West Coast Scramble Team Takes the Lead in the Young Rider Championships CH-Y**
Dressage Day has come and gone at the Young Rider Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. The eventing competition made its first appearance at 7:30 this morning, beginning the championship with the CH-Y**. Seventeen talented young riders from the two-star division got up bright and early to complete their test and score well for their team.
Though all teams competing in the two-star put on their best dressage test, the scramble team of Areas VI, VII, and IX latched on to the lead from the get-go. Lizzie Snow, a 20-year-old from Portland, Oregon, sits in the hot spot on the leaderboard, occupying first place with a dressage score of 50.7. Her ride, the 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Coal Creek, is very fancy on the flat, but, according to Lizzie, can “get a little excited.” However, Coal Creek was on a roll early this Thursday morning, and put out a beautiful test.
“I had a great ride,” Lizzie said. “It was very steady. I had one little bobble at the beginning, but he was great. He kept his head on and we had a good, solid, forward ride.”
Two-Star Dressage Slideshow. Can't see the pictures? Click here!
Though Coal Creek is very fancy on the flat, Lizzie considers cross-country his strongest phase. According to Lizzie, Coal Creek “knows his job” in the phase and enjoys the challenge. However, riding an experienced Rolex Veteran of Amy Tryon’s does have its drawbacks. In the 2011 Young Rider Championships, Lizzie and Coal Creek had some difficulty on the cross-country phase and were forced to retire on course. Though these complications were off-putting, Lizzie has a new game plan for success on the cross-country phase.
“I think I know him a lot better now,” Lizzie said. “I’d only had him a couple of months last year, and I’ve figured out a good game plan of how he thinks. We’ve put together a good partnership, so hopefully that won’t happen again.”
Currently holding second place and making her Young Riders debut is 21-year-old Teresa Harcourt from Auburn, California. She and her 13-year-old thoroughbred gelding, Bonza Twist of Fate, finished their first phase with a score of 51.9. Though joining a mixed team of unfamiliar riders may be considered a disadvantage by some, Teresa disagrees.
“I think it’s an advantage,” Teresa declared. “I’ve known these girls’ names, and I never put faces to them. But now I get to meet them, and it’s really cool to build relationships and do that kind of communication.”
Standing strong in third place is 20-year-old Kendyl Tracy from Parker, Colorado and her 13-year-old Thoroughbred mare, Ever So Lucky. Kendyl completed her fifth Young Riders dressage test with a score of 53.3, and this year marks the third year for her mare. Though maintaining first place in an event can be a nerve wracking feat for a team, Kendyl hopes to remain concentrated and composed in her jumping phases.
“Being in the lead, you have that pressure, but you also know your game plan and you want to be able to give a good ride,” Kendyl said. “I think for me, I can hopefully put that [pressure] aside, and try to ride according to my plan and what I know and my horse knows.”
Also contributing to the West Coast Scramble team is 19-year-old Sarah Braun from Pleasant Hill, California. She and her 12-year-old Thoroughbred mare, Perfect Intentions, brought in a dressage score of 59.8 in a competitive division. At her Young Rider Championships debut, Sarah came in with optimistic expectations.
“I was just expecting to come out here and have a good run and improve my riding,” Sarah said. “I was really excited to be here and have the experience that I heard from many other riders at home.”
With three of its riders sitting individually in first, second, and third place after dressage, the future of the West Coast Scramble team looks very promising in the CH-Y**. The team currently holds its position with a score of 155.3. However, Team Ontario and Quebec is not far behind with a score of 163.0. Cross-country and show jumping will determine who wins the team and individual titles, so keep in touch.
One-Star Dressage Slideshow. Can't see the pictures? Click here!
Dressage Day for the CH-J*
Dressage Day was concluded at 6:10 this evening after being delayed as afternoon thunderstorms passed through Kentucky Horse Park. Forty Junior riders completed the CCI1* dressage test today before, during, and after a series of weather complications.
Finishing the dressage phase in first place for individuals is 18-year-old Savanna Hilles from Castle Rock, Colorado. She and her 16-year-old Thoroughbred mare, Enchanted, completed their first dressage test at Young Riders with a score of 47.3. Though the pair delivered a lovely dressage test today, yesterday’s lesson with Jan Byyny made Savanna a little nervous.
“My horse was seriously pulling me out of the tack,” Savanna laughed. “I had no control. She looked good, but my forearms fell asleep because I was holding on so hard. We warmed up this morning, and we didn’t do a lot of canter work so she wouldn’t be so strong, but she went in there and she was awesome. I was so proud of her.”
Taking second place on the CH-J* dressage board is 17-year-old Victoria New from San Angelo, Texas with a score of 48.5. Fleeceworks Mystere Du Val, a 12 year old Selle Francais gelding, has been Victoria’s partner for only nine months. Victoria was a bit nervous going into the dressage test, since she and Fleeceworks Mystere Du Val are relatively new to each other.
“This morning waiting for my ride, I was getting really nervous,” Victoria said. “I wanted to put in a good score for our team. But I was lucky because when I got on everything felt better, and I felt ready, and I was able to go in and put in our best test yet.”
Rounding out the top three individual places was 17-year-old Erin Murphy from Los Angeles, California and her 18-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Myster E. The pair put in a good effort, completing the test on a score of 49.2. Although this is Erin’s first time at Young Riders, she feels that she is very prepared for the challenge.
“Our coach and our chef d’equipe, Shannon Lilley, really, really prepared us on what to expect and the team work that we would have to put in,” Erin said. “It’s nothing that I’ve ever experienced before. It’s wonderful, and the organizers have just done such a great job.”
While individual competition is tight, team competition is tighter. There is currently a two way tie for first place on the dressage leaderboard between Team Ontario and Area V. Both teams are hold fast to a score of 155.2.
Kylie Figueia, Daria Ivandaeva, Hailey Armstrong-Laframboise, and Charlotte Evans all turned in nice dressage tests for Team Ontario, launching them to the lead. However, Area V members, Taylor Wood, Victoria New, Alyssa Phillips, and Brindley House also performed at their best, placing them in a tie for first with Ontario. Area III is breathing down on the two first place teams as they are only .7 points behind the leaders. With such a close leaderboard the jumping phases on Saturday and Sunday will surely be influential on which team will take home the gold.