Region 4 Junior Team Wins Dressage Gold on Day One of the 2022 FEI North American Youth Championships

By US Equestrian Communications Department

Traverse City, Mich. – History repeated itself on the first day of competition at the 2022 FEI North American Youth Championships (NAYC) for dressage as the Junior team representing Region 4 won team gold for the second consecutive year.

Not only was it a repeat win for the region, but the roster was made up of veteran horse-and-athlete combinations from the 2021 Region 4 Junior Team. Lexie Kment (Palmyra, Neb.) and Montagny von der Heide, Ella Fruchterman (Woodbury, Minn.) and Holts Le’mans, and Kylee Kment (Palmyra, Neb.) and Honor have now all earned the distinction of being two-time NAYC team gold medalists.

Kylee and Honor, a 10-year-old gelding owned by Jami Kment, had the team’s top score of a 69.364.

Kylee Kment and Honor. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“In the warmup it was all coming together. He was really going into my hand coming from the hind leg,” said Kylee. “And then going into the test, there’s usually a little bit of a switch, like I start riding differently knowing that this is the show ring, but this time it felt very cohesive, which was nice. And so going through the test, the trot work, that cohesiveness felt the same, like he was really in front of my leg. And the walk work, canter work, he was just really good. He was really listening. It was so fun.”

Fruchterman rode her 11-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding to her two team gold medals, earning a 69.303 in this year’s team test. She reflected on how the experience was different this year as the team reunited in Traverse City.

Ella Fruchterman and Holts Le’mans. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“Coming into last year, we had not known each other until we got off the trailer and were all together for the first time,” said Fruchterman. “This year we ran into each other in Florida, and we got to hang out and we’ve been talking over the phone the whole year, so I think we’ve really come together as a team and built great friendships. It’s so special being up here with them.”

Lexie and “Monte,” Laureen Van Norman’s 18-year-old gelding, also won individual gold at last year’s NAYC, and posted a 67.121 in today’s test. A challenging year put the competition in perspective for her.

Lexie Kment and Montagny von der Heide. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“At the end of last year, I felt the pressure of, ‘Okay, you might have had a great season; now we have to go back and do it all over again,” said Lexie. “But this February, my horse suffered an injury and so coming back from that, the first thought was, we’re never going to get back to that spot again.”

But Monte recovered well, and the goal of returning to NAYC came back into focus.

“Just coming into today, [my mindset was], yes, I want to be here for the team and I want to do well but I just want to get through the test and have it go well and have him be sound. So just getting that goal was really, really great.”

The Canadian team of Olivia Tomljenovic and Valkira, Kiara Williams-Brown and Herdeiro Santana, Alison Campbell-Wright and Slapstick, and Anna Swackhammer and Fabienna GV earned the team silver medal with four solid tests. Swackhammer had the team’s best score of the day with the 9-year-old Westphalian mare, earning a 69.242.

“This is my fourth time at NAYC, but my first time with a new horse, so it’s exciting,” said Swackhammer. “She definitely woke up once we got into the ring, but once she really relaxed, she was really smooth and everything was really cohesive, and I was really happy with that overall.”

Rounding out the podium was the team from USDF Region 7: Josephine Hinnemann (Murietta, Calif.) and Copa Cabana MRF; Maggie Elizabeth Evans (San Diego, Calif.) and Fuengirola; Emme Chisholm (San Diego, Calif.) and Improv; and Anna Yost (Mountain View, Calif.) and Irieno-S.

Chisholm summed up her feelings about her first NAYC experience, noting the camaraderie between athletes that spans across the teams.

“I tried to go last year and didn’t make the team, so this year I was definitely making that big push,” said Chisholm. “[My horse] did really well, and it’s just awesome to be here to compete and meet a bunch of young riders and juniors who are all doing the same thing. We all have the same goal. It’s been amazing.”

Dressage competition continues on Thursday, Aug. 11, with the Young Rider Team Competition beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET.

Zone 10 Dominates Kick-off of Gotham North FEI North American Youth Jumping Championships Presented by USHJA

Traverse City, Mich. – The 2022 Gotham North FEI North American Youth Jumping Championships (NAYC) presented by USHJA returned for the second consecutive year to Flintfields Horse Park in Traverse City, Mich. Wednesday, August 10, welcomed Children’s and Pre-Junior competitors to the International Arena for the first day of individual qualifying competition, with each athlete battling for pole position heading into the team and individual final events to come later in the week.

