King of the Grand Prix! Nick Wagman Sweeps Grand Prix Competition With Two National Championship Titles at Lamplight Equestrian Center

Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 25, 2019 – On the final day of the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions at Lamplight Equestrian Center, competitors returned to perform their final test of the championships and vie for the coveted national titles. Californian Nick Wagman ruled the day of Grand Prix competition in both the Kay and Frey Arenas, clinching back-to-back championships on two different mounts.

Nick Wagman and Don John

Nick Wagman and Don John

For his first ride of the day, Wagman had to tackle the Grand Prix Freestyle as the final leg of the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship. The Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle all counted towards the final placings for the horse-and-rider combinations, and it was Wagman and his mount Don John who came out on top in the final placings with a 76.14% with their entertaining freestyle designed with original music by his husband’s nephew. The 11-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Beverly Gepfer, was consistent throughout the week taking first in both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special with scores of 72.63% and 72.957% respectively.

Nick Wagman and Don John

Nick Wagman and Don John

After donning one tricolor ribbon however, Wagman wasn’t done with his victory laps as he went on to compete in the final test of the Markel/USEF Developing Grand Prix Horse Dressage National Championship with Ferano (Zara D–Scandic, Parcival), a 9-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Elizabeth Keadle. Continuing his winning trend, Wagman and Ferano impressed the judges to take home his second championship title of the day with an overall score of 70.041%.

In the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship, Anna Marek and Diane Morrison’s Dee Clair, an 11-year-old KWPN mare, finished the week as the reserve champion. Marek and Dee Clair also remained consistent in their placings throughout the week, taking second place in the Grand Prix with a 68.63%, Grand Prix Special with a 69% and the Grand Prix Freestyle with a 72.07%. Their freestyle, designed by Karen Robinson, matched perfectly with the mare in both stride and personality. The pair’s performance on Sunday helped them earn a total of 69.294%

Anna Marek and Dee Clair

Jennifer Schrader-Williams and Millione, a 16-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Millione Partners LLC, finished with the third place ribbon. Schrader-Williams and Millione earned a score of 68.543% in the Grand Prix, a 68.468% in the Grand Prix Special and a 71.99% in the Grand Prix Freestyle.

Jennifer Schrader-Williams and Millione

Jennifer Schrader-Williams and Millione

Earlier in the week during the Markel/USEF Developing Grand Prix Horse Dressage National Championship, Wagman and Ferano rode to a score of 67.353% in the Intermediate II to finish in fifth. Their impressive ride in Sunday’s Developing Grand Prix Test earned them a 71.833%, the highest score in the class. With their Intermediate II test worth 40% of their total score and the Developing Grand Prix test worth 60%, the pair leapt to the top of the overall leaderboard and finished with a total of 70.041%.

Nick Wagman and Ferano

Nick Wagman and Ferano

Finishing with another reserve championship title was Alice Tarjan, this time riding her 9-year-old Hanoverian mare Candescent (Christ–Farina, Falkenstern II). Tarjan and Candescent were leading the division after the Intermediate II test, where they scored a 70.931%. Their Developing Grand Prix test earned them a 68.917%, giving them a 69.723% total to finish in second place.

Alice Tarjan and Candescent

Alice Tarjan and Candescent

Bridget Hay and her homebred Faolan (Freestyle–Wyoming, Welstern), a 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion, took home third place. The pair was sitting in third place after the Intermediate II with a score of 68.235%, and maintained their placing after the final test where they score a 68.917%.

Bridget Hay and Faolan

Bridget Hay and Faolan

Results: USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship

Rider / Horse / Owner / Grand Prix / Grand Prix Special / Grand Prix Freestyle / Total
1. Nick Wagman / Don John / / 72.63 / 72.957 / 76.14 / 73.287
2. Anna Marek / Dee Clair / Diane Morrison / 68.63 / 69 / 72.07 / 69.294
3. Jennifer Schrader-Williams / Millione / / 68.543 / 68.468 / 71.99 / 69.03
4. James Koford / Adiah HP / / 67.913 / 67.596 / 70.845 / 68.226

Results: Markel/USEF Grand Prix Developing Horse National Championship

Rider / Horse / Owner / Intermediate II / Developing Grand Prix / Total
1. Nick Wagman / Ferano / Elizabeth Keadle / 67.353 / 71.833 / 70.041
2. Alice Tarjan / Candescent / Alice Tarjan / 70.931 / 68.917 / 69.723
3. Bridget Hay / Faolan / Bridget Hay / 68.235 / 68.917 / 68.644
4. Emily Miles / Floretienne / Leslie Waterman / 68.48 / 68.5 / 68.492
5. Emily Miles / Quantum Jazz / Leslie Waterman / 67.304 / 67 / 67.122
6. Nora Batchelder / Fifi MLW / Nora Batchelder / 65.735 / 68.042 / 67.119

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Nick Wagman – USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Champion

On winning the national championship:
“What a way to end the season – it is really exciting! Last year was our first real season in the Grand Prix so a year later we are just more confirmed, stronger and more subtle in the test. We went to Europe and it did a lot for our confidence as well and I think it is all starting to show in the ring here so that is great.”

Nick Wagman and Don John

Nick Wagman and Don John

On his time in Europe:
“I had really lost my confidence so when I was invited to Europe it really confronted me with if I could do this. I got back there and being there, thrown in the deep-end, was exactly what I needed for myself and Don John. It has been a real turn around for me and my confidence so I am lucky to have had that. It has affected [Don John] in all kinds of ways. I can just tell that his mind set is better and he is able to cope with stress a lot better. He used to be terrified of other horses in the warm-up arena and he hasn’t flinched once so it is starting to manifest itself really positively, I can tell.” 

