Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 23, 2019 – Some of the nation’s top young geldings, stallions and mares became the center of attention in the Frey Arena for the continuation of the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships. Claiming the first win of the 6-Year-Old division was Melissa Fladland and I’m All In, while Alice Tarjan and Candescent topped the Intermediate II for the Developing Grand Prix division.
Fladland and I’m All In (Jazz–Tavita, Ferro), a KWPN gelding owned by Caphri Dressage, are no stranger to the U.S. Festival of Champions. Last year the pair competed in the 5-year-old championships but the partnership was still new. Now blossoming into a harmonious team under the training of international Grand Prix dressage rider Katherine Bateson-Chandler, Fladland and I’m All In received an 8.86 for their test. The talented gelding received high scores of 9 for both his submission and prospective score with the judges complimenting his honest, natural gaits and his confidence in his rider.
Riding into second place was Michael Bragdell and the 2018 5-Year-Old Dressage National Champion, SenSation HW (Sunday–Donata, Dancier). The Westphalian gelding owned by Carol McPhee gave a steady test for Bragdell with only a small bobble in their changes, a mistake Bragdell takes ownership. Putting a score of 8.56 on the scoreboard, Bragdell and SenSation HW earned an impressive score of 9.5 for his expressive and collectible trot.
Spain’s Pablo Gomez rounded out the top three in the first leg of the division on Friday aboard Servus Ymas (San Amour I–Romana, Depardieu), a Hanoverian gelding owned by Yeguada De Ymas S.L. and Cristina Danguillecourt. Earlier in the year, Gomez and Servus Ymas competed in Tryon, North Carolina where they swept the 6-year-old division with scores up to 8.8. Their performance of the day earned the pair a 8.52 to trail Bragdell by a fraction of a percent.
In the Intermediate II for the Developing Grand Prix division, Tarjan and her very own Candescent (Christ–Farina, Falkenstern II), topped the ranks of a competitive 15 horse-and-rider field. The 9-year-old Hanoverian mare returned to the Festival to ride the same tests with Tarjan as last year, but an improvement in rideability and solid piaffe-passage work set the performances apart, bumping their positioning to first with a score of 70.931%. Tarjan describes Candescent as always challenging her to think outside of the box, but she was pleased with the ride and is hoping for a similar result in Sunday’s final test.
Taking second place was Emily Miles and Floretienne (Florestan I–Tamarinde, Jazz) for their test that was given a 68.480% score from the judges. The 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Leslie Waterman found success with Miles at the Adequan West Coast Dressage Festival earlier in the year. Together, they have been competing in the Developing Grand Prix classes since 2018 and Floretienne is coincidentally a half brother to her other mount, Quantum Jazz.
Bridget Hay and Faolan (Freestyle–Wyoming, Welstern) topped off the top three in the class full of stiff competition. Hay owns the homebred 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion who won the Intermediate II Open Championship at the 2018 US Dressage Finals and was also named the 2018 Intermediate II Horse of the Year by the U.S. Dressage Federation. Her score of 68.480% and a third place finish with Faolan adds yet another accomplishment to the developing horse’s resume.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Melissa Fladland – 6-Year-Old Preliminary Test winner
On I’m All In’s progression since last year:
“We had just got him about seven or eight months before [the championships] last year so he was coming from Europe and trying to gain muscle and get stronger. Over the winter my main coach, Katherine Bateson-Chandler, and I worked really hard to strengthen him, get him ready for this and get him ready for competition, and I think that showed today. I just went with him while he did his thing – it was really all him. He is a pretty cool horse.”
On I’m All In’s personality:
“He is quite the character! He likes to play and he is really a people horse — he likes to be loved on all the time, he likes you to play with his tongue. He loves to have you in his face and if you’re cleaning his stall he tries to bite the rake or if you’re sweeping he tries to bite the broom! He is quite the character.”
Michael Bragdell – 6-Year-Old Preliminary Test second place
On his progression since last year:
“It is a big step — the five year old division to the six year old division. There is more required, it is a little more technical and like most horses, you have to take your time, feel them out, see how the development is going and see whether they are ready or not to make this jump. As this year progressed, I felt better and better about it.”
On his test:
“I was really happy with how steady he was. He felt super relaxed through his back and I felt he really did everything for me. I had a little bobble in the second change but that was totally me, I relaxed a little bit too much. I will clean up some of the minor last details from today and we will be ready to go! The thing is, there are so many good horses here and it is such tough competition, you really have to ride for every inch. It is fun and it eggs us on.”
Alice Tarjan – Intermediate II (for the Developing Grand Prix) winner
“The horse is a bit of a monster, so I was really happy she played well for the majority. This one is definitely in the outside realm of horses. She’s an interesting character, but she’s not an easy horse at all. You have to think outside the box to keep her motivated and happy. We hack a lot — around three days week. I think she’d be a great foxhunter — too bad I don’t want to jump her because I think she’d be fantastic.”
On their performance:
“[Today’s test] was an improvement from last year, but still a work in progress of course. I bought her as a 4-year-old and she did the Developing Grand Prix here last year as well. The connection is slowly improving bit by bit. It’s far from perfect but we’re working on it. Everything’s getting more reliable. The passage I was able to bring her back and get her hind legs almost from the beginning, last year it was kind of a Hail Mary. The piaffe is not quite on the spot but it’s much less ground covering than last year. For Sunday, I hope to hold it together because last year was a total disaster on Sunday. She felt really good today, but we’ve got two more days, and for her that will be a challenge so we’ll see.”
Emily Miles – Intermediate II (for the Developing Grand Prix) second place
“We call him ET! I was super happy with him. It was a clean test with just a few bobbles here and there but they are developing grand prix horses. He’s gotten so much stronger and it’s been really exciting to see his progression. This is his second year and last year we didn’t score near as high, I mean he still ended up in the top 5 last year but it was really good to feel the progress.”
Results: 6-Year-Old Preliminary Test
Rider / Horse / Owner / Total Score
1. Melissa Fladland / I’m All In / Caphri Dressage / 8.86
2. Michael Bragdell / SenSation HW / Carol McPhee / 8.56
3. Pablo Gomez / Servus Ymas / Yeguada De Ymas S.L. / 8.52
4. Cailin Hamar / Ion SWF / DG Bar Ranch / 8.18
5. Alice Tarjan / Fairouz / Alice Tarjan / 8.12
6. Marta Renilla / WEC’s Senor Rubinstein / Marta Renilla / 8.02
Results: Intermediate II (for Developing Grand Prix)
Rider / Horse / Owner / Total Score
1. Alice Tarjan / Candescent / Alice Tarjan / 70.931
2. Emily Miles / Floretienne / Leslie Waterman / 68.480
3. Bridget Hay / Faolan / Bridget Hay / 68.235
4. Kristin Wasemiller-Knuston / Vashti / Kristin Wasemiller-Knuston / 67.892
5. Nick Wagman / Ferano / Elizabeth Keadle / 67.353
6. Emily Miles / Quantum Jazz / Leslie Waterman / 66.225