Lexington, KY – On Saturday afternoon, dressage riders competed for their Freestyle Individual medals in the Rolex Stadium at the 2013 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC). Ayden Uhlir (Region 6) and Sjapoer won their second Individual Gold medal of the week in the Young Rider division. Laurence Blais Tetreault and Lowelas also won another Gold medal in the Junior division. The top 15 Individuals advanced to the Freestyle Championship today and were judged by Bernard Maurel (FRA) at E, Linda Zang (USA) at H, Jane Ayers (USA) at C, Martin Richenhagen (GER) at M, and Annette Fransen-Iacobaeus (SWE) at B. The highest score of the day went to Ayden Uhlir (18, Kirkland, WA) and Sjapoer, her 14-year-old KWPN gelding by Contango. They had judges’ scores of 74.000% at E, 68.375% at H, 73.625% at C, 73.625% at M, and 71.250% at B for a total of 72.175% and the Gold medal.
Uhlir showed no loss of concentration when her music went out as she did tempis down the diagonal. She continued with her test without a hiccup and when the music came back on again, she was in time and finished as her music ended. “I'm pretty happy with it even though my music went out,” she smiled. “Two years ago I probably would have had a conniption, but I think it shows progress that I kept my cool.” She explained, “I was on time with my music when it went out. I just stayed on my exact pace. I knew that when the music would come back on, I'd be where I was supposed to be. I didn't let the music affect me in any way. I knew my pattern, I just rode it, and it all worked out in the end.”
Uhlir revamped her Freestyle music for Sjapoer since last year and this was the first time they performed it in competition. “This year I wanted to do something that was maybe a little bit classier. I really think it fits Sjapoer really well,” she said. “He just has that special quality about him that makes him so fancy. We needed to find the music that fits his personality and not the music that I just wanted to get. I'm really happy with my Freestyle.”
Although she won Gold yesterday, Uhlir “didn't have any expectations at all” for today. “I had to forget about yesterday and I was riding a completely new day. It worked well because I didn't feel as much pressure and was focusing on what we had to do at that moment,” she related. “I was very happy and it was a good end to our last Young Riders year.”
Jamie Pestana (20, Livermore, CA) and Winzalot had another Silver medal performance with a score of 70.975%. Their scores were E: 66.625%, H: 70.250%, C: 70.750%, M: 74.750%, and B: 72.500%. She said of her test, “I was pretty happy with my test. There were a few things that could have gone better, but overall I was really happy with his attitude. He really likes his extended trots, so those were fun. Some of his tempis were good today. He felt really rideable.” Her pop rock music included tracks from Nickelback, Pink, and the Slumdog Millionairesoundtrack. “It really clicked with Winzalot; he kind of picked the music for me,” she said.
After this success, they are “taking it slow and seeing” what future plans will be. “Usually when I try to make plans with my horse, they go awry,” she said wryly. “We'll see how the year of training goes.”
The Bronze medal went to Tanya Strasser Shostak (18, St. Adele, QB, CAN) on Action Tyme, a 13-year-old Oldenburg stallion by Aktuell with a score of 70.500%. Their judges’ scores were E: 68.500%, H: 72.875%, C: 70.250%, M: 73.000%, B: 67.875%. Action Tyme has been competing at the Grand Prix level for years with Tanya's mother, Evi Strasser, and it took time and convincing for Tanya to get the ride on him. They became a pair just two months ago. “We purchased him when he was five and I rode him then. I always loved him because he's got the best personality. I've been trying to convince her for quite a few years, probably eight years now, to let me compete him,” Strasser Shostak said with a smile. “She said when her other horse is ready for Grand Prix, she would let me ride Action Tyme. She held up her end of the deal, so I couldn't be happier right now.”
Strasser Shostak took a Freestyle test from another horse and then realized it “suited him quite well,” so they adjusted it to fit Action Tyme. This week, Strasser Shostak was fifth in the Individual class and fourth with her team. “I definitely had high expectations, maybe not with the horse, but with myself,” she said. “As the days went on, I really wanted it more because I was always so close. I tried to go for the scores, and it paid off.”
Laurence Blais Tetreault Repeats Junior Freestyle Gold Performance
In 2012, Laurence Blais Tetreault (16, Montreal, QB, CAN) was the Junior Freestyle Gold medalist, and while she was on a different horse this year, she was able to repeat that accomplishment. Riding Lowelas, a 13-year-old Trakehner gelding by Hockey 41, she scored a 71.525% for the win. Her judges’ scores were E: 69.750%, H: 70.875%, C: 72.750%, M: 73.375%, and B: 70.875%.
The judges for the Junior class were Merecedes Campdera (MEX) at E, Joan Macartney (CAN) at H, Janet Foy (USA) at C, Axel Steiner (USA) at M, and Bo Jena (SWE) at B.
Tretreault chose her music and put it together with her sister Mathilde, who competed here as a Young Rider. She said she feels lucky to be able to be at NAJYRC, and to go home with another Gold medal. “It just means so much because you realize when you put a lot of time practicing at home that it pays off so much. It's just really great,” she expressed. “I would definitely recommend NAJYRC to other riders. It prepares you if you want to go further (in the sport). In my future, I think I'm going to look back and be so happy that I got the chance to do this.”
Naima Moreira Laliberte (16, Montreal, QB, CAN) and Windbreaker 3, a 12-year-old Westphalian gelding by Windspiel As, were also competing with little experience with their Freestyle music due to their three-month-old relationship. Laliberte had chosen her music for another horse and found that it matched with Windbreaker 3.
Laliberte echoed Tetreault's feelings. “I'm really grateful to be here because it was a really last minute qualification,” she pointed out. “This competition, I'm grateful because I won three medals. It was pretty consistent and I'm happy with my horse.”
Barbara Davis (15, Bedminster, NJ – Region 1) rode to her first NAJYRC medal in her first time at NAJYRC with Rotano, her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Rotspon. Their score of 69.875% gave them the Bronze medal. Her judges’ scores were E: 70.875%, H: 69.500%, C: 69.250%, M: 70.250%, B: 69.500%.
Davis picked out her “techno pop” music and prepared it two weeks ago with new music for the trot work. “This is the first time I've competed with this particular music,” she said. “I rode it three or four times at our barn. I've listened to it the entire day today to get the transitions. I was really comfortable with it because I only changed the trot music.” She said of her experience here, “I really enjoyed myself. Now when I do go to a CDI or regular show, I'll feel like it's less stressful.”
For full results or to learn more about the Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North, please visit www.youngriders.org.
NAJYRC showcases the best young rider and junior horse/rider combinations in dressage, eventing, jumping, reining, and endurance. Young equestrians from across the continent will descend on the Kentucky Horse Park to vie for FEI medals at these Championships.