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USA’s Nicholia Clarke Claims Lövsta Future Challenge Dressage USA final

Nicholia Clarke Komsi Komsa photo by Susan J Stickle

In the Lövsta Future Challenge developing grand prix horse final, in which horses performed the FEI Young Horse Grand Prix test, the champion’s sash was claimed by Nicholia Clarke (USA) during the finale week of the 2024 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival . She rode the Komsi Komsa Syndicate LLC’s nine-year-old KWPN gelding Komsi Komsa (by Apache x Osmium) to 68.657%. The top three finishers all came from the first three rides in the class, with fellow American Tina Konyot finishing second on the former wild child J Everdale with 68.368%. Australia’s Kelly Layne filled third on Living Diamond, posting 67.183%.

The classes, which are open to horses from eight to 11 years old, are intended to provide the opportunity for riders to bring their up-and-coming international quality horses into a championship-type environment without the pressures of a CDI, like having to stable away from home. All qualifying rounds, held throughout AGDF 2024, used the FEI Intermediate II test, so the final was a step up in difficulty.

Clarke, who is based in Montana for summers and Wellington for winters, said:

“I”m thankful for the opportunity Lövsta provides for all of us to showcase our horses and give them a chance to be in this environment. I’m thrilled with how Komsi Komsa handled everything.
“I felt like this series would be a great way to move up at the end of the season, to try a few I2s, and we were wondering whether he was ready for the grand prix,” added Clarke, who trains with Debbie McDonald. “With these young horses we’re all wondering how they’ll handle the CDI ring, so we gave it a go and it feels great to come out on top.
“I bought him from Amelie Kovac as a four-year-old, so we’ve been on a journey together which makes it all that much more rewarding. We have a strong partnership, but he’s hot and sensitive, so I’ve learned a lot and this is the icing on the cake,” she concluded.

Reserve champion Konyot has also been on quite a journey with J Everdale, an Everdale x United gelding whom she began riding three years ago to help his owner sell him after he had deposited a number of riders. The two clicked and are now knocking on the door of grand prix.

“‘He was a bit of a naughty boy but it’s a blessing to be here in this situation,” said Konyot. “In Europe there is the Louisdor Cup, and this is such a huge bonus for these young horses to get into an electric environment without any pressure.
“With ‘Grover’ it’s been a journey with ups and downs — sometimes excusing myself, sometimes getting through the test. But he’s talented, with a lot of blood and a lot of fun. Today I had one big spook, but I’m very proud of him.”

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