Catherine Malone Wins 2005 NAYRC Individual Gold Medal
By Stacy Gormley
As day six of the 2005 North American Young Rider’s Championships finally wrapped up Sunday, July 31, a humble and much deserving winner came out on top. Catherine Malone, the 20 year old leading lady for Region 1 aboard the beautiful KWPN chestnut gelding Michigan (x Farrington) clinched the Individual Gold Medal in the conclusion of the final test, the Freestyle class, with a combined final score of 208.978. The freestyle was set to nicely fitting music (composed by Taho Van Brugen) and showcased Michigan’s talent for the half passes and extended trot to receive a 70.05% and a fourth place in the class, but managing to maintain the leading average. Catherine was surrounded by family and friends, including her wonderfully supportive trainer and former Young Rider Champion, Todd Flettrich while waiting for the final scores to be tabulated. After confirming the results, Malone was embraced by her supporters, who shared a teary-eyed smiling moment with her.
Malone credits much of her success to her mother, Mary Alice Malone. “My Mom has been wonderful. She’s always quietly supporting, is never pushy, and is always encouraging to me. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for her, and my best friend, Christine Titter and Todd. Christine is my right hand person. It’s great to have a friend who is also a rider. She is always so supportive and is there for every event to cheer me on. It also meant a lot to me to have my sister, Mary Alice Malone Jr. and my Dad, Stuart Malone here with me this weekend. Patsy Albers, our team chef, has also been wonderful to work with. She is always organized and does things by the book.”
For Malone, this moment has been the product of many years of hard work and dedication. This is her fourth consecutive year competing at the young riders, and Michigan was her third young rider mount. She has steadily improved her performances each year to finally take home the highly sought after gold medal.
This week has been understandably exhausting for her. “Michigan is a hot horse, so it was necessary to ride him twice a day. After a long week of competition, I woke up more exhausted than I was nervous this morning before the freestyle.” One can only imagine the pressure being felt by the top four riders, who were neck and neck throughout this entire competition.
Catherine also credits much of her success to her mount, (owned by Iron Spring Farm) Michigan. “Michigan is a great horse. He’s a wonderful young rider’s horse and is a very well trained Prix St. Georges horse. He has done his job well for me.”
One thing that has become obvious through observation this week is the wonderful relationship between Catherine and Todd. Todd always seems to be encouraging, reassuring and positive with Catherine. It is also obvious how much Catherine appreciates all that Todd does for her and is very grateful for his kindness and support. Todd credits much of her success to her dedication and riding talent. “I am very proud of her. Catherine is a very talented rider. She has shown and brought along many young horses, such as Persimmon, as well.”
2005 NAYRC Silver Medalist Dani Judy and Anteaus Topped the Week Winning the Freestyle
Just missing the gold this year was Dani Judy from Region 7 and her powerful partner, Anteaus, an Oldenburg gelding (x Akzent II). The pair put in three consistently excellent rides to finish a close second with 208.547. Judy and Anteaus put in a wonderfully dynamic freestyle this morning to with the class with a 70.875%.
This proved to be the winning score in the freestyle this morning. A beautiful and elegant rider, Dani Judy displayed world class style in her riding getting the most from her horse, as she presented a nearly flawless ride.
Anna Wood and Novarredo Conquer Technical Disaster To Win the 2005 NAYRC Bronze Medal
Taking a close third to proudly wear the bronze medal around her neck was Anna Wood from Region 5 and her gigantic and stunning chestnut Westphalian gelding, Novarredo (x Newcastle). After returning from training in Germany, this pair also put in three spectacular rides this week to slide them into third with a 206.989.
The last ride of the morning, she was well into the beginning part of her ride, when the music stopped. The rule is that the head of the groud jury, the judge at C, can offer the competior the option to begin the test again, and to have the judging pick up from the point where the music stopped, or the competitor can remain in the arena, and begin from the point from the ring. Novarredo stood perfectly still, at a square halt with ears pricked forward, waiting for the music to reach the starting point. Without a glitch, the pair handled a technical difficulty under the immense pressure of the tightly contested medal positions with class during their freestyle to earn a second place finish in the class with a 70.80%, and the Bronze Medal over all.
Young Rider Quality On the Highest Level Yet
What needs to be noted is the impressive level of competition between these girls this year. Last year, only the winner, Christina Beal, was able to score above 200 points. This year, five competitors scored above 200, averaging 68.7%’s and up! That is a very impressive leap up in the competition level. Next year’s competition should be one to watch for sure! With the finals in, and the ribbons and medals awarded accordingly, we can all breathe easier and start preparing again for next year. Well done and congratulations to all!
The event is over, but coverage continues, with profiles from interviews with DressageDaily's Stacy Gormley.