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First Zweibrucker competes in Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships

Melanie Mitchell and her RPSI mare Liokai (previously Robin H) are officially the first Zweibrucker participants of the 2007 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, held in Lexington, KY September 14 - 16, 2007.

Melanie and Liokai competed in the Four Year Old divison and finished 15th in Friday's Warm-up, and 18th in Saturday's Championship, ending with a total score of 6.72. Entries in the championship are by invitation only, and final scores were calculated from the average of three judges' scores (Anne Gribbons, "O", Marianne Ludwig, "I", and Natalie Lamping, FEI "I") in the following categories: Trot, Walk, Canter, Submissiveness, and General Impression.

"We were thrilled to qualify - it is very competitive," Mitchell said. "I love the class - they're not judging each individual movement, which takes the pressure off of a young horse. You're able to forgive more, and concentrate on the quality and purity of the gaits."

Even after Liokai fell on concrete the day of the competition, Mitchell said the nearly 18 h. mare was able to rally, and put in a beautiful, relaxed test.

"That just tells how good her breeding is - she went in and really tried. We just had a lot of fun - it was almost like a festival, with competitors having fun and supporting each other."

Mitchell doesn't plan to try to qualify for the five year old test in 2008, feeling this would be too much to ask, too soon, for a young horse that's still growing.

In case you're wondering, Liokai means sea horse in Hawaiian - Liokai has an almost perfectly shaped sea-horse star on her forehead.

Liokai was bred by Angela Jackson of Rhein-River Farm, and is by River H out of Fleur H by Fangio. Congratulations!