Lexington, Ky. – July 20
Although they came to the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships with a mixed bag of experience, the Area III young rider team came out on top after cross-country over a tough track designed by David O’Connor.
Caroline Martin, 18, was the first rider on course and came home with a handful of time penalties aboard Quantum Solace. While she’s competed to the advanced level, she admitted the course was tough. “It’s hard being the first because you don’t know what to expect and you don’t know how the time is. I was quite pleased with my horse. He’s a very honest horse, and all of the questions he was presented he answered, even if I didn’t ride correctly. I was really proud of him for that. It was definitely a championship course,” she said.
Martin, Miami Beach, Fla., was leading after dressage, but 2 time penalties dropped her to second behind Area V’s Rowdie Adams and No Money Down in the individual competition.
Martin’s teammate Jenny Caras rode her 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood Fernhill Stowaway to a clear round with 12.7 time penalties, keeping her in the individual bronze medal position going into show jumping.
The bay gelding is green at the level, but jumped around confidently. Several riders were caught out at the combination at 6ab, an airy log five strides to a severely angled brush, so by the time Caras went out, coach Kyle Carter advised her to take the long route. “He’s done one CCI** at Chattahoochee Hills [Ga.], but it was a little soft. I went out basically thinking I was going to have ride every jump, ride every stride,” said Caras. “Kyle wanted me to go the option on 6ab. Initially I planned to go the direct route, but we wanted those three scores, so I was riding for the team there. I think I could have gotten the direct way done, but better to be safe than sorry. I would have been kicking myself if I’d had a run-by there.”
Mary Atkins Hunt rode Nuance to a clear jumping round and moved up from sixth after dressage to fourth, while Matilda Segal and Guinness X were eliminated after two stops.
Although disappointed in the result of her first CCI**, Segal was proud to represent her area and cheer on her teammates. “I was very green coming into this. I had only just started going intermediate late in the season,” she said. “That walk home after you get eliminated, it’s everybody on your shoulders. It stinks to come back and know you let more than yourself down, but there’s also the aspect of having more people behind you supporting you when you made the right decision or just had an off day. Everybody was there saying, ‘You rode the best you could, you did the best of your ability.’”
Adams, 17, and her off-the-track Thoroughbred No Money Down were the only CCI** pair to make the time and took over the individual lead. “It was definitely difficult and it caused a lot of problems. A few of my plans from yesterday changed after quite a few problems happened at number 6. I took the long way because it only added a few more seconds and I wanted to make sure I got around clean,” she said. “He jumped everything like a pro. He’s just a little sports car. I couldn’t be more pleased with him.”
Only five of 15 starters completed without jump penalties. Most of the problems occurred at fence 6ab and fence 12ab, an extremely angled ditch and brush combination. There were three eliminations for refusals and Canada’s Haley Armstrong fell from Déjà vu, but both horse and rider walked home.
Area III moved into the lead in the CCI* team competition (157.7), but the combined team from Area’s VII and VIII is close behind (159.7).
Victoria Clayton on The Secret Agent, Ashley Dodds on Manhattan, Diane Portwood on Cinerescent and individual leaders Nicole Doolittle and Tops all put in double-clear cross-country rounds.
“I thought the course rode really well. I definitely thought you had to go out and ride and commit to a lot of things,” said Dodds.
The one-star course generally rode well, with two eliminations for refusals and two falls (Morgan Booth and Lucky Little Spy and Reagan LaFleur and Orient Des Touches. Both horses and riders were not hurt).
Doolittle, 15, Reddick, Fla., was confident heading out onto cross-country because Tops has been to NAJYRC once in the one-star and twice in the two-star with his previous owner Danielle Dichting. “It’s nice that he has this experience, but you had to come out and ride for yourself. You couldn’t just depend on your horse. He was perfect out there. He went around like he knew what he was doing, for sure,” she said.
Mary Peabody Camp on Rave Review, riding for the combined team from Area VII and VIII, moved into the silver medal position with a double-clear round, while her teammate Emily Macauley aboard Canadian Express moved into bronze medal position.
For full results, visit the NAJYRC website.