Lexington, KY - Ben Asselin of Calgary, Alberta, produced a stunning victory during today's North American Junior Rider Championship Individual Final for Show Jumping after leading the competition from start to finish. Sixteen-year-old Asselin and his top mount Lolita completed five clear jumping efforts to capture the 2010 Gold Medal.
They entered today's Final with zero faults and then managed to complete each of today's courses effortlessly, leaving all the rails in their cups. The Silver Medal was presented to Meg O'Mara and Sinatra IV, while Jocelyn Neff and Gaja 20 garnered the Bronze Medal.
"It still feels like a dream, it's quite surreal," said Asselin after his victory. "Meg and Jocelyn put a lot of pressure on me by jumping clear in the first round, so I knew I had to put in a good clear round to win the gold."
Asselin contributes his victory to a great deal of focus and his partner Lolita, a 12-year-old Oldenburg mare. "Lola is quite a hot mare, she's got a lot of blood, which is a really big help jumping that many rounds," he explained. "It's really tough on the horses having to jump two rounds in the Nations Cup and then two rounds again today. I think all the blood that mare has really helped, she just has the biggest heart."
Olaf Peterson Jr. designed today's challenging courses. The first round featured 12 jumping efforts including an open water obstacle, a triple combination and two double combinations. The second round was also very technical with two double combinations and tested each horse's power and endurance.
"I thought the course designer did a good job throughout the whole week," commented Asselin. "He built a tough Nations Cup but he was fair about it and today's courses were good, too; they set the bar high."
Today's Silver Medal was awarded to Meg O'Mara from Zone 2, who completed two clear rounds today and ended the competition with just four faults. O'Mara and the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood Sinatra IV had one rail during the First Individual Qualifier, but they then went on to complete four clear rounds over the next two days of competition.
"This is our first FEI event but we knew he was going to do well because he tries really hard and has a really big heart," noted O'Mara. "After the first rail I was really hard on myself and I knew I had to go clear to medal."
Jocelyn Neff and Gaja 20 garnered the Individual Bronze Medal for Zone 10 after the completion of today's two rounds of show jumping. The pair accrued eight faults over the first two day's of competition, but they then went on to produce two clear rounds today and capture the bronze.
The North American Young Rider Championship Individual Final will be held later today in the Main Outdoor Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park. Twenty-four horse and rider combinations will compete over two rounds to vie for the Gold Medal.
For more information on the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows, please go to www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
For more information about NAJYRC, please visit www.youngriders.org.
NAJC INDIVIDUAL OVERALL STANDINGS
1 65 LOLITA Ben Asselin Attache Stables 0
2 123 SINATRA IV Meg O'Mara Thinks Like A Horse 4
3 118 GAJA 20 Jocelyn Neff Donna Neff 8
4 125 MERLIN Frances Land Frances Land 12
5 119 RODENBURGHS CALIFORNIA Audrey Coulter Copernicus Stables LLC 13
6 121 ESPERANTO Kendall Skreden Kendall Skreden 16
6 131 TRITON Catherine Tyree First Partners LP 16
8 66 CALLE 11 Bretton Chad Stone Ridge 18
9 67 LITTLE MILTON Jasmine Wiggins Jasmine Wiggins 20
10 126 PRACHT Michael Hughes Christina Fried & Drumnacross Farm 23
Photo Credit: Ben Asselin won the Show Jumping's North American Junior Rider Championship Individual Gold Medal with Lolita. Photo By: Kenneth Kraus/PhelpsSports.com.