Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 23, 2020 – The final day of competition at the Lamplight Equestrian Center kicked off with the 6-Year-Old Test for the Markel/USEF Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship. Earning an overall total of 8.792, Marcus Orlob dominated the division, winning both of his tests on Jeanette Pinard’s Spirit of Joy (Sir Calypso–Smiling Grace, Sandro Bedo). One of Orlob’s students, and a talented young horse trainer in her own right, Alice Tarjan, added another championship tricolor by topping the leaderboard in the Developing Grand Prix division.
Orlob had established an early lead in the division following their performance in the 6-Year-Old Preliminary Test on Friday. During Sunday’s test, the judging panel complimented how expressive the youngster was in each gait and the quality of articulation in his joints, giving him high scores of 8.8 for trot, 8.5 for walk, 8.9 for canter, and 9.0 for prospective in their test on Sunday. Their lowest mark of 8.2 was given in the submission category due to shortness of the neck and some minor tension. Overall, the pair earned a personal best score of 8.96 in their Preliminary Test, which counted towards 40% of their total, prior to being awarded 8.68 in their final test, worth 60% of their total, to help secure the victory.
“It was easier for me today because I had a good lead score wise so I didn’t have to put too much pressure on the horse,” Orlob said. “I rode a little more conservatively than the first day but I knew the horse was with me and I had the feeling that I could pull off a clean test. He was a bit more rideable today and he wasn’t tired. The more he sees the ring, the more confident he gets so he tends to improve each day.”
After discovering Spirit of Joy in Germany, Orlob 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. After this year’s success, Orlob is still determining which direction to aim the talented gelding — either training for the Developing Prix St. Georges or head straight for the small tour for next year’s U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions.
“It feels good [to come away with the win],” he said. “I came in 2015 and got the red blanket for the Developing Grand Prix and yesterday I got the red blanket for the 4-Year-Olds so now I finally have a blue one and it feels great!”
Riding away with the reserve championship, Jennifer Schrader-Williams of Olympia, Washington, competed Joppe Partners LLC’s KWPN gelding, Joppe K (Rousseau–Dadina K, Santano). Despite receiving a lower score of 7.94 due their walk score of 6.9 in Sunday’s test, they hung onto their second place finish with the help of her Preliminary Test score of 8.26. The duo’s overall score for the championship ended up being 8.068.
“When I was going around the outside [of the ring] the cheers went off for Marcus right before me. My youngster isn’t used to hearing that and he got a little excited but I thought he came back together quite nicely to go down centerline,” Schrader-Williams said. “He put in a pretty mistake free test — there were some moments of tension. I would really like to get him softer in the contact. He is such a willing, athletic horse and I thought he gave a really nice performance. He tried hard to keep his focus in the electric environment.
“I always find the judges’ comments helpful. I was a little surprised with the walk score but there was some tension in there,” she continued. “There are always pieces we want to make better and I think about how I can help the horse become more confident and more relaxed and out in the contact. He gets a little tight and that’s what we will be working on. Joppe is extremely talented and we want to see how far he can go and keeping him loving what he is doing. He’s a very joyful horse.”
Maintaining the same order as Friday’s Preliminary Test, Pablo Gomez Molina of Spain rounded out the top three on Baltasar De Ymas (Vitalis–Nativa De Ymas, Superior II) with an overall score of 7.992. Owned by Cristina Danguillecourt and Yeguada De Ymas, the 6-year-old received an 8.22 in the Preliminary Test and a 7.84 in the Final Test.
Going out with a bang, Tarjan claimed both the champion and reserve ribbons in the Markel Developing Grand Prix Dressage Horse National Championship. Tarjan of Oldwick, New Jersey, took an early lead in the division on Friday after her Intermediate II performances.
Tarjan first rode her mount Harvest (Connaisseur–Naomi, Ulft), an 8-year-old KWPN stallion, on Sunday in the Grand Prix, scoring a 70.208 % and taking the lead. With her other ride Donatella M (Furstenball–Dorina, Jazz Time), a 9-year-old Oldenburg mare, she then scored a 71.708% to beat her previous score. With their Intermediate II test worth 40% of their total score and the Developing Grand Prix test worth 60%, the pair leapt to the top of the overall leaderboard with a total of 72.103%.
“I’m thrilled, it’s not what I was expecting at all,” Tarjan said. “They’re both pretty green so I’m really thrilled. It’s been a good week. We’ve had our ups and our downs but that’s horses for you. It’s amazing to have three Grand Prix horses now, I’ve been working towards it for a long time. This is actually my tenth year at Lamplight. I came here for the first time on a 4-year-old, so it’s awesome to come back and see how far I’ve come. You start from the bottom and get them trained to the top, so it’s really exciting.”
Tarjan explained that although her two Developing Grand Prix mounts are still on the green side, she has enjoyed using this opportunity to get them both in the ring at a national championship and see where how stack up against talent from across the country.
“Donatella put in a pretty decent test, same as she did on Friday,” she said. “It’s about where she is right now, the changes are green and they swing a little, and we need to work on the rhythm in the piaffe and passage a lot, but she is very honest and rideable. She’s pretty good in the connection. Harvest is much greener at this level, he is only eight so we just came for the experience. He put in a better test than he did on Friday so I’m really pleased with him. We got our one-tempis and the piaffe was much better. He’s just really green so it’s a work in progress. I wasn’t really expecting much because I know we make a lot of mistakes still. To have done so well, I’m really happy.”
“[Dressage Finals] is the tentative plan, everything is still kind of up in the air,” Tarjan continued. “They are qualified so that was the plan, doing regionals and qualifying for Kentucky to get them some more ring time. We’ll go down to Florida in the winter, beyond that there isn’t much of a plan — just keep the horses happy in training and sound. They’ll get some downtime after this for sure and start building back up for regionals. The horses kind of tell you what they’re ready for.”
Finishing in third place was Cesar Parra and TS Don Cesar (Desperados—Sacre Schwalbe, Manhattan), his own 10-year-old Westphalian gelding. The pair earned a combined total score of 66.596%.
Results: Markel/USEF Young Horse Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship
Rider / Horse / Owner / 6-Year-Old Prelim (40%) / 6-Year-Old Final (60%) / Total Score
1. Marcus Orlob / Spirit of Joy / Jeanette Pinard / 8.96 / 8.68 / 8.792
2. Jennifer Schrader-Williams / Joppe K / Joppe Partners LLC / 8.26 / 7.94 / 8.068
3. Pablo Gomez Molina / Baltasar De Ymas / Cristina Danguillecourt, Yeguada De Ymas / 8.22 / 7.84 / 7.992
4. Rebecca Rigdon / Jagger / Ad Astra Collective / 7.91 / 7.82 / 7.856
5. Hillary Martin / Fortunata / 7.38 / 7.54 7.476
6. Kaitlin Blythe / Justice Of / 7.28 / 7.44 7.376
Results: Markel/USEF Developing Grand Prix Dressage National Championship
Rider / Horse / Owner / Intermediate II (40%) / Developing Grand Prix (60%) / Total
1. Alice Tarjan / Donatella M / Alice Tarjan / 72.696 / 71.708 / 72.103
2. Alice Tarjan / Harvest / Alice Tarjan / 67.647 / 70.208 / 69.184
3. Cesar Parra / TS Don Cesar / 65.49 / 67.333 / 66.596
4. Akiko Yamazaki / Gronskovlunds Romeeo / 66.912 / 65.833 / 66.265
5. Christopher Hickey / Friend / 66.863 / 64.875 / 65.67
6. Jim Koford / Flavius MF / Mary McKenna / 67.157 / 64.667 / 65.663
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.