Ottawa, ON, Jan. 14, 2014 - Samantha Starratt of Calgary, AB represented Canada at the 2013 FEI Children's International Classics Final, held in Brasilia, BRA Dec. 10-15, 2013.
Paired with the borrowed mount, GB Rupina, a 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Elisangela Nassif, Starratt finished in 11th place individually and was part of the Gold Medal Team.
In the first qualifier, Starratt had just one rail for four faults. She followed up with a double-clear performance in the second qualifying round, finishing the class in fifth place, which made her the top-placed foreign rider of the day.
"I felt honored to represent Canada at the FEI Children's Final and compete with other top riders my age," commented Starratt. "I felt prepared for the event by the horsemanship skills taught to me by my trainer, Lynne Stephenson, over the past four and a half years I have been at Concorde Stables."
At the completion of the two qualifiers, Starratt, along with fellow team members Thales Gabriel De Lima and Henry Hardman of Brazil, and Bautista Tassara of Argentina, earned the Team Gold Medal on a perfect score of zero. This was made possible because three of the four team members went clear in each qualifier, and the rules of the final allow for one score to be dropped in each round.
Because of her success in the qualifying rounds, Starratt was included among the top 16 riders invited to participate in the Individual Final. After putting in the fastest four-fault round, she ended the final in 11th place individually.
"We only had two 30 minute practice sessions with our borrowed horses, with a maximum of six jumps per session, before our first competition," explained Starratt. It was a great opportunity to learn about rider's lives from around the world and the Brasilia community was very supportive. I made some good friends, and I look forward to competing with them again in the future."
Constanza Romer of Venezuela earned the Individual Gold Medal, with Brazilians Paulo Roberto Brasileiro De Miranda and Filipe Baratella Risi taking Silver and Bronze, respectively.
The FEI Children's International Classics Final is open to competitors between the ages of 12 and 14. Qualifiers are held internationally throughout the competitive season, with each participating country able to send two riders to the annual final. The only exception is the host country of the final, which is allowed to enter a number of native riders equal to the number of foreign riders. Foreign riders compete on borrowed horses supplied by the host country.
Canada hosted two qualifiers in 2013. The Eastern qualifier was held at the Cedar Run Tournament in The Blue Mountains, ON from July 10 to 14, while the Western qualifier, where Starratt earned her spot at the final, took place during the Rocky Mountain Classic III, held from August 21 to 25 in Calgary, AB.
The goal of the series is to provide up-and-coming youth with the encouragement and opportunity to experience international competition at the FEI level. Both the qualifiers and the final are set at a maximum height of 1.20m.
For complete information and results, visit http://www.fei.org/fei-ch-inter-classics/2013-final.