USDF Region 1 Championships

Are you headed to the Region 1 Championships in Lexington, VA?  We’d love to feature your experiences!  Please send pics/stories to in order to be featured!


Another George Williams lesson

As George and Charlotte Bredahl Baker make themselves available to the young riders who are interested, Anna had another lessons with Mr. Williams this morning.  As a coach (not just a parent) it is most satisfying to see a student able to run through a number of difficult exercises without missing a beat.  George had Anna run through several combinations of shoulder-in to half-pass and back, from half-pass to medium to half-pass, shoulder-in to renver through the short side….. An excellent lesson.  Anna hopes she will be selected to ride with George at the Young Rider clinic at Hilltop this November.

This afternoon will be spent cheering on the team members who will be riding freestyles.  Awards will be something like 9pm tonight.  Is anybody watching anything on streaming?

If you thought dressage wasn’t exciting to watch, you should have been here

On Thursday, the chefs had much discussion with the organizers about giving the Juniors another ring familiarization session before they showed Friday morning in their individual medal test, but show management couldn’t work it out.  The (potential) problem was the Junior ring on Wednesday was on the side of the Rolex farther away from the stands.  But on Friday, they were only using the one ring closer to the stands…. which the Junior horses had not had a chance to school around.  As Izzy has found the whole environment a bit over whelming, we would certainly have taken advantage of any chance to school.   But alas, Anna had to go in cold.

Izzy and Anna had a good warm up.  Izzy was a bit edgy and brisk but Anna was easily able to channel it into lofty rhythm.  Unfortunately, Izzy started to puff up as she went down the shoot into the arena, made it about 10 meters into the arena, and then said “I want out of here now.”  She preceded to back up and squirrel around near the gate, so Anna never got anywhere near the ring, much less around it.  The judge then rang the bell and the 45 second count started.  Anna wheedled and kicked and patted and sat quietly in quick sucession and with all her teammates clucking and willing her in, somehow they managed to trot in and halt at the very last moment.  Since you are supposed to canter in, the judges gave her ones and twos on the entry AND gave her an error of minus two for being late and another error for not cantering.  But that was way better than being eliminated and entirely fair!

Then the fun began.  Anna and Izzy put in an amazing test! She had power and grace in the mediums, great bends in the half passes, just really, really fun to watch. All business! As soon as Izzy got into the ring she knew what to do. They had two small bobbles but tons of 7s!!  With all the deducations for the errors the score ended up a reasonable 61%.  Seeing so many good scores on the sheet was tremendously encouraging and satisfying.  And seeing Anna recover after such a nerve racking start was a moment I will never forget.  I think two hours went by before my heart rate returned to normal.

So Anna will not be riding her freestyle Saturday.  But instead she gets to have another lesson with George Williams.  An excellent trade!

Great George Williams lesson yesterday

After watching Anna and Izzy compete on Wednesday, George Williams, the national coach for young riders, sought our chef d’equipe out to ask if Anna would like a lesson with him.  How exciting is that!  In the lesson, Anna and Izzy clocked around the very, very crowded schooling ring yesterday like old pros.  George emphasized straightness, straightness and an active hindleg.  He made several comments about making sense of the crowded ring to create a positive experience for the horse. So happy!

Anna rides at 8:12 today.

First day of competition has highs and lows

After several years as a staff reporter for The Chronicle of the Horse, and many years competing myself, and now eight years or so of watching Anna compete….I think today’s competition may have been the most exciting to watch ever.  Something about watching your child take on the big time creates a heart pounding experience.

For the last two days, NAJYRC dressage horses have been sent to the various warm-up and schooling rings by several different officially approved routes.  And although Anna and Izzy had traversed all these routes with success, today was ….different.  The fountains in the lake behind the Rolex arena were turned on!  Izzy was completely agog the entire distance around the lake, which I think was about 15 miles if measured by my heart beats.  Fortunately, by the time Izzy actually got into the warm-up, she was so happy to be in a familiar sandbox, she gave Anna an amazing warm up.  I got goosebumps watching the fluidity and lightness and power they could create.

Hopes were high as Izzy headed down the ramp to the ring.  Unfortunately, she apparantly wasn’t so keen on leaving the safety of the warm-up ring.  She only hesitated for a moment, but the rhythm was broken.  Izzy was wired!  The good news is they were able to produce a whole bunch of 7s when the energy was channeled productively.  The bad news is they had a few 4s when Izzy was distracted and missed the aids.  End result, a respectable 61% which put them about 2/3 of the way down the pack in the end.  The good parts were amazing, and we feel sure Izzy will have her day in the sun soon…maybe even by Friday for the individual competition. . . or maybe in some more distant future.  Anna liked what she saw watching the video and is inspired to raise her personal standard.  Isn’t that one of the reasons we come to compete at this level?


(Photo by Lesley Ward)

Other junior team members Ashley Conroy-Zuegal and Ungaro had a 65.108 for 17th, and Kristin Counterman and Three Times had 64.135 for 22nd.  (It took a 69% to win the class of 41 entries!) The Junior team finished tenth overall.

The Region 1 Young Riders team saw much drama.  The first team member to go, Adriane Alvord, was unfortunately eliminated for lameness.  Adriane agreed she felt a funny step over X. The FEI vet peformed flexions on Filadelphia afterward and declared all looked fine, but unfortunately Adriane was still eliminated.  Two other horses later in the day saw the same elimination so the judge was definitely keeping the eagle eye on.

Next up was Nick Hansen who ended up 9th with a 66%, NCDCTA member Molly Paris was 21st with a 63%, and Hannah Bauer was 26th with a 62%.  The team was told they finished sixth, and they headed up to the awards ceremony.  Ribbons were on and pictures taken in the staging area when a recount of some sort happened, and the team dropped to seventh and out of the awards ceremony.

As is so often the case, we were humbled, awed, inspired, disheartened, excited and deflated —all in the 6 minutes of one test!  On to the individual test on Friday.