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California's Zone 10 Junior Rider, Team Gold-medal winners: Alec Lawler and Live Fire, Taylor Siebel and Thunder-Ball, Richard Neal and Luke Skywalker S, Samantha Harrison and Santika.

Kit Houghton / FEI photo

California's Zone 10 Junior Rider, Team Gold-medal winners: Alec Lawler and Live Fire, Taylor Siebel and Thunder-Ball, Richard Neal and Luke Skywalker S, Samantha Harrison and Santika.

The Team show jumping competition at the 2009 FEI North American Junior & Young Riders Championships was fierce from the start and the ultimate winner was decided with a three rider jump-off.

Just one rail decided the winner of the jump-off between Zone 2 and California’s Zone 10. Finishing with 12 faults was Zone 2, but sliding through with just eight faults was Zone 10. The Zone 10 Californian team was made up of Alec Lawler and Live Fire, Taylor Siebel and Thunder-Ball, Richard Neal and Luke Skywalker S, and Samantha Harrison and Santika. All four horses jumped well under the guidance of their Junior riders as they earned the well-deserved Team Gold medal.

“It was a solid track,” Neal said. “The jumps were big, but my teammates had success with it, so I wasn’t really worried about it going in.”

“We’ve all done the qualifiers, so this is the caliber course we’re used to jumping,” Lawler added.

Although the Gold-medal team jumped three rounds including the jump-off, their horses came out of the competition in good condition. Thanks to a rigorous preparatory schedule, all four horses were plenty fit to deal with the heat and the courses.

“He was sweaty going into the jump-off,” Lawler said. “But he’s as fit as he can be. He still felt good.”

Junior Rider Samantha Harrison and Santika win the Individual Silver medal in show jumping.

Jennifer Muncy photo

Junior Rider Samantha Harrison and Santika win the Individual Silver medal in show jumping.

In the Individual show jumping competition for Junior Riders, Californians Samantha Harrison won the Silver medal, and Richard Neal won the Bronze medal. Annie Laurie Cook was close behind in fourth place.

The Junior Rider Silver medal went to the second place finisher in the jump-off. The Zone 2 team, consisting of Kaitlin Campbell and Connery 9, Katherine Dinan and Mobile 4, Jazz Mace and Valentino, and Jacqueline Lubrano and El Regresso Conga, rode hard and jumped well throughout the competition.

“It was a really big ring, so we had to be sure we didn’t have time faults,” Lubrano said. “After the first round, we definitely had to turn it up a little.”

As an added challenge, this was the first major experience with an open water jump for most of the girls from Zone 2. “They don’t use the open water enough in Junior jumpers,” Campbell said. “We really didn’t have much practice over it.”

Individual Young Riders medalists in show jumping: Joelle Froese, Bronze; Kaitlyn Campbell, Gold; Californian Lucy Davis, Silver.

Kit Houghton / FEI photo

Individual Young Riders medalists in show jumping: Joelle Froese, Bronze; Kaitlyn Campbell, Gold; Californian Lucy Davis, Silver.

Receiving the Team Bronze medal was the team from Ontario, Canada. Made up of Miranda Travers-Cavill and The Air Up There, Rachel Schnurr and Magic Jumper, Bronte Gray-Rochon and Southwind and Jessica Whitton and Legende de B’Neville, the Ontario team made a strong showing, but had a few unfortunate rails to drop them to third place.

The final team to qualify for the medal was from Zone 8. Zone 8 was one of the two teams made up of only three riders, meaning they could not drop a score to make up their team total. Kelsey Thatcher and Carlotta, Navona Gallegos and Drossana and Haley Griffis and Adjutano all had solid rounds to land them in fourth as a team.

For the Young Rider Individual show jumping competition, Zone 10 Californian Lucy Davis riding True Love took the Silver medal. Paris Sellon aboard Troyes finished admirably in fifth place.

California’s Area 6 eventing riders take Team Gold

In the three-day eventing competition of the 2009 FEI North American Junior & Young Riders Championships, the Team Gold medal went to the California team from Area 6: Maxance McManamy and Beacon Hill, Rachel Dwyer and Catch A Star, Elsie Patterson and Normandy Soldier and Suzy Hettich and Given Half A Chance. After dressage, the team found themselves sitting in second, but moved up to the lead after cross-country and never relinquished their lead. Their final team total was 209.9.

The show jumping course saw both Hettich and Patterson take two rails down for a total of 8 faults each. Dwyer and Catch A Star took down four rails for a total of 16 faults. McManamy had one of three double-clear rounds of the day.

The Individual Gold medal in the CCI** division went to Californian Maxance McManamy and Beacon Hill. The pair took the lead after the dressage, but added time faults to their score on cross-country and was bumped down to second. But “Taylor” jumped the test of his life for McManamy and went double-clear to regain the lead and take home the Gold medal. They finished on a score of 59.2.

“There was a little bit of pressure,” McManamy laughed. “It was kind of nice not being first going in. I probably would have lost it if I went in first! I just tried to put in a clean round, not expecting to win. He knew that it was the time to behave and put in a good, double-clean show jumping round.”

This is the third trip to Young Riders for McManamy and Taylor, but this will likely remain the most memorable. “I’ve been here a few times for Rolex, and I always dreamed of riding on the cross-country course or riding down the centerline of the big arena. Now I’ve done it; I’m speechless.”

McManamy said her long-time partner, Beacon Hill, rode great in the cross-country course. “Being from California, we’re not used to such big, gallopy open areas. It’s a really big change, but he was just phenomenal on cross-country–he knew exactly what to do out there.”

Finishing with the Individual Silver medal was Katlyn McMorris and Clifton Peekachu. The pair was in third after dressage, but moved up to first after the cross-country. They were the last to jump in show jumping, but pulled two rails to bring her final score to 64.4.

“He felt so amazing in warm-up that I wasn’t really particularly worried,” McMorris said. “Going to the first jump, I didn’t quite see it. That was definitely my fault. After that I held it together and he jumped well.”

“I wasn’t expecting it to ride easy at all. I rode it thinking that you were going to have to make decisions on course. I thought it was a good course for the Young Rider Championships.”

Taking home the Individual Bronze medal was Katherine Samuels and Nyls du Terrior with a score of 66.4. The pair was in 13th place after dressage, but made a huge jump to seventh after turning in a double-clear cross-country score. They also jumped double-clear in show jumping to leap to third place.

“He’s a genius at what he does,” Samuels said of her horse. “He tries very, very hard and takes his job very seriously.”

This was Samuel’s first trip to the Kentucky Horse Park and her first time riding in this large of a venue. “It’s an amazing park,” she said. “My horse didn’t really know what he thought of the grandstands, but I loved riding in the arena!”

For complete show results, visit: www.youngriders.org

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