Canada and USA Zone 7 Claim Children’s and Pre-Junior Gold at 2022 Gotham North FEI North American Youth Championships for Jumping, Presented by USHJA

Traverse City, Mich. – Children’s and Pre-Junior competitors took to the podium for the first time during team competition on Thursday at the Gotham North FEI North American Youth Championships for Jumping, presented by USHJA. Canada took the top spot on the first podium of the day, claiming gold in the Children’s Team Competition for teammates Taylor Wood, Livia Martin, Tristan Tobin, and Mathilde Candele. In the Pre-Junior category, Zone 7 claimed the top honors with Campbell Brown (Fayetteville, Ark.), Ava Le (Flower Mound, Texas), Avery Griffin (Austin, Texas), and Kaylee Rayner (Houston, Texas) accepting their gold medals. Junior and Young Riders competed in their respective First Qualifier classes later in the day, where it was Della White (USA Zone 10 – Newport Beach, Calif.) and Tanner Korotkin (USA Zone 4 – Wellington, Fla.) who claimed top honors, respectively.

Gotham North FEI NAYC Children’s Team Competition, presented by USHJA

Canada topped the Children’s podium at NAYC. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

First in the ring for Team Competition Thursday morning, the Children’s category welcomed each athlete from all five teams competing over a track designed by Brazil’s Anderson Lima. Four teams tied on a fault-free score coming into the day, which narrowed to just two tied teams on a zero score after all combinations had jumped once. The USA’s Zone 2 sat in a tie with Canada after round one, which held through as the teams jumped yet again, leading to a tie at the top for the gold medal. 

Livia Martin and Coradi. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

As competitors took to the gold medal jump-off, the Canadian team brought their A-game, piloting to three clear-round efforts and securing the gold medal. Zone 2 took the silver medal, with a small but mighty team of three athletes, Tarin Kiely (Rumson, N.J.), Emma Brody (New York, N.Y.), and Rylynn Conway (Fair Haven, N.J.).

“I got him at the beginning of January,” Candele said of her mount, Disco de Pleville, who she rode to the quickest jump-off time of any competitor. “We’ve been trying to figure each other out. We started in the low juniors at WEF and from there we’ve just tried to get sturdy on him because he’s my first horse. He was so good. We’ve been working on our jump-offs recently, so he was turning amazing, and he was going forward right away.”

Mathilde Candele and Disco de Pleville. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

At the conclusion of round two, Zone 10 and Zone 4 both sat on four faults, forcing another jump-off between the two teams to determine who would take the bronze and who would just narrowly miss the podium. Ultimately, Zone 10 produced the faster jump-off and secured the bronze for team members Shylee Elimelech (Calabasas, Calif.), Chloe Kuang (Las Vegas, Nev.), Scarlett Wallis (Watsonville, Calif.), and Lilah Nakatani (Temecula, Calif.).

Taylor Wood and Joyride. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“It’s been an amazing experience at this horse show,” commented silver medalist Kiely. “It’s my first time here and everyone is just so nice and I’m really thankful for all of the sponsors that make this possible for us.”

“It’s been amazing,” Brody said of her silver medal-winning team experience. “I really enjoyed it. Even though we’re a smaller team, we all know each other now and we’ve enjoyed getting to know each other.”

Children’s competitors now gear up for Saturday’s Children’s Individual Final, where athletes will contend for individual spots atop the podium.

NAYC Pre-Junior Team Competition, presented by USHJA

Zone 7 topped the Pre-Junior podium at NAYC. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Returning for the second year to Traverse City and to the North American Youth Jumping Championships, the Pre-Junior category welcomed five teams, all representing zones across the United States. Coming in on a total of only 5.79 penalties, Zone 7 held the lead before the day’s competition got underway. Team members Campbell Brown, Ava Le, Avery Griffin, and Kaylee Rayner had excellent outings on day one. With one rail down and one time fault for a total of five faults to add to their score in round one, they came back for round two on 10.79 penalties, sitting in a prime position but very vulnerable as they were within just one rail of losing their spot atop the podium.

