Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 23, 2020 – On the final day of competition at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, a field of twelve riders returned to the ring for the final phase of competition for the USEF Children Dressage National Championship, the Children Individual Test. In her final year to compete in the division before aging out, Lexie Kment defended her title of champion one last time with her special mount Manatee.
Kment and Manatee, a 17-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred gelding owned by Jami Kment, scored 76.725% in Saturday morning’s Team Test, which was enough to help them secure the championship once again even though their Individual Test score on Sunday was a bit lower at 71.982%. With each score worth 50% of their total, they went home with a final percentage of 74.354%.
“It feels really great,” Kment said. “I was kind of worried coming into this year with all the nerves and thinking ‘Will I be good enough?,’ so I talked with my mom and my trainer about just keeping calm and working on the ride, not focusing on anything else other than the ride.”
“Today I was worried he was going to be tired — we’ve been here for a while but he has been really good today,” she explained. “In the ride he was a little bit off my aids, the first centerline was a little wonky but it felt good after that. For the future we can really work on getting my aids better and just continuing to get better overall. This was my last year in Childrens, so next year I’m hoping to do Juniors and we’ll see what it brings.”
Maren Elise Fouche-Hanson and In My Feelings, a 25-year-old gelding, finished in second place with a total score of 73.781%. The pair finished in second place in the Team Test with a 72.325%, and returned on Sunday to score 75.236% in the Individual test. Fouche-Hanson and the In My Feelings earned the reserve championship title in the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 13 & Under on Friday, and she was happy to go home with another top-two finish.
“I’m so happy with him this week, he has been really good,” she said. “He’s putting all of his effort in. I was a little worried at the beginning of the week starting out, so I just thought we would see. He came a little bit above the bit which didn’t help, but in both warm-ups we had amazing rides. Once we got in the ring I thought, ‘okay, I hope we can get what we had in the warm-up in the ring.’ That is the highest score he’s ever gotten on the Individual Test and I am so proud of him.”
Fouche-Hanson explained that while her gelding is still feeling and performing well, she may take next year to focus on her new mount, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood donated to Lendon Gray’s Dressage4Kids program.
“We might do Ponies next year since [In My Feelings] is still going amazing, I’m really proud of him. Recently we got a new donated horse from Dressage4Kids and she’s been trained up Fourth Level. She has been great for me so far. I’m really excited to get home, get back to work and hopefully do Juniors next year.”
Kat Fuqua and Dreamgirl, her own 12-year-old KWPN mare, finished in third place with a total score of 71.705%. Fuqua has made a name for herself in the hunter/jumper industry with many wins under her belt and recently started competing in dressage earlier this year.
Results: USEF Children Dressage National Championship
Rider / Horse / Owner / Team Test (50%) / Individual Test (50%) / Total Score
1. Lexie Kment / Manatee / Jami Kment / 76.725 / 71.982 / 74.354
2. Maren Elise Fouche-Hanson / In My Feelings / Maren Elise Fouche-Hanson / 72.325 / 75.236 / 73.781
3. Kat Fuqua / Dreamgirl / Kat Fuqua / 71.7 / 71.709 / 71.705
4. Justine Boyer / Lentisco XVIII / Hampton Green Farm / 69.5 / 72.81 / 71.155
5. Kasey Denny / Hemingway KW / / 68.725 / 72.912 / 70.819
6. Tessa Green / Big Bear’s Cepheus / 68.725 / 69.491 / 69.108
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