Christina Beal Wins 2004 North American Young Riders Championships

Christina Beal of Fallbrook, CA; Jennifer Libby of Branchville, NJ; and Caitlyn Shiels of Sheffield, MA, won Individual Gold Medals at the 2004 Maui Jim North American Young Riders’ Championships, Presented by CN, at Tempel Farms in Old Mill Creek, IL.

More than 150 of the nation’s finest horses and young riders competed in this world-class competition featuring the Olympic disciplines of show jumping, dressage, and eventing. The week-long event culminated in an Olympic-style presentation and closing ceremony on Sunday, August 15.

In the dressage division, Beal, riding for U.S. Region 7, earned a score of 73.350% in the Freestyle Championship, clinching the Individual Gold Medal with a combined total score of 210.961% on Ray Ace. This was Beal’s third year at the NAYRC.

“Every year you learn something valuable,” said Beal. “You grow a lot! It’s a great experience.”

Elisabeth Austin, of Region 8, rode Hierarch to the Silver Medal with a three-round total of 203.053%. The Bronze went to Jody Kelly of Region 3, who piloted Weltkaar to a total score of 201.144%.

In the exciting Eventing Championship, Jennifer Libby of U.S. Area 2 rode Draco to victory with a three-phase score of 60.6 penalty points. Libby credited her trainer, Debbie Adams, and her horse with much of her success at the NAYRC.

“He’s the best horse I’ve ever ridden,” Libby said of Draco. “He’s the most careful and forgiving horse, and he always gives 110%!”

Only two penalty points separated the top three places in the Championship. Jessica Pye of Area 5, riding Carte Blanche, earned a three-day score of 61.8 penalties, earning the Silver Medal. In third place for the Bronze Medal, Cayla Kitayama, of Area 6, posted a total score of 62.6 penalties aboard Docksider.

Kitayama’s score helped her team to victory in the CCI** Team Championship at this year’s NAYRC. The riders from Area 6, Kitayama and Athena Arnot-Copenhaver of Carmel, CA; Adrienne Hillas of Bell Canyon, CA; and Loreen Kay of West Hills, CA, posted a team total of 209.4 penalties, clinching the Gold Medal.

Individual Gold Medalist Jennifer Libby led her Area 2 team to a Silver Medal finish with a score of 220.0 penalties. The team included Libby and her sister Emilee, as well as Laura Gaither and Molly McMillian. The Bronze Medal went to Area 3 with a score of 234.8 penalty points. The team comprised Jocelyn Kriss, Crystal O’Brien, and Preston Wofford.

In the State Line Tack show jumping division, Caitlyn Shiels of U.S. Zone 2 emerged victorious aboard Memphis with a five-round final score of only 12.14 faults. Shiels’ Zone 2 teammate Leigh Healey piloted Laurin to a score of 16.77, giving her the Silver Medal. Abigail Carpenter of Zone 1 took the Individual Bronze, riding Rosanne Van de Witheove to a final score of 17.12 faults.

The 2004 Maui Jim North American Young Riders’ Championships, Presented by CN, also awarded Medals to the top three teams in the Mills Team Challenge on Sunday.

The Mills Team Challenge is a competition for riders with physical disabilities who range from 16-25 years of age. They are teamed with able-bodied riders who are also competing at the NAYRC. The competition is run under the auspices of the National Disability Sports Alliance (NDSA), the national governing body for equestrian sports for riders with disabilities.

The Mills Team Challenge was won by the Cobalt Crew, featuring Rebecca Hart of Erie, PA, with Veronique Lavalle (Canada-East, Dressage); Kristine Lyons (Zone 1, Jumping *); Brianne Goutal (Zone 2, Jumping **); John Michael Durr (Area 6, Eventing *); and Athena Arnot-Copenhaver (Area 6, Eventing **).

The Silver Medal went to the Charismatic Centaurs, featuring Dax Adam of Scarborough, Ontario with Christina Jahl (Region 8, Dressage); Alexandra Zavayna (Area 2, Eventing *); Cayla Kitayama (Area 6, Eventing **); Katherine Brandes (Zone 10, Jumping *); and Kim Farlinger (Ontario, Jumping **).

The Bronze Medal was awarded to the Keith’s Caravan team, featuring Keith Newerla of Seaford, NY, with Christina Beal (Region 7, Dressage); Kathryn Schiess (Area 4, Eventing *); Preston Wofford (Area 3, Eventing **); Jennifer O’Neill (Quebec, Jumping *); and Kelly Soleau (Zone 1, Jumping **).

New for this year at the Maui Jim North American Young Riders’ Championships, Presented by CN, is the inaugural Howard B. Simpson High Five Trophy. The trophy, named for NAYRC Event Director Howard Simpson and presented by the U.S. Equestrian Federation, will be awarded annually at the NAYRC to the volunteer who best exemplifies Simpson’s spirit of giving back to a sport that he loves.

Simpson is more than just a beloved Event Director. His encouragement of the athletes who work diligently to qualify for the NAYRC and his dedication to the Championships and to the many volunteers that have helped him over the years has been an inspiration to all the people around him.

In that spirit, the first Howard B. Simpson High Five Trophy was awarded to Simpson, himself, in a surprise presentation during Sunday’s closing ceremonies.

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