Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 22, 2020 – Throughout the third morning of the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage National Championships, one name continued to be heard over the loudspeaker during the victory laps: Grand Galaxy Win. Though the KWPN licensed stallion was not present himself at Lamplight Equestrian Center, three of his offspring made quite an impression on the judging panels. In the Four-Year-Old Dressage National Championship, both the champion and reserve champion youngsters were sired by Grand Galaxy Win. In the second class of the day, the Five-Year-Old Dressage National Championship, the winner yet again featured his Apache-bloodlines.
Alice Tarjan is no stranger to success at the championships and she added another 4-Year-Old National Champion tricolor to her wall with her win on her Danish Warmblood mare Gjenganger (Grand Galaxy Win–Donna Dee, Blue Hors Don Schufro). The pair received an 8.84 in the Preliminary Test earlier in the week, but the young mare was a bit tired in Saturday’s test and was docked points for curling behind the bit. Despite the occasional shortness of the neck, the judges praised Gjenganger as a “beautiful picture we enjoyed watching.” Her highest individual score of 9.0 came from her bounding, expressive canter and her total for her second test was 8.54, which was enough for her to seal the win.
“I don’t think it was quite as good as the first day because she was a bit tired, but she still went in and did her job and that’s all I can ask for,” Tarjan said. “It’s a long week for them, especially as 4-year-olds. It’s a matter of making sure that they aren’t too wild and not too tired. She has three solid gaits and she’s quite rideable so she’s a really great horse for the future. This is the best 4-year-old class I’ve seen with at least six horses that could win on any given day and I kept thinking ‘I would want to bring that one home!’”
Tarjan not only played the role of rider in the division, but she also was a proud owner of the reserve champion, Glory Day (Grand Galaxy Win–JJ Dolche Gabbana, Deemster). Ridden by Marcus Orlob, Glory Day moved up from Day 1’s third place with his top quality performance in the final test, scoring the highest of the day, with an 8.84. The stallion was more confident and relaxed in the ring, allowing Orlob to showcase his powerful 9.1 canter and 9.0 trot.
“He was more relaxed today so it made it easier for me to do my job and let him cruise around. The quality is amazing but he’s green and spooky,” Orlob said. “I’m proud of him. It’s very nice [to win reserve alongside his owner]. Alice is the king of the young horses and it’s an honor to ride this horse. It got close but it’s ok to be behind Alice. She can win!”
Tarjan typically develops her string of young horses herself as she enjoys the progress and building relationships with her mounts from a young age. However, Glory Day proved to be a bit too overpowering and she invited Orlob to take over the reins in November 2019.
“I’m really happy for Marcus and Glory. He’s doing a great job with that horse. We brought the horse over last year and he’s a stallion. He was quite good for a while but he started getting a little feisty and he was more than I wanted to ride,” Tarjan explained. “I love watching Glory. He’s very dynamic. He can just be too strong for me. Sometimes the hormones can get the best of him so we had low expectations and wanted him to get experience here. I admire the horse and enjoy watching them work. It’s the first time I’ve played “owner” and it’s really fun to watch him go and succeed. It’s nice to watch him compete and not have the stress of doing it myself.”
“I like training my horses and developing a relationship with them,” Tarjan continued. “By the time I would feel comfortable riding that horse, I feel like he is going to be very trained. I like the process — that’s why I do it. Marcus is doing a brilliant job and if he trains the horse, good for him! He can do whatever he wants with him. Both [Gjenganger] and Glory have three quality gaits and great rideablility and mechanics for the upper level work. They aren’t lacking in anything. I’m a huge Apache fan and love that breeding.”
Orlob, who helps her with her other horses in New Jersey, explained his philosophy of building a relationship with Glory Day, “We call him ‘Macho Boy’ in the barn. He’s a young stallion who can be pretty wild and playful. I don’t get mad at him — I let him play and let him do his stuff and he settles quite nicely. Everything at first is a little drama — like the flower box, he uses it as an excuse to play. Once he’s over it, it’s all easy for him. We have a good relationship and I know when he is going to spook now so I know how to protect it from happening. I love riding this horse. He is beautiful, fun and everything you want in a horse. He’s totally my taste.”
With five horses of her own to ride at the championships, Tarjan is grateful of her team that keep things going as smoothly as possible.
“It takes a village to do this, especially because I brought five horses and Glory,” Tarjan said. “My husband is here and the girls back at the barn and my friend Lauren [Chumley] have been running every which way helping me. It’s been really busy. I couldn’t do this without them. You just see the tip of the iceberg, you don’t see the chaos back there.”
In addition to his reserve champion finish, Orlob rounded out the top three on Jeanette Pinard’s the Danish Warmblood gelding named Flambeau (Furstenball–Gjeteruds Zeranda, Blue Hors Zack) after his 8.16 score in Saturday’s test.
