We may all still be star struck by the FEI Dressage World Championships that wrapped up in Herning, Denmark, there’s no time to rest. Right now, people are making their final preparations for the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions. It runs from August 22 to August 28 at HITS Chicago at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois.
The U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions showcases the top athletes and horses in 16 divisions. For 2022, new additions include the presentation of the 7-year-old National Championship, as well as the USEF Para Dressage National Championships
Rider and horse combinations had to follow strict qualification rules and submit a letter of intent. U.S. Equestrian then sent the top qualifiers an invitation to compete.
U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions Schedule of Events
There will be so much going on throughout the week it’s best to plan what you want to see! While this schedule is subject to change, here are the events and what day(s) they will be held.
Para Dressage Team – Monday, August 22
Para Dressage Individual – Tuesday, August 23
Para Dressage Freestyle – Wednesday, August 24
Prix St. Georges – Monday, August 22
Intermediate I – Tuesday, August 23
Intermediate I Freestyle – Thursday, August 25
Grand Prix – Wednesday, August 24
Grand Prix Special – Thursday, August 25
Grand Prix Freestyle – Saturday, August 27
Intermediate II – Wednesday, August 24
Grand Prix 16-25 – Thursday, August 25
Grand Prix Freestyle – Saturday, August 27
Young Rider and Junior
Junior Team – Thursday, August 25
Junior Individual – Friday, August 26
Young Rider Team – Friday, August 26
Young Rider Individual – Sunday, August 28
Pony Rider and Children
Pony Rider Team – Friday, August 26
Pony Rider Individual – Saturday, August 27
Children Team – Saturday, August 27
Children Individual – Sunday, August 28
4-Year-Old – Thursday, August 25
4-Year-Old – Saturday, August 27
Preliminary Test for 5-Year-Olds – Thursday, August 25
Final Test for 5-Year-Olds – Saturday, August 27
Preliminary Test for 6-Year-Olds – Friday, August 26
Final Test for 6-Year-Olds – Sunday, August 28
Preliminary Test for 7-Year-Olds – Friday, August 26
Final Test for 7-Year-Olds – Sunday, August 28
Prix St. Georges – Thursday, August 25
Developing Horse Prix St. Georges – Saturday, August 27
Intermediate II – Friday, August 26
Developing Horse Grand Prix – Sunday, August 28
Dressage Seat Medal Finals
13 & Under Finals – Friday, August 26
14-18 Finals – Sunday, August 28
Combinations to Watch
As of this writing, the entries have closed, but ride times have yet to be posted. Therefore, we don’t know exactly who will be riding. But based on the final qualification list, we can look at a few interesting combinations that may be competing at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions.
In the Grand Prix, Alice Tarjan and her own mare Serenade MF (9-year-old Hanoverian, Sir Donnerhall x Duet MF) are the top qualifier. It’s uncertain if they will compete. They just finished a tour in Europe that included being the traveling reserve for the U.S. team for the FEI Dressage World Championships.
Katie Duerrhammer, who competed at her first World Championships with Quartett, ranks second with Kylee Lourie’s Paxton (15-year-old Westphalian gelding, Dante Weltino x Desiree).
In addition, the 2021 Dressage at Devon Grand Prix winner Michael Bragdell and Qredit Hilltop (14-year-old Oldenburg/GOV stallion, Quarterback x Dream Rubina) is also on the list. Hilltop Farm Inc. owns the stallion.
Emily Miles and Daily Show (8-year-old Hanoverian stallion, Danciano x Schwedenlady), owned by Leslie Waterman, top the Intermediate I list. They are following closely by Olympian Laura Graves and Sensation HW (9-year-old Westphalian gelding, Sunday x Donata), owned by Carol McPhee.
Furthermore, another notable on the list is Beverly Gepfer’s Heatcliff (Florencio x Ulivi), a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. Nick Wagman has the ride.
Young Horse Combinations
The future dressage stars will be showcased in the young horse classes. They start with 4-year-olds and go through 7-year-olds. Some potential future Grand Prix horses include:
Rider Adrienne Lyle and owner Betsy Juliano LLC, the combination behind superstar Salvino, lead the 4-year-old category with Fürst Dream (Hanoverian stallion, Furstenball x Bella Lucia). His overall average of 9.430 is the only one that broke the 9.0 mark.
In addition, Lyle also rides the 5-year-old Valor (Westphalian gelding, Vitalis x Furstenkind), who is the leading qualifier in his age division. He is owned by Kylee Lourie.
Two more horses to watch are in the 6-year-old championship. Gorgeous Latino (Glock’s Toto Jr. x Blackmanda) is a black Dutch Warmblood stallion. Owned by Sandy Mancini, he is ridden by Lyle’s Olympic team member Sabine Schut-Kery. This pair, along with fellow qualifier Jennifer Hoffman and the Hanovarian gelding Mani’s Endeavor (Morricone x Flox), owned by Nasrin Mani, were recently selected to represent U.S. Dressage at the 2022 FEI WBFSH Dressage World Breeding Championships for Young Horses. That event will be held in Ermelo, The Netherlands from September 8-11. This could potentially be their last U.S. stop before heading to Europe.
How to Follow the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions
U.S. Equestrian members will be able to watch the live stream of the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions 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.