National Championships Awarded to Up-And-Coming Dressage Horses and Riders at Lamplight Equestrian Center

Bebe Davis and Feivel Mousekewitz


Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 27, 2016 – The spotlight is on the rising stars of dressage this week at Lamplight Equestrian Center, and five champions to watch in coming years were crownedSaturday during the Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse National Championships and the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions.

Young Rider Bebe Davis and Junior Jenna Upchurch earned Festival of Champions titles, while 4-year-old Habanero CWS (ridden by Craig Stanley), the 5-year-old Desario (Christian Hartung) and the Developing Prix St. Georges horse Horizon (Adrienne Lyle) won championships in their respective Young and Developing Horse divisions.

The Young Rider Championship came to a nail-biting finish with the FEI Young Rider Individual test results shaking up the leaderboard on Saturday, Aug. 27, at Lamplight Equestrian Center. Bebe Davis, of Wellington, Florida, was trailing in fourth place after the first day of the AGCO/USEF Young Rider National Championship, but when she cantered down the centerline on Saturday, she was determined to improve. She earned a score of 71.447 percent in the Young Rider Individual test to jump to the win on her 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding Feivel Mousekewitz.

“I’m over the moon happy and I couldn’t be prouder of him,” Davis said. “Yesterday was more for me to get my confidence and get back into the mental mindset of competing. I had a really clean ride and I was really happy with it. Today had a little more extravagance and a little more brilliance that was lacking yesterday.”

Rachel Robinson and Indira
Rachel Robinson and Indira

Davis, 18, had a busy summer representing the United States in the Young Rider Nations Cup in Hagen, Germany, and Compiegne, France.

“It’s been such a great year and I don’t really know what could top this!” Davis continued. “The European tour was such a great experience and I feel like I learned so much from there that I was able to bring here.”

Nicholas Hansen, the triple gold medalist at the 2015 Adequan/FEI North American Young Rider Championships, lead after the first day of competition, but finished the division in third after earning a 69.342 percent on his own 15-year-old Westphalian gelding Ritter Benno.

Davis will be starting her first year of college next week at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, which will give her the opportunity to continue her riding while pursuing a major in fashion marketing and entrepreneurial studies. Though she is excited about starting classes, Davis was thrilled that she made the decision to compete at the Festival of Champions. Davis also placed sixth in the Young Rider Championship on the 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding Rotano.

“I love Lamplight,” Davis explained. “The venue is beautiful, the stabling is great and the footing is awesome. I’ve never experienced a championship with the young horses as well so it’s great to have the up and coming rider along with the up and coming horses.”

Rachel Robinson and Indira, a 12-year-old Westphalian mare owned by Jeff Robinson, improved from their third place position after the first day of competition to finish as reserve champions. The pair earned a 70.307 percent in their Young Rider Individual test.

“Today we put in a much cleaner test than yesterday,” Robinson explained. “She was pretty tired yesterday so we had a 20 minute warm up. We had a lot more energy, which definitely carried through especially in the canter work and again we had really great pirouettes today so that was a highlight.”

Robinson is an aspiring veterinarian studying behavioral neuroscience and chemistry at the University of San Diego. This is her first year competing in the Young Rider division and she plans on competing in it one more year before she moves up to the U25 Grand Prix.

“I thought the test today was a lot better than it was yesterday,” Hansen said. “It flowed a little better and the trot work had a little bit more energy and impulsion coming from behind than he did yesterday. Overall I was able to get a really good test out of him today.”

Next week Hansen will also be heading to begin his first year at Bloomsburg University where he plans on studying finance with a minor in anatomy and physiology.

AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship

Jenna Upchurch of Chesterfield, Missouri, maintained her lead on her own 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding Greystoke, and the pair clinched the Junior National Championship after earning a score of 69.123 percent in the FEI Junior Individual test.

Marline Syribeys of Atlanta, Georgia, rode Hollywood, her 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding, to the reserve championship with a score of 68.684 percent in the FEI Junior Individual test.

“We improved a lot on the basic flow of the test and the one bobble that we did have we recovered from quickly, which was great. I was really proud of how he went,” Upchurch said.

Upchurch won the individual gold medal, as well as the freestyle gold medal, at the 2016 Adequan/FEI North American Junior Championships in Colorado. After her successful season, Upchurch plans on moving up to the Young Rider division next season.

