Making every effort to beat the heat at the Kentucky Horse Park NAJYRC organizers began the Dressage Team Test this morning at 7AM, and the decree had been issued: No jackets in competition only on the podium, and the victory “gallop” was a walk. When the results were tallied, it was a repeat performance for the USDF Region 5 Young Rider Team victorious for the second year in a row. In the Junior Young Rider division, which had a larger number of entries the three-person team from Region 1 wore the FEI Gold medals for 2011. 16-year –old Brandi Roenick from Scottsdale, Arizona, led the standings for her team and the class with her 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, Pretty Lady (by Iglesias out of Ivonne) with a 69.289.
Roenick, a regular on the California Dressage Circuit trains with her mother Tracy and Steffen Peters and is no stranger to the Young Rider podium. In 2008 Roenick and Pretty Lady took home individual and team gold medals at the North American Junior & Young Riders Championships (NAJYRC) in Colorado, and last year she took her mother’s horse Nobel to the NAJYRC Championships in Kentucky. Brandi’s dad retired NFL Hockey star Jeremy Roenick and Mom Tracy were on hand to cheer on the team and their daughter who sat on her first horse at age three; her mother’s Grand Prix mount. Teammate 18-year-old Madeline Birch of Salt Lake City Utah was 6th with a 67.026 with Uoeri, with Catherine Chamberline and Verdicci (61.789,) and Aylln Corapioglu and Ruhmann rounding out the results with a 61.632.
The Silver medal went to the Young Rider Team from the combined Canadian provinces British Columbia and Quebec City (BC/QC). Mathilde Blaise aboard Michaelangelo, Anne Mylai Messier and Marzipan, Esmee Ingham with Norseman, and Emily Fownes on Frapuccino finished with score of 197.027, only slightly more than a point behind the leaders. "I think this year the Canadian spirit has been especially high," said Ingham, who won a Team Gold as a Junior last year. "Since British Columbia is on the West Coast and Quebec City is so far east, for us to come together as a team having never met and medal is really incredible."
The Bronze medal USDF Region 8 Team with members Isabelle Leibler aboard Watson 108, Marlee O' Neill on Leonardo, Alexandra Potasky with Chackomo M, and Madeleine Van Vleet with Top earning a third-place score of 196.132 just .895 percentage difference for third place.
The Region One Junior Gold medal team represents all that is right about the American Young Rider Dressage program which is dedicated to grooming all round athletes and well rounded individuals. Julia Burt and Aaron VI finished with 67.595 and made a point to make special menton of Cathy Morelli in New Jersey and Candian Dressage rider/trainer Chris Von Martels who while "he Candian," she smiled "but came to Young Riders to help me." (watch the video below). Kya Endreson works for Hassler Dressage and was given the ride of equine veteran HorsesUnlimited's Hanoverian stallion Pik L with a long history of world class accomplishments was fourth with a 66.432. With only three team members there was no need for a drop score with Dominique Cassavetis and Charming Princess in seventh place over all with a 65.703. Casseveties is a working student at Piaffe Performance Dressage and credits her trainer Cesar Parra and Katie Riley who came to Kentucky to be on hand to coach her. The professional guidance they have had from their world class trainers was especially evidenced in the press conference where each team member took the time to thank the sponsors and those who helped them have the experience the NAJYR week has bestowed on them.
It's been so fun to be here," said Enderson, of her first experience at Young Riders. "It was such a great opportunity to be on such a great team." Burtt, the team veteran having competed at the championships last year, found her second time to be the charm. "To come back and win a Gold medal has been truly amazing."
In the Silver position was U.S. Region 5. Teammates Taylor Lindsten and Raoul, Talia Hershaft on Westfalica, Brook Santiangelo with Daylight, and Devon Wycoff aboard Power Play medaled with a combined score of 195.865. "I had kind of given up on my dream to even qualify," said first-time Young Rider Wycoff. "But my parents said this was my last year as a Junior, and they wanted to make it happen. We went to California to try Player ('He's a ladies man,' she notes), and I got him in March and we started qualifying ever since."
The Bronze went to U.S. Region 8. Teammates Katelyn Kok aboard Morgan Enshoj, Rachel Chowanec with Embrujado, Jannike Gray on Maestro, and Ciara Cummisky on Queen's Delilah earned a total score of 194.297.
With a relentless heat wave holding the Kentucky Horse Park in its grip, all measures continue to be made for the safety of the riders and their horses. The test for the Individual Gold begins tomorrow morning at 7AM, with each division competing side by side in the Rolex Arena. Saturday will be a shortened field in the Dressage Freestyle for the second individual medal.