Canadian Junior Riders Dominate International FEI Junior Competition at CDI*** Copa Mexico

Junior Riders from Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Costa Rica, USA and Canada competed in the first ever CDI 3*** In Copa Mexico November 10-12. In front of the imposing ground jury consisting of Mariette Withages (BEL), Cara Whitham (CAN) and Axel Steiner (USA), these youngsters tested their skills while competing on borrowed horses over the duration of three days.

US Riders, Ana DiGironimo of New Jersey, Ryan Eskridge from North Carolina, and Floridians Amanda Stearns and Arianne Weiss were among twelve riders who competed for the 2005 USEF Junior Dressage Team Championship, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, The Dutta Corp and Performance Sales International, in Devon, Pennsylvania in September, earning the opportunity to compete by invitation in Mexico.

But it was the Canadian Junior Riders who dominated the competition, with Erica Urff winning overall. Erica sent DressageDaily a wonderful account of her experience, along with photos, capturing a first hand account of the color, and detail of this inaugural opportunity for Junior Riders to be a part of Mexico’s first ever CDI***.

Photo: Canadian Team photo (L-R) Alex Duncan, Jade Deter, Erika Urff, Pia Fortmuller, Albrecht Heidemann, Brittany Fraser Jessica Rheinlander and Ruth Koch

Mexico City CDI*** 2005 - by Erica Urf

International FEI Junior Competition at CDI*** Copa Mexico

Mexico City CDI*** 2005 - by Erica Urf

From November 10th-12th 2005 five Canadian riders participated in Mexico City’s first ever CDI*** competition. The riders included Pia Fortmuller of Vancouver (Young Rider), Alexandra Duncan of Vancouver (FEI Junior), Brittany Fraser of Halifax (FEI Junior), Jessica Rheinlander of New Found land (FEI Junior), Jade Deter of Ottawa (FEI Children’s) and me, Erika Urff of Langley (FEI Junior). Each rider would be riding a horse provided by the show committee. It was an opportunity for a select few young riders to participate in an International competition under top judges who included Axel Steiner, Cara Whitham, Mariette Withages, Gabriel Armando and Mercedes Campdera. Several riders came from countries such as Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Costa Rica, USA and Canada. This CDI was by invitation, meaning riders submitted scores and were selected to participate.

The facility was set on a sloping hill rich with Spanish culture. The grounds were stationed on a military base. There were several large sand arenas and one covered indoor in which the CDI took place. The ring was decorated with the flags of the represented countries and the Mexican colors. A large Coca-Cola® score board displayed the name of the rider and the horse currently riding. The climate was cold morning but warm days. Because of the high altitude that the facility was in walking up the hill literally left you breathless.

International FEI Junior Competition at CDI*** Copa Mexico

Mexico City CDI*** 2005 - by Erica Urf

Riding on Borrowed Horses

Each rider would draw for their horse. After some last minute shuffling around to eliminate unsuitable horses everyone had a horse that would stand up to the task. Wednesday the 9th of November, was only the second day we were able to ride. It was the day prior to the show and the day of the jog. The Children’s riders went first, then the Juniors.

This is where some slight turmoil began. My little 15.0HH Lusitanian stallion appeared to be off on the left fore leg. After all the other horses in the CDI had completed the jog they decided that the following day, the first day of the show, they would re-jog my horse at 12:00 PM prior to the start of the Prix ST. Georges, only four hours before I would ride my test. So the afternoon of the 9th I tried another horse that was brought in at the last minute for an American rider that did not work out. It was a nice little stallion but had some connection problems that would be of hindrance. I felt that I would be able to get around a test but it would all be schooling.

After a quick talk with Ruth Koch, Albrecht Heidemann and my father we decided that it would not work. The same owner of that horse then brought down a stallion by Ferro, that he was willing to pull out of the national competition for me to compete. It was arranged that the American rider would ride the horse first as she did not have a horse, but whether my horse would pass the re-jog or not was questionable. After her ride she decided that the horse was too complicated and she could not manage the stallion.

