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Kim Gentry and Leonardo Win at US Eastern Selection Trial


The top young dressage horses on the east coast demonstrated their talents at the 2013 U.S. Young Horse Dressage Eastern Selection Trial, held in Leesburg, Virginia June 8-9.  These five- and six-year-old winners will attend the 2013 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Verden, Germany August 7-11, 2013, plus they have earned a spot on the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Short List. Combinations had to score 8.2 or higher to be eligible to represent the U.S. in Verden, while a score of 7.8 or higher earned them a place on the Short List.

The Selection Trial began Saturday, June 8 with both five- and six-year-olds performing their respective FEI Preliminary Tests, which account for 40% of the overall score. The remaining 60% of scores were earned Sunday, June 9, in their respective FEI Final Tests.

In the five-year-old division, seven entries competed for top honors. Heather Blitz (Wellington, FL) rode Oak Hill Ranch’s Danish Warmblood Ripline, the top ranked horse on the five-year-old 2013 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Ranking List. Silva Martin (Unionville, PA) rode the second horse on the ranking list, Melinda Walton’s Hanoverian gelding Benefactor RRS, as well as two other mounts: Camilla Van Liew’s Hanoverian Stallion Fortissimo B and Anne Laver and Windurra USA, LLC’s Dutch Warmblood gelding Di Solitaire.

Two entries went head-to-head in the six-year-old division. Alice Tarjan (Oldwick, NJ) rode the top ranked horse on the six-year-old 2013 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Ranking List, her own Oldenburg mare Elfenfeuer. The Danish Warmblood gelding Leonardo was ridden by owner Kim Gentry (Germantown, TN).

Results in the five-year-old division, Silva Martin claimed the top three places with her horses. Fortissimo B secured the win after earning at 7.700 in the Preliminary Test and an 8.120 in the Final Test; final score: 7.952.

Benefactor RRS earned a total score of 7.80, receiving 7.56 in the Prelimary Test and 7.96 in the Final Test. With Di Solitaire, Martin scored 7.52 and 7.72 for a total score of 7.64.

In the six-year-old division, Kim Gentry and Leonardo were tops with a score of 7.32 in the Preliminary Test and 7.92 in the Final Test; total score 7.68.

Gentry was extremely pleased with Leonardo’s performance at the weekend’s competition. “We put in a lot of hard work this past winter and it really paid off,” she said. “I was really pleased with how Leo really stepped up to the plate on Saturday when I asked him for more expression and collection.”

“It was a good experience for both of us – to be in that environment and to handle the pressure of that type of competition,” Gentry continued. “The competition – being spread over two days – enabled me to step back, look at the judge’s comments from the first day, and see how to improve on the second day. I was really pleased with the score and comments we got on Sunday – and the improvement from Saturday to Sunday! The judges were really positive about that, too, and rewarded us with some very nice scores.”

“The competition provided some really positive miles for Leo. He handled it beautifully without being stressed! He was right there, and he offered what I asked. Leo comes alive in the arena, but not in a way that is stressed.”

Gentry’s competitor, Alice Tarjan and Elfenfeuer rode to a second place finish, receiving 7.30 in the Preliminary Test and 7.20 in the Final Test.

Gentry ‘s next qualifying competition toward the USEF National Dressage championships for young horses was the “Summer Highland Fling” in Tryon, NC, June 22.
(Photo credit: Pics of You)

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