Claiming the lead after round two was the combined team from Zones 1/3/6, consisting of Campbell L. Hudkins (Zone 1 – Farmington, Conn.), Taylor Landstrom (Zone 6 – Excelsior, Minn.), Riley McKesson (Zone 3 – Lake Lure, N.C.), and Addy Wingate (Zone 3 – Maclean, Va.). They recorded a zero-fault score to their existing penalties of 7.04 on the lowest score after the first round of jumping. The lead changed hands, however, as the team recorded 4 faults in round two and Zone 7 kept a clear sheet, putting the two teams neck-and-neck but edging Zone 7 into the gold-medal position. Zones 1/3/6 took the silver medal and Zone 10, consisting of Emmeline Adamick (San Francisco, Calif.), Amanda Paul (Menlo Park, Calif.), Cameron Trimino (Newport Beach, Calif.), and Leila Diab (San Francisco, Calif.), took bronze after recording four faults in the second round of team jumping.

Ava Le and Herolov de Wy. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

As the final entry to go for Zones 1/3/6, the pressure was on for Wingate as she piloted Calci Gamba to a clear round. “It was a lot of pressure going in last,” she remarked. “I wanted to make my team happy and get the silver medal. I collected myself, took a few deep breaths, and thought, ‘I need to trust my horse.’ And we were clear, so it was amazing.”

Kaylee Rayner and GQ. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography.
Kaylee Rayner and GQ. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography.

“It’s definitely stressful to go in first because if you make an error you rely on your team for the rest of the round,” Brown commented about being the leadoff rider for Zone 7. “And when I had the one down in the first class, I was disappointed with my riding. In the second class though it really pays off when you help the team. It feels so good.”

Campbell Brown and Indira. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

In the end, with no teams tied on penalties and faults combined, no jump-off was needed to decide which podium spots were designated to each team. 

After winning Wednesday’s Pre-Junior First Individual Qualifier coupled with her fault-free finish Thursday afternoon, Diab currently sits in the leading position heading into Saturday’s Pre-Junior Final. “I was really nervous going in for the first round because starting on zero we have everything to lose,” she remarked. “But once I started going around, I got into the swing of things and got so much more comfortable and at ease. And [Quind] is a really great horse. I’m really quite proud of him.”

Avery Griffin and Daring Queen. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Competition during the Gotham North FEI North American Youth Jumping Championship, presented by USHJA, will continue Friday, August 12, as Juniors and Young Riders compete for top honors in their respective Team Competitions.

Korotkin and White Top Young Rider and Junior Qualifiers at Gotham North FEI North American Youth Championships for Jumping, presented by USHJA

Tanner Korotkin and Ideal. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Nearly 70 junior and young rider athletes competed for the first time during the 2022 Gotham North FEI North American Youth Championships for Jumping, presented by USHJA, Thursday afternoon to take top honors in the first qualifiers and set their respective teams up for success. Over Anderson Lima’s (BRA) track, Tanner Korotkin (USA Zone 4) came nearly last in the order in the $10,000 Young Rider First Competition and sped into the lead aboard Ideal. Earlier in the day, Della White (USA Zone 10) captured the win in the $5,000 Junior First Competition aboard Giggs as one of the first pairs on course and were too quick to be caught. 

Fresh off his 21st birthday, Korotkin carried strategy into his winning round, knowing the leader at the time, Sam Walker of Canada, set a very fast time to beat. “There are a lot of good riders here,” Korotkin commented. “I know I have a very competitive horse, but I didn’t want to be too far behind some of the top ones because I knew they could easily go the rest of the way without touching a fence. Once I saw Sam go in, I knew he was the main one I was looking out for, so I decided to put the wheels on a little bit more than I was planning to, and I got lucky in a few spots.”

Though he came out lucky as the winner today, Korotkin admitted, “There’s a lot more jumping to be done this week so [Walker] could easily overtake me.”

Della White and Giggs. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

After acquiring the ride aboard Ideal from his trainer Shane Sweetnam (IRL), Korotkin has won up to the CSI5* level with the 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, owned by Castlewood Farm, Inc. and Sandalwood Farms. “Win or lose, there are always things to improve upon, and he’s very good about teaching me,” Korotkin continued. 

Heading into Team Competition for the $40,000 Young Rider Team Final, Zone 5/7 holds the lead on a total of 5.68 penalties.  