So on I got and worked through some of the horses issues. In the end he went well and it was a toss up. The next morning I was to try the Ferro horse again before the re-jog. If the Lusitano was fine I would take him as I could do more on him. Upon my arrival I was told that the vet had looked at my horse, Otto, and said he was fine. So I did not have to ride the other stallion. When the horse was re-jogged the result was the same, even after a long night of the grooms icing and walking him, he was still slightly uneven, but in the end the ground jury passed him. Good thing as we had no back up horses.

International FEI Junior Competition at CDI*** Copa Mexico

Mexico City CDI*** 2005 - by Erica Urf

The awards ceremonies were mounted and consisted of the playing of the winning riders’ national anthem. The final ceremony was uncounted as the top three riders had to proceed to the podium.

It was a large event; even the Mexican national television cameras were present to tape the top riders. In the end I came home with a large accomplishment under my belt, as did my fellow Canadian riders who were also successful.

Photo: Podium awards with Canadian Riders, and on the right US Riders Amanda Stearns, Arianne Weiss, and Ana Di'Gironimo

A huge thank-you is owed to the horse owners for allowing us to ride their horses. We all ended up on nice horses, although it was an eye opener as the quality was different from what we are used to in Canada.

Each owner was very supportive and they certainly bent over backwards to help accommodate us. We were each supplied with grooms who worked round the clock to prepare our horses. They did and amazing job and always had the horse ready for when you wanted. They were a big part of our success.

The British Columbia Team also received generous sponsorship from Charles Owen Helmets and each received a GR8 Helmet. We are looking forward to a great working relationship with this very supportive company. Also, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the show committee for inviting us to participate in their first ever CDI***. This was an amazing opportunity for us to show our riding ability and compete in a large international competition.

Photo: Erika Urf, Alex Dunan and Pia Fortmuller with their Charles Owen GR8 Helmets

Results FEI Junior Division CDI*** Copa Mexico

International FEI Junior Competition at CDI*** Copa Mexico

Results FEI Junior Division CDI*** Copa Mexico

Junior FEI Team Test - Thursday, November 10,2005

  • 1 - Brittany Fraser - Oceana - Canada - 62.91%
  • 2 - Erika Urff - Otto - Canada - 61.71%
  • 3 - Alex Duncan Zeus - Canada - 60.85%
  • 4 - Ryan Eskridge - Pims - USA - 60.43
  • 5 - Ana Di'Gironimo - Onyx - USA - 60.00
  • 6 - Jessie Rhinelander - Juvel - Canada - 59.06
  • 7 - Arianne Weiss - Jerez - USA - 55.98
  • 8 - Amanda Stearns - Marlin - 49.66
  • 9 - Javier Alvarez Vargas - Metallic - Costa Rica - 46.75

Junior FEI Individual Test, Friday, November 11, 2005

  • 1 - Erika Urff - Otto - Canada - 62.56%
  • 2 - Brittany Fraser - Oceana -Canada - 61.28%
  • 3 - Alexandra Duncan - Zeus - Canada - 59.91
  • 4 - Jessica Rhinelander - Juvel - Canada - 59.66
  • 5 - Ana Di'Gironimo - Onyx - USA - 60.00
  • 6 - Arianne Weiss - Jerez - USA - 59.40
  • 7 - Ryan Eskridge - Pims - 58.55
  • 8 - Amanda Stearns - Marlin - 42.56

Junior FEI Freestyle

  • 1 - EriKa Urff - Otto - Canada - 65.475%
  • 2 - Brittany Fraser - Oceana - Canada - 64.80
  • 3 - Alexandra Duncan - Zeus - Canada - 60.65
  • 4 - Jessica Rhinelander - Juvel - Canada - 62.4
  • 5 - Ana Di'Gironimo - Onyx - USA - 62.925
  • 6 - Arianne Weiss - Jerez - USA - 58.8
  • 7 - Ryan Eskridge - Pims - USA - 59.2
  • 8 - Amanda Stearns - Marlin - USA - 52.025