Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2024

Zone II Earns Back-To-Back Wins In Show Jumping At The NAYRC

In Friday's North American Young Riders Championships in Lexington, Va., the Zone 2 team proved unbeatable. Team members Brianne Goutal, Blythe Marano, Sarah Segal, and Addison Phillips posted a total score of eight faults, a full 24 points ahead of the second-placed team, which was a combination of Zones 6,7, and 8. Team Mexico finished in third place with 36 faults.

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In Friday’s North American Young Riders Championships in Lexington, Va., the Zone 2 team proved unbeatable. Team members Brianne Goutal, Blythe Marano, Sarah Segal, and Addison Phillips posted a total score of eight faults, a full 24 points ahead of the second-placed team, which was a combination of Zones 6,7, and 8. Team Mexico finished in third place with 36 faults.

This year marked the seventh time that Zone 2 has won the team championship. This year was also the first time that Zone 2 has sent a squad for the unofficial Junior/Young Rider Championship, and riders Miasha Fisher, Whitney Goulart, Hillary Dobbs, and Gabby Slome also won that title.

“It was a great feeling to win,” said Goutal, who currently sits in first place in the individual standings. Goutal, 16, of New York City, N.Y., rode her 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Ouira, to back-to-back clear rounds.

Team chef d’equipe was the legendary Ralph Caristo, who, with help from his wife Holly, gave the team members the confidence and guidance deemed necessary to win.

“They are a great group,” said Ralph of Zone 2 team members. “Whether the riders win or lose, they create ever lasting friendships and gain invaluable experience. There is no chance for them to ride in team competition except here and Harrisburg [the Prix des States at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show].”

“Ralph is a great chef,” insisted Segal, 21 of New York City, N.Y. “He brings encouragement, enthusiasm, and motivation to the team. He’s a go, fight, win sort of guy. And Holly, she is wonderful. She helps organize the team and stresses the importance of details.”

Even though it was the first year that the NAYRC show jumping was held indoors at the Virginia Horse Center’s coliseum, none of the Zone 2 team members had difficulty with the new setting.

“It’s a huge indoor,” replied Marano. “I learned a lot about riding in indoor arenas after last year’s indoor finals, and that knowledge stuck.”

The two obstacles which presented the most problems were the open water at fence 4, which aimed horses right into the grand stands in the second round, and the triple combination at fence 11ABC.

“I found that I had to ride each fence [of the triple] separately,” explained Segal, who rode Robert Segal’s True Love to a four-fault first round score and eight-fault second round. “I had to weigh in on how my horse was reacting and try not to rush.”

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Goutal agreed. “The A to B element of the triple combination rode long, but B to C was about a foot and a half short, so I really had to trust that my horse would back himself up.”

The riders all agreed that the competition is strenuous on their horses. The horse and rider combinations are required to jump five rounds over the course of the competition, two of which were today’s Nations Cup competition.

“You really need a good relationship with your horse,” said Phillips. “I spend a lot of time with my horses and learn their personalities because I believe that horses sense your emotions. I feel like I just think it and Flight does it.”

Phillips, 16, also of New York City, N.Y., has owned the 9-year-old warmblood, Flight, for three years. “We have learned a lot about each other, and he really saved me out there in the second round,” she said, laughing. “I tried to ride the second round like I rode the first. We jumped in with a lot of power over jump 9 and ended up doing three instead of four strides to jump 10, but my horse is amazing and he didn’t have the rail.”

All of the Zone 2 riders advanced to the individual show jumping championship, which is to be held on Sunday, July 31. Currently, Goutal is in first with 0.34 faults, Kim Farlinger, of Ontario, Canada, is in second with 6.22 faults and Phillips is in third with 7.96 faults.

Earlier in the day, the junior/young rider team for Zone 2 finished with a near perfect overall score of only 1 fault for the combined first and second rounds.

Dobbs, 17, of Sussex, N.J., posted two clear rounds with her horse, VDL Lotus Excel. “The time allowed was really tight, and I knew I had to be fast to be under the time allowed. My horse is really scopey and is able to lengthen and shorten easily, which helped through the triple combination.”

A fall in the schooling area before the second round helped keep Slome focused. “I think the fall was good because I was getting too relaxed and it kept me on my toes.”

Prior to her first ride, Slome was worried that her horse, Salsa, a 12-year-old Rheinlander, would be spooky in the indoor. “I thought the glare in the open water would scare him, but actually, he jumped better than he ever has before,” she said.

“I was so happy with them because they have worked so hard to be here and today, they all performed to perfection,” said a beaming Caristo.

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Malone Pulls Further Ahead In Dressage

Catherine Malone of Region 1 won Friday’s Individual Championship Test (69.95%) aboard Michigan at the North American Young Riders Championships. Malone also won Thursday’s Team Test, and she now leads with a two-day total of 138.928 going into the final freestyle on Sunday.

Dani Judy placed second again in the Individual Test (69.05%) on Antaeus for Region 7. She stands second overall with a combined score of 137.672.

Anna Wood and Novarredo of Region 5 took third place in the Individual test and moved up from fourth place to third going into the freestyle with a total of 136.189. Kaitlyn Hamilton of Region 2 rode Noviembre into fourth place in the Individual Test and fourth place overall, with a total score of 135.261.

Area III Holds Narrow Lead In CCI**

The Area III team (Kate Luce, Rebecca Lynn Huy, Mary Beth Hudson and Rebecca Barron, 162.3) established a slim lead over Area V (Bonner Carpenter, Ashley Bailey-Classen, Rebecca Brown, Jessica Pye, 162.7) in the North American Young Riders Championships CCI**. Area VI (Alexandra Garr-Schultz, Kay Loreen, Tiana Coudray, Janelle Riddle) isn’t far behind, with a score of 166.7.

Pye and her 16-year-old Carte Blanche, who claimed the individual silver medal last year, stand in first place individually (47.3) ahead of Laine Ashker of Area II and Frodo Baggins (48.4) and Ashley Adams of Area II on Vaunted (49.2).

The non-championship CCI* ran their cross-country today, and Team Canada (Noel Clark, Samantha Forsyth, Jennifer Gray, Jessica diGenova, 185.9) took the lead after that phase, with a score of 185.9 for three clear rounds. Area II (Alyssa Peterson, Lizzy Schumann, Leah Kramowski, Merida Lloyd, 203.5) slipped from first place after dressage to second place due to a score of 20 penalties, and Area III (Kristen Linder, Sarah Kezar, Sarah Lovett, Linday Marie Wolcott, 215.7) moved up from fifth to third with just 20 penalties being counted.

DiGenova and Upolo lead individually (51.9) over Matthew Fine and Harwood (52.9) of the Areas IX/VI team, and Area I’s Sarah Shade rode Musntuchit (53.9).

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