Parker, CO - The Adequan®/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC) concluded today, Sunday, July 31, at The Colorado Horse Park (CHP), bringing a close to competition, which featured three disciplines throughout the week including show jumping, eventing, and dressage.
Lucy Matz (16, Coatesville, PA) and Bailey VI, competing for Zone II, nearly didn't make it to the finish of the USHJA North American Junior & Young Rider Junior Rider Individual Finals, as the pair encountered a hairy moment at the final oxer before crossing through the timers.
Instinctively, Matz clucked Bailey VI forward and the pair regained their balance upon landing, which secured their overall win. Carlos Hank Guerrerio (16, Mexico City, MEX) and Santos, competing for the Mexico North Junior Team received the silver medal. Brian Moggre (14, Flower Mound, TX) and MTM Flutterby of Zone VII took home the bronze medal for their efforts throughout the week.
Matz has held her own during the competition aboard Bailey VI, who was originally ridden by her brother Alex Matz, who also competed this week in the Young Rider division at NAJYRC. In addition to their strong finish in the final, Matz and Bailey VI picked up a bronze medal in the team portion of competition, and finished in third place during the Junior Rider First Round Individual Qualifier.
"I thought the courses were great all week. They were technical enough but definitely fair. Walking the first course, we just wanted to have a smooth clear round," detailed Matz, as she discussed her approach and plan for the week. "The second course was a little bit more difficult for us. Unfortunately the last fence got a little bit away from me, but it all worked out."
Out for a bit of redemption, Matz explained that she narrowly missed the cut for the Junior Individual Final at the 2015 NAJYRC and made it her goal to make it beyond that point this year. She commented, "I just missed the cut last year. This year I wanted to be more consistent, especially in the first round. I knew that if I could put together a clear round, then I would hopefully end up on the podium somewhere."
Guerrerio and Santos also concluded a banner week, as they propelled the Mexico North Junior Team to a team gold medal in the Junior Rider Team competition. The duo dropped a single rail in the first round today and one in the second round to ultimately finish in second place and earning the silver medal.
"I think the first round was similar to the rest of the championship courses we've seen this week. It was technical and our goal was to jump a clear round, but there was a little bit of pressure coming into the first round as the last rider in the lead," explained Guerrerio. "In the second round, I thought it was quite bigger and still technical. I think my horse jumped really well and overall I'm very happy."
Guerrerio, like Matz, just missed the cut for the individual component of competition last year and wanted to put in two solid rounds aboard Santos in the final class of the week. "Being on the podium again today was really important to me. I was really happy to earn two medals because last year we only got bronze. It was good to improve," he added.
Moggre and the feisty mare MTM Flutterby were not expecting to finish in the top three after a few difficult trips early on in the week, but two solid rides on the final day helped to push the pair into the top three in the standings.
"Earlier in the week I didn't do too well, so today, I was hoping for two clear rounds and to move up a couple of spots," commented Moggre. "I came to Young Riders hoping for a medal and after my results earlier in the week, I wasn't necessarily planning to be on the podium. I have to say though, being up there with these two amazing riders is really an honor."
Competition at the 2016 Adequan®/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North concluded at The Colorado Horse Park. For more information on NAJYRC and The Colorado Horse Park please visit www.youngriders.org or visit www.coloradohorsepark.com.