Latest COVID-19 Updates from US Equestrian can be found on the Coronavirus Disease Resources and Updates page.
  • Share:

Final Titles Claimed at 2018 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions

by Kathleen Landwehr & Dana Rossmeier, US Equestrian Communications Department | Aug 26, 2018, 9:04 PM EST

Wayne, Ill. – After several exciting days of competition, the festivities at the 2018 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions concluded on Sunday at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. Talented horse and skilled riding impressed the judges throughout the week. Miki Yang and Garden’s Sam, Craig Stanley and Habanero CWS, Charlotte Jorst and Kastel’s Nintendo, Sophia Schults and Samour M, and Dawn White-O’Connor and Bailarino took home the final five titles of the championship.

USEF Children Dressage National Championship

Miki Yang and Garden's Sam (

Miki Yang and Garden’s Sam won the USEF Children Individual Test to take home the win in the USEF Children Dressage National Championship. Yang (Los Altos Hills, Calif.) and Four Winds Farm’s 11-year-old New Forest Pony gelding had an active, flowing test to score 69.643% and win the title with an overall score of 69.020%. Averi Allen (Pleasant Hill, Mo.) and Lady Lilliana, Mary Adams’s nine-year-old Friesian Sporthorse mare, were the reserve champions, while Kylee Kment (Palmyra, Neb.) and Manatee, Jami Kment’s 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, placed third.

Overall Results

Miki Yang and Garden’s Sam – 69.020%

Averi Allen and Lady Lilliana – 67.633%

Kylee Kment and Manatee – 67.331%

Results: FEI Children Individual Test

Miki Yang and Garden’s Sam – 69.643%

Averi Allen and Lady Lilliana – 67.381%

Kylee Kment and Manatee – 66.905%

Quotes from the Press Conference

On being a national champion:

Yang: “I was not expecting this. I just feel really proud and grateful for everybody who helped me get here, especially my trainer Hillary [Martin] because I would have never been able to do this without her. Also, my family and especially my mom for supporting me. She loves horses as much as I do…Being able to compete with my mom was like a dream come true. It was so special.”

On the highlights in their tests:

Yang: “Even though he was tired, getting him more in front of my leg was definitely a highlight, the jump in his canter, and keeping him steadier in the contact throughout all the movements.”

Allen: “She can be a little behind the leg so keeping her up and forward was definitely one of the highlights.”

Kment: “I think our medium canter was much better, more balanced and we went for it a little more, and I think that is one of the main highlights.”

Markel/USEF Young Horse Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship

Craig Stanley and Habanero CWS (

The judges raved about the harmonious partnership of Craig Stanley (Madera, Calif.) and Habanero CWS (Idocus x Caliente DG), who won the division’s U.S.-Bred Award, in the USEF Six-Year-Old Final Test on Sunday. He and his home bred KWPN gelding produced impressive overall marks to add a second national championship to their accomplishments. They won the Markel/USEF Young Horse Six-Year-Old title with a combined score of 8.98. Angela Jackson (Henderson, Ky.) and Sandeman (Sir Donnerhall x Flora), Julie Cook’s Hanoverian gelding earned the Reserve National Championship, and Cesar Parra (White House Station, N.J.) and Sir Beckmann (Sir Donnerhall x Wichita), his Hanoverian gelding, placed third.

Overall Results

Craig Stanley and Habanero CWS – 8.98

Angela Jackson and Sandeman – 8.67

Cesar Parra and Sir Beckmann – 8.54

Results: USEF Six-Year-Old Final Test

Craig Stanley and Habanero CWS – 8.98

Alice Tarjan and Harvest – 8.56

Angela Jackson and Sandeman – 8.52

Quotes from Press Conference

On what a second national championship with Habanero CWS means to Stanley:

Stanley: “It’s very surreal; to think I would even have the chance to be good enough to achieve this. Obviously, you need a lot of help along the way. The team of people involved in this … I have a picture of him as an embryo and actually pulled him out of the mare [when he was born]; it’s been a long journey; absolutely above [expectations].”

