Monday, May. 20, 2024

Barteau Captures Second USEF Young Rider Dressage Championship Title

This gifted young rider from Illinois continues to impress the judges as she builds her string of talented horses.

For many young riders, qualifying one horse for the Collecting Gaits Farm/U.S. Equestrian Federation Dressage Festival Of Champions would be a big deal. But Kassandra Barteau doesn’t settle for ordinary. She traveled to the USEF National Young Rider Championship with three mounts, and as the top-ranked rider with Gabriella, she earned her second consecutive title.
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This gifted young rider from Illinois continues to impress the judges as she builds her string of talented horses.

For many young riders, qualifying one horse for the Collecting Gaits Farm/U.S. Equestrian Federation Dressage Festival Of Champions would be a big deal. But Kassandra Barteau doesn’t settle for ordinary. She traveled to the USEF National Young Rider Championship with three mounts, and as the top-ranked rider with Gabriella, she earned her second consecutive title.

In addition to Gabriella, Barteau arrived with the second- and fourth-ranked horses, GP Raymeister and Sheffield, and managed impressive placings with both, finishing in fifth and eighth, respectively.

Barteau normally rides 10 horses a day, so the 19-year-old had no problem scaling back to three for the championship, held June 21-22 in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., alongside the Olympic Dressage Selection Trials (which will be published in the July 11 issue).

“Every single one of them has beaten each other in competition,” said Barteau. “They’re all owned by different clients, and I just figured I would give them all a chance. The other two are both up-and-coming horses. I wanted to give them a national championship experience.”

In the end, it was Gabriella who once again rose to the top with a solid team test and a Prix St. Georges effort that left her young rider in tears.

“I’m feeling very good, very lucky and very happy, especially for it to be on my big mare that I’ve had for so long and have such a good partnership with,” said Barteau. “I’m really proud of her. In the warm-up she was good, but she went in there and was very good. I think she was the best she’s been in the past five years. She tried hard. It was the most clean and forward test she’s ever done.”

The 16-year-old, Hanoverian mare (Grosso Z—Wiebe) is owned by Robert Oury and is normally a bit on the lazy side, according to Barteau, so she was especially pleased with the mare’s energy, despite temperatures that soared into the mid-90s throughout the competition.

Unlike most young riders, Barteau has spent the past few years working full time for her mother and stepfather, Yvonne and Kim Barteau, who run a dressage training business in Gilberts, Ill. She home schooled, which gave her more time for riding.

“I want to become a trainer like my mom and step-dad,” said Kassandra. “I want to represent my country internationally.”

This is the second year that the USEF has offered individual young rider and junior championships in conjunction with the Dressage Festival Of Champions, and the young riders appreciated the opportunity to train alongside some of the best competitors in the country.

“Riding here in the same arena as the future Olympians is very inspiring,” said Kassandra.

And she’s working her way up to competing against those riders. Kassandra cleaned up in the U.S. Dressage Federation awards last year, claiming all but two levels of junior/young rider high-point awards. She also won an individual bronze medal last year at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championship (Va.).

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This year she intends to return to the NAJYRC, although she’s not sure which horse she’ll take, and she has another goal—she hopes to represent the United States in the FEI Young Rider World Cup Finals in December.

A Grand Finale

Unlike Barteau, Laura Noyes is in her last year of young rider eligibility, so she went for broke with Syncro and returned home with the reserve championship.

Noyes, a 21-year-old from Falmouth, Maine, rides with George Williams and works as an assistant trainer for him in Richwood, Ohio. She attends Ohio Wesleyan University.

Noyes has ridden Syncro, a 14-year-old Trakehner (Enrico Caruso—Sonset) gelding, for the past five years.
“I bought him when we were both first level, so we’ve done everything together,” said Noyes.

Syncro went to the FEI Young Rider World Cup Final in 2006, but he had to sit out 2007 due to an injury. Noyes returned to the show ring at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby (Fla.) in March with a win in the young rider freestyle and built momentum throughout the spring. She came into the competition ranked third and placed second behind Barteau in the team test and the Prix St. Georges.

Noyes said she was pleased with her tests but wished she’d had fewer mistakes.

“He gets really jazzed up in this environment, but he handled it well,” she explained. “He was much more relaxed in the ring on Sunday. I felt like I had him much more consistently through. There were still mistakes, unfortunately, but you never know what you’re going to get. I was happy.”

Noyes hopes to try for the Brentina Cup next year with Syncro.

She’s More Than Pretty

Like Barteau, Brandi Roenick entered the competition atop the ranking list aboard Pretty Lady, but the junior rider said that position didn’t give her more confidence going into the ring.

“I was afraid of what the other girls would think of me. I like my competition to like me, rather than hate me,” she said.

But instead of striving against one another, the junior competitors bonded. “It was like a party all the time. We always went to lunch together and watched the jumpers,” said Roenick.

Roenick wasn’t even sure she’d qualify for the junior championship this year. “I wanted to just try the junior test. I wasn’t expecting to come in top-ranked,” she said.

The 13-year-old from Scottsdale, Ariz., trains with her mother, Tracy Roenick, and with Debbie McDonald. She recently graduated from her pony, Casper, to Pretty Lady, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood.

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“It’s a blessing for me to have that mare,” said Roenick. “At first we weren’t even going to look at her because she wasn’t in our price range. We weren’t looking forward to spending a lot of money on a horse for me. But we realized I’ll need a horse to compete year after year.”

Roenick placed second on the first day in the team test to Mackinzie Pooley and Jonkara, but she won the individual test with 68.15 percent for an overall average of 68.07 percent.

“Even with the break in my extended trot, I’m a lot happier with the ride I had today,” said Roenick. “It’s our better test, and we do a lot better on it. It has bigger movements in it and the harder half-pass.”

Roenick also said the junior tests were almost too similar, so it was easy to go off course. She wished the tests could be a bit harder with more “fun” movements like the Prix St. Georges.

Roenick hopes to contest the junior championship at the NAJYRC this summer in Colorado, as does the reserve champion, Pooley.

Pooley was happy with her mare, Jonkara, on both days, but she said the 17-year-old Oldenburg (Rubenstein I—Jonkalla) can be quite unpredictable.

“Every day is different with my horse. You just have to take it day by day,” said Pooley.

In the team test, Jonkara stayed with Pooley and paid attention well. “In some places I went for it, like in the mediums and in the canter,” she said. “Those are things I can do well. In other places I was more conservative.”

But her individual test didn’t go quite as well, and the mare lost impulsion, although Pooley was pleased with her canter work.

“I’ve been riding her for 1 1⁄2 years,” said the 15-year-old from Coto de Caza, Calif. “I know her much better than last year, but I can never predict how she’s going to act. You don’t know until you start taking her stuff off in the warm-up when the rider before you goes in the ring whether she’s going to change or not.”

Pooley trains with Karen Ball and earned individual bronze and freestyle bronze at the NAJYRC last summer. 

Sara Lieser

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