Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 28, 2022 – Competition at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions came to a close Sunday, crowning three more champions in the Grand Prix Arena for the 2022 year. Riders vying for the USEF Children Dressage National Championship, the USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship, and the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 14-18 titles put their best foot forward, with Autumn Vavrick, Averi Allen, and Kayley Knollman taking home the division titles respectively.

Autumn Vavrick and Dante
Autumn Vavrick and Dante

The first class of the day, the Children Individual Test for the USEF Children Dressage National Championship, saw a field of twelve young competitors return for the final time. The FEI Children Team Test took place Saturday, worth 50% of the participants’ overall scores, with Vavrick sitting in the second place position aboard her own 15-year-old gelding on a score of 77.8%. Virginia Woodcock and The Safari Party, a 13-year-old gelding owned by Elizabeth and Virginia Woodcock, held the first place position with a score of 78.75%. 

Returning on Sunday, Vavrick and Dante wowed the judges to earn a score of 81.675% and the blue ribbon. The score was enough to bump them up to the top of the leaderboard with a combined total of 79.728%. Woodcock finished with the reserve championship following her second place finish in the Individual Test with a total score of 79.141%. Korey Denny and Hemingway KW, Amy Denny’s 10-year-old KWPN gelding, took third place with a combined total of 76.549%. 

Averi Allen and Superman
Averi Allen and Superman

In the USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship, nine combinations convened for the FEI Young Rider Individual Test to decide the new title winner. Averi Allen, the second place finisher aboard Jonni Allen’s 9-year-old Hanovieran gelding Superman in the Team Test, proved a force to be reckoned with when she took on the final leg of the division. Allen and Superman secured the blue ribbon on Sunday with a score of 69.411%, worth 50% of their total score, to land a combined total of 69.608%.

Ellanor Boehning and Sir Junior, an 11-year-old German gelding owned by Ann and Ellanor Boehning, finished with the reserve championship on a total of 69.069%. Boehning and Sir Junior started the division in the lead after scoring a 70% in the Team Test, but fell down in the placings on Sunday with their Individual Test score of 68.137%. Sydney Lipar and Zerragamo, a 10-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Denise Lipar, finished in third place at the conclusion of the division with a total of 68.97%.

Kayley Knollman and JP Zeppelin
Kayley Knollman and JP Zeppelin

Closing out the day in the Grand Prix Arena was the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 14-18. Young riders eager to show off their equitation saved the best for last, being tested both on the flat and through a pattern that the judges fashioned. Once each of the combinations had been observed in all three gaits, they were asked to perform a pattern that featured several simple changes across a diagonal, a full halt, and trot-canter transitions. After the judges had deliberated, it was Kayley Knollman on Rebecca Stromatt’s JP Zeppelin who won the gold medal for her effective, textbook equitation. Marin Roth on her own Erin Meadows Jagermeister took home the silver medal, while Lucy Sheldon on Porsche’s Florencia, owned by Diana Porsche and Lucy Sheldon took the bronze.

RESULTS

USEF Children Dressage National Championship

Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / Total Score
1. Autumn Vavrick / Dante / Autumn Vavrick / 79.728
2. Virginia Woodcock / The Safari Party / Elizabeth Woodcock / 79.141
3. Korey Denny / Hemingway KW / Amy Denny / 76.549
4. M.K. Connatser / Donau Hit / M.K. Connatser / 76.316
5. Sienna Rowe / Lightfire Just Do It / Jason Rowe / 75.141
6. Mia Folk / Alastor / Mia Folk / 74.960

USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship

Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / Total Score
1. Averi Allen / Superman / Jonni Allen / 69.608
2. Ellanor Boehning / Sir Junior / Ann Boehning & Ellanor Boehning / 69.069
3. Sydney Lipar / Zerragamo / Denise Lipar / 68.970
4. Allison Nemeth / Tiko / Karen Nemeth / 67.941
5. Julia McDonald / Lehndorff van de Vogelzang / Joy McDonald & Scott McDonald / 67.695
6. Gemma Starn / Diamond First Choice / Gemma Starn / 66.151

USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 14-18

Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / Total Score
1. Kayley Knollman / JP Zeppelin / Rebecca Stromatt / 87
2. Marin Roth / Erin Meadows Jagermeister / Marin Roth / 85
3. Lucy Sheldon / Porsche’s Florencia / Diana Porsche & Lucy Sheldon / 83
4. Lunalee Barboza / Magico De Ferraria / 81
5. Samantha Collins / Ballybolger Springthyme / Samantha Collins / 79
6. Katherine Nayak / Sir Esplendido / Pamela Farthing / 77

FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE

Autumn Vavrick – USEF Children Dressage National Champion

On her test:
“Right when I got in the ring, he was just focused on my aides and listening to me. He just went around and he was always trying to listen and do what I asked him. He was just really good. Yesterday was really good too, some of my best tests so I’m very happy.” 

