Kalispell, Mont.—July 22
As McKinsey Wickman prepared to head into the ring for her CCI* show jumping round, Area V coach Will Faudree gave her a piece of advice.
“I told her to shelve the pressure,” said Faudree. “I said to put it in a bubble and let it float away. To see her do just that was amazing.”
Wickman’s clear round on Dassett Profile sealed her individual gold medal in the Adequan FEI North American Youth Championships, and it also helped boost her Area V team, which was competing with only three members (Wickman, Georgia Dillard on Galileo WP and Georgia Phillips on Menue Rendezvous), to gold. Wickman won the dressage here at Rebecca Farm, and she didn’t add anything to that score (28.6), but Area V’s win came from behind thanks to all three members jumping clear rounds today.
“I’m over the moon ecstatic with my horse and the way he acted all weekend,” said Wickman. “He was just a star, and I’m really happy with how this all went, and to be here with these three girls.”
Dillard also moved up to individual bronze (33.1), just behind Area II’s Haley Carspecken on Center Stage (33.0).
“I was watching all the rounds before me, and there were tons of rails coming down, and I was getting pretty nervous,” said Carspecken. “But walking it, I thought it looked good for my horse and I. I had to move him forward, which is good for me.”
Faultless rounds were indeed tough to get—there were only six total out of 23 show jumping starters—and cross-country leaders Area II dropped down to team bronze after several members pulled rails. The combined team from Areas IV and VII picked up silver.
“It feels awesome to win bronze,” said Dillard. “I was fourth going into show jumping, so I just knew I needed to jump a double-clear round and then see where it goes from there. Georgia [Phillips] had already gone, and so Will said, ‘Just go ride exactly how it walked. Ride it just like Georgia did because she rode it awesome—just ride forward, confidently, and get [the] horse to the jump, and he’ll jump it.’ ”
Full Of Happy Tears
As the Area II young rider team sat down for their press conference after winning the CIC**, no one could stop the tears from flowing. At different times, Alexa Lapp, Olivia Dutton, Ryan Keefe and Tayler Stewart all spent time wiping their eyes, with fellow teammates comforting them—and it wasn’t the first time the riders had cried today.
“I cried when Olivia went. It was so cool to see this horse get to have his final go,” said Lapp, referring to former four-star and Olympic horse Mr. Medicott, who’ll be officially retired in a ceremony at Rebecca Farm later today.
But Lapp also cried when reflecting on her own mount, Cambalda. Cambalda, owned by Tim and Nina Gardner, competed through the four-star level with Lapp’s coach Jennie Brannigan, but with Brannigan sitting out this year with a suspension, Lapp got the ride on the experienced gelding. She earned individual bronze here at NAYC in addition to the team gold.
“I just can’t thank the Gardners enough,” she said. “Anyone who works for a professional has a dream where they think of riding that best horse, and the fact that I’m here on Jennie’s best horse is so crazy. They truly put my dream into reality. It’s so insane. Jennie came in and was spectating the cross-country and show jumping and stuff too. That was so awesome.”
Fellow Area II rider Stewart rode her own Ideal Contini into the individual silver medal spot (35.2) behind gold medal winner Alexandra Baugh on Ballingowan Pizazz, who finished on her dressage score of 30.8 penalties.
“I didn’t have the horse I really wanted in warm-up,” said Stewart. “He was a bit behind my leg and feeling yesterday a little bit, but I went in and wanted to give him confidence. Once I started the nerves kind of went away. He tried his heart out for me, and it was really lovely.
“ ‘Taz’ is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me,” she continued, starting to cry. “Growing up and when going through teenage years, you go through a lot and a lot of changes. Taz has been my constant in a rough time in my life, and he’s always given me something to work for and be passionate about. He’s just the best boy ever. I owe him so much. I owe him everything.”
Baugh’s clear round was one of only four in the division out of the 18 show jumpers.
“I had a stop on my horse before [Mr. Candyman, who Baugh was riding as an individual], but then going in on ‘Mango,’ he’s my strongest jumper,” she said. “He’s taught me so much in the last three years—we’ve grown so much together, and we’re finally getting a partnership where we can rely on each other and know what each other is thinking. It was a bit more peaceful than stressful.”
Check out full scores from the NAYC divisions.