Robyn Walker, 15, of Calgary, AB, was a member of the gold medal winning team and finished in eighth place individually at the 2012 FEI Children’s International Classics Final held in Valle de Bravo, MEX, January 30-February 3, 2013.
Riding a borrowed horse for the entire competition named Golondrina, a 12-year-old dark bay mare, Walker, who just celebrated her 15th birthday on January 30, started the event with a clear round during the warm-up competition on January 29. The following day, Walker and Golondrina competed against 32 other competitors from 14 nations, and were also clear in the first round to finish in ninth place. In the second round, the pair had four faults for 18th spot.
Riding for Team Careyes with Briar Burnett-Grant from New Zealand, Tanimara Macari and Uriel Sosa, both from Mexico, Walker’s two round total was combined with those of the other members of her team. With only the top three scores of each round to count, Walker’s team had no faults over the two rounds of competition for the win. Team Puerto Vallarta won silver with four faults in a time of 225.50. The bronze medal went to Team Ixtapa with a four fault time of 226.53.
Following the first two rounds of Team competition, individual honours were at stake. Walker finished in the top 16 and advanced to the Final where she and Golondrina incurred a rail for four faults to finish in eighth place overall. Mexico’s Juan Pablo Gaspar won the individual title riding Puertas Blue Dream. Camille Conde Ferreira of France finished with the silver medal riding Black Jumper, while Venezuela’s Isabella Andreu won the bronze medal riding Red Graf.
“The competition was so much fun, and the other riders were very nice and welcoming and everyone got along very nicely,” said Walker, who is coached by 2012 Jump Canada short listed athlete Brian Morton. “It was so cool to learn about the different countries, and, despite our backgrounds and where we come from, we were all able to become great friends and enjoy each other’s company.”
“I was a little more nervous for the Final than I had been the whole week. The course designer did an excellent job and the Final course was tough and larger. I wasn’t worried though, because my preparation at home with my horses before the final, my confidence in myself and my skills and competing at Spruce Meadows regularly helped me. I am used to jumping difficult and demanding courses.”
Walker earned the right to represent Canada through her placing at the FEI Children’s Final Qualifier held at the Thunderbird Show Park Summer Festival, August 22-26, 2012, held in Langley, BC, which was one of two qualifying competitions held in Canada in 2012.
Complete results for the FEI Children’s International Classics Final 2012 may be found on the FEI website.
The FEI International Jumping Children’s Final is for show jumping competitors aged 12 to 14. Each country is represented by a maximum of two riders with the exception of the host country, who is entitled to have a number of competitors equal to the number of foreign entries. Foreign riders compete on borrowed horses, supplied by the host country. The competition was created to promote and encourage talented young riders by giving them the opportunity to experience international competition with support from the FEI.