Nora Batchelder Dominates US Dressage Finals’ Prix St. Georges Open Championship With One-Two Finish

Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 12, 2017 – On the final day of competition at the US Dressage Finals in Lexington, Kentucky, eight new national champions were crowned across several divisions. In the Alltech Arena, Nora Batchelder of Williston, Florida, and the 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding Faro SQF claimed the competitive class with a total earned a score of 71.974 percent. Fifi MLW, an 8-year-old Hanoverian mare, was another mount for Batchelder and the pair scored a total 70.921 percent to win the division’s reserve championship. The professional qualified both of her top horses with wildcards during the GAIG/USDF Region 3 Championships in Wellington, Florida, after receiving high scores in the Prix St. Georges division.

Nora Batchelder and Faro SQF
Nora Batchelder and Faro SQF

In addition to her red tricolor ribbon, Fifi MLW was awarded the Lloyd Landkamer Perpetual Trophy, which is presented to the highest FEI scoring mare at the US Dressage Finals.

Nora Batchelder and Fifi MLW
Nora Batchelder and Fifi MLW

Jodie Kelly of Destin, Florida, completed the top three with her mount Caymus, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Beth Godwin, earning a score of 70.702 percent. Earlier this fall, Kelly and Caymus were the reserve champions in their Region 3 Prix St. Georges division.

Jodie Kelly and Caymus
Jodie Kelly and Caymus


Nora Batchelder – US Dressage Finals Prix St. Georges Open champion and reserve champion

On her wins:
“I’m ecstatic! My horses were great. I really wanted to take home a championship, and I didn’t think it would happen in this class but I’m really happy.”

On Faro SQF:
“He was great. He only had the one test this week so he was schooling the whole week. He only got in here one day to practice so I wasn’t sure how he would be, but he was very brave. He didn’t put a foot wrong, he was right there for me the whole time. I’ve very proud of him. I thought the extended trot and half-passes were really good today. Overall, he stayed really relaxed. He’s such a fun horse to ride. Every moment is just a pleasure. He’s really easy to sit and light in the bridle. He’s a really good boy. I’ve had him about a year. My cousin and I are developing him together, and he’s just a pleasure to work with. I’m hoping to show him small tour in Wellington, then keep working on the Grand Prix stuff and go from there.”

Nora Batchelder and Faro SQF
Nora Batchelder and Faro SQF

On Fifi MLW:
“She was really good. I was a little nervous about going first, but she was very good. She was a little bit backed-off when she first came into the Alltech just because it’s a big venue, but she was really good. I thought her extended trots and lateral work were really good today too. She got a little worried in the corners with the canter so we couldn’t ride every corner the way we wanted to prepare for the next movements, but she was a really good girl.”

On receiving the Lloyd Landkamer Perpetual Trophy:
“Lloyd was always such a great presence at the horse shows and always so nice. He was such a nice guy and I miss having him at all the CDIs and national championships. It’s really nice to receive that award and remember him.”

Results: Prix St. Georges Open Championship
Rider / Horse / Total Score
1. Nora Batchelder / Faro SQF / 71.974
2. Nora Batchelder / Fifi MLW / 70.921
3. Jodie Kelly / Caymus / 70.702
4. Emily Wyman / Chigali / 69.956
5. Heather Blitz / Praestemarkens Quatero / 69.430
6. Melissa Taylor / Ansgar / 68.509

Garcia and Wenesa Earn Tricolor in Prix St. Georges Adult Amateur Championship

Professional filmmaker and adult amateur dressage competitor, Elma Garcia, will be making the drive back to Mill Spring, North Carolina, with quite a few more national ribbons. Earlier this week at the US Dressage Finals, Garcia won the Intermediate I Adult Amateur Championship and then received the reserve championship in the Intermediate I Adult Amateur Freestyle Championship. Garcia returned to the ring on Wenesa, her 15-year-old Hanoverian mare, to claim her third tricolor ribbon with a 68.904 percent in the Prix St. Georges Adult Amateur Championship.

