Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 23, 2019 – The first national champion of the 2019 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions was declared on the morning of Friday, Aug. 23. Wearing smiles and tri-colored ribbons, pony riders could be seen cantering around the Kay Arena of the Lamplight Equestrian Center following the naming of Lucienne Bacon and her pony Bonnaroo as the USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Champion.
Following her win on Wednesday in the FEI Pony Rider Team Test, Bacon and Bonnaroo were sitting in the overall first place position upon making their way down centerline for their Individual Test. While the pair did not perform up to their usual standard in the Friday morning test, earning a 67.252%, Bacon and the 10-year-old Weser-Ems German Riding Pony mare were able to hold tight of the title with an overall score of 136.062.
The 15-year-old California native has a close relationship with the now three-time national champion pony. When asked about how this win feels Bacon was brought to tears, describing how special ‘Bonnie’ is to her. Despite her test on day two Bacon could not help but express her gratitude to the legendary pony, smiling as she wiped her tears in appreciation.
Bacon’s friend and fellow barnmate Miki Yang followed Bacon in the victory gallop with Four Winds Farm’s 12-year-old New Forest gelding Garden’s Sam proudly wearing the red, yellow and white neck ribbon as a symbol of the reserve championship title. In their individual test the pair rode to a score of 68.063% to put their overall total at 135.253. The second place finish is one to be proud of for the young rider that transitioned from the Children’s division last year.
To complete the top three in the division was Jordan Osborne and Geralja’s Tobias. The 8-year-old New Forest Pony gelding is owned by Tiffany Rasmey and is still fairly new to the show arena compared to his more well seasoned competitors. Not letting his inexperience stand in the way, ‘Tobias’ and Osborne earned a 66.847% in their Individual Test. The pony had an unfortunate swap of lead in the extended canter but Osborne was overall pleased with the young horse’s performance to give them a total score of 133.895.
Results: USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship
Rider / Horse / Pony Team / Pony Individual / Total Score
1. Lucienne Bacon / Bonnaroo / Lucienne Bacon / 68.810 / 67.252 / 136.062
2. Miki Yang / Garden’s Sam / Four Winds Farm / 67.190 / 68.063 / 135.253
3. Jordan Osborne / Geralja’s Tobias / Tiffany Ramsey / 67.048 / 66.847 / 133.895
4. Megan Tursi / My Blew Angel / Megan Tursi / 66.476 / 67.072 / 133.548
5. Hannah Devine / Masterpiece / Christina Devine / 67.476 / 65.991 / 133.467
6. Jordan Osborne / Cinderella / Jordan Osborne / 63.429 / 68.423 / 131.852
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Lucienne Bacon and Bonnaroo – USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Champion
On being a national champion:
“It’s big [to be a national champion]. It feels good. [Bonnaroo] is a very special pony. Bonnie is very personable, so to know that you can have a friendship outside of the ring and take that inside of the ring and do this is really incredible. She has won before so this is just continuing her legacy – she has celebrity status!”
On sitting next to her friend, Miki Yang, in the championships:
“It was a little complicated because obviously we are competing at the same time. Throughout the year we would be back-to-back but I think because our friendship came from horses and came from bonding over the moments that weren’t so great and then the moments that were great, it is incredible to be standing here together.”
On her test:
“Today was hard — from the beginning it didn’t feel like our best and this is generally our better test. I think being here means you can ride through the moments that aren’t great and you can ride through the tensions and still put on something that is okay. There was definitely a lot of room for improvement but I think because Bonnie and I are so familiar with each other, I can think about how she feels and use that throughout the test. I think throughout the ride we were able to improve on the weaker points and the connections.”
Miki Yang – USEF Pony Rider Dressage Reserve Champion
On being reserve champion:
“I am so happy and so proud of my pony Sammy. Transitioning from Children’s was a huge step for both of us but with help from my trainer, Hillary Martin, support from my mom and family, and everybody that helped me get here [we did it!]. I am really grateful for all of the work and dedication that went into it.”
On sitting next to her friend, Lucienne Bacon, in the championships:
“We have been close friends for a really long time now and obviously we both spend a lot of time together and ride. We are friends through riding but we are also just really close outside of [riding]. Being here with one of my best friends is really special – we support each other and are together through the stressful moments and the celebrations.”
On her test:
“Today for Sammy, I am really happy with it all. Yesterday he was little hot and a little excited to be in there so it felt great to be able to ride and not have to worry about him spooking or getting tense about some movements. Our canter extensions are usually our weaker points but today I felt like I could really grow in them so I am just really happy about them.”
Jordan Osborne – USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship third place
On being back at the championships:
“It was really hard coming back, and fun but I just wanted to come here and ride for my family and make them proud. I had two ponies and neither of them have been easy. I have known [Tobias] and I have been riding him since about March but I really only started consistently in April. Just to get out and qualify with him meant the world and then to come here and do well with him it means a lot to me and I am sure to his owner, Tiffany Ramsey.”
On her test:
“I was really thrilled with Tobias today. He is still young, he is an eight year old pony gelding so he isn’t always the most bomb proof and we had to do a canter extension when the train was going by – it was straight into the noises and he was fine! It wasn’t our best moment because he flipped a change but I was really proud of how his brain behaved. The rest of the test [was great]. His trot has come such a long way and I am really just thrilled with all of it.”