Thursday, July 31, 2008

Region 7 Wins Young Riders Dressage Team Gold at 2008 CN North American Junior & Young Rider Championships at The Colorado Horse Park Presented by Gotham North
Release: July 31 2008
By Marty Bauman

Parker, CO ­– Region 7 won the Young Riders team Gold Medal in the USDF/Platinum Performance Dressage Division at the 2008 CN North American Junior and Young Rider Championships at the Colorado Horse Park Presented By Gotham North

The CN North American Junior and Young Rider Championships at the Colorado Horse Park Presented by Gotham North are the premier equestrian event in North America for riders age 14-21. Run in a format similar to the Olympic Games, the Championships feature riders competing for team and individual medals in the three Olympic disciplines of show jumping, dressage and eventing, as well as the western discipline of reining, which was added to the schedule this year.

The Region 7 team won the Gold with a score of 4417 points and a percentage of 65.437, followed by Region 8 with a score of 4395 points and 65.111% and Canada-Ontario who received a score of 4374 points and 64.800%. Each team counts its three best scores.

Region 7, whose riders were all competing in their first Young Riders Championship, was led by Katie Johnson of El Cajon, CA who scored 66.356% on Millenium. Region 7 also got scores of 65.778% from Brianna Dutton of Tracy, CA on Tibet, 64.178% from Christine Stephenson of Mission Viejo, CA on Charly 285, and 60.933% from Thomas Walker of Nipomo, CA on Grundsteins Legacy.

“This is something you dream about but certainly don't expect,” said Dutton. “Even just to place is like a dream come true, but to win the Gold is unbelievable!”

Region 7 Chef d'Equipe Elizabeth Hendrix wasn't sure what to expect of her team before arriving at the Colorado Horse Park. “I hadn't seen a lot of the riders and I knew my team consisted of all first timers,” she said. “When I saw them warm up though, I started to realize that this could be a really good team.”

All four of the riders were enjoying the first experience at the NAJYRC even before becoming Gold Medalists. “It's often hard to get people to understand how we feel about our sport,” Johnson said. “It's really fun to be with so many others our age who have the same passion for horses that we do.”

Earlier in the day, Carlie Thompson of Dublin, OH rode Paid By Corona to the win in the USEF Reining Division's Welcome Competition, the first official reining competition ever held at the NAJYRC. In the USEA Eventing Division, Jennifer Brannigan of San Diego, CA rode Cooper to an impressive dressage score of 36.3 penalties to take the lead following the first phase of the CCI**.

In the USHJA Show Jumping Division, Shannon McGrath of North Caldwell, NJ rode Ancho de Pomme to victory in the first Individual Qualifier for Juniors and Karl Cook of Woodside, CA had a successful start to his defense of his 2007 individual Gold Medal when he rode Notories Utopia to the win in the first Individual Qualifier for Young Riders.

The NAJYRC operates under the rules of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body for equestrian sport. It is the only FEI championship held annually in this country.

The NAJYRC began in 1974 as an eventing challenge between Canada and the United States. A Dressage Championship was added in 1981 and, with the addition of Show Jumping, the first complete Championship with all three Olympic disciplines was held in British Columbia, Canada in 1982. A championship division for juniors was added to the schedule in 2006 and reining, a fourth discipline, joined the schedule of FEI-recognized championships in 2008.

Many of North America's best equestrians got their start at the NAJYRC including Olympic medalists Greg Best, Karen Lende O'Connor, Chris Kappler and McLain Ward, as well as Alison Firestone, Nicole Shahinian Simpson, Ray Texel, Chris Pratt, Frankie Chesler, Lisa Carlsen, Harold Chopping, Martina Pracht, Kathleen Raine, Heather Mason, David Wilson, Gwyneth MacPherson, Tiffani Loudon, Buck Davidson, Abigail Lufkin, Missy Ransehousen, Mara DePuy, Molly Bliss, and Julie Gomena.