Host nation competitors claimed the Junior and Children's titles, while Venezuela scooped gold in Young Riders and Pre-Juniors at the FEI Americas Championships for Young Riders, Juniors, Pre-Juniors and Children 2011 in Guayquil, Ecuador. Staged at the Guayquil Country Club, which is home to an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, a soccer pitch, an Olympic swimming pool and an equestrian centre with its own veterinary clinic, the event attracted 75 competitors from eight countries including Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Brazil.
Guayquil is the largest and most populous city in Ecuador, and the nerve-centre for the country's business and manufacturing industries. Ecuador has produced a number of successful riders down the years including 2004 South American Young Riders Jumping Champion, Jose Penafiel. And the home squad snatched three of the 12 medals on offer during the six-day fixture.
Swept All Before Them
The Venezuelans swept all before them in the Young Rider Championships with Luis Fernando Larrazabal steering Sacramento to gold, Martin Jeri claiming silver with Olympe du Fouquet and Luis Muro taking bronze. Larrazabal is based at G&C Farms in Wellington, Florida, USA along with his brother Juan Andres and is coached by Venezuelan Olympian Pablo Barrios.
Luis Fernando already has an impressive career record, finishing seventh in the Children's Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2005, fifth in the Pre-Juniors in Caracas, Venezuela in 2006 and taking the silver medal in the Junior Championship at last year's FEI Americas Championships which re-visited Caracas. And he went one better than his brother, Juan, who was silver medallist in the 2010 Young Riders Championship behind Martin Jeri who took gold on that occasion. This year Jeri who had to settle for silver with his nine year old chestnut Selle Francais..
It was Ecuador in prime position in the Junior Championship when Priscilla Simpson and Talisman pinned Chile's Paola Labbe and Garrinche into silver medal spot and Colombia's Diero Umana took bronze. And in the Children's division the host country reigned supreme once again. Juan Fernando Camacho and Baruk came out on top while Venezuela's Victoria Karam claimed silver for the second successive year, this time riding Vanidosa. Bronze went to yet another of the strong Venezuelan contingent, Clarisa Chumacero riding Medium Plateire.
Pre-Junior competition is fairly unique to the Americas, and Venezuela's Emanuel Andrade and Costa took gold here ahead of Ecuador's Sofia Ribadeneira riding Pedro Navaja while Chile's Thomas Munoz and Barrabas, who finished sixth in this section in 2010, improved their performance to seal the bronze.
FEI Officials from Costa Rica, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador supported the riders during the Championships which were open to young people aged between 12 and 21. Brazil's Marina Azevedo Moraes Santos was course-designer and provided a range of challenging tests that brought the cream of the crop to the top of their game.
Organised by the National Federation of Ecuador, the event was a great success, and Gloria de Cuesta, President of the Ecuador NF and Show Director for the Championships was delighted with the result. "After all the hard work, it was a wonderful reward to have 75 riders and horses from eight countries here in Guayaquil!" she said.
- Young Rider: GOLD - Sacramento (Luis Fernando Larrazabal) VEN; SILVER - Olympe du Fouquet (Martin Jeri) VEN; BRONZE - GM Laroche (Luis Muro) VEN.
- Junior: GOLD - Talisman (Priscilla Simpson) ECU; SILVER - Garrinche (Paola Labbe) CHI; BRONZE - Palmorose (Diego Umana) COL.
- Pre-Junior: GOLD - Costa (Emanuel Andrade) VEN; SILVER - Pedro Navaja (Sofia Ribadeneira) ECU; BRONZE - Barrabas (Thomas Munoz) CHI.
- Children: GOLD - Baruk (Juan Fernando Camacho) ECU; SILVER - Vanidosa (Victoria Karam) VEN; BRONZE - Medium Plateire (Clarisa Chumacero) VEN.
Photo Caption: Pictured at the FEI Americas Championships for Young Riders, Juniors, Pre-Juniors and Children 2011 in Guayquil, Ecuador - On podium Pre-Junior Gold Medallist Emanuel Andrade (VEN), Silver Medallist Sofia Ribandeneira (ECU) and Bronze Medallist Javier Lopez (CHI). In front, Chief Steward Cesar Hirsch (VEN), Gloria de Cuesta, Show Director and President Ecuador NF and Pablo Mayorga (ARG), FEI Second Vice-President. Photo: Guayquil Press.