Friday, May. 24, 2024

Young Riders Have Their Day In European Young Riders Cup

Leipzig, Germany—April 29

It’s not just the FEI World Cup riders who traveled from the United States to Germany. Six of the top young riders are competing here in the European Youngster Cup, a championship competition for riders under age 25.

Lucy Davis won the European Young Riders Cup in 2009, and she’s gone on to much grand prix success. She’s also here in Leipzig, competing in the 1.45-meter division.

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Leipzig, Germany—April 29

It’s not just the FEI World Cup riders who traveled from the United States to Germany. Six of the top young riders are competing here in the European Youngster Cup, a championship competition for riders under age 25.

Lucy Davis won the European Young Riders Cup in 2009, and she’s gone on to much grand prix success. She’s also here in Leipzig, competing in the 1.45-meter division.

Originally, just four riders were slated to be selected from a series of qualifying competitions, the Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix series. There were to be three from the East Coast and one from the West Coast. But the show organizer in Leipzig decided to grant two wild card spots to the United States, allowing them to add a rider from each coast for a total of six.

The American young riders got off to a good start right away, with Katie Dinan, Cayla Richards and Caitlin Ziegler claiming second, third and fourth in the first class, a speed round. Audrey Coulter and Rodenburgh’s California placed 21st with the fastest time of the class and one rail. Dinan was right behind her on her second horse, Belle Dame D. Charlotte Jacobs and Umberto and Coulter on Victory Da were 25th and 30th with quick four-fault rounds.

In the second class, the winning momentum continued, as Coulter topped the leaderboard with Rodenburgh’s California and Caitlin Ziegler rode Valencia to second. Coulter was also 13th on Victory Da, and Reed Kessler was 18th on Ligist.

“This has been such a great experience. It’s so inspiring to ride in the same arena as the World Cup riders,” said Coulter, 18. A high school senior from San Francisco, Calif., Coulter now rides full-time with Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Markus Beerbaum. This was her first experience competing in Europe. She’ll return home for the rest of the school year, but after graduating she’ll spend the summer showing in Europe.

But the title all came down to a grand prix format class on Friday, where the top 25 riders after the two first classes started on a clean slate. All six U.S. riders qualified for the final.

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Reed Kessler rode as sixth to go and paved the way with the first clear round of the day aboard Ligist. “He was a little tired today, but he jumped so well,” Kessler said. “I had a really unlucky rail yesterday [to put them 18th], and he rattled quite a few today, and they didn’t come down, so I guess it all works out.”

But she would be the only one with the stars and stripes on her saddle pad in the jump-off. Charlotte Jacobs and Promised Land had 12 faults, as did Richards on Faustino and Dinan on Vancouver. Ziegler placed 13th with Valencia, and Coulter had a heartbreaking rail at the last fence with Rodenburgh’s California to place 12th.

“It was a little bit unlucky, but she does fall to the right a little bit, and I didn’t protect that, and we got a little close to the jump,” Coulter said. “But this was the best she’s ever jumped. She’s been incredible here.”

Kessler was the first of six to jump off, and she had a light early rail. Her four-fault score in 39.34 seconds was good enough for fifth. “He’s so fast, and he usually never has rails down behind, but he just rubbed it lightly,” Kessler said.

Kessler has shown in Europe during the summers before, since she trains with Katie and Henri Prudent, who were based in France for the summer. But she enjoyed her experience at Leipzig. “It was great to be behind the scenes with the World Cup riders, to see how they school and what they do back at the barns,” she said.

The Rolex FEI Show Jumping World Cup Final

For full results, click here.

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