Wayne, Ill. -Jenna Upchurch of Chesterfield, Missouri, maintained her lead on her own 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding Greystoke, and the pair clinched the Junior National Championship after earning a score of 69.123 percent in the FEI Junior Individual test.
"We improved a lot on the basic flow of the test and the one bobble that we did have we recovered from quickly, which was great. I was really proud of how he went," Upchurch said. Upchurch won the individual gold medal, as well as the freestyle gold medal, at the 2016 Adequan/FEI North American Junior Championships in Colorado. After her successful season, Upchurch plans on moving up to the Young Rider division next season.
Marline Syribeys of Atlanta, Georgia, rode Hollywood, her 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding, to the reserve championship with a score of 68.684 percent in the FEI Junior Individual test. "I was really happy to have a clean ride and he seemed to be a little more energetic today, which was nice," Syribeys explained. "It's really nice to have all the hard work pay off and to have good rides."
Juliet Hess came into the championship as an underdog by scraping into the qualified field in twelfth place, and she proved she deserved to be here by finishing in third with a score 68.711 percent in Saturday's test. Hess resides in Atlanta, Georgia, and rode Julia Stainback's 13-year-old Belgian gelding Diano.
"I was just so happy to even be here and to be able to compete and watch everyone else ride," Hess said. "I actually didn't have the cleanest of tests because I went off course. I was trying to focus on getting his neck out more and letting him be less tight in the jaw and I think that paid off in the end."
The Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse National Championships and Festival of Champions will conclude on Sunday with championships being awarded in the 6-year-old division and the Developing Grand Prix as well as the 13 & Under Dressage Seat Medal Finals, Young Adult 'Brentina Cup' and the National Pony Rider Championships.
For results and starting times, visit www.foxvillage.com. For more information about Lamplight Equestrian Center, visit www.lamplightequestriancenter.com. Live streaming will be available on the USEF Network.