Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 28, 2022 – In the Markel arena at Lamplight Equestrian Center, three divisions had yet to be decided on Sunday, the final day of competition at the prestigious event. Seeing lots of young, promising talent, the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships finally crowned the 6-Year-Old Dressage National Champion, the 7-Year-Old Dressage National Champion, and the Developing Grand Prix Horse Dressage National Champion.

Cesar Parra and Mollegardens Fashion
Cesar Parra and Mollegardens Fashion

The first division of the day in the Markel arena, the 6-Year-Old Dressage National Championship, welcomed back top riders and their young mounts for the Final Test worth 60% of their total score. Cesar Parra and Mollegardens Fashion, a Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Parra and Marcela Parra Bautista, led the competition after the Preliminary Test, where they scored an 8.42. Rebecca Rigdon and Lionell VE, a KWPN gelding owned by Lauren Fisher, followed close behind, scoring 8.24 on the first day. 

Parra and Mollegardens Fashion went out with a bang on Sunday, demonstrating talent and accuracy to score an 8.3 for the day and a total for the division of 8.348. Rigdon and Lionell VE took home the reserve championship after earning a score of 8.14 in the Final Test, finishing on a total of 8.18. Alice Tarjan and Gjenganger took the third place prize with a total score of 8.084.

Rebecca Rigdon and Lionell VE
Rebecca Rigdon and Lionell VE

In the 7-Year-Old Dressage National Championship, Endel Ots maintained his lead with King’s Pleasure, a KWPN stallion owned by Heidi Humphries, to take home the tricolor ribbon. The pair started out with a score of 7.854 in the Preliminary Test worth 40% overall, and returned on Sunday to close out competition with a score of 7.813 in the Final Test. The pair finished with a total score of 7.829 for the win.

Endel Ots and King's Pleasure
Endel Ots and King’s Pleasure

Parra took the reserve championship with Fanta 4, his own and Gina Raful’s Hanoverian gelding, with a total score of 7.618. Amanda Perkowski went home with third place on Sonata MF, a Hanoverian mare owned by Next Level Performance Center Inc. with a total of 7.599.

Claire Darnell and Harrold S
Claire Darnell and Harrold S

Claire Darnell and Harrold S, her own 10-year-old KWPN gelding, captured the Developing Grand Prix Horse Dressage National Championship Sunday afternoon. Darnell earned a score of 70.98% in her _ test worth 40% overall, and returned to earn a score of 69.25% in her Developing Grand Prix test for a total of 69.942% to take the win. Alice Tarjan and Jane, her own 8-year-old KWPN mare, were the reserve champions just behind Darnell, earning a combined total of 69.325%. Marcus Orlob and Spirit of Joy, an 8-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Jeanette Pinard, finished in third place with a total of 68.966%.


USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship

Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / Total Score
1. Claire Darnell / Harrold S / Claire Darnell / 69.942
2. Alice Tarjan / Jane / Alice Tarjan / 69.325
3. Marcus Orlob / Spirit of Joy / Jeanette Pinard / 68.966
4. Emily Miles / Sole Mio / Leslie Waterman / 68.570
5. Devon Kane / Vamos / Diamante Farms / 66.772
6. Nora Batchelder / Amillion FS / Carol Glover / 65. 926

6-Year-Old Dressage National Championship

Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / Total Score
1. Cesar Parra / Mollegardens Fashion / Cesar Parra & Marcela Parra Bautista / 83.480
2. Rebecca Rigdon / Lionell VE / Lauren Fisher / 81.800
3. Alice Tarjan / Gjenganger / Alice Tarjan / 80.840
4. Marcus Orlob / Glory Day / Alice Tarjan / 79.520
5. Lindsey Holleger / MW Weissgold / Jennifer Vanover / 79.240
6. David Blake / Lion Heart / David Blake / 77.360

