Callie Smith and Upstaire - Zone 2
Lexington, Kentucky – July 19, 2012 - - The Show Jumping portion of the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships, presented by Gotham North, finally got underway on Thursday morning following the cancellation yesterday when two separate lines of very severe thunderstorms began an assault on the Lexington area just as the jumping got underway.
After waiting patiently until nearly five o’clock to start because of the Dressage competition going overtime in the Rolex Stadium, only three show jumpers in the Junior section of the First Individual Qualifier completed the course before everyone was sent back to the barn to take cover when the first line of storms appeared on the horizon. That first tempest was just a warm-up for what turned out to be an even worse line of storms that popped up less than an hour later. Eventually, the entire schedule was cancelled and restarted today at 8 a.m.
So, on Thursday morning, it was take two.
Two First Round Individual Qualifiers were on today’s agenda with the Junior section competing first with thirty-five starters followed by the Young Riders with eighteen.
The Young Rider first qualifier was scored as a Faults Converted into Seconds format with each knockdown adding four seconds to the total time taken to complete the course.
NAJYRC Course Designer Richard Jeffery
Richard Jeffery, whose hometown of Bournemouth in Great Britain has seen its fair share of rain and storms over the past few weeks, is here this week to design the tests for the North American Junior Young Rider Championships.
Jeffery’s speed course for the Young Riders saw only three of the eighteen riders compete without a knockdown.
Leading the way today was Callie Smith of Zone 2 and her mount Upstaire. Smith was simply brilliant in posting a clear round in 78.59 seconds to stand alone at the top of the podium after day one.
“I felt a little nervous going in,” Smith said. “The water was super wide and although he is a great water jumper, I am not always the best water rider. But once I got going, it seemed to flow seamlessly together and everything just came exactly how I wanted it to.”
“My horse is an absolute dream! I love him to death,” Smith said with a smile. “He is 11 years old this year, but he acts like a 3 year-old in the barn. When I went to Europe to buy a new jumper, we came to Otter’s (Upstaire’s) barn and at first watched the video. And the second he came on the screen I announced to the room, ‘That's the one.’ They were like, ‘He hasn't even trotted yet.’ I responded with, ‘I don't care, that’s the one.’ He likes to eat anything you stick in front of his face,” she added.
“Totally nervous!” Smith admitted. “All of us were watching them set from the stands and were freaking out that it was huge! When we got down to the ring, it looked a lot smaller and we all relaxed. But I am always nervous before I go in the ring and especially here because I want to do well for the team, it’s not just about us as individuals here,” she noted. “We have a lot riding on that 90 second round. So, yes, I am definitely nervous for the rest of the week, but I feed off of the pressure, so I guess we'll see.”
Smith’s charge to the top was followed by two of her Zone 2 teammates, Meg O’Mara and Sinatra and Mattias Tromp aboard Vosqinus.
Meg O'Mara and Sinatra IV
O’Mara, in finishing second, was almost six full seconds behind Smith’s impressive winning time. Her original time, the fastest time on course today, was good enough for the win in 76.30 seconds, however two knockdowns along the way bumped up that time by eight seconds and bumped O’Mara down to second place. Sinatra’s final time, with the eight seconds added on, was 84.30 seconds.
“The course was really fun! I did the hard parts great and the easy parts for me and my horse, I took for granted,” O’Mara divulged. “I was really nervous today before I walked, but after walking and knowing the course fit my horse, I loosened up and tried to deliver.”
Tromp, meanwhile, was just over a second slower than O’Mara, taking home third place in a time of 85.67 seconds. Tromp’s original time was 81.67 seconds but a single knockdown at the very last fence added four seconds. "That last rail made me want to scream," Tromp said.
Mattias Tromp and Vosqinus
Kaitlin Campbell and Grand Pleasure
Kaitlin Campbell of Zone 3 was next in line following the Zone 2 trifecta at the top of the scoreboard. Campbell, piloting, Grand Pleasure, had a final time of 85.68 seconds, bolstered by a single rail down on the Jeffery designed course.
