By Yellow Horse Marketing for the US Dressage Finals
Jessica Greer of Denver, Colo. is a rider on a mission. When she enters the arena at this week’s Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Region 5 Championships in Santa Fe, N.M. with Colleen Cain’s six-year-old Hanoverian gelding Wil Farrell, she will be focused on doing well in the Third Level Open Championship division. But even more so, Greer is intent upon punching her ticket to this November’s US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, and if the pair makes it to Lexington, Ky., it will be the fulfillment of a dream that has been eight years in the making.
“When the Finals came along in 2013 I was really excited about it because here in Colorado, sometimes I feel like we’re a little bit in the middle of nowhere as far as big dressage shows go. We don’t have any major competitions here other than Regionals unless you go all the way to the East Coast or out west to California,” said Greer. “So that first year of the Finals I qualified with two horses, but we just couldn’t make the trip work. The next year, the same thing happened – we had planned for the Finals all year, I qualified, and then last minute circumstances pulled the rug out from under me and once again I couldn’t go.”
Greer got her first taste of the US Dressage Finals in 2014, but only from the sidelines when one of her students qualified in the Third Level Adult Amateur division. “The whole experience of being there was absolutely amazing and everything I had dreamed of,” she remembered. “My student finished third in what was a huge class, and watching her joy during the awards ceremony in the Alltech Arena was so special. I was more convinced than ever that I had to come back to the Finals and ride in it myself.”
Despite a renewed sense of purpose to make it to the Finals, Greer would have to wait even longer as some promising mounts didn’t work out, and others experienced untimely injuries. “But then Wil Farrell came to me as a four-year-old, and not only is he very talented but his personality is exactly like his name!” Greer laughed. “His owner and I had high hopes for him in the show ring last year, but then COVID hit and not only did the 2020 Finals get cancelled, but our Regional Championship was cancelled as well. So even though we were frustrated yet again, now we’re even more determined and the way Wil’s been going I think he has a really good chance to make it this time.”
Following the Region 5 Championships in Santa Fe, anticipation will continue to build for competitors like Greer all across the country with three more exciting weeks of Regional Championship competition. The first “super weekend” on September 23-26 will feature four championships being held from coast to coast: Region 4 in Cumming, Iowa; Region 6 in Sherwood, Ore.; Region 7 at Rancho Murieta, Cal.; and Region 8 in Saugerties, N.Y.
Next on the calendar will be Regions 2, 3 and 9 on October 7/8-10 in Lexington, Ky., Conyers, Ga. and Katy, Texas, respectively. Wrapping up this year’s Regional Championship season in grand fashion will be Region 1 in Lexington, Va. on October 14-17. For added incentive, the USDF and Great American Insurance Group recently announced that prize money totaling nearly $200,000 will be awarded at this year’s Regional Championships. This prize money will be divided evenly among the nine regions and 35 divisions that are offered, allowing each region to present competitors with over $22,000 in prize money and awards.
Like so many competitors, Greer feels that competing at her Regional Championship is special. But being able to hopefully qualify for the US Dressage Finals is also a huge honor, and if she makes it, riding in Kentucky will be one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that cannot be wasted. “Despite being a young horse, Wil has proven to be of the best character and I have every confidence that we are both ready for this challenge,” Greer noted. “I have the entire thing in my mind like a movie that I play over and over: I can see the layout of the Kentucky Horse Park, how the arena will look, and what it will feel like going down centerline. If I actually make it to the Finals this time, I feel like all of the stars had to align to finally make this happen, and I can’t wait.”
Don’t miss your chance to qualify for the US Dressage Finals! As a reminder for all competitors, a horse/rider combination must declare their intention to participate in the US Dressage Finals by completing the Declaration of Intent form by midnight on the day prior to the first day of their Regional Championship competition (including any open class day before the start of championship classes). There is no fee to declare, but horse/rider combinations must declare at the level(s) and eligible division(s) they intend to compete in at the US Dressage Finals. Submit your declaration today at www.usdressagefinals.com, and thenremember to submit your nomination (the next step of the qualifying process) immediately following your Regional Championship show.
The US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® is a unique national head-to-head competition which offers a wealth of championship titles and over $120,000 in prize money, all while showcasing junior/young rider, adult amateur and open exhibitors from across the country. This year’s event will be held November 11-14 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. To learn more about the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, download competition information, declare and nominate for the Finals, and sign up to receive news and updates, visit the official event website at www.usdressagefinals.com.