July 31, Lexington, Ky.
The junior individual medalists were decided in a jump-off after the top three tied with 4 cumulative faults from the five rounds of competition. First to go in the jump-off, Hayley Barnhill and Toucan Tango lowered one rail. Merlin and Frances Land jumped a clear round, but with a time (35.81 seconds) that turned out slower than Samantha Schaefer and Trezebees’ 33.95 seconds.
- Samantha Schaefer, 18, led the competition with faultless rounds all the way up to the fifth course. But Trezebees took down the first fence in that round, creating a three-horse jump-off for all the medals. “Of all the jumps to have down, the worst is the first one,” Schaefer said. “You’re riding the rest of the round like, ‘I can’t have any more.’ That was not what we planned, for sure.”
- After five full rounds of jumping, and more for those who jumped off for team medals on Friday, the riders were worried their horses might be too tired for today’s final jump-off. “Merlin has a little bit of a breathing problem,” said Land, 17. “He gets overheated quickly, so we were a little tentative and worried about him this week. Between rounds we would sponge him off. I was so proud of him. He felt super sound, and he handled the heat and rounds wonderfully this week.”
- Schaefer, Westminster, Md., is leasing Trezebees, a 15-year-old Belgium Warmblood mare (Cash—Quirinal, Quito de Baussy), from Addison Phillips for the season. “I was in the right place at the right time, and Andre [Dignelli] thought it would be a good match. She has a great personality in the barn; she’s never pushy and always stands perfectly in the aisle,” said Schaefer.
- Land, Alpharetta, Ga., rides with her father Jay Land. Before coming to young riders, Frances spent the most time schooling open water questions with Merlin, a 14-year-old British Warmblood (Magic Darco—Tarantella). “We have an open water at home, and we practiced that a lot,” she said. “That was what was most difficult for me last year. He jumped it great this year.”
- Hayley Barnhill and Frances Land were teammates on the gold medal-winning Zone 4 team earlier this week. They said it’s not hard making the switch to competitors and then back to friends. “It’s more you riding against the course, and not you riding against your friends,” said Land. “All three of us were encouraging each other and talking about the course. It’s just you going in there and making it happen. You have to worry about yourself; you don’t worry about other people.”
“We’ve gotten really close doing this,” added Barnhill. “We’re all super competitive, but if anyone beats me, I’d like it to be one of these girls.”
- New York native Katie Dinan, 18, took home the gold medal for the individual young rider show jumping aboard her 13-year-old Thoroughbred-Warmblood cross Vancouver, finishing the week’s five rounds with only 10.14 penalties. “I definitely was a little nervous, because coming [into the last two rounds] on top there’s a lot of pressure,” she said.
- Dinan, who rides with McLain Ward, said that she was pleasantly surprised with how Vancouver jumped after a long week. “We usually put him in two, maybe three, classes at horse shows, so this was definitely a challenge with the five rounds. I expected him to be little less alert today,” she said. Vancouver was up for the challenge, however, and the pair stayed in the lead despite 8 penalties in the final rounds.
- Samantha Senft, of Wellington, Fla., rode her 9-year-old mare Early Morning to a silver finish only a tenth of a point behind Dinan (10.24 penalties) in the individual young rider show jumping competition.
- For Senft, who has had Early Morning for a year as of this week, the victory was especially sweet. “She was the horse no one wanted because you can only do one jump in the schooling ring, and she bucks and acts crazy,” Senft said with a laugh. “I’m so beyond thrilled to be able to say I accomplished so much with a horse no one wanted. I’m not ever giving her up.” Senft says she plans to celebrate the victory, and her 21st birthday, with her parents.
- Danielle Korsh, 20, of San Diego, Calif., grabbed bronze at the end of the five-round show jumping competition. Finishing on 16.57 penalties, Korsh rode her 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood to only 3 penalties between the fourth and fifth rounds after collecting 13.57 penalties in the first three rounds. Korsh is no stranger to the podium, having scored silver earlier this week in the young rider team competition, riding for Zone 10.
Show jumping for the CCI** and CCI* eventing will conclude this afternoon, followed by the closing ceremonies.