Honoring Our Competitors and Their Horses

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Serenade MF owned and ridden by Alice Tarjan earned the Verne Batchelder Memorial Trophy, presented by River House Hanoverians. Photo by SusanJSticikle.com

Learn about the New Perpetual Trophies of the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®

The 2021 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® featured the establishment and presentation of two new perpetual trophies, the Top Hat Perpetual Trophy, presented by Janet Foy and the Verne Batchelder Memorial Trophy, presented by River House Hanoverians.The Top Hat Perpetual Trophy recognizes the horse and rider combination with the highest freestyle and non-freestyle average score at the same level, and the Verne Batchelder Memorial Trophy is awarded to the FEI highest scoring, US-bred horse. We are so fortunate to be able to recognize these combinations and horses through the generous support of those like Janet and River House Hanoverians.  Read more about these beautiful new trophies below.

Top Hat Perpetual Trophy, presented by Janet Foy

Beginning in 2021, the Top Hat perpetual trophy, presented by renowned FEI 5* and USEF ‘S’ Dressage Judge Janet Foy, recognizes the US Dressage Finals horse and rider combination with the highest freestyle and non-freestyle average score at the same level.  Janet states, “I wanted to encourage top technical championship riders to ride both technical and freestyles tests.”

Janet obtained the impressive bronze statue, sculpted in the likeness of the legendary Brentina and Debbie McDonald, in the late ‘80s. She reminisced, “This bronze is number one of the edition, and I have enjoyed it in my home for many years. As difficult as it is to part with it, I wanted to encourage top technical champions riders to ride both technical and freestyle tests, and this seems like a perfect opportunity.”

At the 2021 US Dressage Finals, the recipient of this trophy was Fie Studnitz Andersen, of Sherborn, MA, riding Equito’s Fürsten Hit.  Fie and Equito’s Fürsten Hit secured this trophy honor with a combined average score of 73. 748%.  The pair earned a 74.578% in the Open First Level Freestyle Championships and a 72.917% in the Open First Level Championships.

Even though her mount is only five years old, Anderson was delighted to see how he handled the atmosphere and pressure of Finals competition. “It was definitely brisk out there and yes we had some moments of tension, but even when I thought things would go the wrong way with the wind gusting, he still found it in him to come back and listen to me. I am super proud of him. I really believe this horse is special and at first I thought this might be too much of a trip for him, but he has just stepped to the plate and shown me he wants to do this.”

Verne Batchelder Memorial Trophy, presented by River House Hanoverians

Awarded to the FEI Highest Scoring US Bred Horse at US Dressage Finals, the Verne Batchelder Memorial Trophy celebrates Verne by championing his desire to promote dressage at the highest levels of the sport on horses bred in the United States.

In addition to being a highly sought-after dressage clinician, USDF medalist, and respected Hanoverian breeder and trainer, Verne was an avid supporter of American breeders and continually strived to increase his knowledge of breeding techniques and bloodlines. Along with wife, Jeanie Hahn, and daughters, Emma and Nora Batchelder, Verne developed the nationally known breeding program at River House Hanoverians.

A beautiful sculpture of Bretone (Brentano II – Santiana, Salut), a personal favorite of Verne’s, was created by artist Clark Moss.  Bretone, aka “Tony the Stalliony”, was a force to reckoned with in the dressage arena, an all-around generous schoolmaster with a sweet disposition and a farm favorite!

At the 2021 US Dressage Finals, the recipient of this trophy was Serenade MF, owned and ridden by Alice Tarjan of Oldwick, NJ.  Alice and Serenade MF secured this trophy honor with a score of 74.928% in the US Dressage Finals Grand Prix Adult Amateur championship.

“Serenade has had a fantastic year and I have to give her so much credit,” said a proud Tarjan. “Every time we go in the ring she is so reliable. She’s only eight years old and there’s still a lot of stuff that is a bit hard for her, but she still answers all the questions of the Grand Prix and does it consistently. You ask her to piaffe and she piaffes. You ask her to do a change or a pirouette and she does a change and a pirouette. She’s just easy that way. For yesterday’s class we had to deal with the rough weather outside, and today I didn’t even have a chance to school in the Alltech – but no matter where we are, she just marches down center line and never questions it.”

Tarjan laughs that if there is a “least likely to succeed in Grand Prix dressage” award, Serenade may be the winner. “Her barn name is ‘Shrimp’ because she’s so little. She’s pretty but not tall and is built downhill,” she said. “It’s kind of crazy because you walk through the barn and there’s all these big, massive body-builder type horses, and then there’s Shrimp who looks like a children’s hunter. You tack her up and she just hangs her head on the ground and is so relaxed and quiet. She’s not the one you would pick out to be doing this, but she gets the job done every single time and I trust her to do anything.”

Tarjan and Serenade MF were also awarded the Lloyd Landkamer Perpetual Trophy for FEI Highest Scoring Mare (presented by Janet Foy) at the 2021 US Dressage Finals.

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