Monday, Sep. 25, 2023

Day 4 At NAYC: Junior And U25 Grand Prix Freestyle Individual Dressage, Childrens And Pre-Junior Individual Jumping Medals



Competition continued today at the FEI North American Youth Dressage Championships and welcomed individual winners in the junior and U25 freestyle divisions.

Sienna Rowe and Lightfire Just Do It
Sienna Rowe and Lightfire Just Do It. KTB Creative Group Photo

Junior Individual Championship

Sienna Rowe (Urbanna, Virginia) and Jason Rowe’s 13-year-old Westphalian gelding Lightfire Just Do It landed atop the podium in the junior individual championship with the only 70% of the class, riding to a final score of 70.67%.

“I was thrilled because my ride Thursday was close to a 70%, but not quite,” said Rowe. “I was very happy to get a 70% and to have had a really good ride.”

Rowe and “Nike” have been partnered for three years, and Rowe described him as a personable mount.

“He’s like the perfect little guy,” Rowe said. “He’s like this little ball of fire. He’s got a great personality. When you go to open his stall door, if you try and leave, he sticks his face out and doesn’t let you shut it.”

Rowe set her sights on NAYC and will decide her next moves with the gelding soon.

“I was just really hoping to do good here,” Rowe said. “From here, we’ll see where it goes.”

Madison Sumner (Wellington, Florida) and the 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Briar, owned by Madison and Wayne Sumner, rode to a personal best score of 69.38% to take home the silver medal.

“It’s been an amazing experience to be here with all these talented riders,” said Sumner. “I’m grateful to have my amazing support team, and it means a lot [to be at NAYC]. I was really happy with my half-passes today. And the overall feeling he gave me, he was really with me the whole time.”

Norah Wright (La Grande, Oregon) and her own 18-year-old Andalusian gelding, Baccos Do Retiro, rounded out the top three by claiming the junior individual bronze. The pair began their week as members of the gold medal-winning Region 6/4 team and today earned a score of 69.38%.

“What makes Baccos special is that he really tries no matter what he does and just loves to get out there and show,” said Wright. “Today, our high points were the trot for the whole test; he was balanced and really with me.”

U25 Grand Prix Freestyle Championship

Saturday evening brought a special treat for spectators at Flintfields Horse Park as the inaugural NAYC U25 Freestyle Championship took place. Eight combinations performed their freestyles for the judging panel, and for many of them, it was an early experience in their FEI Grand Prix career.

Claire Robinson and Glamour Boy
Claire Robinson and Glamour Boy. Leslie Potter/US Equestrian Photo

Claire Robinson of Canada was the final entry on the order, and with Glamour Boy, a 2011 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Carol Robinson, she put down the best test of the evening, earning a 71.09% from the judges and the gold medal.

“I’ve not ridden this freestyle too many times, and of course every time you learn something a little bit new about the pattern and how you’re riding it,” said Robinson. “When I finally came to that final halt, I just looked back and was like, ‘I think that was everything. I think it all happened!’ It was a really good feeling on that final centerline where I knew he was with me, and I felt that I had had him with me for the whole test. It was really awesome.”


Robinson’s freestyle is set to music from “Hamilton,” which she chose to fit her horse.

“We had to find something that would really suit him. He’s sort of a tall, elegant horse, and I really loved the music,” she said. “This is a horse that I finished to the level myself, so I’m a little bit green at the level and he’s a little bit green at the level. I just really wanted [a floorplan] I felt like could play to his strengths a little bit, and where I could really produce a clean test and that worked out today.”

Alexander Dawson of U.S. Region 2 earned a 69.18% from the judges to take home the silver medal. Dawson rode Freedom, a 2007 Oldenburg stallion owned by Barbara Caldwell.

“My trainer Patty brought him up from a young age, and she trained his father,” said Dawson. “He really has a lot of history going back in Region 2, with Barbara Cadwell breeding multiple of the stallions and the mares on his dam’s side. He’s a really cool horse and super intelligent. Every horse I ride from here on out is going to be compared to him, and just his understanding and really wanting a fair, consistent partnership. It’s a real pleasure to ride him and I’m honored that I had the opportunity to.”

Dawson’s freestyle test was designed for Freedom when he was a developing horse.

“We borrowed it for the event,” said Dawson. “We went through it a few times in the two weeks leading up to it, and I’m really glad it all came together in the ring instead of just in the warm-up.”

Emily Hewitt from Region 3 earned the bronze medal in the freestyle, posting a 67.98% with Fidens, a 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by her sister, Hannah.

“Fidens is actually Hannah’s horse that she’s had since he was 5, and so since this was my last year [of U25 eligibility], she provided me this opportunity to take him out, get to know him, and really allow for me to be here,” said Hewitt. “I feel like [having a U25 division at NAYC] adds a different level of seriousness and competitiveness, and when it comes to showing at Grand Prix, I think showing without a whip and in front of five judges really makes you grow as a rider.”

