Lexington, KY - The 2013 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC) finished Sunday after another fantastic week of top competition for Junior and Young Riders. Eventing was the focus of the final day with Team and Individual Medals for CCI1* and CCI2* riders. In the CCI2*, Caroline Martin (Area III) and Quantum Solace won the Gold and Area III was the top team. Nicole Doolittle and Tops led the victory gallop in the CCI1* competition for the Gold medal and her Area III team was golden as well.
Five disciplines (a total of 9 championships for juniors and young riders) took part in the only FEI Championship to be held annually in North America. The NAJYRC is the premier equestrian competition in North America for junior and young riders, ages 14-21.
The best 10 riders returned for the stadium jumping phase in the CCI2* Sunday. With one of only two clear rounds, Caroline Martin (18, Miami Beach, FL) and Quantum Solace moved up to secure the Gold medal with a total of 52.2 penalties. Their dressage score was 50.2 and they had two time penalties on cross country.
Martin gave thanks to her horse for his great performance in the stadium jumping. "In one of the lines, I added another stride and he kept jumping higher, higher, and higher. I have so much faith in him. It feels like you're sitting on top of the world on him and I know he can make it over. I've never felt a horse that has so much heart and power, and it's effortless."
Martin found Quantum Solace, an eight-year-old Argentinian Thoroughbred gelding, as a four-year-old who was originally going to be a jumper. It was an inauspicious start for the "scrawny baby," Martin said. "I had no idea what kind of horse he could turn into. It's pretty cool to think two short years ago I didn't think he could do this. He's pretty mature for his age. He's my best friend, and he's the only thing that stayed consistent in my life. He's always there for me."
With two rails down in stadium jumping as the last one in the ring, Rowdie Adams (Area V) had to settle for the Silver medal on No Money Down. Adams had 50.9 penalties after dressage and moved into the lead when she was the only one totally clear in the cross country. She finished on 58.9 penalties.
Adams said that the big spread of the oxers was something her horse struggled with after running cross country. "This was a championship course," she acknowledged. "It is what it should have been. He's not the most careful show jumper, and he's always been that way. I went in today expecting him to probably hit something, but I was really hoping he wouldn't."
Like Martin, Adams has a similar close-knit relationship with No Money Down, who is appropriately named. Adams said she found the 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding by Coordinator in a junkyard and rescued him six years ago. "I was a little kid that thought every horse was cool," she remembered. "He was eight when I got him, and now he's turning 14. It's taken a lot of years and all the disappointing rides, but something clicked on him and I never gave up on him. It brought us here today."
She continued with tears in her eyes, "I had a lot of people tell me he was never going to do anything and he's proven everyone wrong. It's fantastic to think that he's come all this way. The fact that he did a beautiful dressage ride for me, jumped around like a pure genius in cross country, he could have had every rail down today and it would be okay. He's done so much for me."
With what No Money Down has given her, Adams said that he doesn't owe her anything. She is uncertain of what his future will be, but that he will always be a part of her family. "Whatever he wants to do, he can do," she agreed. "If he wants to continue on and do Rolex, he can. If he'd rather chill in a field, that's fine. That horse has given me everything. He's gotten me here. I owe him everything. I have two medals on my neck."
Jennifer Caras and Fernhill Stowaway had 52 penalties after Dressage and gained 11.6 time penalties on cross country. With one rail down in stadium jumping, she finished on 67.6 penalties for the Bronze medal.
Caras (17, Marietta, GA) said that she thought the stadium jumping course "looked massive," but that she was happy with her horse since he is only seven years old. Caras found the KWPN gelding by Empire two years ago in England after she "couldn't stop watching him." She remarked, "I don't know if I've ever loved a horse this much before. Everybody says their horse is the best, but I definitely think mine is! You mess up and he's green, but he'll still handle it fine. He doesn't hold it against you."
She added, "He's a very useful horse. He's very talented in all three phases. He's not quite quick enough to be at highest level, but he's only seven so he has a long way ahead of him hopefully."
Area III won their first Gold medal of the day in the CCI2*, thanks to very strong performances from their team: Caroline Martin and Quantum Solace (52.2 penalties), Jennifer Caras and Fernhill Stowaway (67.6), Mary Atkins Hunt (19, Mobile, AL) and Nuance (71.7 and fourth individually), and Matilda Segal on Guinness X (Eliminated on cross country). Their team total was 191.5 penalties.
Martin believes that the reason why their team did so well was their "great support group." She said, "We work together. We all hang out and we're very close. I'm so sad it's over. I don't want to leave."