On her relationship with her horse, Dante:
“I just bought my horse Dante in May. So it’s been about four months and lots of training with my trainer Laurie Moore, and my parents helping me at every step – I couldn’t have done it without my whole team. Dante is a Hanoverian: he’s 16 hands and he’s 15. He’s pretty sweet. Kind of funny, sometimes, but he’s pretty quiet. He keeps to himself, but he loves his outside time, his grass…you know, all the horse things.”

Virginia Woodcock – USEF Children Dressage Reserve National Champion

On today’s test:
“He was pretty good. He was a little tired, Sunday’s are our day off. So he wasn’t super enthused about doing everything I asked him to, but I rode through it, and I was really happy that he stuck with me.”

On her history with Safari:
“I got Safari two years ago. He’s 15.2, he’s a North American Sportpony Art Deco cross. He’s a little bit of a pistol. He’s funny in the barn, he’s either really happy or really mad at everybody. So it’s hard sometimes to go in there when he’s pinning his ears and I’m like, ‘can we work together, please?’ But he’s a really good boy.”

Korey Denny – USEF Children Dressage National Championship Third Place

On today’s test:
“Going into the ring he was a little frisky, he had his head up a little bit, but we got through it. Our test had a couple bobbles, but yeah, we got through it surprisingly. He’s good.”

On her history with Hemingway:
“I started riding Ollie around December. My sister was actually riding him before and she won the 14 – 18 equitation on him, then I took him over. So I’ve been riding him for about seven months now. He’s 17.2, a Dutch Warmblood, and he’s definitely a cuddle bug in his stall. He can get a little amped up sometimes, but he’s pretty quiet most of the time.”

Averi Allen – USEF Young Rider Dressage National Champion

On riding her test today:
“So my goal with the test was to make Superman a little more alive. And I think he definitely accomplished that, because I kind of felt like we were running. But he was very good. And he was listening to me still, even though I made him more alive. And I’m very happy with myself for riding the test and not just going on autopilot. And then him listening to all the half-halts and everything, so I’m very happy with everything.”

Averi Allen and Superman
Averi Allen and Superman

On her partnership with Superman:
“I’ve had him since he was four or five. He’s nine now. So we’ve really just done everything together. And I think that plays a big part in us – we basically know whenever the other one is anxious, or we can feel like the slightest bit of difference from each other. And then we know what to do. And I think our partnership is very spot on with each other.”

On what’s next:
“I think for us, we’ll probably try and do the European tour next year. Thinking about that. And then just still going up the levels doing you know, like, training for the U-25 and seeing how that goes. I think I’ll probably try and go to the European tour next year.” 

Ellanor Boehning – USEF Young Rider Dressage Reserve National Champion

On her riding today:
“I think today, I just really tried to push the trot again. And the trot work definitely paid off. Every test I keep on seeing improvements, there’s little bits where we can still pick up the pieces and hopefully get higher scores. But for now, I’m just super happy with how he’s been going and performing.”

Ellanor Boehning and Sir Junior
Ellanor Boehning and Sir Junior

On her history with Sir Junior:
“I got him as a surprise in September. And I was still training with Patricia Becker in Chicago at the time. So I started consecutively riding him in January in Florida. And he started off like a really timid horse. Now it’s to the point where he’ll do stuff for me that he won’t do for trainers, my mom. So it’s really interesting to see that he’s willing to perform. It’s always nice to kind of see that bond growing.”

On what’s next:
“I think the next step for us is just going to start to be working on the U-25 stuff. He doesn’t know any of the Grand Prix, so now I get to go home and kind of play around with that. And we’re also going to work on cleaning up the young rider tests a little bit more, and then hopefully try for the European tour. That’s the ultimate goal next year, and if not, I’m still 16 so I’ve got quite a few years to go, which is nice.” 

Sydney Lipar – USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship Third Place

On her ride today:
“My goal today was just to have a clean test. So it was mostly clean, so I’m really happy that he just went in there, calm and steady. The past few weeks we’ve been making mistakes, so today I took the power down a little and made it confidence boosting for both of us.”

