Lexington, Ky.–July 17
As she stepped onto the podium to accept her individual gold medal for dressage at the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Riders Championships Catherine Chamberlain’s smile grew wider.
Even after the medal was around her neck and she’d completed her victory lap, the reality still hadn’t sunken in. Not only had she picked up a second gold to accompany the team gold she won as a part of the Region 7 Young Rider team, but she’d accomplished another goal she’d been working towards all year—a score in the 70s with her mount Verdicci.
Her 71.78 percent from today’s competition joined the 72.13 percent she scored in the team test the day before. Chamberlain was the only Young Rider to score in the 70s in either test.
While Chamberlain has seen her fair share of the gold medals this week, she’s also been at the bottom. In 2011, Chamberlain competed as a Young Rider for the first time and with a recently shattered elbow.
“Being a stubborn redhead I decided that I should still come,” she said with a smile. “I ended up dead last in the individual test, so to come back here again and win the gold is a huge journey for me.
“Anybody who feels they didn’t do so great, it’s not the end of the world,” she continued. “You can get better, and it’s not and end-all-be-all.”
Chamberlain is originally from Chandler, Ariz., but recently moved out to California to train with Kathleen Raine and David Wightman to get closer to her goal of being a professional rider.
David Ziegler of Calgary, Alberta, who is also the busiest rider at NAJYRC, took home the silver medal with Peninsula Top Man. Ziegler is also competing in eventing and holds the lead after dressage in the CH-Y** with Critical Decision.
“Today was the biggest concern for me having both horses next to each other in the same ring, said Ziegler, 21. “I wasn’t sure how the timing was going to work out, but the chef d’equipes and the secretaries here did a very good job of accommodating me. I’m very appreciative for them helping me do this.”
Ziegler competed Peninsula Top Man through preliminary before it became apparent that “Toppers” no longer wanted to be an event horse, so Ziegler switched him to pure dressage.
Region 8’s Hope Cooper took home her second bronze of the NAJYRCs with Don Diamond after winning the team bronze yesterday.
“Today Diamond was completely with me,” said Cooper, 17. “I really felt like the whole thing was a dance which was really cool to experience. We were a total team when we were out there. It was amazing.”
“I have to thank Lendon Gray because our pirouettes when we got here were my least favorite thing to do,” she continued. “Today they weren’t the best thing of the test but they were the most improved and I was really excited about that.”
Bergeron Sets Herself Apart In Junior Individual Test
Immediately after the end of her individual junior test, Camille Bergeron of Quebec dropped her reins and enthusiastically praised Lowelas. It was clear from the expression on her face that she was pleased with her test. The judges rewarded her as well, awarding her the only score in the 70s.
As the last to ride, she didn’t have to wait anxiously to see whether someone else would come to rob her of the gold. As soon as the scores were confirmed, the medal was hers.
“The objective of the ride was to be very precise because in that big show ring you need to be precise because with the second and third place you have a very small difference,” Bergeron 14 said. “I think I did my objective. The ride today and yesterday were really similar and just great.”
Bergeron’s goal for this week was to keep Lowelas happy and to make sure that she didn’t change her ride from what she practices at home.
Molly Paris, of Charlotte, N.C., put down a beautiful test with Diamant Sky to add a silver medal to the gold medal she won earlier this week with the Region 1 junior team.
“I was really thrilled with my test,” Paris said. “I didn’t think it was as good as yesterday, but I guess it was. He’s doing so incredibly well. He’s only 8 years old and two months ago we would have been spooking and jumping at everything.”
Canada’s Alexandra Meghji also added a second medal to her collection. She earned a silver team medal with the Ontario junior team yesterday and picked up the bronze with Iliado II today.
“I’m always looking to improve,” Meghji,16, said of her ride. “He was less nervous in the ring which really helped me, but he still was a little bit feisty and perky but today I was able to channel his extra energy into a lot of expression.”
To read more about all the winners at NAJYRC, check out the August 4th issue of The Chronicle of the Horse print magazine.