Hunt noted that NAJYRC puts different pressure on the riders than any other show, but that is has helped them in their journey as riders. Segal (17, Monticello, GA) agreed, "It's a great thing this competition does to bring us together like this so early on in the sport. It goes along with what this competition means, furthering kids in sport and pushing us on to something like Rolex or a (senior) team. This puts us in environments early on."
The Team Silver medal went to Area VII, VIII & IX with a total of 242.1 penalties from team members:
Jacqueline Larouche (19, Aspen, CO) and The Gingerbread Man: 83.2 penalties
Erin Strader (21, Ann Arbor, MI) and Radio Flyer II: 72.6
Lizzie Snow (21, Portland, OR) and Ringfort Tinkaturk: 86.3, clear in Stadium Jumping
Area V won the Bronze medal with the following riders and a total of 285.4 penalties:
Alexa Ehlers (18, Bartonville, TX) and In Any Event: 109.8
Mary Frances Cargile (20, San Angelo, TX) and Take the Mick: 116.7
Rowdie Adams (17, Cash, TX) and No Money Down: 58.9
Nicole Doolittle Is Tops in CCI1* to Lead Area III
Nicole Doolittle had all of the pressure on her as she entered the Rolex Stadium for the Stadium Jumping phase of the Eventing CCI1* for Junior riders. Not only was she the leading rider individually, she also had to determine where her team, Area III, would end up in the standings. With a flawless clear round on Tops, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Top of the World, Doolittle would end up as a double Gold medalist.
Starting out the week, Doolittle and Tops scored 48.1 penalties in Dressage to stand in second place. They added no jumping or time penalties on cross country to move up to first place, and that all-important clear round in stadium jumping gave them the win.
Doolittle (15, Matthews, NC) was riding in her second NAJYRC, but it was on Tops, a newer horse that she has only been riding for eight months and who has competed at the Advanced level. "We had a really great season, so I was fortunate to have some good shows leading up to this. I felt confident coming in," she stated.
Doolittle described Tops as "quite a goofy horse." She continued, "He's a very personable horse. He's really in tune with how you're feeling and you can tell how he's feeling at any time. He's wonderful under saddle, and I've come into a great rhythm with him. It's been a blast getting to know him. He's become my best friend in this whole process."
Tops is "a consistent horse overall," with being a good mover for dressage, bold on cross country, and a "pretty careful jumper." Doolittle added, however, "He does get a little Irish attitude sometimes when he doesn't totally agree."
Doolittle thanked her groom Carly Whetstone for how beautifully turned out Tops was this week. Regarding her double Gold medal performance, she said, "It was a surreal moment. I'm overjoyed and proud with how my horse has carried (this) out."
The Silver medal went to Ann O'Neal Pevahouse (Area V) on Don Bosco, a 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Don Bosco. They had 54.4 penalties from Dressage, were clear through Cross Country, and their clear in Stadium Jumping vaulted them into medal contention. They moved from 14th to seventh to second place this week.
Pevahouse (18, Little Rock, AR) has had Don Bosco for five years and said that his strongest phase is cross country. "He likes to open up and gallop a lot. He can get a little lazy at the end, but he's still really careful," she described.
While Pevahouse said she hoped she could medal at NAJYRC, she "didn't think I could move up from seventh to second." They placed sixth individually here last year. "I'm so happy!" she exclaimed.
The Bronze medal hung around the neck of April Simmonds (Ontario), who rode Impressively Done, an eight-year-old Thoroughbred gelding by Eulogize. They scored 53.7 in Dressage and were in 13th place, but after just 1.2 time penalties on cross country, they moved up to eighth. Their great clear round in stadium jumping moved them to third after the second through sixth place riders had faults in the final phase.
Simmonds (15, Oxbridge, ON, CAN) has ridden Impressively Done for two and a half years and they have moved up from the Training level together. Although she said they have had "good and bad shows" this season, she felt very well prepared for NAJYRC. "His strongest phase is cross country. He's very fast and he loves it, and he respects the jumps," she said of her horse.
Regarding her Bronze medal finish, she exclaimed, "I feel shocked. I was eighth going into stadium jumping. I didn't think I'd move up that much."
Half of the class Sunday went clear over the course designed by Richard Jeffrey of Bournemouth, England. This helped many riders contribute to their team and kept the team standings the same from after cross country.
Doolittle led the Area III team with just 48.1 penalties for the Team Gold medal, which had a team total of 165.7 penalties. She was joined by Victoria Clayton on The Secret Agent (67.9 penalties), Ashley Dodds with Manhattan (56.0), and Diane Portwood with Cinerescent (61.6).