On the progression of Sandeman over the past year:

Jackson: “Last year, he was more immature. He was more lanky and tall, long-legged and skinny. [This] winter, we tried to put some weight on him and let him mature. Mentally, he was not quite ready to handle it last year. He developed very nicely, and I really put my work into connection, and I think that paid off.”

On Parra’s decision to bring Sir Beckman to the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions:

Parra: “The first thing that comes to my heart and mind is that I’m grateful I’m taking home a much better horse. He grew up a lot this week. I love him; he’s a warrior, but at the same time he’s very immature. This is still a very new relationship … I’m over the moon to see how much he has grown up. My hopes and dreams are really huge with this guy.”

USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship

Charlotte Jorst and Kastel's Nintendo (

Charlotte Jorst and Kastel’s Nintendo led from start to finish to win the FEI Grand Prix Dressage National Championship. Jorst (Reno, Nev.) and Kastel Denmark’s 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion performed an exciting freestyle with difficult movements, such as pirouette into the piaffe, to earn a score of 73.650% and claim the overall title with a score of 70.098%. Nick Wagman (San Diego, Calif.) and Don John, Beverly Gepfer’s 10-year-old KWPN gelding, were the reserve champions, and Jennifer Schrader-Williams (Yelma, Wash.) and Millione, Millione Partners LLC’s 15-year-old Danish gelding, placed third. Schrader-Williams earned the Patsy Albers Award as the highest-placing rider in the Grand Prix division who previously represented the U.S. at the Adequan® FEI North American Youth Championships presented by Gotham North. The award provides financial support for continuing education and training.

Overall Results

Charlotte Jorst and Kastel’s Nintendo – 70.098%

Nick Wagman and Don John – 69.073%

Jennifer Schrader-Williams and Millione – 68.968%

Results: FEI Grand Prix Freestyle

Charlotte Jorst and Kastel’s Nintendo – 73.650%

Nick Wagman and Don John – 72.750%

Mette Rosencrantz and Marron – 70.850%

Quotes from the Press Conference

On being the national champion:

Jorst: “It feels incredible. I remember when I was an adult amateur, when I was trying to [qualify] for the championships … now I’m the winner. I am very happy with that progression. I hope I can continue in that trend.”

On their freestyle choreography:

Jorst: “I have had nightmares about my twos, and, of course, I blew them probably because I had nightmares. I have a pirouette into the piaffe that I have been looking forward to doing, and I succeeded with that. I think it is so much fun to challenge yourself. Because this freestyle is so difficult, the Grand Prix almost seems easier to me, so, for me, that has been a great jump.”

Wagman: “Don John is really new at this level, so we chose to keep the choreography slightly simple to not over face him and build confidence, and that was really a smart idea because he composed himself very nicely this whole season. Now, we’ll go home and probably add some more difficult choreography to our program, but I was happy with the results.”

Schrader-Williams: “We were able to do more difficult maneuvers in the piaffe-pirouette at the extended walk. His changes get a little exciting at times, so we kept the lines a bit short. I would like to add more degree of difficulty, add double pirouettes for next season, and just keep pushing the envelope.”

USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 14-18

Sophia Schults and Samour M (

A strong field of 11 competitors demonstrated their equitation during rail and pattern work in hope of claiming top honors. Sophia Schults (St. Joseph, Mich.) scored an impressive 95.000% while riding Samour M, her eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding. Maya Miller earned the silver medal with Beringer, Ginny Crawford’s 12-year-old KWPN gelding, and Brynne Varvel took home the bronze with Big Indian Creek, her nine-year-old Morgan gelding.

Results: Medal Final Class for 14-18

Sophia Schults and Samour M – 95.000%

Maya Miller and Beringer – 92.00%

Brynne Varvel and Big Indian Creek – 90.000%

Quotes from the Press Conference

On what they did to prepare:

Schults: “I’ve taken a lot of lunge lessons, and those have really benefited how I sit and control the horse without just using my hands and legs. I did a lot of stretching. I tend to be very tense and tight, so I tried to get as loose as I could before showing today, and that really helped.”

Miller: “I’ve worked all summer with my trainer and riding horses of all levels from FEI to training level, just working on position and using your body instead of your hands and really learning to ride each movement and horse the best you can.”

