Harrisburg, Pa. – Oct. 12
Heading into tonight’s Randolph College/USEF Junior Jumper Prix des States, there was plenty of pressure on Kalvin Dobbs. After all, he was the only rider who had experience representing Zone 5 at the Pennsylvania National, and Chef d’Equipe Alex Jayne shifted him into the anchor spot from his usual pathfinder position. On top of that, his team was defending their gold medal from last year.
But the pressure didn’t faze Dobbs. He and Tea Party put in a pair of 4-fault rounds to keep Zone 5 in the running. Coupled with a clear round apiece from his teammates Lauren Tyree (Audi’s Top Secret), Vivian Yowan (Ralvesther) and Gabriela Mershad (Skara Glen’s Basel), the team from the Midwest scored another gold.
“I was relaxed and calm and felt like I had it under control,” said Dobbs, 18. “It was cool—I liked the pressure and being able to squeak out the win.”
Heading into Round 2, Zones 1, 2 and 5 were tied with 4 faults apiece. In the end it came down to the final rider on course, and Zone 1 slipped from a tie for first to bronze position when Victoria Arute’s Zakenman Zaffier pulled two rails.
Zone 2 (Lillie Keenan/Londinium, Michael Hughes/Luxina, Charlotte Jacobs/Kachina and Katherine Strauss/Chellando Z) claimed silver, despite Strauss taking a tumble in Round 1 (once she got a bridle back on Chellando Z they both walked out) and declining to return. Combined Zone 6/10’s Olivia Champ came out of the Lady Sparkle’s tack as well, and they both walked out promptly.
The riders won’t get their medals until a ceremony tomorrow afternoon, but Mershad in particular was smiling extra wide in anticipation of getting hers. She caught medal fever as a pony jumper rider when she earned bronze at USEF Pony Finals (Ky.). She flew in from University of Colorado—Boulder where she’s just started classes for the show.
Tyree watched her older sister Catherine help Zone 5 win last year and endured “about a million” calls from her when it was her turn to ride for the team.
Yowan came in as the least experienced. She just started in high division of the junior jumpers this summer, and everyone else represented Zone 5 at the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Riders Championships (Ky.) this summer where they finished just off the podium. But she was proud to be on the squad to hold onto gold.
Two people held them together: Jayne and Kalvin’s father, Craig Dobbs.
“It’s nice to have your chef be from home; it reminds you that your’e really representing where you came from,” pointed out Tyree. “I mean, I train with Missy Clark, who’s from Zone 1. It’s nice to rekindle with people from your hometown.”
And while Jayne strategized and gave last-minute advice, Craig had the most important job: team spirit.
“My dad decided to come on the scene when my sister started doing these competitions,” said Kalvin. “Along with Alex he’s been a great supporter of Zone 5. He gets our teams together and he’s always there keeping score, getting the signs together. We’re fortunate to have him with us.”
Want more Harrisburg? Stop by The Chronicle of the Horse’s official Pennsylvania National page, and catch up on all the junior hunter news here. There will be a full report from the Pennsylvania National in the Oct. 28 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse. Check out the Pennsylvania National’s website for results. There’s also a live feed at USEFNetwork.com