Lexington, KY - At the 2010 Adequan FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North the spotlight was on Junior dressage riders today as they vied for the Gold in FEI Junior Individual test, phase two of the Platinum Performance/USDF Dressage Championship.
When the scores were tallied, it was Winzalot who lived up to his name, earning the top score and catapulting California rider Jamie Pestana into the elite group of FEI Gold medalists.
The pair, representing Region 7, improved upon their score of 69.351 from Wednesday's Team test (where they earned a Silver medal) with an exceptional performance to earn a 71.105 from the judges.
"He has a great work ethic. He loves to work," said Pestana of the six-year-old Hanoverian gelding. "We had a great warm up, and as soon as we got in there, he just gave me his all. "
According to Pestana, the young Winzalot was not at all intimidated by vast Main Stadium of the Kentucky Horse Park, and, in fact, has no trouble being in the limelight. "He is quite a character," she laughed. "He wants to be the center of attention at all times. When my teammates say, 'Oh, quiet, don't cheer,' I say, 'Oh, no...cheer, cheer, he loves it!'"
The Silver medal went to Arizona-based Catherine Chamberlain and Verdicci, representing Region 5/6, who earned a score of 70.368, and the Bronze position went to Georgia's Stephanie Bedford and Wahlen, representing Region 3/4, who earned a score of 67.632.
Both were thrilled with their horses' performances. "It's the nice thing about the Individuals," said Bedford. "There's a bit more play, and you can show off the gaits more."
With major competition behind them the Junior medalists were looking forward to watching the other NAJYRC disciplines for the remainder of the week. "That's was so great about this competition," said Chamberlain. "It's not like this at other horse shows."
Junior eventers also had their day in the sun today, kicking off their three-day with the dressage phase. The standings after today's competition have Kelly Loria and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds in the lead, with only 40.0 penalty points. In second is Claire Kelley and Clifton Peekachu with 42.5 penalty points, and tied for third are Kendyl Tracy aboard Ever So Lucky and Rowdie Jo Adams with No Money Down, both with 48.5
The cross-country phase begins tomorrow at 8 a.m. "I think [course designer] David O'Connor did an awesome job," noted Adams. The trio agreed there were several technical questions to address, but, said Loria, "We'll just have to ride our hearts out."
The 2010 Adequan FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North continues tomorrow with Junior and Young Rider Musical Freestyle dressage, the SmartPak Reining Championships (Individual Finals) and the cross-country phase of the USEA Eventing Championships. 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.