Varvel: “At the beginning of summer, I started working with a personal trainer in the gym because I wanted to improve my core and back strength. I ride a lot of young horses, and this was part of the reason for that. I went online and found some of the possible patterns, and I started working on those about a month ago because my horse likes to do flying changes and not simple changes and changes to the trot.”

On what it meant to compete:

Schults: “It’s a huge honor to be here. I’m grateful that this is the second time that I’ve been able to do this competition, and it turned out super well this year. It’s great to be able to see everybody else competing, and it is a great experience watching all the professionals with their horses and trying to learn from them. That also helped in the competition, seeing what they were doing in order to translate into today.”

Miller: “I’ve always dreamed of being able to come here and seeing all the professionals and how well they ride. Being in a equitation class is a really good foundation a as a rider so you know how to ride properly going into the upper levels; it really makes you stronger.”

Varvel: “This is the second time I qualified, and I think dressage seat equitation is so imperative coming up the levels and proper training for the horses. It’s really awesome that it is at Lamplight because you get to see the top young horses and grand prix horses, so it was a cool environment.”

Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship

Dawn White-O'Connor and Bailarino (

Dawn White-O’Connor (Cardiff, Calif.) and Bailarino, Four Winds Farm’s 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding, members of the U.S. Dressage Development Program presented by The Red Husky Foundation, earned the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship. With an overall score of 68.635%, White-O’Connor won the first national title of her career. Alice Tarjan (Oldwick, N.J.) earned her second Reserve National Championship of the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, placing second with Candescent, Tarjan’s eight-year-old Hanoverian mare. Amy Lewis (Lemont, Ill.) and Sir Steinerman, Lewis’ 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding, placed third. The combination advanced from seventh in Friday’s FEI Intermediate II (Developing GP Championship) Test to place third in Sunday’s FEI Developing Horse Grand Prix Test. In addition, Sir Steinerman won the division’s U.S.-Bred Award.

Overall Results

Dawn White-O’Connor and Bailarino – 68.635%

Alice Tarjan and Candescent – 66.286%

Amy Lewis and Sir Steinerman – 64.069%

Results: FEI Developing Horse Grand Prix Test

Dawn White-O’Connor and Bailarino – 69.000%

Amy Lewis and Sir Steinerman – 65.078%

Emily Miles and Quantum Jazz – 65.047%

Quotes from Press Conference

On winning a national championship:

White-O’Connor: “I’m happy with my horse today. It was a great group of people, and there were a lot of fun horses to watch. It was good experience and a really great facility.”

On winning her second reserve championship title of the competition:

Tarjan: “I’m thrilled to be up here and with the development of [Candescent]. He’s eight, and we have a lot of time to figure [his progression] out. That’s what they are here for.”

Lewis: “He’s 17.3 and I’m 5’3”; he’s a big diesel engine, so it was exciting to finally have some of that come together. I didn’t know if I would be able to come, so just to be here with such good riders, it’s a culmination of taking him through the young horse program. It’s really exciting; I love the program.”

On the support of the U.S. Dressage Development Program supported by The Red Husky Foundation:

White-O’Connor: “It’s been amazing. I did one of the Development Program Training & Evaluation Sessions with Debbie [McDonald] and Charlotte Bredahl this spring, and that was really helpful, just the way the whole program was laid out. To have Debbie there, kind of like a second coach, and Charlotte giving you the judges perspective and being able to go through schooling and the test and getting feedback, that was really helpful. Stephanie Seheult, a Human Sports Physiotherapist, was here this weekend, so I worked with her a little bit. It’s a really good program because it addresses all aspects, not just the riding, so I’m very excited to be part of that.”

Correction: The results were incorrectly stated in the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage National Championship on Saturday. The following are the corrected results:

1. Endel Ots and Lucky Strike – 73.264%
2. Christopher Hickey and Straight Horse Zackonik – 71.039%
3. Heather McCarthy and Au Revoir – 70.608%

Watch on-demand videos of the 2018 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions on the USEF Network.

Find out more information about dressage seat equitation and the 2018 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions. View the class results and

overall results.

Catch up on the coverage of the 2018 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions on Facebook (@USADressage and @USEFNetwork), Instagram (@USEFNetwork), and Twitter (@USEFNetwork).