Nicole DelGiorno and Lamborghini Dane turned in the best test on a windy day to take home the individual gold medal at the USDF/Platinum Performance North American Junior & Young Rider Dressage Championships. The pair received a 66.316% from the judges. While other horses were bothered by the weather, Lamborghini gave DelGiorno a great ride. “The wind actually worked in my favor,” she said. “The more stuff going on the better for my horse. He’s ‘been there, done that,’ and he’ll go in the ring and do the test, but with everything flapping round, he’s a little more flashy. He was really having fun…I could tell. It felt like he was dancing.”
DelGiorno has developed a strong bond with the Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Kathleen Roberto Faltz that she has been riding for about four months.“He’s really smart,” she said. “He’s a character. There’s no mistaking what he wants. He sits like a dog and stretches like a cat. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a horse that genuinely likes to go show as much as he does.”
Individual Silver medal went to Lauren Knopp and Rho Dance by Rodiamant. They finished right on Lamborghini’s heels with a score of 65.842%. While the blustery weather helped DelGiorno turn in a flashy test, it disrupted some of Knopp’s concentration and was cause for a few bobbles throughout the test.
“The arena was scarier today because of the wind and everything kept falling down,” she said. “He was a little hot today, so that made it a little harder to ride. I messed up on the changes a little; he spooked before I asked him to change. It could have been better, but overall I was pleased.”
Finishing in the bronze medal position was Canadian Megan Lane aboard her charming mare by Contango, Caravella, with a score of 65.842%. The weather also had an effect on Lane’s ride, but she tried to turn it around into positive energy. “It was a little tense today,” she said. “The weather was a huge factor, but she really held it together considering the circumstances. I tried to use the weather to my advantage. I tried to focus the extra energy on making more expression.”
This is Lane’s last year in the Juniors because she is 17 years old, but she is already looking forward to the future. “I want to try to do Young Riders next year. Maybe when I’m 21 we can do the Young Rider grand prix.”