2005 North American Young Riders' Championships

Top Dressage Riders Are Neck and Neck After the Individual Test

By Stacy Gormley

With the team test jitters over, it was time for the quest of the individual championships to kick into high gear. It was a close battle for the top placings at the 2005 NAYRC in the Individual Test today in Lexington, Virginia. Riders Catherine Malone and Dani Judy are neck and neck after the second round of competition. Malone topped off the class today with a 69.95% to keep herself and her KWPN Dutch Warmblood mount, Michigan (x Farrington) just in front of Judy’s Oldenburg, Antaeus (by Akzent II) 69.05%. When the team test and individual tests were combined, Malone held on to the lead with 138.928, just ahead of Judy’s 137.672.

But, it’s not time to breathe easy just yet. Right on their tails are Anna Wood and her tower of power, Novarredo, the huge chestnut Westphalen by Newcastle, with a combined score of 136.189 and the cinderella of the weekend,Kaitlyn Hamilton and Noviembre (KWPN by Donnderschlag) following in hot pursuit with a 135.261. All four girls put in breath-taking rides this morning, really going for it, none under a 68.15%.

Needless to say, there is much anticipation around here for the Freestyle on Sunday. This is perhaps the closest dual for the prized individual medals ever seen at the NAYRC.

The atmosphere remains fun and upbeat, and the horses seem much happier today with the weather finally cooling off again now in the mid 80’s.

There is a notable progression in the caliber of horse and rider even from last year to this year, and the scores confirm that. Almost four full percentage points exist between those dueling it out for 2nd, 3rd and 4th in 2004 and the competitors here this year.

The judges could not be more thrilled with the caliber of horse and rider coming out to play this year. They also show their full support to the young rider program and believe this program plays a big part in developing tomorrow’s champions. Joan McCartney from Canada was just bubbling with joy this morning.

“This is a very special program.” She excitedly pointed out. These young riders have their own mini Olympics and I am so happy to be a part of this. This is my second year judging, and I am very impressed with the riding abilities of these competitors, who are some of the best young riders we have to offer. It’s a great learning experience for them and hopefully this will help to mold them into our international riders of tomorrow.”

It is so encouraging to hear competitors speak about how much the experience means to them as well. The darling of the weekend, Kaitlyn Hamilton, a nursing student, showed her appreciation for all the Young Riders’ has offered her.

“My goal for this weekend was to make it to the freestyle, so doing this well has been more than I could have imagined. I am so proud of my horse! This is his time to shine, and he is shining! I feel like he knows what he is here to do, and he is getting the job done. I feel so lucky to be able to ride a horse like him.”

With an attitude like that towards your horse and towards competition mixed with incredible riding talent and brilliant horse, this girl has gone one bright future!

Saturday, July 31, the consolation test gets underway. Sunday morning the top 15 riders will dance with their steeds aiming for the individual medals, to make a bid for the score which will determine it all!

HorsesDaily "On the Scene" at the 2005 NAYRC - Complete results