7-Year-Old Dressage National Championship

Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / Total Score
1. Endel Ots / King’s Pleasure / Heidi Humphries / 78.295
2. Cesar Parra / Fanta 4 / Cesar Parra & Gina Raful / 76.181
3. Amanda Perkowski / Sonata MF / Next Level Perf. Center Inc / 75.992
4. Olivia LaGoy-Weltz / Fade to Black / Mary Anne McPhail / 75.339
5. Alice Tarjan / Summersby II / Alice Tarjan / 74.760
6. David Blake / Delilah / Leslie Allbright / 74.028


Claire Darnell – Developing Grand Prix Horse Dressage National Champion

On her ride with Harrold S:
“My horse was super good today. He’s been super good all week. I could not be more happy with how he’s gone. I made a couple of little rider errors in the test today, but just kept doing his thing and made up for my mistakes which is really great with a young horse like him.

“He was super here. He was a little overwhelmed by the fake horse in front of the VIP. And they changed it every time, they kept adding flowers to it and doing all these things that he’d be like, ‘okay, it’s fine.’ And then every time we came by, it was different, and he was just like, ‘No, we can’t go by that.’ But that’s the only thing about the whole facility that impressed him at all.”

Claire Darnell and Harrold S
Claire Darnell and Harrold S

On developing Harrold S:
“I got him when he was four. And as a five year old showed him training at first level, as a six-year-old at the end of the year we did fourth level, and then just kept moving up. And it’s just been so much fun to bring this horse up through the levels. He’s so willing, and he’s so kind; he’s the most kind horse I’ve ever had. And the best thing about this horse is how reliable he is.  I can take him to any show, anywhere. So it’s been really, really fun bringing him up through the levels. My goal for the year was just to qualify for this competition. So to come and have him win was really super, super special.”

On what’s next:
“We’ll go home and have a little break, and then I think we’re going to head to California for the Thermal CDIs. And we’ll do either two of those or the whole series. And then we’ll head to Wellington later in the winter.”

Alice Tarjan – Developing Grand Prix Horse Dressage Reserve National Champion

On her horse’s performance:
“I’m just happy. The horse wasn’t worked basically all summer, so just to come here is a good thing for the horse’s experience in the ring, obviously she hasn’t been shown very much. So, back to work. I think the horse just needs exposure, so we might try for Devon.”

Marcus Orlob – Developing Grand Prix Horse Dressage National Championship Third Place

On Spirit of Joy’s performance:
“I’m also happy, I can’t complain. I mean, obviously, there’s a lot of things to improve, but it was his first time and I can’t be more proud of him.”

Marcus Orlob and Spirit of Joy
Marcus Orlob and Spirit of Joy

On what’s next:
“He will have a few weeks of light work and then we’ll start. I played earlier this season to qualify for here; he had a long time off this winter, so this is a lot of green stuff for him, he’s only eight. So now I have to push to get to the next level, and then hopefully in Florida we can start in the winter with something like a national Grand Prix.”

Cesar Parra – 6-Year-Old Dressage National Champion

Cesar Parra on his ride with Mollegardens Fashion:
“It was great, very relaxed. I didn’t want to push for much more. He’s a very powerful horse. We are a little bit young to each other, we are new to each other. I’ve only been riding him for a few months. So I know how he can get really, really strong, so I just wanted to have a really loose and pleasant test, and I think we were able to get it. So I’m very, very happy that he’s so giving and obedient and so supple, and he’s learning, so I’m really happy with everything that he’s doing now. I’m very, very happy with that.”

Cesar Parra and Mollegardens Fashion
Cesar Parra and Mollegardens Fashion

On his start with Mollegardens Fashion:
“I mean, we buy the horses when they are two and a half, maybe three. I always make the joke that we buy when we can afford it. So we buy them young and then some live in Germany until they’re three and a half. That was his case. And then we bring them to America. Normally, we bring them already gelded…very, very seldom will I leave them stallions. And that was the case with Fashion – he was a beautiful stallion, but he grew too much too fast, he was almost 17.3. So we had him gelded and we just took it easy on him. He was very skinny. Last year he was shown here to third place with one of our riders at home, Katrina Evans, she rode him until the end of the year.”

