Parker, Colo. – July 28, 2016 – Region 1 Young Riders and Region 3 Juniors captured team gold medals in the opening days of competition at the 2016 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC), held this year at the Colorado Horse Park.
Young Riders were the first to head down centerline for their Team test Wednesday, and with the gold and silver medal teams separated by a small margin, the race for the top of the podium was an exciting one. Region 1 edged out the silver medal Canadian team comprised of Ontario/Manitoba/Alberta. The combined team of Region 4, 5 and 7 brought home the bronze medal.
Nicholas Hansen and his mount Ritter Benno earned the highest score of the class – 72.263 percent – and anchored the Region 1 team. Hansen, who is competing at NAJYRC for the third time in his career, commented on the importance and impact of the competition, as well as how it has molded him as a rider.
“I think that this competition is invaluable,” Hansen said. “When you have an opportunity to compete against people who are riding at your level, but then have a chance to ride against people from different countries at the same time, you form bonds that you have for the rest of your life.”
“It’s great to be here and the connections you make with the other riders are so important. This experience is priceless,” added teammate Mallory Chambers, who piloted Urithmic to a score of 64.474 percent.
“I think the special part of this competition is that you have fun, and that’s my goal,” said Emily Ferguson of the silver medal Canadian team. “That is what makes this show so unique. It’s about setting goals, having fun, but also having positive experiences in the ring and that’s what’s so special about this competition.”
The bronze medal team combined three horse and rider combinations representing three different states, including California, Kansas and Colorado. The team featured two riders who have previously competed at NAJYRC and one rider who is making her debut.
“It’s been a really fun experience to now have a team and actually be able to bond with our combination region,” Codi Harrison said. “It’s really wonderful, and it’s something that we don’t have in any other aspect of the sport at this level. It’s really helpful to and encouraging to be on a team with people who support you and want you to do well.”
Results: Young Rider Team Competition
Gold: Region 1 – 200.605
Nicholas Hansen (21, Catawissa, Pennsylvania) and Ritter Benno – 72.263%
Mallory Chambers (21, Flanders, New Jersey) and Urithmic – 64.474%
Elizabeth Bortuzzo (20, Annandale, New Jersey) and Macao – 63.868%
Lian Wolfe (21, New Hope, Pennsylvania) and Zimba – 62.026%
Silver: Ontario/Manitoba/Alberta – 200.210
Alexandra Meghji (18, Toronto, Ontario) and Rigo – 67.868%
Elexis Ortlieb (20, Leduc, Alberta) and Verida – 66.658%
Emily Ferguson (21, Winnepeg, Manitoba) and Wrazzmatazz – 65.684%
Nachelle Forde (21, Winnepeg, Manitoba) and File Della Caccia – 62.395%
Bronze: Region 4, 5, 7 – 196.421
Codi Harrison (20, Augusta, Kansas) Katholts Bossco – 67.921%
Lexy Donaldson (19, Littleton, Colorado) Power Play – 67.211%
Katharine Cassidy (20, Rancho Santa Fe, California) – Welt Erbe 61.289%
Junior riders took the stage Thursday for their Team test, and the team hailing from Region 3 secured their place atop the podium with a total score of 197.298. Silver went to the Region 4 team, who completed the competition with a final score of 194.729, while a combined team of riders from Region 1 and Region 6 earned the bronze medal, finishing the day with a score of 194.298.
“Region 3 is a very special region because we’ve all been close for a while,” said Juliet Hess, who piloted Diano to a team high score of 67.162 percent. “Even before we came here, we knew each other and were friendly with each other. That made us want to do well even more. I think today was a really solid ride for me. I’m learning to ride the edge of the power with him and that is an improvement for us.”
Teammates Emily Hewitt and Helena Marie Milazzo were overwhelmed with emotion when they received the final word to confirm where the foursome finished in competition.
“Winning gold was a shock and I wasn’t really expecting it. Everyone on the team held true to what they were supposed to do today and it was a team effort,” Hewitt said.
“These ladies made this win so special,” Milazzo added. “I was flooded with emotions, that’s for sure. I couldn’t have asked for a better team, and I’m really thankful that I get to ride with these ladies. [My horse’s] energy level today was a lot better than it usually is, and I felt like he was much more expressive.”
While Syribeys did not have the day she was expecting aboard Hollywood, she kept a positive attitude, describing her experience at the competition and the benefit it holds when creating and maintaining relationships within their discipline.
“When you’re able to compete in an environment that you don’t feel like you’re competing against each other, but that you’re competing together, is so much fun,” she said. “It gives this horse show such a different feel than any other show.”
Results: Junior Team Competition
Gold: Region 3 – 197.298
Juliet Hess (17, Atlanta, Georgia) and Diano – 67.162%
Emily Hewitt (18, Atlanta, Georgia) and Whats Up De La Ferme Rose – 65.595%
Helena Marie Milazzo (17, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida) and Baccus – 64.541%
Marline Syribeys (17, Atlanta, Georgia) and Hollywood – EL
Silver: Region 4 – 194.792
Cara Fragomeni (17, Maple Grove, Minnesota) and Aragon – 62.432%
Jenna Upchurch (17, Chesterfield, Missouri) and Greystoke – 67.919%
Bianca Schmidt 15, Edina, Minnesota) and Octavian’s O’Neil –l EL
Madison Peer (17, Derby, Vermont) and Stella Luna – 64.378%
Bronze: Region 1/6 Juniors – 194.298
Kayla Kadlubek (16, Fairfax Station, Virginia) and Freewill – 60.865%
Allison Nemeth (14, Flemington, New Jersey) and Dafoe – 67.703%
Cameron Wyman (17, Gig Harbor, Washington) and Thys – 65.730%