Full dressage schedule and results

Childrens Individual Jumping Championship

Two exceptional mares, two talented equestrians, and two no-jumping-fault outings led to the first individual gold medals at the Gotham North/FEI North American Youth Jumping Championship. Hailey Guidry and Ezmeralda EH Z finished five rounds of competition in the childrens category with no penalties. Lauren Frandson and Golda completed their NAYC week with no rails down across five rounds and only 0.28 penalties from the first round.

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

Hailey Guidry (Poplarville, Mississippi) made an undeniable entrance to her first NAYC, winning team gold with Zone 4 and then going on to win individual gold, and doing it all without racking up even a fraction of a penalty. Guidry gives credit to her horse, Ezmeralda EH Z, a 2012 Zangersheide mare owned by her family’s Honor Hill Farm LLC.

“My horse is absolutely amazing. I couldn’t have done this without her,” said Guidry. “She was a little tired [coming into the final round], but she definitely had a lot of energy. By the end of the course she was very spicy, and by the second round, she was really fast.”

Guidry said she came in with no expectations of winning at her first NAYC and just wanted to get the experience. Along with her medals, she leaves the competition with an appreciation for the team environment.

“It’s very exciting and you meet so many new friends,” said Guidry. “Everyone is so sweet, and it’s very exciting to have a team because you have friends; sometimes you know them and sometimes you get to make new friends and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a good experience.”

When asked how she would celebrate with “Ezme,” Guidry said, “I’ll go back to the barn and feed her all the treats I have!”


Silver and bronze medals came down to an exciting jump-off between Haley Honegger (Elizabeth, Colorado) with Wilde Hilde, her own 2011 Holsteiner mare, and Alexa Curry (Plantation, Florida) with Ciemusic Z, Ga Stables LLC’s 2008 Zangersheide gelding. Both combinations finished the week of competition with 4 penalties. Ultimately, Honegger clinched silver by going clear in the jump-off against Curry’s 8-fault round.

“My mom, who is my trainer, told me that I needed to ride clear,” said Honneger, sharing the advice she received before heading in for the jump-off. “I did exactly what she said and my mare pulled a clear round and I was so happy with her.”

Honnegger was especially grateful to be able to compete at NAYC with her horse after Wilde Hilde had a serious injury a year ago.

“I’m so happy to be with her and to be able to show,” Honnegger said. “This medal really means a lot. I really almost lost my mare, so to have her here—I’m really happy.”

Despite having a couple of costly rails in the jump-off, Curry was pleased with her NAYC experience.

“Going into [the jump-off], I knew I had to be clear and I also had to be fast because Haley is so fast,” said Curry. “I didn’t pull out the round I wanted, but it was really good.”

See full children individual results.

Pre-Juniors Individual Jumping Championship

On the pre-juniors side, Lauren Frandson (Laguna Beach, California) had a similarly incredible week, finishing in second position after the first round with just 0.28 penalties in the time-converted format. From there, she added nothing to her score across the next four rounds with Golda, her own 2014 Holsteiner mare, and clinched team gold with Zone 10 and individual gold in Saturday’s final round.

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

“It feels great to jump all clear rounds this week, and I’m super proud of my horse,” said Frandson. “It’s definitely a lot of pressure, but I feel like we performed really well. I’ve had Golda for a little less than a year. I feel like we’ve been super successful because of all of the practice shows we’ve done. We competed in the [Zone 10] trials to qualify to come here, and I feel that really helped me this week.

“My coaches and chef d’equipe told me to stay focused and ride my ride, and do my best, and it’ll all work out,” Frandson said of her final round. “The goal was just to go clear, and it was coming to the last fence where I felt like I had it. I’m just super proud of my horse.”

Myra Krishna (Old Westbury, New York) and Dracarys Sporthorses LLC’s 2011 Belgian Warmblood gelding, Fanatic d’Alphi, carried only their 3.53 penalties from the first round into the final standings to secure the silver medal in their NAYC debut.

“I’m really proud of my horse. He really jumped his heart out for me,” said Krishna. “There really was no pressure because I had no expectations going into this. I started in the mediums late last year, and I’ve been doing it consistently all year. At home, we’ve been doing a lot of no-stirrups training, so that really helped me.”

Scarlett Wallis (Royal Oaks, California) and her own Samurai, a 2012 Oldenburg gelding, were part of the gold medal-winning team from Zone 10 earlier in the week, and with only one rail to add to their 0.59 from the first round, they finished with the bronze medal individually.

“My plan going into these two final rounds was to have the least faults possible,” said Wallis. “I got a little bit quiet in the one-stride, so I had the B element down, but I’m still super happy with my horse. He jumped great.”

See full pre-juniors individual results.

Jumping at NAYC will conclude on Sunday with the juniors individual final at 11:00 a.m. ET and the young riders individual final at 2:00 p.m.



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