On Mollegardens Fashion’s future:
“I think that we all agree here; we share the perspective that we buy the horses early and train the horses with the perspective that we take them to Grand Prix – I think that’s our goal. So obviously this is important to come here and win, if you can, but it’s more important that the education then follows the parameters that we need to bring them to Grand Prix. I think that’s why we keep coming with the same horses, the same group, and keep doing the same thing. And I think Fashion is a statement today that he’s doing it – I mean, I love that guy, ever since I showed him.”

Rebecca Rigdon – 6-Year-Old Dressage Reserve National Champion

On her ride:
“I was very happy with Lionell today. He was gelded last fall and needed some time to get strength, and he’s new to me as well – since December. I’m really, really happy with him. And the one mistake he made was totally my fault, which I’m thrilled with because that I can fix easily. So yeah, super happy with him. He got a little tired towards the end, but I mean he’s six years old. And we’ve been here almost two weeks since we’re from California, you know it’s a long, long show for him, so I could not be happier.”

Rebecca Rigdon and Lionell VE
Rebecca Rigdon and Lionell VE

Alice Tarjan – 6-Year-Old Dressage National Championship Third Place

Alice Tarjan on her ride:
“I’m really pleased with my horse, she was a really good girl. She wasn’t ridden all summer; it’s really not fair to bring her here like that, but we got through the test and she did her job. It’s been a long week and she’s not super fit, so again, she’s been a good girl.”

Endel Ots – 7-Year-Old Dressage National Champion

On his ride aboard King’s Pleasure:
“Couldn’t have been better. I didn’t ride him yesterday, we just took them on the hand walk, and let them roll, let them turn out a little bit. So he had a lot of power and energy and really stayed with me. So yeah, I couldn’t be happier.”

Endel Ots and King's Pleasure
Endel Ots and King’s Pleasure

On his start with King’s Pleasure:
“So I had actually sold my friend’s horse to the owner of King’s Pleasure, Heidi Humphries. And when I met her I just had a feeling – I mean really great vibes, great energy. So throughout the years, when I’ve won with Lucky and with Everdance, I would send her the articles through Facebook. One day she said, ‘I want to buy a horse.’ And so I sent her a couple of options. I didn’t hear anything, so I messaged her back and said ‘hey, no pressure.’ She said, ‘oh no, he’s coming tomorrow.’ So when King’s Pleasure came, I really wanted to do six-year-olds last year with him, but he was so green. I mean, he didn’t know changes, didn’t know shoulder-ins, and no half-pass or anything. Heidi’s relatively new at dressage, so I just told her to trust me. For her birthday this year, I gave her a silver frame that said ‘seven-year-old 2022 National Champion, King’s Pleasure,’ and told her ‘there’ll be a photo in that frame of your horse with the championship ribbon.’ I said ‘I see it, I feel it, I know it’s there.’ She has just been a fabulous, wonderful owner who does everything for a horse, even flew in my coach from Germany just to be here – so it’s been wonderful.”

Cesar Parra – 7-Year-Old Dressage Reserve National Champion

On how his test went:
“I gotta say, I enjoyed it. He’s a totally different horse. Fanta, until now, has been this beautiful horse that is just too quiet. And all of a sudden, he woke up on Thursday, and has been getting hotter and hotter. Today, I was having a hard time trying to keep him on my aides, so I rode him until the last minute, until I was allowed to ride into the ring. But I was happy, he came out good, and I guess the judges liked it. I’ve been riding him now for two years, he’s just an amazing horse – I really love him.”

Cesar Parra and Fanta 4
Cesar Parra and Fanta 4

Amanda Perkowski – 7-Year-Old Dressage National Championship Third Place

On her ride with Sonata today:
“I was really happy with my ride. I’ve had her since October, so we’re relatively new, but I feel like we’ve come a long way. I’m happy to be here, and I was happy with the test.”


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