USA Zone 10 reigned supreme on day one as Lilah Nakatani (Temecula, Calif.) and Dianett secured the win in the Children’s Jumping Individual Qualifier. In the Pre-Junior Jumping Individual Qualifier presented by USHJA, Leila Diab (San Francisco, Calif.) rode to victory with Quind. Both are competing at NAYC for the second time and were teammates on the gold medal-winning team in the Children’s division in 2021. Wednesday’s competition counted toward each team’s overall score.

Gotham North/FEI North American Children’s Jumping Championship Qualifier presented by USHJA

Opening the day for Zone 10, Nakatani piloted Dianett, her own 8-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare, to the fastest single-round time in the Children’s First Individual Qualifier, setting up both her team and herself for success in the days to follow. In 71.88 seconds, Nakatani (Temecula, Calif.) claimed top honors out of 21 entries as one of the final pairs on course over Anderson Lima’s (BRA) course.

Lilah Nakatani and Dianett. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Making a repeat appearance, Nakatani was part of the gold medal-winning team at the 2021 NAYC where she competed on the same horse as a seven-year-old. Over the three days of competition, Dianett had only one rail down.

“She’s a great little mare,” Nakatani said of Dianett. “She’s so friendly and super kind. She has a little bit of spice so sometimes she can get wild, but she’s great.”

Nakatani trains with U.S. grand prix rider Kyle King on the West Coast and is receiving help from Savannah Jenkins while at NAYC.

“Last year was great,” Nakatani said of her gold medal-winning team performance. “I did have one down in the second round but thankfully my other teammates were great. It’s also a good team this year and I’m excited because so far, our team is doing well. Everyone was clear today, so we are ready for tomorrow.”

Earning second-place honors was Allison Orth (USA Zone 5) and her 10-year-old Zangersheide mare Chabada d’Ysieux Z, who rode to a clear round effort in 74.04 seconds. Tarin Kiely (USA Zone 2) and Nikita Jolie, the Ashland Farms and Major Wager LLC-owned 12-year-old mare, claimed third in a clear-round effort of 74.38 seconds.

Gotham North/FEI North American Pre-Junior Jumping Championship Qualifier presented by USHJA

Continuing an incredible outing for Zone 10 on day one of NAYC, Leila Diab (USA) took the win in the Gotham North/FEI North American Pre-Junior Jumping Championship Qualifier presented by USHJA aboard Quind, her own 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding. First to go in the order of 23 was Campbell Brown (USA Zone 7), riding Indira, the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Ashlynn Crowley, who stopped the timers in an impressive 57.56 seconds. It would be 17 more rounds before the lead would change hands, as Diab (San Francisco, Calif.) raced to a clear effort in 56.70 seconds. Brown ultimately claimed second place and third-place honors went to Taylor Landstrom (USA Zone 6) and Eleanor, her own 10-year-old Holsteiner mare.

“I had a different plan going in,” Diab said of her game plan for the day. “We watched [Campbell Brown] go and she was so fast. That really changed my plan. I knew I had to get him going from the get go and a good angle to the first fence. He’s so quick once you get him going that you don’t want to stop him at all. In most of the lines I walked one more, then I did the leave-outs. He was really going.”

Leila Diab and Quind. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Diab and Quind are competing in their second appearance at the FEI NAYC. Following up on a team gold medal, a medal she shared with Nakatani in the Children’s in 2021, the pair has had a breakout year, winning five NAYC Pre-Junior Zone 10 Trials across the West Coast in 2022.

“He’s a great guy,” she continued about her partner for a year and a half. “He has a really big stride when you get him going, so this course suited him well. He’s really fun and easy to turn. He was a superstar and amazing out there.”

Having the experience on their side, Diab is not letting nerves or mindset impact the way she performs, and is comfortable with the added pressure of the championship format and competing for a team. “The team part is the most nerve wracking because you don’t want to let down your teammates,” she continued. “We’ve all worked so hard to get here and we don’t want to be the one who hurts the team. Going out there with the right state of mind is the best thing you can do for your team rather than stressing out about being clean and going fastest.

“For me this is any other day,” Diab remarked on her approach. “When I focus on this being a big championship that’s when I get the most nervous and I may ride differently than what my horse is used to and what makes us a good match. We’re all here doing the same thing we always do. Changing my ride isn’t going to help my team.”

The Gotham North FEI North American Youth Jumping Championship presented by USHJA will continue Thursday, August 11, when the Children’s and Pre-Junior competitors vie for top honors in team competition. Following team events, the Junior and Young Rider divisions will take to their individual qualifiers.

