Parker, CO - The Adequan®/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC) concluded the fourth day of competition at The Colorado Horse Park (CHP) showcasing show jumping, eventing, and dressage and featuring the USHJA North American Junior & Young Rider Show Jumping Championships Young Rider Individual Final, USDF North American Junior & Young Rider Junior Rider Individual Final and Young Rider Freestyle, while eventing took to the cross-country course in the USEA North American Junior & Young Rider Eventing Championships CH-J* and CICY2*.
Jenna Upchurch (17, Chesterfield, MO) and Greystoke, a flashy dapple grey gelding, rode to a class high 70.632% in the Junior Individual Test at the USDF North American Junior & Young Rider Dressage Championships. Upchurch, who stood atop the gold medal podium for the first time this week, accepted the gold medal with poise and grace, having bested a competitive class.
Vanessa Creech-Terauds (16, Caistor Centre, ON) and Fleur de Lis L were awarded with the silver medal for their score of 70.184%, while Carlos Maldonado Lara (17, Guadalajara, MEX) and Massimo, the only representatives in the dressage discipline from their home nation of Mexico, received the bronze medal with a final score of 69.974%.
The Junior Rider Individual Test is the only class of all disciplines hosted so far this week that has seen each participating country represented on the podium.
Upchurch and Greystoke only began working together this past December and have solidified a strong relationship to this point. Upchurch defined herself as a dressage enthusiast who loves the challenge, preciseness, and accuracy of the sport.
"Winning gold, that's something you dream about the minute you find out about these championships," she said. "It was huge for me and it's always been a dream of mine, so this is wonderful. I really like the challenge of dressage. That's why I was drawn to it."
Upchurch has bounced around the disciplines, riding in the hunter/jumpers and also competing in the Arabian pleasure world before transitioning full time to the sport of dressage. The commute for Upchurch is a long one, as she drives over two hours to her home base each week to train.
"This has been an interesting transition going from the hunter/jumpers to the Arabian circuit to open dressage. Last year I was lucky enough to lease a horse and that as a great experience" she added. "I felt like he was very balanced and correct in our test today and I'm so pleased with the result."
Vanessa Creech-Terauds aboard Fleur de Lis L narrowly missed the gold medal as the final rider the class for the afternoon, scoring just four-tenths off the winning ride. "I was so pleased with her today and I felt like she gave me her all in the ring. It was a great feeling to earn that score and I'm so happy to be here," said Creech-Terauds. "This competition means so much to everyone and it's an incredible experience for each of us."
Maldonado Lara was the sole representative of Mexico in dressage competition this week. He and his mount Massimo performed beautifully and will look to improve on their results tomorrow in the Junior Freestyle Test on the final day of competition at NAJYRC. Maldonado Lara also noted that he would like to motivate more members of the dressage community in Mexico to travel to the competition in 2017.
"To come here and have this huge venue and all these other disciplines was fun. To have Mexico and the United States and Canada on the podium together is kind of surreal to think about," said Maldonado Lara. "My horse was very good today and I want more riders from our country to come here and compete. I want to have a good team here for next year."