STALLIONS * CHARLOTTE BREDAHL-BAKER * DRESSAGE
SANTA YNEZ REAL ESTATE * MENTORING * ENDORSEMENTS
From: "The Chronicle of the Horse"
The U.S. teams were arranged by scores earned in qualifying shows during the year. Chef d'Equipe Jessica Ransehousen insisted she wasn't disappointed that her top team finished 112 points behind the Mexicans. She noted that four riders are competing in Europe under U.S. Equestrian Team grants to prepare for the 1998 World Championships (Sue Blinks, Kathleen Raine, Shelley Francis and Michael Barisone). And Olympians Guenter Seidel and Steffen Peters never applied for this competition.
"That was the top Mexican team and ours wasn't here. This is our third team," she said. "We were trying to fulfill a lot of possibilities this year."
And the four members of the USA Team A finished very close together. Charlotte Bredahl and Lugano were the top scorers in the team Grand Prix (1,593), but Kathy von Ertfelda and Dutch were just behind (1,591). Von Ertfelda ended as the top American in fourth place after the young Lugano made some mistakes in his freestyle to finish sixth overall.
But Debbie McDonald and Beaurivage improved steadily after being the Grand Prix drop score. They were 11th in the Special (63.77%) and moved up to second in the freestyle with a '60s-themed test.
McDonald, of Hailey, Idaho, used "King of the Road," "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head," and "The Age of Aquarius" to produce an invigorating performance from the bay Hanoverian. His passage, half-passes and tempichanges seemed to rise to a new level with the music, and McDonald's transitions between and within gaits were perfectly timed with the musical cues.
Dutch also profited from the music. "He just loves dancing to his music. I'm lucky that my horse gets really pumped up," she said. Von Ertfelda has been competing Dutch, 13, at Grand Prix for five years and thinks "he's not getting older, he's getting better."
Von Ertfelda hoped to earn the U.S. spot at the 1998 World Cup Final for the second time at the U.S. League Finals the week after NADC. This was the third time she'd performed this particular freestyle, in which she uses a song called "Suicide Blonde" by the popular band INXS on two occasions. She said she hadn't talked to the judges about her test, but that some of her competitors had told her they like the music.
Ransehousen was pleased that some young horses and inexperienced riders had gotten international experience close to home. And she recalled that a decade ago the USET couldn't have fielded three Grand Prix teams. "This is a symbol of our depth," she said.
Lugano is one of those horses. Bredahl has developed him to succeed her 1992 Olympic mount, Monsieur, and she produced two steady and accurate tests to place fourth in the Grand Prix and fifth in the Special.