Samuel Parot Sails to the Top in Hippo Data CSI3* Speed Classic

It’s not often that the fourth horse in a 44-horse class holds the lead the whole way through, but it was Samuel Parot’s (CHI) day to do just that during the final week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors. Fourth in the ring on Koblenz van de Vinusakker in the $37,000 Hippo Data CSI3* Speed Classic, Parot sped to a time of 55.06 seconds and held the lead through all remaining combinations to test the track during the opening class of the week.

Samuel Parot and Koblenz van de Vinusakker. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Over Anderson Lima’s (BRA) course, Parot set the time to beat on his first of three rides by speeding around the rollback turns and taking efficient paths down the lines, ultimately securing a time of 55.06 seconds. “The first horse I won on, I turned very quickly,” he said of his strategy. “I turned very fast to number six and number nine; I think I won there. He’s very fast. I like a horse with a lot of blood.”

Margie Engle (USA) and the Gladewinds Partners, LLC-owned Royce went in immediately following Parot and his first mount, and scored themselves a podium finish in 55.55 seconds. Coming in just a few from the end and finding a spot just between Parot and Engle was Mattias Tromp (USA) and Infuria P&P for owner Beyaert Farm Inc, finishing in 55.27 seconds. Tromp ultimately finished all three of his mounts in the top ten.

Samuel Parot in his winning presentation. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Wednesday’s win marks the second FEI win for Koblenz van de Vinusakker, the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Toulon x Leader M). In its second year under Parot’s guidance, the horse has taken two top victories and several other high placings up to the CSI5* level, jumping along the Major League Show Jumping tour in Mexico.

“The first time I came [to Traverse City] was early on,” Parot said of his trip to Traverse City Spring. “I love it here; it’s a really fantastic place with the lake and the atmosphere. Congratulations [to the Morrisseys] because the show is really big and they’ve done a good job.”

Mattias Tromp and Infuria P&P. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Parot plans to jump his two other mounts in the $37,000 Downtown Traverse City CSI3* Welcome Stake Thursday, then aim Koblenz van de Vinusakker for the $138,600 CaptiveOne Advisors CSI3* Grand Prix Saturday, before a two-week break. His team will stay in Traverse City for the fall, featuring the American Gold Cup CSI5*, before Parot heads to South America for the South American Games in October.

Margie Engle and Royce. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

With her top finish, Margie Engle reclaimed her lead in the CaptiveOne Advisors Open Jumper Rider Bonus standings.

Final Results: $37,000 Hippo Data CSI3* Speed Classic

1. KOBLENZ VAN DE VINUSAKKER: 2010 BWP gelding by Toulon x Leader M
SAMUEL PAROT (CHI), Samuel Parot: 0/55.06

2. INFURIA P&P: 2013 KWPN mare by Cascadello x President
MATTIAS TROMP (USA), Beyaert Farm Inc: 0/55.27

3. ROYCE: 2004 OS stallion by Cafe Au Lait x Grandilot
MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Gladewinds Partners, LLC: 0/55.55

4. LAMBORGHINI: 2010 OLDBG gelding by Lord Pezi x Grannus
NICK DELLO JOIO (USA), Caroline Mawhinney: 0/55.67

5. BLUE MOVIE: 2006 AES mare by Chacco Blue x Pilot
ROWAN WILLIS (AUS), Rowan Willis: 0/56.21

6. ICARUS: 2008 BWP stallion by Douglas x Sioux de Baugy
FRANCISCO GOYOAGA MOLLET (ESP), Strasburg Moring Inc.: 0/56.80

7. NAMASTE VAN HET EYCKEVELD: 2013 BWP gelding by Elvis Ter Putte x Coriall
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Sweet Oak Farm: 0/56.90

8. MANHATTAN VAN’T LEEUWERIKENHOF: 2012 BWP gelding by Emerald x Kashmir Van Schuttershof
FILIP DE WANDEL (BEL), Five Way Farm LLC: 0/57.29

9. ILON: 2013 KWPN gelding by Toulon x Indoctro
MATTIAS TROMP (USA), Beyaert Farm Inc: 0/57.67

10. NOEMI VH WUITENSHOF: 2013 BWP mare by Castelino vd Helle x Quidam de Revel
MATTIAS TROMP (USA), Beyaert Farm Inc: 0/59.14

11. EL BALOU OLD: 2012 OS stallion x Eldorado vd Zeshoek x Balou du Rouet
DAVID O’BRIEN (IRL), Chansonette Farm LLC: 0/60.37

12. CONNOR 69: 2013 HOLST gelding by Connor x Contender
OLIVIA CLIVER (USA), On The Mark Equestrian LLC: 0/60.64