Junior & Young Rider Jumper Champions are Named


Lexington, KY - On the final day of competition at the 2010 Adequan FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North, the jumpers ruled as the USHJA Jumper Championships brought to a close the five-day international event.

The Juniors took to the Kentucky Horse Park's Main Stadium first for the final two rounds of the five-round contest, and when the dust cleared in was Ben Asselin and Lolita, representing Alberta Canada, that were not only the Gold medalists, but also the only pair to ride fault-free through the entire five jumping rounds.

Talk about pressure.  Going in to the final, Asselin was neck-and-neck with Meg O'Mara aboard Sinatra IV, who was only carrying four faults, and Jocelyn Neff and Gaja 20, who had eight. Either could take the crown.

"I knew had to go clean," said Asselin, 16. "My dad, who is also my trainer, told me to just remain focused and I did, and Lolita pulled through for me."

And Dad should know. Jonathan Asselin showed the 12-year-old Oldenburg mare for several years before giving her to his son to ride.

"We have another horse that is very competitive that we brought here as well," said the elder Asselin. "But we decided to go with Lolita.  We thought we had a little better chance. She's a year younger and a bit healthier, and the match was looking like it was really ticking, you know?"

"Lola is quite a hot mare," added Ben. "That was a big help here with jumping so many rounds. She's got the biggest heart in the world, and she jumped great."

O'Mara, representing Zone 2, collected the Silver medal, having dropped only one rail in five rounds. "We've never done an FEI event with him," she said of Sinatra IV, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood. "But, we knew he was going to do well. After that first rail, I was really hard on myself, so I knew I wanted to ride clean in last round."

Neff and Gaja 20, representing Zone 10, took the Bronze.



Zone 5's Ali Wolff Captures Young Rider's Jumping Gold  


After a break and a reset of the course, the Young Riders took to the stadium for their final two rounds of competition.  

Ali Wolff and H & M Necoll, representing Zone 5, claimed the Gold, besting 21 others.  Wolff began in fourth place with a score of 5.93. With only one rail down, she found herself at the top of the leader board with a score of 9.93 after leader Jessica Springsteen and Vornado Van Den Hoendrik dropped two rails in the first round.

Wolff began in fourth place with a score of 5.93. With only one rail down, she found herself at the top of the leader board with a score of 9.93 after leader Jessica Springsteen and Vornado Van Den Hoendrik dropped two rails in the first round.

This win, said Wolff, is especially sweet "This is my last year at Young Riders, since I'm 21," she said, "so it means a lot to me. I'm so relieved right now.  This is the second time I've competed at Young Riders, and last time I was fourth and, just out of the medals. I wanted to make a comeback."

"I had to remember to be smooth and calm," said Wolff. "Necoll is a hot horse, and if you don't fight with her, she doesn't fight with you, and I think that's how I made a comeback."

Catherine Pasmore and My Boy, representing Zone 3, earned the Silver medal while Jessica Springsteen and Vornado Van Den Hoendrik, representing Zone 2, took the Bronze position.

Pasmore had two stunning clear rounds that moved her from seventh place to second.

"I knew anything could happen, so I had to stay calm and not get too excited that we were moving up in the list," she said. "I wanted that clean round, so I went in and dug deep. My horse got better as the rounds went on, and I was the only double clear today."

All of the NAJYRC champions received their medals in a special closing ceremony held in the hospitality tent following the end of competition.

Individual winners receive an Albion saddle of choice, leather bridle, leather girth, wrapped stirrup leathers and a numnah. Albion is the "Official Saddle of the NAJYRC."

For more information, visit www.youngriders.org.

Photo Credit:  Ben Asselin won the Junior Rider Gold medal aboard Lolita. Photo by SportFot.
Ali Wolff earned the Young Rider Gold medal aboard H & M Necoll.  Photo by SportFot.




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