The first medals of the 2012 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC) were awarded today to the dressage teams for juniors and young riders. The dressage competition is sponsored by Platinum Performance and the United States Dressage Federation. Region 5 from the United States - Madeline Birch, Victoria Fernalld, Brandi Roenick, and Devon Wycoff - took the gold medal and accomplished this feat for an amazing third year in a row. U.S. Region 7 won the silver medal, while the Canada/Quebec team were bronze. In the junior team competition, Nicole Babich Moran, Laurence Blais Tetreault, Frederique Bourgault, and Naima Moreira Laliberte for the Canada/Quebec team won the gold medal. U.S. Region 7 won another silver medal, and U.S. Region 9 was bronze. The NAJYRC runs through Sunday, July 22, at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.
Five disciplines (a total of 9 championships for juniors and young riders) will take part in the only FEI Championship to be held annually in North America. The NAJYRC is the premier equestrian competition in North America for junior and young riders, ages 14-21.
**This afternoon's Junior and Young Rider Individual Phase for Show Jumping was cancelled due to thunderstorms. Three riders had completed the course before the weather set in, so the class will resume with the fourth in the order tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. The Show Jumping Junior and Young Rider Team competition has been moved to Friday, July 20. The Individual Final will conclude as scheduled.
The Region 5 Young Rider team had a total score of 206.105 and was anchored by 17-year-old Brandi Roenick of Scottsdale, AZ, on Jen Hlavacek's Weltino's Magic, a 10-year-old Westphalian gelding. They had the high score of the competition with 70.500% to lead the team. Roenick has been a member of all three of the past gold medal teams, and this was her fourth year competing at NAJYRC.
Just five weeks ago, Roenick won the National Young Rider Dressage Championship at the USEF Dressage Festival of Champions in Gladstone, NJ, with her mare Pretty Lady. She commented, "I still am on cloud nine from Gladstone, but this just tops it. I'm so thrilled to be here with this great group of girls."
Weltino's Magic and Roenick's trainer, Olympian Steffen Peters, had great success last year and won the team and individual gold at the Pan American Games. When asked about riding an accomplished horse, Roenick responded, "There are the ups and downs, but I try to keep it all behind me. Like any horse with any rider, I have to keep what he and Steffen did in the past. I have to think about what I'm going to achieve with him and not let it intimidate me. I have to stay humble and keep my head in the game."
Of her horse, she described, "He's a really good boy. For as big as he is, he really pushes himself into the corners and really does things that I could never imagine just looking at him. He tries very, very hard for me for the short amount of time I've had him."
On the opposite side of the coin, this was Victoria Fernalld's first time at NAJYRC. The 17-year-old from Greenwood Village, CO, rode Kylee Lourie's Amazing, a 12-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding to a score of 61.921%. She enjoyed her "incredible" experience here. " My teammates have been so helpful. They've all been here before and they were so supportive of me. I couldn't ask for a better team. It's a lot of intensity, but it was so much fun," she said.
Devon Wycoff (18, Boulder, CO) and Power Play, her 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding, added a score of 67.763% to help the team. "His favorite thing to do is the extended trot; he loves it!" Wycoff laughed. "He's like the energizer bunny. We made the jump from third level to Prix St. Georges this year, and it shows a lot of (my trainer Jenny Baldwin's) training."
Joining Roenick in a third gold medal experience was Madeline Birch. The 21-year-old rider from Salt Lake City, UT, piloted her horse Uoeri, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding, to a score of 67.842% today. "It was a great ride," she said. "Every year you come here, you hope for the best, but it was really nice to go in there and have a solid ride."
Roenick spoke to the importance of a championship for young riders. "I want to take this on a serious path and not just as a hobby. It's a good set up for those who have a dream to one day be in the Olympics. It's the same environment, judging panel, experience with the big arena. Who wouldn't want to be here? Everyone bends over backward to make your experience here one to remember. It's an unbelievable program for those who want to take the next step in their future, and for those who strive to make this a career."
