Spirit of Joy and Donatella M Impress Judging Panel to Go Into Lead on Second Day of Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships

Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 21, 2020 – The remaining two divisions of the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships, the 6-Year-Olds and the Developing Grand Prix, took to the ring for the first time bright and early Friday, Aug. 21. Saving the best for last, Marcus Orlob was the final competitor in the 6-Year-Old Preliminary Test and wowed the judges with his performance on Spirit of Joy (Sir Calypso–Smiling Grace, Sandro Bedo). In the Developing Grand Prix, Alice Tarjan went one-two in the class with her two mounts Donatella M and Harvest. 

Jennifer Schrader-Williams and Joppe K

The first entry of the day, Jennifer Schrader-Williams on Joppe K (Rousseau–Dadina K, Santano)  took the early lead in the 6-Year-Old Preliminary Test with a score of 8.26. Making the trip from Olympia, Washington well worth it, Schrader-Williams laid down a solid performance on Joppe Partners LLC’s KWPN gelding. Receiving consistent scores across the board, the pair were praised for their “lovely ride” and “showed a clear difference between the collected, medium and extended work.” She was given an 8.5 for the trot, 7.5 for the walk, an 8.8 for the canter, 8.0 for submission and 8.5 for prospective. 

It looked like Schrader-Williams was set to take the win, but Orlob had other plans with Jeanette Pinard’s Westphalian gelding. With individual highlights of a 9.5 trot, 9.3 canter, 8.0 walk, 8.8 submission and 9.2 prospective, Spirit of Joy flew to the top of the leaderboard. Bred in Germany by Gertmann and Brigitte Sude, the gelding received compliments for the ease of his self-carriage, collection and definition in his paces as well as his harmonious attitude. The total score of 8.96 was a personal best for the pair. 

Marcus Orlob and Spirit of Joy

“I was very pleased with the horse because this is a beautiful, but scary environment for a young horse. Sometimes he is afraid of shadows but he handled it really well and I couldn’t be happier with him,” Orlob explained. “When I heard the judges’ comments I went ‘Wow! Those are the highest scores he’s ever got!’ It was an incredible feeling today because he was really with me. I hope I can pull it off a second time.” 

Orlob discovered Spirit of Joy in Germany and imported him when he was a 4-year-old. They competed in last year’s 5-Year-Old Championship and placed fourth in the Preliminary Test with a 7.92. Only a year later, Spirit of Joy returned to Lamplight to improve his score by over a full point. 

“He’s a very good horse but his neck can be tricky. He’s very powerful and can get short [in the neck] and that was the killer for us in last year’s class, but we are getting better and better,” Orlob continued. “To be honest, in Germany, I first noticed his size because I’m pretty tall and have long legs. He had a special spark and when I saw him in his stall, he looked at me with bright eyes, and I knew, even before I saw him go, that he was probably the horse.”

Marcus Orlob and Spirit of Joy

Spain’s Pablo Gomez Molina rounded out the top three with an 8.22 on Baltasar De Ymas (Vitalis–Nativa De Ymas, Superior II). Owned by Cristina Danguillecourt and Yeguada De Ymas, the 6-year-old received an 8.2 for trot, 8.0 for walk, 8.5 for canter, 8.0 for submission, and 8.4 for prospective. 

In the first phase of the Developing Grand Prix National Championship, Alice Tarjan of Oldwick, New Jersey, slid into first and second place on her two mounts, Donatella M (Furstenball–Dorina, Jazz Time) and Harvest (Connaisseur–Naomi, Ulft). Donatella M earned a score of 72.696% while Harvest earned 67.647%. She purchased Donatella M as a 4-year-old and competed her in the 4-Year-Old National Championships but took time off due to soundness issues. Tarjan bred her, then she went back to training two years later as a 6-year-old.

Alice Tarjan and Donatella M

“Donatella put in a good, clean test today — it was the same as what she can produce at home, so I’m thrilled with her,” Tarjan said. “She is a good horse who goes in and does her job. She’s still green but we are working on it. With Harvest, he is incredibly green at this level and we brought him here for experience. We made mistakes but it’s good to get him in the ring. He has some super qualities and the judge’s rewarded him, which was nice.” 

“Both of these horses are very willing and help you out in the ring. They are both green but they both want to play along,” Tarjan continued. “My other Grand Prix mare, Candescent, can be a bit of a handful and is not always cooperative, but both of these are easier. More consistent in the contact and they fight for you more. Candescent will fight for you once you get her on your side, but you have to negotiate. With them, you ask a question and they will answer right away. 

Alice Tarjan and Harvest

Hot on her heels with a score of 67.157%, Jim Koford finished the Intermediate II in third place on Mary McKenna’s, 10-year-old Hanoverian stallion Flavius MF (Fidertanz-Diora). 

Competition continues Saturday, Aug. 22 at 8 a.m. with the USEF 4-Year-Old Test.

Results:  6-Year-Old Preliminary Test
Rider / Horse / Owner / Score
1. Marcus Orlob / Spirit of Joy / Jeanette Pinard / 8.96
2. Jennifer Schrader-Williams / Joppe K / Joppe Partners LLC / 8.26
3. Pablo Gomez Molina / Baltasar De Ymas / Cristina Danguillecourt, Yeguada De Ymas / 8.22
4. Rebecca Rigdon / Jagger / Ad Astra Collective / 7.91
5. Nicole Levy / Dark Knight / Nicole Levy / 7.62
6. Stacey Hastings / Hermes / Stacey Hastings / 7.56

Results: Intermediate II for the Developing Grand Prix National Championship
Rider / Horse / Owner / Score
1. Alice Tarjan / Donatella M / Alice Tarjan / 72.696
2. Alice Tarjan / Harvest / Alice Tarjan / 67.647
3. Jim Koford / Flavius MF / Mary McKenna / 67.157
4. Akiko Yamazaki / Gronskovlunds Romeeo / 66.912
5. Christopher Hickey / Friend / 66.863
6. Cesar Parra / TS Don Cesar / 65.49

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.

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