Diane Portwood (17, Marietta, GA) did not have an ideal situation coming into the NAJYRC as her horse Cinerescent was injured. She was not ridden two weeks before the week of NAJYRC. "I didn't know what to expect from her. She normally gets one day a week off," Portwood explained. "It definitely affected how we had to ride the dressage test. I couldn't push for movements and a bigger trot."
With some time off, Cinerescent was sound and ready for NAJYRC. Portwood was nervous coming into Sunday's stadium jumping phase in her first time at NAJYRC. "It was really nerve-wracking being here. I groomed here last year, so I knew what to expect, but it's much different when you're riding," she said. She credited team coach Kyle Carter, who has also been her personal coach for eight months. "He knew me and my horse. That helped calm me down a lot," she said.
Ashley Dodds (16, Canton, GA) said that for her first time at NAJYRC, it was a great experience. "It helped a lot that we have such an amazing team. We have fun, but we can also be serious," she noted. While a few jumps were "not as planned" in stadium jumping, Dodds was happy that she was able to fix it and continue to ride positive and finish her course well.
Victoria Clayton (17, High Mountain, GA), another first-timer at NAJYRC, said she had not been here before as groom and "didn't know what to expect." She noted, "I'm so lucky to have these girls for teammates."
The Silver medal went to Area VII & VIII with 175.7 penalties. Their team members were:
Mary Peabody Camp (19, Louisville, KY) and Rave Review: 58.6 penalties
Margaret Ragan (16, Prospect, KY) and Surefire's Anwar: Did not pass final horse inspection
Emily Macauley (18, Grand Rapids, MI) and Canadian Exchange: 58.8
Ashlynn Meuchel (18, Kalispell, MT) and Morning Star: 58.3
Area II finished with the Bronze medal on 195.2 penalties, with team members:
Morgan Booth and Lucky Little Spy: Rider fall on cross country
David Pawlak (16, Boyce, VA) and Just Bailey: 59.8
Madeline Parisan (14, Rising Sun, MD) and Hope to Star: 63.0
Chase Shipka and (16, Marshall, VA) Victory Shetan: 72.4
Special trophies and awards were given throughout the week. They were:
The Howard B. Simpson High Five Trophy, awarded to the volunteer who best exemplifies Howard's spirit of volunteering - Christy Baxter
Reining - Victoria Cartillar, USA South Central
Jumping - Eugenio Garza Perez, Mexico
Endurance - Micheal Bishop, USA Northeast Combined
Dressage - Krista Spencer, Region 4
Eventing -Erika Carson, Area IX
The Horsepower Trophy, recognizes an oustanding horse from any of the championship disciplines who best demonstrates determination, courage, class, heart and the ability to inspire athletes and spectators alike throughout the competition - DJB Braveheart, Endurance
The Captain Andrew B. De Szinay Memorial Sportsman Trophy, given to the young rider who best personifies the high standards and virtues of integrity, sportsmanship, honor, courage, team spirit, good temper, and unselfishness - Cassandra Roberts, Endurance
The Caristo Cup, given to the chef d'equipe that best exemplifies Ralph Caristo's enthusiasm and professionalism - Juan Manuel Cossio, Jumping Chef d'Equipe for Mexico
The Albers Award, given to the dressage chef d'equipe who best demonstrates the same level of dedication, enthusiasm, and team spirit shown by Patsy Albers throughout the years - Ed Lavallee
The Pursuit of Excellence - Fiona Baan Memorial Trophy, awarded to the young rider in the dressage championships who receives the highest combined average percentage score from the Team, Individual, and Freestyle dressage rides - Ayden Uhlir, Region 6
The Trish Gilbert Award, given to the highest placing current U.S. Pony Club member competing in the NAJYRC CCI2* Eventing Championship - Rowdie Adams, Area V
The Rebecca Broussard Saturday Night Award, given to the highest placed junior and highest placed young rider following the cross country phase of the eventing championships:
Junior - Nicole Doolittle, Area III
Young Rider - Rowdie Adams, Area V
For full results or to learn more about the Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North, please visit www.youngriders.org.
USEF Network presented by SpartPak streamed Saturday's events from the Rolex Stadium during NAJYRC as well as the Individual Reining from the Alltech Arena. Video On-demand of the top performers is now available. Visit www.usefnetwork.com to find out more and watch!
NAJYRC showcases the best young rider and junior horse/rider combinations in dressage, eventing, jumping, reining, and endurance. Young equestrians from across the continent will descend on the Kentucky Horse Park to vie for FEI medals at these Championships.
For sponsorship information visit www.youngriders.org/Sponsors.aspx.