On the Junior side, White secured the top score by speeding through a track of Lima’s with similar elements. As the ninth pair in the order, she piloted her own 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion to the fastest time of the day, leaving the rest of the competitors to catch her, which no one ultimately did.

“It took a lot [to get here],” White commented on qualifying for NAYC. “I was very lucky to make it because there are a lot of good riders.”

Both Korotkin and White now sit on zero penalties as they prepare for day two of NAYC competition. White and her Zone 10 teammates hold down the lead for the Junior category on 6.04 penalties prior to the $35,000 Junior Team Final on Friday.

Watch the 2022 North American Youth Championships live stream on USEF Network.

USA Region 3 and 9 Combined Young Rider Dressage Team Wins Gold at 2022 FEI North American Youth Championships

Traverse City, Mich. – Team dressage competition concluded Wednesday at the 2022 FEI North American Youth Championships with the Young Riders completing their team tests under perfect weather conditions at Flintfields Horse Park. 

The team gold medal went to the combined USA Region 3/Region 9 team of Sophia Schults (Wellington, Fla.) and Conocido HGF; Mary Claire Piller (Oakdale, Tenn.) and Oreo; Sydney Schultz (Mandeville, La.) and Dunkirk; and Sydney Lipar (The Woodlands, Texas) and Zerragmo.

The USA Region 3/ Region 9 dressage team topped the Young Riders podium. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Schults and Conocido HGF, a 2012 PRE gelding owned by Hampton Green Farm, had a banner day, earning a 67.647% from the judges. 

“My goal was to have a clean and consistent test, and I’m very thankful that we achieved that,” said Schults. “It’s a new record for us, and it’s a great time to do it! [My test] was nothing too exciting; just consistent, uneventful, and harmonious.” 

“I was just very excited to come in the ring and put a clean test down because my horse is not the typical dressage horse you see at championships,” Piller said of Oreo, Elaine Knowles Cole’s 2014 pinto Gypsy cross mare. “I wanted to make every point count and she really pulled it out for me for a clean, correct, and harmonious test.”

Mary Claire Pillar and Oreo. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“I was really looking for a clean, correct, steady test, which we were able to pull off,” said Schultz, who rode Vicky Busch’s 2009 Oldenburg gelding to a 64.441%. “I’m 21, so this is my first and last NAYC. I’m very excited and blessed to have this opportunity.”

“The highlight of my test today was the trot and the walk work,” said Lipar, who earned a 67.265% with Denise Lipar’s 2012 Westphalian gelding, Zerragmo. “He gets a little bit excited in the show ring, so I really try to use that to my advantage and make the trot extra powerful and special.”

In silver-medal position was the USA Region 7 team of Lily-Rose Bacon (Atherton, Calif.) and Warm Night; Lucienne Bacon (Atherton, Calif.) and Do Re Mi; Ellanor Boehning (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) and Sir Junior; and Erin Nichols (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Handsome Rob AR. Nichols had the highest individual score of the day, earning a 70.147%.

Sydney Lipar and Zerragmo. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“I am just so proud of my horse,” Nichols said of her 2012 Dutch Warmblood gelding. “I’ve had him since he was a five-year-old and I brough him up through the levels. My goal was to break 70% this week, and to do that is just really amazing to me. I think the changes were definitely a highlight, and parts of the trot work really showed some his talent. He’s really grown through the years that I’ve had him.”

The combined team from USA Region 6 and Region 8 took home the bronze medal. The team was composed of Brenna Donovan (Andover, Mass.) and Scandal LWF; Jessica Beck (Oregon City, Ore.) and Elewaard; Megan Tursi (Goshen, Conn.) and So Speciale Edition; and Gemma Starn (Putnam Valley, N.Y.) and Diamond First Choice. Starn had the team’s high score of the day, a 66.971%, and she had high praise for her 2011 Hanoverian gelding, both in and out of the competition arena.

“I’ve had ‘Theo’ for about three years, and honestly [the highlight] was just getting here and staying with riding through some incredibly trying times,” said Starn. “Theo got me through some truly incredible hardships, and I’m so grateful for him. He is an angel. I kept repeating to myself, ‘you are here with him, and he’s amazing.’ I adore him, and I’m just very grateful for his performance.”

Sydney Schulz and Dunkirk. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

For young dressage athletes with aspirations to compete at the international championship level, NAYC is serves as an important stepping stone. Team gold medalist Pilar articulated how NAYC offered valuable learning experiences for young riders moving up through the levels.