Elma Garcia and Wenesa
Elma Garcia and Wenesa

Representing Region 2, Pam Heglund of Ada, Michigan, earned the reserve championship aboard Wilifried Stute’s 14-year-old Westphalian mare, Letizia, with a score of 65.789 percent.

Rounding out the top three was Amy Rippy of McKinney, Texas, on Mike Rippy’s 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding with a total of 64.912 percent.

Results: Prix St. Georges Adult Amateur Championship
Rider / Horse / Total Score
1. Elma Garcia / Wenesa / 68.904
2. Pam Heglund / Letizia / 65.789
3. Amy Rippy / Harley / 64.912
4. Terri Sue Wensinger / Valentino / 64.737
5. Maia Barnes / Benvica / 64.737
6. Lisa Rush / Finestep HW / 64.605


Elma Garcia – Prix St. Georges Adult Amateur champion

On her recipe for success:
“I think we have been working really hard since moving to Tryon in April. My coach and I have finally been able to be in the same place. She moved from Los Angeles in July and now I have access to her. She’s a very classical trainer. She has a phenomenal eye and we’ve been working really well together for last three years. I get to work with her a couple times a week, and that’s been really helpful. That, I think, is part of it. It takes a village, and my groom, Carlos, is on it. It takes everything and that’s the difference. I also think by doing some of the adult amateur small tour CDI divisions has been really huge. It’s given me confidence to always know there are several judges looking at me. As I try to progress, it’s the kind of place where I can push myself and Wenesa.”

On balancing her career as a filmmaker:
“It works out pretty well! I do television commercials. Next Tuesday, I’m off to New York to start a project. It’s busy. I always make fun of myself because I have two passions in my life – filmmaking and photography, and horses. Make money on one and spend it on the other. I love both. When I have my eye behind the camera, I forget about the horses and when I’m riding, I completely forget about my other life of filmmaking. I’m lucky that I have had a successful career traveling the world and I love it, but I love the ponies. Everyone here has the horse gene, and we all do what we have to do to have the horses, at any level.”

On her test:
“We rode outside and we were first up, so it was cold. She was fresh. Because she is more fit, she’s turned into a different horse. We’ve been making this progress. She’s coming into her own. It’s coming together. There was plenty of horse today, which was amazing after her other rides.”

Pam Heglund – Prix St. Georges Adult Amateur reserve champion

On Letizia:
“The ride was very good and steady. I’ve had her for about six years, so I’ve ridden her for quite a long time. I bought her from my trainer, who imported her as a 3-year-old from Germany. Christine Traurig picked her out. We worked with Christine for a long time and Lauren Moore for six years. It’s a team. I have a lot of confidence in the horse and the horse has a lot of confidence in me as the rider. It all clicked today. All season it has been very easy and smooth and I was hoping to be in the top three and it all worked out. She goes out and knows her job. The first time we go in the ring she always goes the best. I had never stepped foot in that ring beforehand. She’s not spooky.”

Pam Heglund and Letizia
Pam Heglund and Letizia


Training Level Adult Amateur Championship
Rider / Horse / Total Score
1. Christine Malpartida / Freudentanzer / 75.909
2. Stephanie McNutt / Freestyler HRH / 72.727
3. Laurie McCullough-Leibfried / Furst Madiran / 71.591
4. Laura Geck / Flaire / 71.061
5. Alexandra Krossen / Nicene / 70.985
6. Laurel Peters / Dancello / 70.152

Second Level Open Championship
Rider / Horse / Total Score
1. Heather McCarthy / Au Revoir / 71.829
2. Ali Potasky / Damons Fantasy / 70.244
3. Jami Kment / Gatino Van Hof Olympia / 69.675
4. Martin Kuhn / Venivici / 69.675
5. Rebecca Knollman / Bingotti / 69.268
6. Hailey Guard / Dalwhinney / 68.252

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