US Championships Kick Off Thursday
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
GLADSTONE, New Jersey, USA, June 17–The Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions that showcases five national championships from Grand Prix to junior rider kicks off Thursday at the century-old stables of the legendary Gilded Age financier James “Diamond Jim” Brady in Gladstone, New Jersey less than an hour from New York City.
The top prospects for a place on the USA team for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky are jostling for an advantage except the combination that dominates U.S. dressage–World Cup Champions Steffen Peters and Ravel who leave for Europe the day these championships start to compete at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany.
Despite their absence, an aura of excitement hangs over these championships.
Lauren Sammis and Sagacious HF, the combination that won team gold and individual silver at small tour level at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janiero in 2007, have swept the two CDIs they have competed in at Grand Prix in 2009. Owned by Al Guden’s Hyperion Farm of Wellington, Florida, Sagacious has captured the hearts of American dressage fans. Sammis, the mother of twins, lives in South Orange, New Jersey, less than hour from these show grounds and has a fan base across the United States.
Leslie Morse of Beverly Hills, Calif. on her proven Tip Top, the fomer mount of Finland’s star Kyra Kyrklund, is expected to place in the top tier. After this championship, she will head to Eurtope to compete at the Exquis World Dressage Masters at Hickstead, England, as will Sammis and Sagacious.
In addition to the 14 combinations entered in the Grand Prix championships as well as Peters and Ravel, there are other notable absences including Chris Hickey and Douglas, the Grand Prix horse that was found by Ulla Salzgeber for Hilltop Farm of Colora, Maryland. The horse has been in the country for only a few weeks.
Hickey is competing here with Cabana Boy, successful at young horse championships, in the Intermediaire Championships.
Katherine Bateson-Chandler is also showing in the Intermediare classes with two Jane Clark-owned horses, Dea II and Rutherford, that she is aiming for WEG 2010.
U.S. 2008 Olympian Courtney King-Dye also has two entries in the Intermediaire: Bognor B, owned by event sponsor Collecting Gaits Farm and the Hampton Green Farm-owned Grandioso.
The following horse/rider combinations are entered to compete:
Riana Porter/Romax Foldager
Katrin Dagge/Dream of Love
Nicole DelGiorno/Lamborghini Dane
Jessica Deimler/Ragtime V
Lauren Knopp/Rho Dance
Julia Handt/Vindaris 2
Rachel Ruth Edwards/Landsmann
Kassandra Barteau/GP Raymeister
Mary Cameron Rollins/Rose Noir
McKenzie Jenkins/Tsarina Bint RII
Lauren Gorton/Don Perry
Caroline Roffman/Accent Aigu FRH
Alyssa Eidbo/Johnny Cash
Jennifer Sirrine/Woody Allen
Makenzie Rath/Calido 49
Courtney King-Dye/Bogner B
Katherine Bateson Chandler/Dea II
Chris Hickey/Cabana Boy
Shannon Peters/Flor de Selva
Shelley Francis/Wig Wam
Katherine Bateson Chandler/Rutherford
Suzanne Markham/Donarlicht GCF
Kathleen Raine/ Breanna
Leslie Morse/ Tip Top 962
Lauren Sammis/Sagacious HF
Reese Koffler-Stanfield/Goubergh’s Kasper
Tara Stegen/New Tango
Pierre St Jacques/Lucky Tiger
Arlene Page/Wild One
Sharon McCusker/Juli Sherif