“I was really happy to have a clean ride and he seemed to be a little more energetic today, which was nice,” Syribeys explained. “It’s really nice to have all the hard work pay off and to have good rides.”

Juliet Hess came into the championship as an underdog by scraping into the qualified field in twelfth place, and she proved she deserved to be here by finishing in third with a score 68.711 percent in Saturday’s test. Hess resides in Atlanta, Georgia, and rode Julia Stainback’s 13-year-old Belgian gelding Diano.

“I was just so happy to even be here and to be able to compete and watch everyone else ride,” Hess said. “I actually didn’t have the cleanest of tests because I went off course. I was trying to focus on getting his neck out more and letting him be less tight in the jaw and I think that paid off in the end.”

Also featured on Saturday at the Festival of Champions was the first test of the USEF Pony Rider National Championship, which will conclude on Sunday. Seven of the nation’s top pony riders have come to Lamplight to compete for the championship, and Hannah Irons, 16, of Queenstown, Maryland, and Bodhjan, a 17-year-old KWPN Sport Pony gelding, jumped into the lead with a score of 67.521 percent after the Pony Team test even after losing a shoe in the arena. Bodhjan is no stranger to the national championship as he was Bebe Davis’ former FEI pony who she donated to Dressage4Kids, and Irons has had the ride for the past year.
“He tried his heart out for me and I couldn’t be happier,” Irons said. “He has taught me so much. We’ve had our ups and downs because he can be a little tricky to ride. Today he really waited for me and tried to listen to me and that’s what we have always been striving for – having that relationship so we grow together.”

Emma Count of Columbia, Maryland, came in second place on her 7-year-old New Forest Pony mare Wicked Games with a score of 65.342 percent.

“I was so pleased with her and I’m amazed that we’ve come this far,” Count explained. “I think my favorite part of the test was the canter work because that has been such a highlight the entire year. For tomorrow I’m hoping to improve the overall relaxation and suppleness.”

Developing Prix St. Georges National Championship

Adrienne Lyle and Betsy Juliano’s 9-year-old Oldenburg mare Horizon (Hotline-Revue, Don Schufro) clinched the win in the Developing Prix St. Georges at the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships. The pair held their lead from Thursday, winning the USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges test with a score of 74.020 percent to earn the overall win with a combined score of 74.272 percent.

The reserve championship went to Cesar Parra and the 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding Fashion Designer OLD (Faustinus-Forst-Design, De Niro). The pair scored a 70.294 percent in the Developing Prix St. Georges test to finish with an overall score of 70.440 percent.

Adrienne Lyle and Horizon
Adrienne Lyle and Horizon

“She had two totally clean tests this weekend, which is always your goal,” Lyle said. “She was really able to give me even a little more quality today in some of the movements. I’m trying to let her be a little bit more up and open and show herself off, and she handled it really well.

“I’m just so excited about this horse,” Lyle continued. “I feel really fortunate to have such a great support team – thanks to Betsy Juliano for giving me the chance to work with her, and Debbie [McDonald] for helping me. You’re just always really glad when you can deliver with that team behind you. I think it’s been a wonderful experience.”

Her team has had an emotional weekend with the news of the passing of their longtime supporter Parry Thomas. Thomas was the owner of Debbie McDonald’s Olympic mount Brentina as well as Lyle’s Olympic mount Wizard.

“Today’s ride was special,” Lyle explained. “Parry has been incredibly influential and a huge supporter of U.S. Dressage. Just on Friday he was watching the livestream of us competing while he was in bed. He was still loving the dressage, right up until the day he went. I told Debbie I think he’s watching over us and we are going to ride for him today. So I’m really glad he was there with us.”

“I just love this horse, he had so much to give me,” Parra said. “I was very excited with him and the way he improved much of the things that the judges saw the first day. I’m very happy to be second.”

Parra enjoyed his trot and walk tour, but a mistake in the canter serpentine caused him to rethink his test strategy.

“In those three seconds I had so many thoughts in my head, but then I thought, ‘You know what? Who cares? Just ride for nines and 10s.’ I rode the changes super forward. I had nothing to lose, and wanted to have fun.”

“The judges loved the trot,” Persson continued. “At the moment the trot is the strongest, which was not the case half a year ago so I’m very happy about that. He will get a little vacation and then we will start him back and start putting the changes on. I can’t wait.”
Nicholia Clarke and Jennifer Mason’s 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding Quincy (Quateback-Breanna, Brentano II) rounded out the top three with a Developing Prix St. Georges score of 70.539 percent and an overall total of 70.429 percent.

