July 28, Lexington, Ky.
The second day of official competition at the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships continued with dressage, eventing and show jumping. Individual young rider and junior medals were awarded while the CCI** eventing competitors did their dressage. The first elimination round for show jumping was also held.
In the young rider individual dressage competition, Isabelle Leibler and Watson 108 bested the field with a 67.28 percent. This is the first young riders championship for Leibler, 16, from Greenwich, Conn. It’s also her first season with Watson, a 14-year-old Westphalian gelding (Weinzauber—Djuna, Damenstolz). “There are no words to describe this. It’s unbelievable,” said Leibler. “Maybe later it’ll start sinking in! This is very special, to be riding against some amazing riders with amazing horses and so much talent.”
- Leibler, a member of the Region 8 bronze-winning team, rides most regularly with Marcel Van Der Burgh, but she also got help from Robert Dover and Lendon Gray before NAJYRC this year.
- Brandi Roenick, fresh off yesterday’s team gold for Region 5, and Pretty Lady, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Iglesias—Ivonne, Sit This One Out), scored a 67.15 percent to earn the individual silver.
- “I knew I was riding against some of the top riders in the country, and I was pretty intimidated coming in,” Roenick said. “I knew Isabelle and Chase [Hickock] have amazing horses. But I worked my tail off, and my horse tried her heart out for me.”
- Chase Hickock, 21, riding Palermo, jumped into third place (66.84%) with an expressive test. Palermo is a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zeoliet—Arona, Statvar). Hickok rides with Cesar Parra and attends school at Stanford University. “He’s such a fantastic horse,” Hickock said. “I don’t think I could ask for a better partner to achieve all this with.”
- There’s proving to be a common theme for the competition—the weather. Today’s mercury reached 94 degrees with a heat index of almost 100. Riders weren’t allowed to wear their coats again, with most opting for team polo shirts made of wicking material, but they and their horses still felt the effects of the relentless sun. “It’s been incredibly hot,” said Roenick. “I’ve been cutting my workouts down with my mare. Usually I work her for 45 minutes; here I’ve been narrowing it into 25 minutes and just trying not to let her get too tired. With as small as she is, I need to keep her as healthy and motivated to go into the ring and give it her all.”
- Region 6 rider Sadie Lahey of Eagle, Idaho, rode Up To Date P (Nijinski—Precious, Belisar), an imported KPWN gelding to win the junior individual dressage competition with a 67.86 percent. For Lahey, who participated in last year’s championships, victory this year was especially sweet. “I came last year as a junior, and I was the drop score for my team, so I’m very excited to be where I am,” she said.
- Sarah Loewen, who trains in Ontario, Canada, followed less than a point behind for the Canadians, riding her 13-year-old KWPN gelding Ricardo (Gracio—Irene, Sit This One Out) to second place on a 67.07 percent.
- Monica Houweling was the second Canadian on the podium, after riding her 12-year-old KWPN gelding Stentano (Houston—Modora, Havel) to a 66.60 percent and the junior individual bronze medal. Houweling said that she brought Stentano to Kentucky about a week before the competition even began, to give him plenty of time to acclimate to the weather.
- After the CCI** dressage, Devon Brown and Dynamic Image are leading the individual competition with 50.5 penalties. Malibu and Joelle Baskerville are second on 52.4 penalties, while Urlanmore Beauty and Sarah Kamensky are third (53.6) and Coal Creek and Lizzie Snow are fourth (54.1). Area III is leading the team competition.
- The show jumping team competition begins at 7 a.m. tomorrow. The CCI* will also complete the dressage portion of their competition.
Full results available at Fox Village.