The silver medal for the young rider dressage team went to Region 7 with a total score of 201.578:
Genay Vaughn (Elk Grove, CA) and Donarweiss GGF (11-year-old KWPN stallion, owned by Star Vaughn Equestrian) - 67.184%
Jamie Pestana (Livermore, CA) and Winzalot (8-year-old Hanoverian gelding, owned by Jamie Pestana) - 64.605%
Jaclyn Pepper (Santa Rosa, CA) and Taboo (12-year-old KWPN gelding, owned by Jaclyn Pepper) - 67.526%
Mackinzie Pooley (Coto De Caza, CA) and Brigadier (12-year-old Oldenburg/ISR gelding, owned by Deena Smith) - 66.868%
Canada/Quebec won the bronze medal with a total score of 196.210:
Mathilde Blais Tetrault (Montreal, QC, CAN) and Michelangelo (14-year-old SWB gelding, owned by Mathilde Blais Tetrault - 67.500%
Camille Frechette (Boucherville, QC, CAN) and Viva's Capitol (Canadian Warmblood gelding, owned by Denise Lenz) - 63.184%
Tayna Strasser Shostak (Ste Adele, QC, CAN) and Dancing Tyme (11-year-old Oldenburg gelding, owned by Evi Strasser) - 65.526%
Julie Channell (Boucherville, QC, CAN) and Rela (9-year-old Canadian Warmblood mare, owned by Julie Channell) - 62.368%
In the junior team competition, Canada/Quebec captured the gold medal with a total score of 200.462. For three of the four riders, it was their first time at NAJYRC. Frederique Bourgault (17, St Bernard De Lacolle, QC, CAN) said afterward, "I think we are speechless! Winning the gold is like a privilege for all the hard work we did. I was kind of expecting (we would do well), but not the gold. Our hard work paid off."
Bourgault and Caroline Pepin's HG San Classic, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding, scored 65.514%.
Laurence Blais Tetreault, a 15-year-old rider from Montreal, had bolder predictions for her team's chances. "Yes. I know my team and I thought we had a really good chance. I was really confident," she said with a smile. "It feels good to win the gold the first time around."
Tetreault and her horse, Pissarro, a 15-year-old Westphalian gelding, added a score of 66.514% to the team's finish.
Naima Moreira Laliberte (15, Outremont, QC, CAN) and Tolando, a 12-year-old KWPN stallion owned by Brittany Fraser, posted a score of 68.434%. She pointed out, "All year, we train for Kentucky. All of the shows are preparing for Kentucky. It's a good feeling."
Nicole Babich Morin was showing in her second NAJYRC competition today. She and Foxfire, her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, received a score of 55.784%. Babich is 16 years old and is from Vaudreuil Dorion, Quebec, Canada. She recalled, "Last year my horse was really sick when we got here, so that was the main focus. I've been watching these girls at the shows and they're really good riders. It was great to be here with a really strong team."
Region 7 came home with another silver medal today in the junior team competition with a score of 198.973:
Teresa Adams (Woodland, CA) and WeeJee (9-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Michael Adams) - 66.676%
Ariel Thomas (Briones, CA) and Montfleury (19-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Grace Goodby) - 68.919%
Cassidy Gallman (Poway, CA) and Woden (14-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Cassidy Gallman) - 63.378%
Michaela Nelson and Galena - 59.432%
The bronze medal went to Region 9 with a total of 198.702:
Ayden Uhlir (Arlington, TX) and Sjapoer (12-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Ayden Uhlir) - 68.297%
Kalie Beckers (Independence, LA) and Carush (19-year-old SWB stallion owned by Kalie Beckers) - 66.432%
Anna Campbell (Wylie, TX) and Wandango (14-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Rachel Campbell) - 60.541%
Cameron Dauterive (Folson, LA) and Don Giovanni (14-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Cameron Dauterive)
All of the riders were thankful to Adequan, Platinum Performance, and the USDF, the horse show organizers and volunteers, as well as their owners, sponsors, parents, trainers, and regional sponsors.
The Smartpak Reining Junior and Young Rider Championships were underway this afternoon in the Alltech Arena with their Welcome class. Kaylan Marks and Sparts Electricpark took the top spot in the class with a score of 136. Second place was a tie between Emily Birch (Canada) and Sunup Dun It and Micaela Maharaj, also of Canada, and Fancy Footprint. Both scored 135.5. Fourth place went to Haley Franc (Canada) and Jacs Shy Boy with a 134.5.
Tomorrow's competition will start at 7:30 a.m. with the dressage phase for the Three-Day Event riders in both CCI2* and CCI1* levels. At 8 a.m., the show jumpers will start with their individual qualifying class (delayed one day due to the weather). The reining continues tomorrow and they will award team medals, while the vaulting will start their competition.
For full results or to learn more about the Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North, please visit www.youngriders.org.
NAJYRC showcases the best young rider and junior horse/rider combinations in dressage, eventing, jumping, reining, and endurance. Young equestrians from across the continent will descend on the Kentucky Horse Park to vie for FEI medals at these Championships.