Sydney Lipar and Zerragamo
Sydney Lipar and Zerragamo

On her relationship with Zerragamo:
“I’ve only had my horse since late January, early February. So I’m really proud of how far we’ve come in such a short time. At the beginning when I got him in late January, he’d never shown before. So it was a process getting him in the show arena and showing him that it’s okay, because he was a little nervous at first. So I’m really proud of how our partnership has developed.”

On what’s next:
“My goal for next year is to do young riders again. And especially since I’ve only had my horse for six months I want to do a whole year at Young Riders, do the full season. Eventually I would like to make Europe too, but we’ll see.”

Kayley Knollman – USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 14-18 Gold Medal

On how the pattern went today:
“I was really happy with how it went. He came in with a very nice walk. It was hard coming out because I was the last to go, so we were sitting around waiting for a long time. But he really picked up the trot, and then we did the leg yields exact and for the canter, I was a little worried he would walk in the canter-trot-canter transitions. So we were maybe a little forward in those because I didn’t want him to walk, but he was really good. He listened to everything that I asked of him.”

On her training leading up to Festival of Champions:
“So my trainer is also my mom, Rebecca Stonehat – we have a mother daughter relationship with our training. I’m really grateful for all the help that she’s been giving me and I did the Junior Championship this week as well. So she’s been helping me with that, we just came from NAYC. I’m really grateful to have her help and my own barn too.”

Kayley Knollman and JP Zeppelin
Kayley Knollman and JP Zeppelin

On having a dressage equitation class:
“Absolutely, I think it’s so important to have a good seat and control of your aides, and be able to direct your horse through a simple test. These tests, they seem really simple, but when you do them, you know, it’s very hard. And a lot of people weren’t so fortunate to have a good ride today, in the individual with those tricky trot-canter things. So that’s really important.”

On what habits she’s working on correcting / her current training:
“I can get a little hand dominant sometimes – my mom’s always reminding me to work back to front and use my leg. And I really improved on that in the past two years. So I’m really happy about how it went today, and using my leg instead of my hand.”

On what’s next / in her future:
“So we had two years in my junior career with this horse, Zeppelin, and I’m so proud of him. We’re eighth overall in the Junior division this week at Festival. And next year, I’m looking to go up to young writers and do NAYC and Festival again. So I’m looking forward to that.”

Marin Roth – USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 14-18 Silver Medal 

On how her ride went:
“I thought my pattern went pretty well. The leg yields were a little bit sticky, but we recovered and improved after that. And I thought he picked up the right lead canter really nicely, and the trot through key interchanges was really clean and smooth. So I’m really happy.” 

On her training leading up to Festival of Champions:
“I train with Chantae Erickson. I’m from the middle of Illinois, so she’s there and it’s perfect. And this weekend, we did the open show, we did the third level freestyle and then gave a go at four one, which I was really happy with for his first time out.”

Marin Roth and Erin Meadows Jagermeister
Marin Roth and Erin Meadows Jagermeister

On having an dressage equitation class:
“I think it’s important because EQ is the basis of our riding – if you have good EQ, then usually things will flow a little bit better. And I also like it because even if you don’t have a spectacular horse, if you ride well, because it’s based solely on the rider, you can do really well.”

On what’s next:
“Hopefully, NAYC at the junior level – I wasn’t able to go this year because I trained with Lee Tubman, an FEI judge, who was judging NAYC, so I wasn’t able to go. But I’ve had my horse since he was a three-year-old, so I’ve earned my bronze and then hopefully my silver and my gold in the future.”

Lucy Sheldon –  USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 14-18 Bronze Medal 

On how her pattern went today:
“I was really proud of it. The leg yields I was really happy with, and then when we did the canter-trot-canter, I wished it flowed a little bit better. But we recovered, and we continued and I was proud of how we did.”

On her training leading up to Festival of Champions:
“I train with Molly Maloney. We actually did an equitation class the weekend leading up to this, just to get back in the eq rank because I didn’t qualify on semi finals with her, I did it on a different mare, so this was a little new to her. But other than that, we’ve been doing third level and juniors and hopefully I’m going to show that more next season.”

Lucy Sheldon and Porsche's Florencia
Lucy Sheldon and Porsche’s Florencia

On having an dressage equitation class:
“So just to echo that I fully agree with what they said. And I also think it’s just so nice to have the opportunity to come to such an amazing venue at a really accessible class that anybody can have the opportunity to do. You don’t necessarily need a really nice horse, but you can just focus on yourself and like what is at the core of yourself.”

On what’s next:
“I’m really excited to be attending Dressage at Devon in October of this year, and I would also love to go to NAYC next year.”

 

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