Zone 10’s Killian McGrath finished in fifth place with Salerno. McGrath had one of the three fault-free rounds of the afternoon, cruising home clean in 90.41 seconds. Zone 10, in fact, had two of the three clears.
Hasbrouck Donovan and Delilah, representing Zone 4, nailed down today’s sixth place finish with a single knockdown in 90.66 seconds.
Killian McGrath and Salerno
Hasbrouck Donovan and Delilah
Charlotte Gadbois and Semira de Saulieu
Charlotte Gadbois of Zone 10 was spotless as well today on Semira du Saulieu. Their finish time though was 92.14 seconds to finish in seventh place.
Rounding out the top eight was Navona Gallego and No Fear of Zone 8. Their time on course was 77.65 seconds, another time that was fast enough for the win, but four knockdowns on course bumped up that final time to 93.65 seconds.
Ninth and tenth went to Lisa Kent of Zone 5 and Sage Flynn of Zone 10. Kent and Olympic Lad had two rails down and finished in 96.47 seconds while Flynn and her mount Hot Pants had a final time of 96.62 seconds after adding in 16 seconds in penalty time.
The race for the Individual Gold Medal continues when the Young Riders compete in their two round Team competition tomorrow evening in the Rolex Stadium. Both rounds of the Team test are included in the Individual totals. The medals will then be awarded following a two-round Individual Final the next day.
Callie Smith during the National Anthem
The storms yesterday dramatically altered the regular Young Riders schedule, eliminating the day off scheduled for Friday. Smith has some worries, especially with the steamy, hot weather in Lexington. “He is super hot and has a lot of blood. I am a little worried just because the heat can kind of get to him sometimes, but he is a really fit horse. I just hope we can keep him hydrated enough to get through these next few days,” she said.
The schedule change also means the Young Riders will be jumping the open water under the nighttime lighting in the Rolex Stadium. That, however, doesn’t seem to bother Smith. “Not at all!” she said. “I always walk up to it anyways. Otter is a smart horse and reads the jumps as we go up to them. I'm not worried for that.”
The water jump doesn’t bother O’Mara either. “My horse is great at the water as long as I keep my head screwed on! I need to remember to take my time at the water and he'll jump it great under the lights.”
Upstaire and Sinatra - a meeting of the top two finishers
O’Mara also likes her team’s chances tomorrow night. “I feel great! Our riders are on and we are all going to deliver in the Nations Cup. Go Zone 2!”
For the Young Riders Individual medals, a Championship point system is employed with scores determined by a fairly complex multiplier system.
Going into the Team competition tomorrow, Callie Smith enters the fray with a zero on the scoreboard.
Second place finisher today, Meg O’Mara is now 2.88 points behind. Mattais Tromp comes in with 3.55 points, as does Kaitlin Campell. Killian McGrath has 5.92 points and Habrouck Donovan competes with 6.04 points going into the Team championship.
Following the Team competition tomorrow, we’ll not only give you the team results, but will also update the Individual standings as well.
JUNIOR RIDERS - FIRST INDIVIDUAL
The day started with the Junior Riders competing in their first Individual Qualifier, scored on faults and time.
While the scoring was different, the results were similar. It was another dominating performance for the winner.
Abigail McArdle and Cosma 20 - Zone 5
Abigail McArdle of Zone 5 romped to a five second victory aboard her partner, Cosma 20. McArdle raced across the finish line with a spotless go in a hasty time of 79.13 seconds to lead the way after day one.
She was the fastest of four riders with zero faults in this first qualifier.
“The plan going into the ring was just to be tidy and quick everywhere so if I did have a rail, I could still be in the ribbons,” McArdle explained. “It was a good class because there were a lot of different places where you really had to keep moving across the ring. You didn’t have to go really quick everywhere, but after fence 5, you had to pick it up and keep galloping to the liverpool. There were places like that that really made the class,” she smiled.
