North Salem, N.Y. — Aug. 3
Callie Jones rode 24th out of 28 in today’s Young Rider Individual test at the Adequan FEI North American Youth Championships and had all day to get nervous about her ride.
But rather than let the stress of waiting around get to her, Jones went to her go-to strategy to keep herself focused: watching videos from past rides.
“I went back and watched my ride in Aachen [Germany] when I got the 70 percent, and that boosted my confidence a lot,” said Jones, 20. “Then it was like, ‘OK, you can do this. You are a great rider, and you can be at the top.’ ”
The visualization helped push her into the winning spot with a 72.20 percent aboard Don Philippo, a Hanoverian by Dancier. Last year was Jones’ first crack at this competition, but a mistake in her individual test dropped her off the podium.
This year, after struggling with canter pirouettes and having a fairly green horse for the Prix St. Georges level, Jones set her sights on a medal.
“I never dreamed I would be getting the gold, it feels great,” said Jones, Henderson, Kentucky.
Beatrice Boucher and her mount, Delfiano, continued their medal streak, earning the silver medal individual today, after picking up gold Wednesday as part of Team Quebec/Alberta.
“This is my last year as a young rider, so it feels incredible to have two medals,” said the 20-year-old from Sainte-Monique, Quebec. “[When we] went [Wednesday], we had a couple mistakes, but today everything was just right. He was just floating and felt so responsive.”
Boucher plans to continue training with Delfiano and hopes to compete him at the U25 level in the coming years.
Kayla Kadlubek, in her first year competing at the NAYC, credits today’s bronze medal to moving her horse off her leg more and encouraging him to go forward.
“That really paid off to get a few higher marks where I could,” said Kadlubek, Fairfax Station, Virginia.
Kadlubek, 18, looks forward to her future with mount, Perfect Step, a 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding from Dressage4Kids.
“I know he has so much more to give me,” said Kadlubek. “He’s really been able to teach me the ropes of young riders, and hopefully [in the future], the Grand Prix.”
Stay glued to coth.com for updates throughout the week for lots more from the Adequan FEI North American Youth Championships, and be sure you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @chronofhorse. We’ll have lots more from the competition in the Aug. 20 issue of the magazine.