On his freestyle:
“My husband’s nephew composed the music so it is an original piece that I am in love with. We are going to have to keep it but I will have to make my choreography a little more difficult now that we are getting more steady in the Grand Prix.”

Nick Wagman and Don John

On what is next for him:
“We are done for right now and [Don John] will have a much needed break. Then we will set our sights on trying for the Olympics next year and throw ourselves in the mix. I think Florida is part of our next plans so we are starting to think about that but for the foreseeable future it will be a little down time.”

Anna Marek – USEF Grand Prix Dressage Reserve National Champion

On winning the reserve national championship:
“It has always been a goal of mine to compete at the Festival of Champions. Clair is such a good girl that we thought I might be able to do it [last year] but it was just not a good idea. It was a big deal to qualify both horses and be able to come here, especially at Grand Prix with Clair because I have been with her for a very long time. She always tries hard and exceeds our expectations.”


On her freestyle:
“Karen Robinson designed my freestyle for Dee Clair and she was great working with us. I told her what our weaknesses were and what our strengths were. What I love about the music is that there is a clear spot in the music for each transition. I have not ridden that many freestyles so it helped break me in to learning how to ride them, time everything and fix any mistakes.”

Jennifer Schrader-Williams – USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship third place

On being third:
“It is always such an honor to be here at this show. Every year that I can bring a horse along and make it again it is very wonderful, I enjoy it very much. We hope to be back again next year!”

Jennifer Schrader-Williams and Millione

On her freestyle:
“Glenda Moore designed my freestyle last year. We just wanted something really upbeat and fun that showed off his skills. He loves piaffe-passage so we wanted to show that off and have something that the crowd could enjoy.”

Nick Wagman – USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix National Champion

On winning the championship:
“This certainly exceeded my expectations with Ferano. I came here just excited to have qualified so to come out and win it is unexpected but pleasantly welcomed.”

Nick Wagman and Ferano

Nick Wagman and Ferano

On the decision to move Ferano up a division:
“He has a really good talent for piaffe-passage so I knew that would be were he shined in the test so I thought to move him up. Instead of trying for the Pan American Games with him we decided to just move him up but to be the national champion is super exciting.”

On his test:
“My goal today was to go as clean as possible because I had some unfortunate mistakes on Friday. I was really trying to have a clean test and we seemed to pull it off other than one little bobble on my last piaffe but otherwise, it was clean and that was my task and hand and we did it!”

On what is next for Ferano:
“I think we will probably try out first Grand Prix later in the year at a small show to see where we are at, just slowly get our feet wet in the Grand Prix.”

Nick Wagman and Ferano

Nick Wagman and Ferano

On being at the Lamplight Equestrian Center:
“For me just having got back from Europe, this is very similar to a European show with the layout and the busyness so it is really nice to be here and expose your horses, especially your young ones, to a situation like this. Traveling and being away from home is what I am learning is needed if you want to make it to the top so it has been a really good venue to have that experience in the states, and it is beautiful to top it off!”

Alice Tarjan – USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Reserve National Champion

On her test:

Alice Tarjan and Candescent

Alice Tarjan and Candescent

“I think the trot work was a little bit better than it was on Friday but overall we had more energy than we could contain so it was a bit of a mess today. We will go back and keep working on it.”

On claiming her third reserve championship:
“It is great! I am really happy and the horses are all did well. [Candescent] was second here last year as well and I think we will do it one more year I think, try to get her a little more solemn in the arena since energy can be an issue.”

On being at the Lamplight Equestrian Center:
“This is my favorite horse show! This facility is fantastic and it is really fun to come here and see people from all over the country, it’s very inspirational to watch all the horses in all the levels. All the trainers are here and you meet new people and network with people, it’s a great atmosphere here.”

Alice Tarjan and Candescent

Alice Tarjan and Candescent

On learning to ride Candescent:
“If there was ever a zombie apocalypse that is the horse you would want to be on! On the ground you have to be really careful but once you’re on her back she has all this energy, but you are completely comfortable. She is not going to do anything naughty or bad, she isn’t scary even though she has so much energy. In the tests we just need to learn how to manage her energy better and make her more relaxed.”

Bridget Hay – USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix National Championship third place

On being the reserve national champion:
“I have never placed this high here so it means a lot. He did the young horse divisions but he was always at the bottom because he is not the fanciest horse, but he is learning. He is very trainable and he clearly has the most talent for the piaffe and the passage with the sitting work and the canter pirouettes, so he is a much better Grand Prix horse than he ever was a small tour horse. He has proved that if a horse has three basic greats and a good brain you can bring them right up the levels. It means a lot because he is homebred, so I have had him since the day he was born. He is my kid, I have a really cool relationship with him. He has a heart of gold.”

Bridget Hay and Faolan

Bridget Hay and Faolan

On her test:
“We had mistakes on Friday so today I was like ‘come on!’ He normally puts in a very clean test and he did! In our final centerline I felt we didn’t have as much oomf as we can. He can passage much bigger than that. In the I2 we halt at X so they all think it is maybe a halt so we lost the rhythm a little bit. Otherwise, it was a pretty clean test for us with no major bobbles. I think we could just improve the overall quality but hopefully with time as he gets stronger that happens.”

On what is next for Faolan:
“[To slowly move into the Grand Prix] is my goal too. In Florida I work with Adrienne Lyle and she has helped me a lot this year and is the reason we are here. Our goal now is to get to Florida to start doing Grand Prixs in the national ring and see where we are.”

On being at the Lamplight Equestrian Center:
“It is a gorgeous facility. It means a lot coming to Lamplight because to us, it is the national championships coming here.”