Leslie Eden, 20, of Lake Mary, FL, won the dressage Gold and the Fiona Baan Trophy on her 10-year-old, Dutch-bred Picasso with a three-round score of 201.85%. She scored 67.95% in the final Freestyle phase to clinch the Gold to go with the team Gold she won as part of the Region 3 team earlier in the week.
"I was trying my best not to think about it before my ride," Eden said. "I came here not expecting a medal at all and I'm in shock that I won the Gold! This is the biggest event I've ever done. I just can't believe it."
Eden, who trains with Anne Gribbons, has had Picasso since he was a young horse and trained him herself up through all the levels, an accomplishment that is a first in Young Rider dressage history.
Leslie's and her Mom, Michelle Deer, who owns and operates Special Delivery Child Birth Services, in Altamonte Springs, carefully planned the year leading up to the biggest competition of her life. Living close to Orlando, they managed to economize by just doing the qualifying classes at Orlando Dressage competitions in Clarcona Park, while occasionally driving to Wellington to observe the competition there.
HorsesDaily Coverage of the 2001 NAYRC