Competition officially got underway at the 2017 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC), presented by Gotham North, on July 19, 2017, with the Dressage Young Rider Team Competition taking place in Saugerties, NY.

Young Rider Dressage Team Finishes Fourth

The Ontario/Alberta Young Rider Dressage Team, comprised of Alexandra Meghji of Toronto, ON, Rakeya Moussa of Edmonton, AB, Sophie Dean-Potter of Caledon, ON and Yanina Woywitka of Merrickville, ON, were the first to compete for the maple leaf at the 2017 NAJYRC. Together they danced their way to a team total score of 193.869 for fourth place overall in the Young Rider Team Competition.

The gold medal went to US Region 3 on a score of 209.684. US Region 2 took silver with 201.973, while US Region 1 earned bronze (198.184).

Leading the Ontario/Alberta Team was Meghji aboard Rigo (Rotspon x Weltmeyer), a 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Diana Belevsky. The duo scored 67.132% to take over an early lead in the individual standings and ultimately place fifth.

“Rigo was a really good boy today; he was really attentive, energetic and willing,” said Meghji, 19, who also competed at NAJYRC in 2016, bringing home a Team Silver Medal in the Young Rider division, and finishing fourth individually. “I’m so pleased. He is an amazing teacher and my best friend. I owe him everything and I love him so much. It was wonderful to share that experience with a horse that means so much to me.”

Speaking to the overall experience of competing as a team, Meghji said, “I would say the team event is my favourite part of NAJYRC because it’s a celebration of the camaraderie and friendship that makes youth dressage so special. It’s so wonderful to be part of a team because dressage is such an individual sport outside of this competition. Our team is such a great group of girls, both on the horse and off, so it’s really a privilege to share this experience with them.”

Looking forward to the remainder of the competition, Meghji explained that her goal is to channel Rigo’s energy positively and to work on the quality of the gaits. “My trainer, Tina Irwin, has taught me to really rely on and have faith in the fundamentals. The activity, especially in the canter, and the suppleness will be our focus. This will help us perfect our movements because when you have higher quality of the gaits, the movements come a lot easier. And, it sounds really corny, but I also think it’s so important to enjoy the experience and soak up everything that NAJYRC has to offer.”

Woywitka, 17 – a Junior Team Gold Medalist from NAJYRC 2015 – was next on the leaderboard for Canada, placing 14th on a score of 64.132% with R’Myattack (Rheirattack x Wanderbursh II), a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Susanne Dutt-Roth.

Teammates, Moussa and Dean-Potter finished 18th and 21st, respectively in the individual standings. Moussa, 20, was originally slated to compete as an individual at NAJYRC, but stepped up to join the team after Camille Carier-Bergeron unfortunately withdrew after her horse, Expression sustained an injury a few days out from the competition. Paired with Davidoff V.H. Trichelhof (Lord Leatherdale x Wall Street), a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by her parents, Susan and Mohammed, Moussa scored 62.605%. Dean-Potter, 19, rode Wendy Dice (Redford x Welt Hit II), a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Helena Dean, to a score of 62.327%.

Competing for Canada as an individual in the Young Rider Team Competition was Sydney Sacre of Pointe-du- Chêne, NB, who finished in 26th place aboard Valhalla.

“Today in the Young Rider Team Competition we were just out of the bronze position,” explained Ellen Rumball-Dvorak of Hillsburgh, ON, Chef d’Équipe for the Canadian dressage athletes at NAJYRC. “Our four-person team from Ontario and Alberta and one individual from New Brunswick are great team players and have supported each other throughout. Alexandra had a great opening test this morning, and although the girls faced various challenges today during their tests, they rose to the occasion to get the most out of their rides. It is a pleasure to be Chef d’Équipe to such a great group.”

Coming Up on Day 2

The second day of NAJYRC competition on July 20 will see Canadians competing at HITS Saugerties in the Jumping 1st Individual Qualifier for the Children’s, Junior and Young Rider divisions, as well as the Dressage Junior Team Competition. Eventing will also get underway at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, MT with the dressage portion of the J-CCI 1* division for Junior riders.

The full schedule for dressage and jumping at NAJYRC 2017 can be found here. For the full eventing schedule, click here.

For full results from the Young Rider Team Competition, click here. More information on NAJYRC 2017 can be found at