Friday, May. 24, 2024

Day 2 At NAYC: Medals For Children, Pre-Juniors Team Show Jumping And Junior Team Dressage



Thursday brought a full day of jumping competition at the FEI North American Youth Championships in Traverse City, Michigan, where children and pre-juniors wrapped up their team competition and juniors and young riders had their first competitive rounds in the Turtle Creek International Ring at Traverse City Horse Shows.

Hailey Guidry and Ezmeralda EH Z
Hailey Guidry and Ezmeralda EH Z. Leslie Potter/US Equestrian Photo

FEI Children Team Final

The first class of the day came down to an exciting jump-off for gold between two teams of tough competitors. Both the Zone 4 team and the combined team from Zones 1 and 2 came into the first round of Thursday’s competition with no penalties carried over from Wednesday. Both teams had 4 penalties in the first round and 0 in the second, forcing the jump-off. All eight athletes rode to win, and the final result came down to the very last round. Zone 4 eked out the win over Zone 1/2 by just one rail. The combined team from Zones 7, 8 and 9 finished in third place for the bronze medal.

Zone 4 got down to business when it was time to go in the ring. Two team members from Zone 4 finished the second day of competition with no penalties individually: Haioley Guidry (New Orleans) with Honor Hill Farm LLC’s 11-year-old Zangersheide mare, Ezmeralda EH Z; and Taylor Finkle (Wellington, Florida) with her own 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Sheldon.

“I’ve had Ezmeralda for a few months now, and we have gotten together very well,” said Guidry. “She is the sweetest thing ever. I’m so happy to be here and get to experience this. This is my first year [at NAYC], and I have seven more junior years, so it’s very exciting.”

“This is my first time at NAYC, and it’s pretty unreal,” said Finkle. “It’s really cool here at Traverse City. I’ve had my horse for two years in November, and he’s really cool. He’s just a trier.”

Lauren Frandson and Golda
Lauren Frandson and Golda. Leslie Potter/US Equestrian Photo

FEI Pre-Juniors Team Final

In the Pre-Juniors Team competition, the athletes from Zone 10 made the most of the trip from the West Coast. They came into Day 2 of team competition with an 8-penalty lead over the second-placed team and added nothing to their score over Thursday’s two rounds to take home the gold.

Zone 4 held their overnight second-place standing to win silver, and the combined team from Zones 1, 3 and 5 won bronze.

Zone 10’s Lauren Frandson (Laguna Beach, California) with her own Golda, a 9-year-old Holsteiner mare, currently has the leading individual score after putting down the second-best score on Wednesday and two clear rounds on Thursday. Frandson has reasonable expectations for her relatively young horse, but Golda has proven to be an excellent partner.


“I’ve had Golda for a little less than a year now, and she’s the best mare I’ve ever had,” said Frandson. “Since she’s so young, we have to go in and give a really confident round, and I feel like this week, that’s what we’ve done.”

Another Zone 10 team member, Scarlett Wallis (Royal Oaks, California), currently stands in second place individually with her own Samurai, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding she’s been had for two years. Wallis said her gelding can be a little spooky, but that he is a willing and rideable partner.

“I would say that Samurai’s strength is that he’s adjustable,” said Wallis. “I was able to go in the first round, from the one stride to the liverpool I did six strides, and in the second round I was able to do five, and he did really well.”

Individual competition for children and pre-juniors will resume on Saturday, August 12.

Juniors And Young Riders First Rounds

Thirty-six juniors entered the ring on Thursday for their first rounds of this year’s NAYC. Using the time-to-penalties conversion format, Zone 6’s Nora Nauss had the top round of the day riding her own Bretzelle d’Arthenay, a 12-year-old Selle Français mare. The pair went clear and fast, finishing nearly 3 seconds faster than second-place finishers Daniel Montenegro Ortiz of Guatemala, riding Flavio Montenegro’s Ira De Span, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare. Olivia Sweetnam of Zone 4 currently stands in a very close third-place position—just 0.03 penalties behind second place—with Sweet Oak Farm’s HDB Quality, a 10-year-old Westphalian mare.

Guatemala currently holds the lead for the juniors team rankings with a total of 7.77. Zone 6 stands less than a point behind, and Zone 2 currently holds third.

The young riders closed out the day, navigating their first course under sunny, breezy conditions. Zone 5’s Olivia Williams and Irocco Blue S, her own 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, had the top round of the day to take the lead individually. Virginia Bonnie from Zone 3 came late in the order with Nina Bonnie’s Efodea, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, to turn in a fast, clear round and take over the second-place position. Kate Hovland from Zone 10 rounds out the top three with Cruz, the 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding she co-owns with David and Tanya Hovland.

In the young riders team rankings, Zone 3 holds the lead with a score of 4.45. Mexico stands close behind in second place with a 5.12, and Zone 10 is currently in third with a 6.55

Team competition will conclude on Friday, August 11, with the juniors’ team final beginning at 8:00 a.m. ET and the young riders’ team final starting at noon.


Junior Team Dressage Competition

Dressage competition continued Thursday at the FEI North American Youth Dressage Championships, with the junior teams taking center stage and the U.S. regions sweeping the podium.

Norah Wright and Baccos Do Retiro
Norah Wright and Baccos Do Retiro. KTB Creative Group Photo

Thirty-six horse-and-rider combinations went head-to-head across nine teams, with the team of combined USDF Regions 4 and 6 coming out on top of the podium with a total score of 204.57. USDF Region 3 earned the silver medal on a score of 204.36, and USDF Region 8 earned the bronze with 203.78.

Fifteen-year-old Norah Wright and her own Baccos Do Retiro, an 18-year-old Andalusian gelding, scored the highest for the winning Region 4/6 team, riding to a 68.93%. Teammate Lexi Kment rode Laureen Van Norman’s 19-year-old warmblood Montagny Von Der Heide to 68.72%. The pair were the anchors for their region, and Kment, a gold medal veteran of NAYC, just wanted to go in and have a fun ride with “Monty.”

“It means a lot [to be back on a winning NAYC team]; it is super special because coming into this competition this year, I came in wanting to have fun,” she said. “I went into the ring today with a big smile on my face; I was so proud of these girls and how well they did, and I just knew that whatever was going to happen was going to happen.”

Daphne Glenn and her 11-year-old Westphalian mare Romanesque achieved a 66.90% for Region 4/6, and Olivia Martz rode her mom Brook Martz’s 19-year-old Oldenburg gelding Ronvair to a 63.90%.

NAYC Junior Dressage Team Podium
U.S. regions swept the top three placings. KTB Creative Group Photo

“ ‘Retro’ [Ronvair] is my mom’s horse,” Olivia explained. “It feels really special to be taking him at 19 years old and competing with him because he is a horse that my mom bred and trained, and right now she is battling cancer, and it feels really special to be able to be here to experience it all on her horse that she did everything with.”

The silver medal team of Region 3 was comprised of Justine Boyer and Campanero HGF, Tessa Geven and Sir Frederico, Madison Sumner and Briar, and Virginia Woodcock and Mollegardens Sans-Souci. Woodcock, who was the anchor rider for the team, achieved a score of 69.30% with her own 9-year-old Danish Warmblood mare.

“It means so much to be here with these girls,” Woodcock said. “It’s been really fun to be a part of this team, the support between us has been amazing, and I wasn’t expecting to be here, and this is a pleasant result; it’s very exciting.”

The bronze-medal winning Region 8 Team included Lucy Sheldon and Porsche’s Florencia, Sophia Forsyth and Dimagico, and Leah Drew and Damon’s Davian.

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