“I was thrilled with him today,” Clarke said. “He definitely gave me his all. He’s a great horse, he’s got a great temperament and he tries so hard. I made some costly mistakes and that’s always a tough pill to swallow when you know it’s on your shoulders, but I couldn’t be happier with him.”

When Clarke began the season, one of her short term goals was to qualify and make the long trip from California to compete at the national championships.

“I felt like it was important for these horses to get out in a bigger venue and try to showcase their abilities and talents and hopefully be able to do them justice at this level,” Clark concluded. “I was very happy to make it here!”

5-year-old Division

Christian Hartung and Christiane Noelting’s Oldenburg gelding Desario (De Champ-Rosaria, Rosario) were initially not sure that they would be making the trip to Lamplight for the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships. The pair were the second alternates for the championship. They certainly proved that they deserved to be competing with the best young horses in the nation Saturday, holding their lead from the preliminary test and scoring an impressive 8.92 in the final test for an overall score of 8.824.

“This is all a big surprise,” Hartung said.  “My goal was to be in the top ten given where I stood coming here. He felt good going into the test, maybe I could have pushed a little bit more in the trot but overall I was quite happy with him. I think that the canter work was the highlight.”

Desario will get a much deserved break after the show and spend time hacking out on the trails before spending the winter preparing for the 6-year-old tests next season.

Karin Persson and her own Giuliano B (Bon Bravour-Mondilia, Elcaro), a Dutch Warmblood gelding held on to their second place spot after the preliminary test to earn the reserve championship with a final test score of 8.46 and an overall score of 8.484.

“My horse was a bit tired today so I wasn’t sure what I would have going in the ring,” Persson said. “Now I know he has a great brain. If I ask him, he does it. I had a really nice ride.

Justine Wilson and her Dutch Warmblood stallion Hero BHS (Cover Story-Andante, Prestige VDL) took home the reserve championship with a final test score of 8.16 for an overall total of 8.208.

Rounding out the top three was Cyndi Jackson and Sir Amour (San Amour-Dorina, De Niro) The Hanoverian gelding is owned by Schuttler Stables

“I think the canter was his highlight today,” Jackson said. “It’s the best canter work he has given me in the ring so far so I am really happy with him.”

4-year-old Division

A borrowed saddle turned out to be a lucky charm for Craig Stanley and his own Habanero CWS (Idocus-Caliente DG, 00 Seven). The pair were in second place after Thursday’spreliminary test and put in an impressive final test garnering a score of 8.28 from the judges and an overall score of 8.256 to clinch their victory in the 4-year-old division of the Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse National Championships.

Stanley had a bit of a tack mishap prior to Thursday morning’s test when a billet broke on his saddle and he had to scramble to find a new saddle right before the test. He kept the borrowed saddle for luck for Saturday’s test and it paid off.

“It’s amazing, it’s a surreal for me, I never thought that I could be sitting here,” Stanley said. “I’m really happy with my test today. I thought his canter felt really nice; it had a good jump in it. The trot was probably a little bit better than Thursday. It was a bit more energetic – a bit more up in the frame. Overall he came together and put in a good test.”

“I had a much more explosive ride than I did Thursday,” Wilson laughed. “He came back with a bit more tension throughout the ride than I’m used to. He’s so talented and I’m thrilled that we have such a strong partnership and that he came back around for me. I’m proud of him.”

J.T. Burnley and Won Million (Widmark-Flair, Fidertanz), a Hanoverian stallion owned by Anna Hopla, sat in seventh place following the preliminary test. An outstanding final test and a score of 8.32 gave the pair a total of 7.992, enough to jump up in the ranks and clinch the third place prize.

“I was very humbled to be in the crowd of people that were here – among these riders and these horses,” Stanley said. “I tried to concentrate most on having a supple, balanced horse rather than very expressive gaits. I just tried to have a very through and submissive horse. That was my goal. He is such a noble ambassador of this sport and was very generous to me.”

The Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse National Championships and Festival of Champions will conclude on Sunday with championships being awarded in the 6-year-old division and the Developing Grand Prix as well as the 13 & Under Dressage Seat Medal Finals, Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ and the National Pony Rider Championships.

For results and starting times, visit For more information about Lamplight Equestrian Center, visit Live streaming will be available on the USEF Network.