on my calendar, it’s a great atmosphere.”

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