Lexington, Ky.—July 21
To say that Brandi Roenick is on a roll is a bit of an understatement.
First Roenick won the National Young Rider Championship at the USEF Dressage Festival Of Champions in Gladstone, N.J., with her own Pretty Lady.
Then Roenick tacked up Weltino’s Magic on Wednesday for team gold with Region 5 here at the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. Yesterday she topped the Young Rider Individual test on a 74.94 percent with “M&M.” Then today, Roenick scored a big victory in the Young Rider freestyle, picking up a 72.00 percent with Jen and Bruce Hlavacek’s Weltino’s Magic. Canada British Columbia’s Monica Houweling and Rifradin were second on 70.82 percent and Canada Quebec’s Mathilde Blais Tetreault on Michaelangelo took the bronze (69.32%).
“This is always my top goal,” said Roenick, 17. “It’s a very fun competition to come to, and coming here every year and medaling has been an honor and more than I’ve ever dreamed of. Every year my horses come out and try their hardest for me.”
Roenick’s ultimate goal for the season with Magic, a 10 year-old Westphalian gelding (Weltino—Diva, Diamond Boy), is the FEI Young Rider World Cup Final (Germany) this December. The horse previously contested the small tour with Roenick’s trainer, Steffen Peters, winning two gold medals at last year’s Pan American Games in Mexico. Peters is in England preparing for the Olympic Games with Ravel, so Roenick worked with her mother, Tracy, at NAJYRC.
“This is my third time here without Steffen. He’s taught me not to be dependent on his training all the time. We know he can’t always be here for these competitions. My mom was the perfect fit for me this weekend, and she knows where I’m at and knows me better than anyone,” said Brandi.
The freestyle Brandi and Magic performed was composed by Terry Gallo. It was the same music Peters used with the gelding at the small tour level.
“It got passed to me because we had such a short time to prepare,” Brandi said. “My strongest points today were the changes. He was really nervous and spooky with the cameras around the ring, but it was OK. I can’t expect him to come out and be a superstar every day. He trusted me.”
—Monica Houweling, 19, and Rifradin, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Gribaldi—Atradin) owned by Linda Houweling, also took silver in the Young Rider Individual test yesterday. “Rif” was also anxious about the video cameras lining the arena. “I was trying to keep myself calm because she feeds off of me a lot,” said Houweling, of Delta, British Columbia. “As soon as we went in the ring she was just super and trusting me. I felt my pirouettes were really great, and I nailed all my lines of changes, and I was thrilled.”
—Bronze medalists Tetreault, Montreal, and Michaelangelo survived an iffy moment when their music started skipping about halfway through the ride. “After the [music skipped] I was really anxious, and maybe I made my horse a little anxious as well, but he kept going really nicely,” said Tetreault, 20. “I was really going, and then it just stopped. I didn’t know if I should keep going or stop, but I caught back up.”
Canada Sweeps Top Two Junior Freestyle Medals
Laurence Blais Tetreault is another rider who’s enjoyed a successful NAJYRC this year. With Pissarro, she won bronze during Friday’s Junior Individual test, and she also won team bronze as part of the crew from Canada Quebec.
But Laurence topped both of those medals by earning gold in today’s junior freestyle on 73.62 percent.
“You can’t really describe how it feels,” said Laurence, 15. “It’s great. To prepare for this takes a really long time. Every time you ride, you have to think about what you’re training for. I can tell you it’s a long way to the top.”
Laurence, of Montreal, started riding Pissarro, a 15-year-old Westphalian (Pavarotti VD Helle—Panja, Patriot), two years ago. Her freestyle music, taken from the movies Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda, highlights the gelding’s personality.
“It’s fun music. You want to ride to it. It fits my horse well because he’s so cute and fun,” she said.
—Canada Ontario’s Mariah Sutton slotted into freestyle silver aboard Renoir, a 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Rohdiamant—Ruling Action, Akzent II) on 71.05 percent.
“I’m still speechless right now. I don’t know what to say,” said Sutton, 16. “My test was awesome. It flowed so great. Renoir is just full of spirit and so loyal, and it’s an honor to have a horse like that.”
—Ayden Uhlir earned gold in the Junior Individual test with Sjapoer, and she picked up freestyle bronze today (70.12%). “I picked my Blues Brothers music because it really fits Sjapoer’s personality,” she said. “He’s a little saucy and feisty and has a really old soul to him. I like oldies music more than the new stuff.”
—Colombia’s Nicolas Torres Rodriguez was again the highest-placed junior rider, earning 75.50 percent for his Avatar freestyle with Silver Label. But because NAJYRC is not currently open to riders from South American, Rodriguez was not eligible for medals. The 15-year-old spends one week a month working with Cesar Parra in New Jersey and lives in Colombia the rest of the time.
—Laurence and Mathilde are sisters, and their mother also rides. “My dad doesn’t ride. He grooms, and he’s really good at that,” said Mathilde. “We have a barn, and we all work together in the barn. I’m so proud of [Laurence]. She’s been working really hard and won the gold in the juniors today. I would really like to be on the same team as her next year, but we’ll have to see if she can make it since she’s only 15.”