“The experience of being here is unlike anything else I’ve experienced,” she said. “I think it’s really important as far as being able to move up the levels to start here because it’s an FEI championship. It’s one thing to show at the national shows, and it’s a whole different thing entirely to follow the FEI rules and stay in compliance. It’s good to learn the rules now before we’re in the senior category, and to show in front of this high-level judging. It’s also good for the horses’ development because it’s a huge environment to show in. It’s great for horses to be in this type of atmosphere.” 

Sophia Schults and Conocido HGF. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Dressage at the 2022 NAYC continues on Friday, Aug. 12, with the Individual Championship for Juniors starting at 9:00 a.m. E.T. Watch live on USEF Network.

Grace Debney Bests Seasoned Field in $37,000 Downtown Traverse City CSI3* Welcome

Eighteen-year-old Grace Debney (GBR) out paced a who’s who of international talent to win the $37,000 Downtown Traverse City CSI3* Welcome Stake during the final week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors. Piloting Boheme de la Roque, an 11-year-old Selle Français mare (Kannan x Quick Star) owned by Temple Equestrian LLC., Debney came out on top in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring.

Grace Debney and Boheme de la Roque. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Over Anderson Lima’s (BRA) course, 42 faced the first-round track with 12 returning for the jump-off. USA’s Karl Cook held the lead before Debney returned near the end of the short-course and took over the top spot by fractions of a second with a final time of 36.49. Cook settled for second, riding Signe Ostby’s Caillou 24 in 36.57 seconds.

“It’s definitely intimidating but I know I have some really good horses so that gives me all the confidence in the world to just go out there and give it my all,” said Debney in reaction to the start list for Thursday’s class. “It puts a lot of pressure on but it’s more fun that way.”

Grace Debney and Boheme de la Roque. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Debney has only had the ride on Boheme de la Roque for just over a year, but their connection was a quick one. “Right from the minute I got her it was like a click; I just got along with her right away and stepped right up. It was the best feeling. We give each other a lot of confidence and that’s what makes a difference in our rounds.”

After testing the jump-off track on her first horse, Zarina de Vidau, Debney knew she had to lay it down with Boheme de la Roque. “Everyone just kept going faster and faster, so I was kind of like okay I need to really go for it,” she said. “I think consistency was my plan. I was pretty proud that after every jump I was consistently on the rhythm.”

Commenting on her first week in Traverse City, Debney noted, “The atmosphere here is great and everything about it makes the horses jump well and the riders ride well.”

Third-place was awarded to Nicolas Gamboa (COL) aboard Interactive Mortgage Cayjano, owned by Delong Equestrian Ventures LLC, with a time of 37.35 seconds.

International competition returns with the $138,600 CaptiveOne Advisors CIS3* Grand Prix on Saturday.

Final Results: $37,000 Downtown Traverse City CSI3* Welcome Stake

1. BOHEME DE LA ROQUE: 2011 SF mare by Kannan x Quick Star
Grace Debney (GBR), Temple Equestrian LLC: 0/0/36.49

2. CAILLOU 24: 2007 HOLST gelding by Casall x San Patrignano Corrado
KARL COOK (USA), Signe Otsby: 0/0/36.57

3. INTERACTIVE MORTGAGE CAYJANO: 2013 WESTF gelding by Cayetano L x Danekonig
NICOLAS GAMBOA (COL), Delong Equestrian Ventures LLC: 0/0/37.35

4. EASTERN JAM: 2009 KWPN gelding by Lexicon x Monaco
HUNTER HOLLOWAY (USA), Hays Investment Corp: 0/0/37.99

5. MANHATTAN VAN’T LEEUWERIKENHOF: 2012 BWP gelding by Emerald x Kashmir Van Schuttershof
FILIP DE WANDEL (BEL), Five Way Farm LLC: 0/0/38.15

6. ZARINA DE VIDAU: 2011 CDE mare by Diamant de Semilly
GRACE DEBNEY (GBR), Temple Equestrian LLC: 0/0/38.30

7. JACKOFHEARTS: 2012 DWB gelding by Toulon x Baloubet Du Rouet
MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Gladewinds Partners, LLC: 0/0/39.16

