The Adequan®/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC) concluded today, Sunday, July 31, at The Colorado Horse Park (CHP), bringing a close to competition, which featured three disciplines throughout the week including show jumping, eventing, and dressage.
Individual and team medal ceremonies in the USEA North American Junior & Young Rider Eventing Championships were presented today at The Colorado Horse Park to close the 2016 Adequan®/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North, recognizing riders in both the CH-J* and CICY2*. Carmen Holmes-Smith (18, Chase, BC) and her mount Spartacus won gold, having competed as individuals throughout the week. Haley Rosenberg (18, Pleasantville, NY), representing Area 1 as an individual, piloted Evil Munchkin to second place, also finishing with a score of 45.9. The tie for first place was broken by a comparison of each rider’s cross-country time, with the closest to the optimum time taking the victory. Cornelia Dorr (18, Manchester, MA) and Sir Patico MH received the bronze medal, alongside their team gold with Area I.
“I was thrilled with my horse today. The scores today were very close and there really was no margin for error. I rubbed one fence pretty hard, which was nerve wracking, but we ended up finishing clear,” explained Holmes-Smith. “I was thrilled with the way he stepped up and performed throughout the week.”
Holmes-Smith was ecstatic with the pair’s cross-country trip and stadium round. Even with a few self-proclaimed bobbles in their dressage test, the duo finished one of the their most competitive weekends yet.
“Overall, the dressage has been our weakest phase and I thought that our test this weekend was one of the best tests we’ve done ever. I was thrilled with that and our cross-country round,” she said. “We’re pretty good in stadium, but there’s always that chance that you can have a rail. I was really happy with the weekend.”
Overcome with emotion, Holmes-Smith addressed her initial reaction when she learned of her top finish and the meaning of competing alongside her sister Tosca, as well as the return of British Columbia to the medal ceremony.
“This was very emotional. I didn’t come into this competition thinking that I was a contender for a medal. I want to thank the grooms, my chef, my coach, and my parents. It was also really great to compete alongside my sister and she did extremely well herself, which was special too,” she commented.
“Even though I wasn’t on a team, I still felt the team atmosphere. I don’t’ think anyone was really expecting that we would do that well here. British Columbia hasn’t really been competitive in eventing and to come out and do this well was overwhelming.”Shelby Brost (18, Red Deer, AB) and Crimson made the most of their time at NAJYRC as their win fit perfectly into their future plans of one day representing their home nation of Canada on an even more international scale. Brost and Crimson sat in fifth place with a 50.2 after the dressage phase, before moving into second after a double clear cross-country trip. The duo, who were individual bronze medalists at the 2015 NAJYRC in Lexington, KY, in the CH-J*, returned this year to finish as the only combination to complete the weekend on their dressage score in the CICY2*.
“I always try to stay out of her way in the show jumping. The last line turned out to be a little difficult for us, but she gave it her all and I’m so proud of her,” said Brost. “Coming into stadium I knew that I was sitting in second so it was important for me to jump a clear round. I was beyond thrilled with her to even be sitting in second place.”
“She’s still green at the 2* level and so am I. We only did our first 2* together this spring and I was still 17. I think we’d like to do a CCI 2* in the fall and she’s just a great horse for the future,” added Brost.
Lucy Matz (16, Coatesville, PA) and Bailey VI, competing for Zone II, nearly didn’t make it to the finish of the USHJA North American Junior & Young Rider Junior Rider Individual Finals, as the pair encountered a hairy moment at the final oxer before crossing through the timers. Instinctively, Matz clucked Bailey VI forward and the pair regained their balance upon landing, which secured their overall win. Carlos Hank Guerrerio (16, Mexico City, MEX) and Santos, competing for the Mexico North Junior Team received the silver medal. Brian Moggre (14, Flower Mound, TX) and MTM Flutterby of Zone VII took home the bronze medal for their efforts throughout the week.
Matz has held her own during the competition aboard Bailey VI, who was originally ridden by her brother Alex Matz, who also competed this week in the Young Rider division at NAJYRC. In addition to their strong finish in the final, Matz and Bailey VI picked up a bronze medal in the team portion of competition, and finished in third place during the Junior Rider First Round Individual Qualifier.
Canadians had a strong showing in the Junior division, with a fourth-place Team finish and three placing in the top 10 overall. The Canada 1 team of Jennifer Mattell of Milton, ON, with Cherokee, Anna Timm of De Winton, AB, riding Chepetto D, and Kassidy Keith of Duncan, BC, aboard Crackerjack finished just 2 points behind the Zone 2/9 bronze medalists with 34 faults. Mattell and Cherokee finished 5th in the hard-fought Individual Final, followed by Lexi Ray of Campbellville, ON, with Carlisco 9th, and Keith and Crackerjack 10th. Timm and Chepetto finished in 22nd place.
Jenna Upchurch (18, Chesterfield, MO) and Greystoke, representing Region 4, continued to build on their success of the week, finishing the final day of dressage competition with another gold medal podium appearance for their ride in the USDF North American Junior & Young Rider Dressage Championships Junior Rider Freestyle. The duo received a score of 71.350% for the win. Vanessa Creech-Terauds (16, Caistor Centre, ON) piloted Fleur de Lis L to a silver medal, earning a score of 70.500%, while Jackson Gillespie (17, Denver, CO) and Westpoint CB, riding for Region 5, secured the bronze medal with a score of 69.500%.
Upchurch and Greystoke have impressed in each of their classes, attesting to the talent of both the horse and rider combination, as well as the growing potential for the duo moving forward in their career together. Upchurch and Greystoke have only been partnered since December 2015 and have already made great strides in their communication in the ring.
“I feel like we’ve improved on our connection a lot with the flow of the test and going from movement to movement, as well as how relaxed and collected he could be throughout the test,” detailed Upchurch. “For our music, it’s a compilation of Coldplay music including Viva La Vida and an assortment of scores from the Fast and Furious movies, which I love. I edited and cut the music myself with my trainer.”
While Upchurch competed at NAJYRC in 2015, she did not qualify to move forward to the freestyle, so the experience and thrill of the atmosphere this year is something she will always remember.
“Last year when I came I didn’t make the freestyle. Being able to ride it this year was just fantastic. I have music that I made, and the choreography that we created between myself and my trainer and getting this result is just fantastic,” she said. “He’s a fabulous horse and to be able to say that he’s mine is incredible. He’s an amazing animal. I have to thank so many people for the opportunity to work with him and have him. I’m really happy to be able to make my trainer Martin Kuhn proud.”
Silver medalists Vanessa Creech-Terauds and Fleur de Lis L have also stood side by side with Upchurch and Greystoke in nearly every class this week. Creech-Terauds noted that NAJYRC is her favorite week of the year and also commented on the continued improvements of the young Hanoverian mare throughout the duration of the competition.
“Fleur was very good in all three classes and all three tests. She stayed very focused today, and was energetic with the music going. She kept with me very well and I was proud of her for that,” said Creech-Terauds. “She was great all three days. This is a gorgeous facility and I have to thank the sponsors for making this show possible.”
Creech-Terauds touched on the fun and lively music selection for her freestyle aboard Fleur du Lis L. She noted, “The trot music is from Madagascar 2 and the canter is Kung Fu Panda. We had a lot of fun making the music and in the juniors it’s all about having fun and getting experience in the ring. I find that’s exactly what our music reflects.”