Parker, CO -The Adequan®/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC) continued on at The Colorado Horse Park (CHP) welcoming the third day of championships for athletes competing in the show jumping, dressage, and eventing disciplines.
A team of riders from Ontario lead the charge towards the second day of competition in the USEA North American Junior & Young Rider Eventing Championships CH-J*, as the second phase of cross-country is set to begin tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m.
Alisa Morrison (17, Belle River, ON) and Princess Sophia, Emma Johnston (18, Uxbridge, ON) aboard FE Coconut Kiss, Annick Niemuller (17, Goodwood, ON) with FE Akari, and Alexis Murray (18, Barrie, ON) with My Principle make up the team representing their home nation of Canada and currently sit on a combined score of 137.0.
The Area VI Team holds second place position with an overall score of 139.6 and is represented by Delaney Vaden (14, Nevada City, CA) and Redrox Jazzman, Kesley Holmes (17, Malibu, CA) and NZB The Chosen One, Mia Farley (16, San Clemente, CA) with Fernhill Fine Diamond, and Megan Traynham (16, Arbuckle, CA) piloting Lord Lombardi.
Following closely behind with an overall score of 141.3, the Area IV Team of Lily Geelan (17, Independence, MN) and Luksor, Emma Fettig (18, Lake Geneva, MN) aboard Spanning The Globe, Ellis Rold (16, Delano, MN) and Fernhill Spring Lightly and Makenna Rold (16, Delano, MN) with Fernhill Imperial will look to move up the leaderboard after their cross-country performances.
"I was thrilled with Coco today. This is her first time at Young Riders with a ring of this atmosphere and she was absolutely incredible. She gave me 150% and I couldn't be more proud of her today," said Johnson, who rode FE Coconut Kiss to a score of 42.3, which currently places them in second individually.
While some members of the team are still building partnerships with their mounts this season, the entire group was thrilled with their overall result in the team portion of competition. "I think this opportunity is incredible for future eventers," noted Morrison. "It allows both horse and rider to get used to this atmosphere, as well as working with and on a team. It's been great having such good teammates this year."
The added pressure of team competition can be demanding, which is why understanding the team dynamic at an early age is incredibly beneficial to the budding careers of the competitors. Niemuller, who rode a beautiful test on FE Akari, found herself dealing with the pressures of team competition, but also balancing the focus on her own goals in the ring.
"Being on a team can be really stressful because you want everything to go right for your teammates. When you're on a team it's a great experience and you have a whole new network of people, but you're not only worried about yourself anymore and how you're ride is going to go. You're now hoping for the best for the three other people around you."
The riders discussed their initial thoughts on the cross-country track they will face tomorrow and each were delighted with the design, layout, and overall appearance of the course. Murray, who will look to pilot a solid round aboard My Principle, touched on her first impressions and commented on what she thinks will be the deciding factor for competing teams.
"The course looks great and I'm looking forward to getting out there. It's well built and I think that there are a lot of spaces to make up time or get ahead, which I think will be the separation for teams," she added.
The Ontario/Alberta Team hold the lead heading into the USEA North American Junior & Young Rider Eventing Championships CICY2*, with a total score of 153.2. The Area III/IV Team sits in second place with a total score of 156.0, while the Area V/IX Team are in third place with a score of 159.1.
The CH-J* competitors will head out on the course beginning at 8:00 a.m., while the CICY2* riders are set to follow.