Lexington, KY - It was a clean sweep for the U.S. when Junior and Young Rider Show Jumping Teams vied in the USHJA North American Show Jumping Championships today. In the Junior division, the team from U.S. Zone 4 led the victory gallop with their Gold medal in tow while the U.S. Zone 2 carried the Silver, and U.S. combined Zones 1/6 took the Bronze.
Michael Hughes and Shockwave, Hayley Barnhill aboard Toucan Tango, Hasbrouck Donovan on Delilah, and Frances Land with Merlin earned the first-ever Gold for Zone 4 with a team total of only 12 faults after two grueling rounds in the Rolex stadium.
While a steady four on the outside line and a difficult water jump caused rails to come down for many, the Zone 4 team persevered. Barnhill, aboard the 9-year-old Tango, went clear for both rounds, one of only six to do so. "It feels amazing," said the 18-year-old Barnhill. "Zone 4 has never won a gold medal here, and it's just awesome to be the first ones to do it. "
Team Chef Kim Land (Frances Land's mother) could not have been more excited. "I'm really proud of them, with how they helped each other," she said. "They've had their ups and downs this week and today everybody just came together and got better and better."
After round two, Zone 4 and Zone 2 were tied with 12 faults each, which resulted in a tense jump-off. But three clear rounds later and the Gold belonged to the team from Zone 4.
The U.S. Zone 2 team of Callie Smith aboard Captain Krutzmann, Gabrielle Bausano and Ubico H, Charlotte Jacobs on Karonda V Schlossihof, and Maria Van Buskirk riding VDL Theresa Lady, took home the Silver, while U.S. Zones 1/6 teammates Brooke Cudmore aboard Ocelot, Sydney Shulman on Gun Du Desfi, Dana Scott with Caracas 49, and Avery Waite on Brisco earned the Bronze.
In the Young Rider division, U.S. Zone 4 continued to dominate, taking yet another Gold. Chase Boggio aboard Hennessey, Liza Finsness on Ormsby Hill, Jordan Coyne with Lazaro, and Samantha Senft riding Early Morning won the medal with a combined score of only 12 faults.
And the fate was sealed even before anchor rider Boggio entered the ring. "It took the pressure off," says the 18-year-old Boggio. " Derek Peterson leaned over the rail and said, 'don't worry, we got it.' So I just relaxed and tried to replicate my first round - other than the last jump," he laughed. "I'm happy we could make history for Zone 4. "
Senft, 20, and Early Morning had two astonishing three clear rounds, but chalks her success up to a unique training program for her mare. "During the week we only trail ride," said Senft, "and we only do one or two jumps in the warm-up, and before we go in the ring I have to sing Justin Bieber to her. I'm not kidding," she laughed. "If I don't she will not perform as well."
U.S. Zone 10, a team consisting of Cayla Richards aboard Faustino, Danielle Korsh and San Diego, Sage Flynn on Hot Pants, and Kendall Skreden with Esperanto earned the Silver with a team score of 15 faults.
And Katherine Dinan on Vancouver, Francesca Bolfo on Venus TR, Danielle Cooper on Calantus, and Karen Polle on Cachette Z, from U.S. Zone 2, took the Bronze.
The USHJA North American Show Jumping Championships continue Sunday with the Individuals.
For more information, visit http://www.youngriders.org.
For photos, videos and more, visit USEFNetwork's NAJYRC page at: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/NAJYRC2011
Photos: Junior Gold Medal Jumping Team, U.S. Zone 4. Photo by Sportfot; Young Rider Gold Medal Jumping Team, U.S. Zone 4. Photo by Sportfot.