Thursday, May. 23, 2024

Region 7 Rises To The Top At NAJYRC Team Dressage

Lexington, Ky.—July 15

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Lexington, Ky.—July 15

Where other horse and rider combinations get nervous heading into the Rolex Stadium at the FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships, the Young Rider dressage team of Region 7 didn’t bat an eye. Striding in confidently, it was clear they’d been there before—and had found success. All save one rookie had gotten a medal in years past.

So it wasn’t a surprise that their team—Catherine Chamberlain, Lindsey Brewin, Cassidy Gallman and Samantha Jenney—landed at the top of the podium. But for the (mostly) coolheaded competitors, the victory invoked an unexpected tide of emotions.

Gallman, 19, couldn’t stop crying throughout the press conference following their win. She rode Grand Makana to a score of 65.86 percent to help Region 7 triumph. “[Grand Makana’s] first time here was when he was 5 [at the Young Horse Championships] and then when he was 6 he colicked and had to have two surgeries, hence his hernias on his belly.

“It’s been a really long road for him. We were told he wasn’t going to be able to compete over first level,” she continued. “So I’m so proud to be able to ride him and have the opportunity to ride him. To be here is very special for me. I just love him so much.”

Jenney, 19, rode Domino to a score of 64.15 percent for Region 7. “I’m super thrilled to be here its my first time here and I have three amazing teammates to show me the ropes. It’s so much easier for me and I’m so happy with my horse and this is definitely an experience I will never forget.”

Chamberlain was the top scorer for Region 7, riding Avesto Van Weltevreden to a 67.39 percent to lead Region 7 to the gold. She said, “I was just really grateful that we could pull it together and even though maybe we didn’t have our best rides today, we really relied on each other and I think that was really special. I think being on a team really allows you to discover new things about yourself and how you react to different situations under pressure because you always want to be there for your team and do your best test possible. I think it’s a wonderful experience and just a lot of fun you know its great having these girls by your side and its wonderful being able to cheer for them and having them cheer for you.

“I find it kind of all surreal at the moment because it hasn’t all sunk in,” Chamberlain said. “It’s my first championships here and I’m competing in this arena with all these amazing riders, and we just won gold! And its amazing to think about how far we’ve come over these past couple of years to get where we are now.”

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Vanessa Creech-Terauds, Yanina Woywitka, Georgia Wade and Alexandra Meghjli represented Ontario and took the top spot in the junior team dressage division.

Showjumping, Day 1: Meredith Darst is zippiest in opening round of NAJYRC

New horse, new division? No problem for Maddy Darst and Quester De Virton.

Despite only just teaming up with the horse in the past year, Darst posted the quickest time in the opening speed round of the Young Rider’s NAJYRC show jumping competition.

“His scope is endless, so I know unless its ridiculous, he’ll do whatever I ask him to do,” Darst said. “So that’s kind of where I make up time, is leaving [strides] out.”

This is Darst’s first time competing in the young rider division—last year she rode in the junior section, and had an unfortunate spill into the water obstacle during the final round.

So needless to say, she’s happy with the way things are going this year.

“I guess making it around all the rounds would be a start,” Darst said with a laugh regarding her goals for this year’s NAJYRC. “We have a pretty good team, we combined with Zone 3 [Darst rides for Zone 5], so I think we’re all just kind of going for nice smooth clear rounds.”

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Lucy Deslauriers and Hester placed second, and Tori Colvin and Lumiere third in the young rider opening round.

In a field dominated in numbers by U.S. riders, it was Mexico’s national anthem that played at the culmination of the opening speed round for the junior NAJYRC show jumping competition. Juan Pablo Gaspar Albanez and his fiery chestnut gelding Puertas So What posted one of the only clear rounds in the class.

“It was a long course, it had two doubles, the first double was vertical-vertical one short stride, and you had to be really into your horse, to be really connected with him and then go, and go back again,” Albanez said of the Alan Wade designed track.

By far the loudest cheering section at NAJYRC, all onlookers present from Mexico gave Albanez a thunderous ovation as he toured the ring in the victory gallop (second place rider Daisy Farish’s mount, Triviant, nearly unseated her—he was not a fan of the applause).

“It’s Mexico,” Albanez said with a laugh. “We like cheering, we like parties, and it was amazing to have all these people here.”

Albanez was a part of the bronze medal earning team from Mexico at last years NAJYRC, and said he’s hoping to add a gold to his collection.

Wednesday was one over fences round for both junior and young rider show jumpers—following the team competition on Thursday, the top 15 individuals from the young rider division and the junior division will advance to the individual finals.

See full NAJYRC results.

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