Tarjan Tops in Grand Prix at U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions

Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF return to the U.S. to win the Grand Prix at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions

You couldn’t have ordered a better day to kick off the Grand Prix competition at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions at HITS Chicago Lamplight Equestrian Center. The day is full of blue skies, sunshine, a breeze, beautiful horses and lovely riders.

Grand Prix Competition

It’s a light day of competition with only the Grand Prix Championship ring in competition. Twelve horse and rider combinations made the trip down centerline. Hot on the heels of their successful trip through Europe, Alice Tarjan and her own mare Serenade MF (9-year-old Hanoverian, Sir Donnerhall x Duet MF) came in as the top qualifier. They also left as the winner of the Grand Prix with an overall score of 73.869%.

Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF win the Grand Prix at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions with a 73.869%. Photo by Stephanie J. Ruff.

Tarjan wasn’t sure she was going to compete Serenade MF, but she was coming with a number of young horses, and the mare qualified, so she brought her along. “It’s not been very good preparation because the horse was in Europe all summer,” said Tarjan. Then she spent two and a half weeks over there, like getting tack walked on the walker. Then she flew in last week to New Jersey, and I got on around three times and then we put him in a truck out here to Chicago.”

Because of the lack of training, Tarjan admitted that her ride wasn’t as good as it could have been “But the horse is super honest,” she said. “She just goes every time and does her job. You’ve got to give her that.”

Top Finishers

The top three were the only combinations to break the 70% mark, and while Tarjan was the clear winner, the battle for second and third was much closer. Emily Miles and Java Dulce (11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Jazz x JJ Dolche Gabbana, by Deemster owned by Leslie Waterman) finished with a 70.260%. They just edged out Nora Batchelder and Faro SQF who were last to go and ended with 70.064%. Owned by Andrea Whitcomb, Faro SQF is a 14-year-old Hannoverian gelding by Fidertanz out of Ms Rose, by Rotspon.

Para Dressage Championship

A para dressage championship was held for the first time at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions. After three days of competition, the champions were crowned. The over winner was Mia Rodier-Dawallo aboard her own Jayden, an 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Bordeaux 28 x Ardente, by Sandreo). She finished with an overall average of 69.094%.

Reserve champion with a 67.998% was Sydney Collier and All In One, owned by Going For Gold LLC & Georgina Bloomberg. The 13-year-old Hannoverian gelding is by St.Ludwig’s Abanos out of Dauphina, by Dauphin 21.

Close behind Collier was the overall third place finisher, Deborah Stanitski who finished with an average of 67.149%. She rode her own Heros, an 18-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare by Blue Hors Hertug out of Lotus, by Lucky Light.

Para dressage winners at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions. Deborah Stanitski, Reserve Champion Sydney Collier and Champion Mia Rodier-Dawallo.
Left to right: Deborah Stanitski, Reserve Champion Sydney Collier and Champion Mia Rodier-Dawallo. Photo by Stephanie J. Ruff

How to Follow the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions

You can find the complete schedule here.

U.S. Equestrian members will be able to watch the live stream here.

Get the live scores here.

For more information on the location, HITS Chicago at Lamplight Equestrian Center, click here.

Thank you to the sponsor of Dressage Today’s coverage of the 2022 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, Vita Flex.

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