Sarah Tredennick Wins the $25,000 Grand Prix of Estes Park II
Estes Park, CO- Eighteen-year-old Sarah Tredennick bested a field of nearly 30 entrants to win her first Grand Prix, the $25,000 Grand Prix of Estes Park II. With her Irish-bred mare Special Verdict, the young rider, who is headed to her freshmen year at the University of Denver, bested a field of top Grand Prix riders, including Bjorn Ikast and Armando Hassey. The Cherry Hills, Colorado resident has been on a roll, finishing in fourth place at the prestigious CN North American Junior and Young Riders Championships earlier this month, as well as claiming the $10,000 Welcome Stake during the second week of the Colorado Summer Circuit in July.
Out of nearly 30 entrants, only three riders jumped without fault to advance to the jump-off. "It was a fairly simple, straight-forward course," Tredennick said of the first round effort. "But the ring itself is pretty interesting to ride in." Although Tredennick has traveled to the best venues in the United States, like the Winter Equestrian Festival and the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, she's been competing in Estes Park for her entire life, perhaps an advantage over the other riders.
Tredennick was in position number two in the jump-off. After watching Hassey collect eight faults, her strategy was simple-go clear. But with the seasoned Ikast following her, her expectations were realistic. "I wasn't expecting to beat Bjorn and he probably wasn't expecting me to beat him," she explains with a laugh. However after the Denmark native crossed the timers, he was nearly a second behind Tredennick's time. "Everyone started screaming," she recalls. "My trainer started crying. It was something else to win this class." Tredennick's parents, John and Page, are also seasoned equestrians and completely appreciated the enormity of their daughter's accomplishment. "My dad's my biggest fan," Tredennick states. "And my mom was thrilled for me."
This victory came on the heels of a successful North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC), where Tredennick finished fourth individually. "It was a really great competition and I was really pleased to stay consistent throughout the week," she recalls. The NAJYRC is considered the stepping-stone to the Olympics and is held in the Olympic format, with numerous rounds of serious jumping over 1.5 meter obstacles. Courses this year were designed by Olaf Peteresen, Jr. who challenged the continent's best riders with technical questions as well as scope and power obstacles over five courses, including a speed round, nation's cup format and two-round final. "It is such great experience to ride the different types of courses," Tredennick adds.
Tredennick has been partnered with her 10-year-old mare, Special Verdict, who's known around the barn as Missy Moo Cow, for three years. "We know each other really well; we're a match made in heaven," Tredennick says. She also praises the mare's incredible temperament. "On the day off at young riders, we barebacked around the show. She's a funny mare and I'm lucky to have her."
Tredennick is now preparing for college, but her mind is firmly set on continuing to compete. "I'm going to get settled at school for a few weeks, but then we're heading to Florida in November," she says. Tredennick is bringing along another young jumper and hopes to compete at NAJYRC again next year on the youngster. That's not Tredennick's only goal; "I'd also really like to do Spruce Meadows next year," she says.