Abigail McArdle during the National Anthem
“My horse was absolutely wonderful. I was lucky to get to show her in the stadium at Kentucky Spring and she was really good and got familiar with the ring,” McArdle said. “I’ve had her since the middle of Florida. We started doing the 1.40m’s the last week of Florida. We had a really successful Spruce Meadows this year so we were confident going into this show, but also it’s a lot of pressure.”
McArdle was five seconds faster than Zone 4’s Shawn Casady who clocked in at 84.17 on Zubantos. Casady was the first to go clear out of the ninth spot in the order. “I mean it was nice to have an early lead, but today was really about clear rounds. Abby was really fast. I wasn’t going to go that fast today,” he said.
“It was really a lovely gallop,” Casady said of the course. “You didn’t have to marry any numbers and there was plenty of track to work with.”
Shawn Casady and Zubantos
And how did Casady prepare for today’s qualifier? “I took my horse for a walk this morning as I was listening to my Ipod and drinking black coffee. I listen to a ton of Led Zeppelin and James Taylor.”
Third and fourth went to Zone’s 2 and 3.
Gabrielle Bausano and Ubico H of Zone 2 toured the course without penalty, tripping the timers in 86.72 seconds for third place, while Ashley Foster and Indy, representing Zone 3, were the slowest of the clears, breaking the beams in 88.20 seconds to sit in fourth place after day one.
“I was a little nervous about the course after having to sleep on it, but I thought it was appropriately challenging for the first day of competition,” Bausano said. “I was pretty nervous this morning, but I think I was just anxious for the class to start after yesterday's delay. I'm feeling more confident about the upcoming rounds after my horse was so great today, but knowing anything can happen, definitely keeps me nervous… and focused,” she smiled.
Ashley Foster and Indy
“I’ve had Ubico-H for the past two years and we were team Silver here last year. He can be really grumpy around the barn but I think it’s just because he has a big ego,” she laughed.
Bausano’s excellent performance today in the Individual first round was particularly important. “I'm the alternate for my team this year so I'm competing just as an individual, but Zone 2 has a fantastic Junior and Young rider team. They are really strong and I wish them the best of luck,” she said.
A single time fault was posted by today’s fifth and sixth place finishers.
With a clear jumping round, but one penalty on the clock, Savannah Talcott and Recover of Zone 7 finished fifth. Their finish time of 93.30 seconds was just a tenth of a second faster than sixth place finishers, Claudia Billups and Quick N Easy, who galloped home in 93.48 seconds.
Savannah Talcott and Recover
Claudia Billups and Quick N Easy
Seventh place went to Zone 10’s Hannah Von Heidegger and Candle Light van de Warande with two time faults in 97.75 seconds.
The fastest of the ten riders that scored a single knockdown, Lillie Keenan and Vanhattan of Zone 2, finished in eighth place.
Rounding out the top ten in the Junior section were Sydney Shulman of Zone 1 and Kira Kerkorian of Zone 2. Shulman rode Gun du Desfi to ninth and Kerkorian guided Malcolm to tenth place.
The Junior Team competition precedes the Young Rider Teams tomorrow beginning at 4:30 in the afternoon.
The same scenario applies to the Juniors, with their two team rounds counting towards their final Individual title. However, their scoring is a little less complicated, based only on total faults accumulated.
We’ll see you tomorrow for the Team competition.
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS FROM TODAY'S FIRST INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIERS
Charlotte Jacobs and Kachina
Hannah Von Heidegger and Candlelight VD Warande
Justin Prather and Winny Boy
Kira Kerkorian and Malcolm
Lillie Keenan and Vanhattan
Lisa Kent and Olympic Lad
Navona Gallegos and No Fear
Sage Flynn and Hot Pants
Stevie Sorenson and Esparanto
Sydney Shulman and Gun du Desfi
PHOTOS BY: Kenneth Kraus