8. ORAFINA: 2012 KWPN mare by For Fashion x Canturo
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Kent Farrington LLC: 0/0/41.20

9. FABREGAS: 2010 KWPN gelding by Zambesi TN x Nairone
ALEXANDRA SMITH (USA), Ashland Farms: 0/4/39.98

10. CHARLY CHAPLIN S: 2007 KWPN gelding by Harley x Burgraaf
KERRY MCCAHILL (USA), Kerry Anne LLC: 0/4/41.78

11. IDOL H&H: 2013 KWPN gelding by Action-Breaker x Glennridge
ANDREW WELLES (USA), Evergreen Stables, LLC: 0/8/39.96

12. NKH CENTO BLUE: 2010 OLDBG gelding by Centadel x Chacco Blue
ERIN DAVIS-HEINEKING (USA), October Hill Sales Limited: 0/8/45.54

Didgereedoo VDL Dominates Once Again in Traverse City Hunter Derby

The highlight of hunter competition on Thursday during the sixth and final week of GLEF was the $2,500 Traverse City Hunter Derby. The derby took center stage in Flintfield Horse Park’s Van Kampen Arena. Combining professionals, amateurs, and juniors, the class saw a total of 17 combinations in round one. At the bottom of the returning top 12, Kelsey Epperson once again found herself in the leading spot aboard crowd favorite, Didgereedoo VDL who sealed the deal with an overall score of 186 points.

Kelsey Epperson and Didgereedoo VDL. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Epperson was one of the final few to appear in the initial round with her long-time partner and the pair put down another fault-free effort to earn the prime position heading into the handy phase.

“I like to get on a gallop and I love when it is all single jumps in a handy,” explained Epperson. ”There was really only one related distance in the handy, so I was just trying to remind myself to take my time and use the space without getting too carried away.”

Epperson is no stranger to the winner’s circle with the Lashier Properties, LLC owned 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Javall VDL, already having added the title of hunter derby winner to their resume earlier in the GLEF summer series.

“It was definitely different having the class in the Van Kampen Arena today, and I thought Scott Alder did a really good job with this course,” added Epperson, who appreciated the change of scenery while the Main Hunter Ring played host to the FEI North American Youth Dressage Championships. “It was fun getting to use that much space, and it was a nice way to end the GLEF series. I was actually a bit nervous about the class being combined with non-professional and professional because many of those amateur and junior riders are very good, but I thought everyone did well today.”

Kelsey Epperson and Didgereedoo VDL. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Epperson was on a roll Thursday afternoon as she slid into the runner-up position behind her own leading score with her second mount, Tulio. Epperson and LTJ & Company LLC’s 8-year-old Zangersheide gelding paired their first-round score of 88 with a handy round worthy of a 93 for a total score of 181 points.

“It was nice to get a feel for the ring and where everything was on Tulio first before re-entering with Didgereedoo,” said Epperson. “Some of the jumps came up more quickly than I thought they would, and I figured out the best track to be both smooth and handy.”

Hunters at Flintfields Horse Park are preparing for the second consecutive Traverse City Hunter & Derby FInals Taking place during American Gold Cup week at the Traverse City Fall Horse Shows this fall.

Final Results: $2,500 Traverse City Hunter Derby

1. Didgereedoo VDL / Kelsey Epperson / Lashier Properties LLC / 91+95=186
2. Tulio / Kelsey Epperson / LTJ & Company LLC / 88+93=181
3. True That / Megan Ghere / Donald Stewart / 86+90=176
4. Souvenezvous / Sally Ives / Sally Ives / 85+85=170
5. Golden Ticket / Addison McQuaker / Addison McQuaker / 74+88=162
6. Gladwell / Riley Hogan / Donald Stewart / 78.5+83=161.5
7. Small Social / Ava Peck / Ava Peck / 75+75=150
8. Etiquette / Elise Iafrate / Elise Iafrate / 59+87=146
9. Lambada / Natalie Groulx / Kate Abajian / 64+81=145
10. Vincent / Natalie Groulx / Natalie Groulx / 74.5+63=137.5
11. Black Label B / Owen Gajoch / Owen Gajoch / 86+48=134
12. Atlas I / Alexander Miller / Donald Stewart / 73+35=108