Wellington, Fla.—March 2
When the U.S. Young Rider team was walking the course before the $10,000 FEI Hollow Creek Farm Young Riders Nations Cup, Chef d’Equipe Michele Grubb had one request: get it done a round early. Like the senior Nations Cup last night, the young riders did just that, piling on strong performances to clinch gold over Canada and Colombia a round early.
Abigail McArdle and Cosma 20 had the best ride of the night with a pair of double clear rounds, and U.S, Young Rider team veteran Catherine Pasmore contributed a clear on Z Canta as well. Aboard Casey, Mattias Tromp picked up a time fault in each leg, and a rail in the second. Liza Finsness, who’s been scoring big in the amateur division and holding her own in serious grand prix competition, had a foot in the water in Round 1, her Achilles heel aboard Ormsby Hill. She was warmed up and stood ready to go for Round 2 before she got the call that the U.S. had already won.
The United States failed to medal in the children’s and junior competitions, but Grubb wasn’t disappointed.
“We had a four-fault day,” she said. “The children’s all rode great, and we couldn’t buy a clear round. The juniors had a clear with [anchor rider] Lillie Keenan, and she turned the tide for us.”
U.S. Children’s and Junior squads finished in fourth place each, with Brazil earning gold in both those competitions. Laura Ramos Rait and LF Ponderosa put in two clean and clear rounds to help the Brazilians win the Children’s competition, and her countryman Giulia Scampini and Keep On Fighting did the same in the Junior division.
This is the first year that the show has run an FEI children’s, junior and young rider competition alongside the senior Nations Cup, and six children’s teams, eight junior teams and four young riders teams showed up to compete. Some of the participants were based in Wellington for the winter, and the series sponsor, Hollow Creek Farm, helped many of the riders from across Latin America get to the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival for this event.
“I think this is a fantastic night that [Alejandro Andrade of Hollow Creek Farm] put together,” said Grubb. “The competition for the 12-14 year olds which we don’t have in this country, our juniors, our young riders—they really came through this night.”
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