USA Amateur Matt Johnson Rides Petersborg’s Qasanova in World Young Horse Championships For European Debut

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Matt Johnson riding Petersborg's Qasanova in the qualifying competition for the World Young Horse Championships. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Matt Johnson riding Petersborg’s Qasanova in the qualifying competition for the World Young Horse Championships. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

VERDEN, Germany, Aug. 7, 2014–Matt Johnson rode his Petersborg’s Qasanova in the qualifying competition at the World Young Horse Championships Thursday, a European event debut for the American amateur and the leading U.S. five-year-old horse.

Matt, a 44-year-old real estate representative in Wellington, Florida, rode the Danish Warmblood stallion (Quaterback x Kajana I/Calypso II) to an overall mark of 7.42 with scores of 8.8 for the trot and 8.5 for canter, and 7.2 for final impression, and scores of 5.8 for walk and 6.8 for rideability. Overall placng for the pair was 24th out of 34 starting combinations.

The pair retur to the arena Friday in a consolation class to enable the top three finishers to join 12 combinations already qualified for the five-year-old world championship final.

Matt Johnson and Petersborg's Qasanova being warmed up by United States Young Horse coach Scott Hassler with U.S. Chef d'Equipe Robert Dover. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Matt Johnson and Petersborg’s Qasanova being warmed up by United States Young Horse coach Scott Hassler with U.S. Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

“The entire experience since arriving here in Verden has been such a positive one,” Matt said after the first day of competition. “I was among one of the first to arrive on Monday evening because I wanted to have ample time for Qasanova to rest and get acclimated.

“Every day in training he’s felt more settled and up to the task. I’m really happy with how he’s feeling physically and with his positive outlook.

“I’m quickly learning he loves to show and is an over-achiever.

“By the same token, that showed today as slight tension in the walk which was costly.

“Still, how can I fault a five-year-old stallion in such an electric environment like Verden while performing a clean and expressive test with scores of 8.8 and 8.5 for his trot and canter work, respectively.

“I’m looking forward to Friday’s test and hopefully building on what we’ve learned in the ring today. We’re in a really good place.”

Matt qualified for the world championships with an average of 8.540 in five-year-old events at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida. Matt has owned and competed a succession of quality horses over several years.

He bought Qasanova last year and has been coached primarily by Robert Dover, the American dressage chef d’equipe.