In the Five-Year-Old National Championship, Spain’s Pablo Gómez Molina rode to the top of the leaderboard on another Grand Galaxy Win progeny, Easy Di Fonteabeti Ymas (Grand Galaxy Win–Ritournelle, Rubenstein I). Owned by Yeguada De Ymas and Cristina Danguillecourt, the elegant Easy Di Fonteabeti Ymas earned an overall score of 8.154 and took home the win despite accuracy errors in Saturday’s test.
“I am really proud because it’s the result of all of the work this year with the horse and I’m grateful to Yeguada De Ymas because they’ve given me the opportunity to compete at a lot of shows,” Gómez Molina said. “It’s the first big trip that we’ve done with him, so today I felt he was a little bit tired. The ride was a little bit more of me trying to keep him together and trying to get a lot of power. But even though he felt tired, he was with me all the time.
“This is my third year that I have come here [to the national championships], and I am really happy because every year, I have done a little bit better,” he continued. “To top it with a win is really nice. I still have one more day to go tomorrow with my 6-year-old horse, but I am really happy. This year was a little weird because of the situation of the world, but I really enjoy coming here.”
For the remainder of the year his plan with Easy Di Fonteabeti Ymas is to begin developing the 6-year-old work with the goal of qualifying for next year’s championship as well as campaign in Europe next summer. When asked about the gelding’s Grand Galaxy Win bloodlines, he explained, “Both this horse and another that we have are both by Grand Galaxy, and I have to say I am really happy with them because they give you a little bit of extra power. At the end of the day when you want to do big shows and be on the top, you need that extra power.”
Adding another tricolor to her belt, Tarjan took her second victory lap of the day, this time on her Oldenburg mare Summersby II (Sezuan–Summer Night, Sandro Hit). The highest scores the judging panel gave her was an 8.2 for her canter and an 8.2 for prospective.
“I think it was a little better than our first test — she settled in well and was solid. I’m pleased. She will get a couple weeks off and then we will start working on developing the work for the 6-year-old and start changes. These championships are so important to give the young horses experience getting out in this environment. By the time they are Grand Prix horses they will have this experience under their belt.”
Despite some moments of tension in her 5-Year-Old Final Test which placed them fifth, Michele Bondy was able to maintain her third place finish in the overall total. Sonnenberg’s Kain (El Capone–Girona T, Carlton Hill VDL), the 2019 Markel/USEF 4-Year-Old Dressage National Champion, received a total score of 7.628.
Competition will resume Sunday, Aug. 22 at 8:00 a.m. with the Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship.
Results: Markel/USEF Young Horse Four-Year-Old Dressage National Championship
Rider / Horse / Owner / 4-Year-Old Prelim (40%) / 4-Year-Old Final (60%) / Total Score
1. Alice Tarjan / Gjenganger / Alice Tarjan / 8.84 / 8.54 / 8.66
2. Marcus Orlob / Glory Day / Alice Tarjan / 8.14 / 8.84 / 8.56
3. Marcus Orlob / Flambeau / Jeanette Pinard / 8.22 / 8.16 / 8.184 4. Lindsey Holleger / MW Bodacious / Jennifer Vanover / 8.08 / 8.18 / 8.14
5. Ali Potasky / Lalique / Kathy Priest / 8.06 / 8.1 / 8.084
6. David Ziegler / Saladine STC / David Ziegler / 8.04 / 8.04 / 8.04
Results: Markel/USEF Young Horse Five-Year-Old Dressage National Championship
Rider / Horse / Owner / 5-Year-Old Prelim (40%) / 5-Year-Old Final (60%) / Total Score
1. Pablo Gomez Molina / Easy Di Fonteabeti Ymas / Yeguada De Ymas / 8.28 / 8.07 / 8.154
2. Alice Tarjan / Summersby II / Alice Tarjan / 8.14 / 8.04 / 8.08
3. Michele Bondy / Sonnenberg’s Kain / Sonnenberg Farm, LLC / 7.76 / 7.54 / 7.628
4. Marne Martin-Tucker / Lovely Leni / Marne Martin-Tucker / 7.52 / 7.62 / 7.58
5. Angela Jackson / Dionysus MF / Maryanna Haymon / 7.66 / 7.48 / 7.552
6. Rebekah Mingari / Killian TF/ Rebekah Mingari / 7.1 / 7.62 / 7.412
Learn more about PS Dressage’s Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championship Sponsor, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation: Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is the nation’s leading source of private funding for equine medical research benefiting all breeds of horses. Since 1983, Grayson-Jockey Club has individually provided more than $29.1 million to fund 384 projects at 45 universities in North America and overseas.