Saugerties, N.Y. - September 28, 2020 - Mount Holyoke College Dressage instructor and head coach of the Dressage team, Jutta Lee, recently claimed a Fourth Level Championship title in the prestigious Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation (GAIG/USDF) Region 8 Dressage Championships, hosted at HITS on the Hudson from September 17-20.
Lee's victory earned her a qualification into the 2020 US Dressage Finals. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the prestigious competition has been canceled this year. However, those who have qualified will automatically be allowed to carry over their eligibility to 2021.
"From his start as an Amish buggy horse to becoming a Fourth Level Champion, beautiful Nick proves that you don't have to be fancy bred to leave your competitors behind you," exclaimed Lee. "
Lee's horse In the Nick of Time (Nick) is a 10-year-old bay, gelding Freisian/Tennessee Walking Cross that she has been working with for six years.
"Right from the beginning Nick was always there to work," said Lee. "He has great talent for piaffe, passage and pirouettes. Above all he's a very personable horse and aims to please. He always steps up to the plate whether at home or at shows. At regionals this year, he was his usual unflappable self. He was flawless in the ring and at the end of the day we both had smiles on our faces, ear-to-ear."
A cross between Friesian and Tennessee Walker is rare among horses, but according to Lee, "he has the best of both worlds...the beauty of the Friesian and the rideability and the will to please from the Tennessee Walker."
Lee, who has been the head dressage coach and a dressage instructor at Mount Holyoke College for the last three academic years, is no stranger to success on the big stage. After moving to the United States from Germany in 2009, Lee opened her own training facility in Vermont and quickly earned USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold medals within her first five years of training her own horses. Lee has also won a small tour of the CDI in Saugerties in 2012, and has won multiple year-end honors from the New England Dressage Association (NEDA).
"We are very excited about Jutta and Nick's win," commented Paula Pierce '94, current Director of the Equestrian Center at Mount Holyoke College. "We pride ourselves in not only having superior educators, but also exceptional practitioners on our staff at the Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center. Jutta and Nick's performance at the Region 8 Championships is proof of that commitment to excellence. Go Lyons!"
In the past three years, several of Lee's Dressage athletes have earned their Bronze or Silver medals under her instruction.
"I believe my own competing actually benefits our team as I still have the finger on the pulse of the Dressage community," added Lee. "I know what's going on out there. I have a feel for what judges want to see, helping me be able to teach and train my students accordingly."