Sensational Performance By Michael Bragdell Earns Him Back-to-Back Markel/USEF Young Horse National Championship Titles on SenSation HW

Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 25, 2019 –The final day of competition at the Lamplight Equestrian Center kicked off with the 6-Year-Old Test for the Markel/USEF 6-Year-Old Dressage National Championship.After receiving the highest score of the class, an 8.78, Michael Bragdell of Colora, Maryland, and SenSation HW claimed the championship title in the very competitive division. Bragdell and SenSation HW, who were the 2018 Markel/USEF 5-Year-Old Dressage National Champions, continued their winning trend while Alice Tarjan and Candescent, last year’s reserve champions in the same division, repeated their reserve placing.

Michael Bragdell and SenSation HW
Michael Bragdell and SenSation HW

Bragdell and SenSation HW (Sunday–Donata, Dancier), a Westphalian gelding owned by Carol McPhee and bred in Germany by Alfons Bergjohann, had established an early lead in the division following their performance in the 6-Year-Old Preliminary Test on Friday. The pair earned a score of 8.56 in their Preliminary Test, which counted towards 40% of their total, prior to being awarded 8.78 in their final test, worth 60% of their total, to help secure the victory. SenSation HW was given an outstanding score of 9.6 for his elastic, cadanced trot that covered plenty of ground and a score of 8.8 for submission. Combined with a score of 8.5 for his energetic and rhythmic canter, a score of 8 for his clearly defined walk and a score of 9 for overall impression, their final test scores helped them finish with an overall score of 8.692 for the tricolor ribbon.

Michael Bragdell and SenSation HW
Michael Bragdell and SenSation HW

Finishing with the reserve championship was Alice Tarjan and Fairouz (Franziskus – Diva, Don Frederico), her own Oldenburg mare that was bred in Germany by Bramall/Dusche GBR. In the Preliminary Test, Tarjan and Fairouz finished in fifth place with a score of 8.12. In their final test on Sunday, Fairouz were awarded a score of 9.5 for their visibly engaged and adjustable trot, an 8.3 for their ground-covering walk and an 8.2 for their uphill canter. With a submission score of 8.1 and an overall impression score of 8.7, they finished with a total of 8.56 for the day and an overall score of 8.384 for the reserve championship.

Alice Tarjan and Fairouz
Alice Tarjan and Fairouz

Melissa Fladland and I’m All In (Jazz–Tavita, Ferro) finished in the third place position following their final test with an overall score of 8.344. Bred in Holland by G. Aalberts, I’m All In, a KWPN gelding owned by Fladland and Caphri Dressage, earned a score of 8.86 in their Preliminary Test on Friday, and a score of 8.0 in their final test. In the final, the gelding was awarded a score of 8 for his cadanced trot, 7.8 for his walk, 7.7 for his canter, a submission score of 8.3 and an overall impression score of 8.2.

Melissa Fladland and I'm All In
Melissa Fladland and I’m All In


Michael Bragdell – Markel/USEF 6-Year-Old Dressage National Champion

On winning the championship back-to-back:
“It feels fantastic! It is wonderful. It is always a treat to come here — the facility, the staff, the volunteers, it is amazing. It is alway put together so nicely so just to get here is a big thing, no matter what division you are in. There is always a little more pressure when you have won the year before because you want to be able to stay on top but I think with young horses you have to roll with the punches and see how it goes.”

On the judges remarks:
“I think today they were pretty on with the little things. I know my horse and I know what they are looking for but I had to make some adjustments in order to do the presentation that I felt would be the best. For my changes for example, I decided to ride him a little bit lower for my changes. Maybe they will say something about balance, which they did, but I decided that I was going to do that to show more relaxation in the changes, I felt that was more important than having that balance the whole time.”

Michael Bragdell and SenSation HW
Michael Bragdell and SenSation HW

On what SenSation HW has improved on most in the year:
“For me, it is more consistently being able to access his body. As he matures in the training, his body and mentally I think he has allowed me to access the pieces that I need to access and present him successfully.”

On his partnership with SenSation HW:
“He came to me when Carol McPhee brought him to me in June of his four-year-old year. I remember that year I liked him and I knew it would be a long shot that year but that she really enjoyed the young horse classes. He ended up being able to come here as a 4-year-old but I think ever since then he has really come into the system and progressed nice. He is a wonderful horse to have in the barn and I feel very fortunate that Carol has him with me and lets me do what I can with him. She is so supportive in that way. We actually went to Europe last year and we ended up taking a detour and meeting the breeder which was so much fun. His name is Alfons Bergjohann and the joy in his face of seeing the horse he bred in his barn with his one mare that he breeds once a year was a lot of fun.”

Michael Bragdell and SenSation HW
Michael Bragdell and SenSation HW

On what is special about this win:
“There is a lot that goes into it. He is a client horse but I ride all horses like they are mine, it takes a lot of horses and a lot of heart. It is more than what you see on show day; it is the farrier that checks in with me, the vet that gives me a call to see how things are going, my masseuse that calls me to check on the horses, the crew at home that is taking care of the rest of the horses, my family that is out here with the kids, there is so much that goes into it and it all fell into place today for us to finish on top and that just hit me.”

Alice Tarjan – Markel/USEF 6-Year-Old Dressage Reserve National Champion

On being reserve national champions:
“I am really happy with how [Fairouz] has been. She has been second every year so she is very consistent! I didn’t think she was quite ready to come here – the training is just not quite where it needs to be for this kind of a championship so I figured we would come get some experience and I am thrilled with how we ended up.”

Alice Tarjan and Fairouz
Alice Tarjan and Fairouz

Melissa Fladland – Markel/USEF 6-Year-Old Dressage National Championship third place

On being third:
“We had got him seven or eight months ago when we came here last year. He went from Europe to Florida and then showed all summer so it was quite a tour for him. We had him a year in October and we spent that year training and working with Katherine [Bateson-Chandler] and then over the summer with Jenn Baumert to really get him strong, ready and reliable and we ended up being able to get here! This was not something we were shooting for. We were just working toward the FEI level but he just kept getting better and better so we kept going. He has been super. He never quits and he keeps going, adding more and more each time you ride him.”

Melissa Fladland and I'm All In
Melissa Fladland and I’m All In

Results: Markel/USEF Young Horse 6-Year-Old Dressage National Championship

Rider / Horse / Owner /  6-Year-Old Prelim / 6-Year-Old Final / Total Score
1. Michael Bragdell / SenSation HW / Carol McPhee / 8.56 / 8.78 / 8.692
2. Alice Tarjan / Fairouz / / 8.12 / 8.56 / 8.384
3. Melissa Fladland / I’m All In / Caphri Dressage / 8.86 . 8.0 / 8.344
4. Pablo Gomez / Servus Ymas / / 8.52 / 8.14 / 8.292
5. Caitlin Hamar / Ion SWF/ / 8.18 / 7.84 / 7.976
6. Marta Renilla / WEC’s SEnor Rubenstein / 8.02 / 7.86 / 7.924


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