Harrisburg, Pa.—Oct. 13.
Dana Scott just wanted to qualify for the final individual round of the Randolph College/USEF National Junior Jumper Championships. So, when she landed from the last jump as the individual gold medalist, she couldn’t quite believe it.
Scott, 17, and her KM Whatever RV were the only pair to not have a single rail over the four rounds of competition.
“I got a little lucky on some of the ones in the last round. I heard a couple of hard rubs in there!” Scott said. “Basically, it has to be your week, and this week was my week. Next week it might be someone else’s week. It’s a bit of luck because everyone here is a fabulous rider who has a fantastic horse and a great team behind them, so anyone can pick up the win.”
Unlike a lot of junior riders at the Pennsylvania National who split their time between the hunters, the jumpers and preparing for the Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals, Scott, of Wilton, Conn., had a single focus. “I think I’ve ridden in three judged classes since I’ve been on a horse, so it’s been all jumpers all the time,” she said.
When she was ready to move up from the ponies, she tried a children’s jumper on a whim. “I loved it and I haven’t looked back ever since,” she said.
Scott, who rides with Jeffery Welles, found KM Whatever RV on a European shopping trip last fall. “When I sit on him, there’s a click. He has a great competitive attitude and he tries so hard,” she said. “He’s a huge overachiever, and he loves his job. He did four rounds here, and he’d done five rounds at Young Riders this summer, and he would keep jumping if I told him to.”
As the only double-clean performance in the Nations Cup format of the Prix des States team competition, Scott helped the Zone 1/8 team to silver. The three-man team just barely lost out in a tense battle with Zone 5 for the gold.
“We didn’t have a drop so everyone had to hold their own,” said Scott. “For a team of four, the anchor feels the most pressure, but I think everyone on our team felt the pressure. Nobody could afford to mess up, and everyone held it together. This is the first time I’d ridden as the anchor in a team event, so I was nervous, but I just stayed calm and kept going.” Scott was joined by Sydney Shulman and Madeline Thatcher on the silver-medal team.
But in the end, the relentless performances of the Zone 5 team couldn’t be denied. Lillie Ross, Kalvin Dobbs, Catherine Tyree and Abigail McArdle claimed the gold.
Ross, Dobbs and McArdle all jumped clean in the second round to overtake the Zone 1/8 team. “We had such a great team. It was odd; things changed around a lot in the results. It’s nice to see if you put down consistent rounds you’re rewarded,” said McArdle, who anchored the team and turned in the clean round that clinched the gold.
“They announced that if I went clean we’d win as I was on the way to the first jump, and I thought ‘Oh boy!’ I didn’t know we were in quite that position; I hadn’t thought too much about it,” McArdle continued.
McArdle has been riding Cosma, with whom she also claimed individual silver the next night, since this winter. “We’ve had an amazing summer; we won classes at Spruce Meadows, won [the individual junior gold at the North American Junior and Young Riders Championships]. We’ve been kind of taking it easy and doing just the big stuff. But I hadn’t shown her indoors before. I expected great things from her, but obviously, you don’t know how she was going to be, if she was going to get backed off or anything. But she was great and showed how great she is in every venue.”