August 10, 2007

Dressage Riders Golden at North American Junior/Young Riders’ Championships

Canada’s Dressage riders dominated the Individual competition, winning double Gold Medals at the 2007 CN North American Junior and Young Riders’ Championships (NAJYRC), held July 31 – August 5 in Lexington, USA.

In the Young Riders’ division, Alexandra Duncan of West Vancouver, BC was the Individual Silver Medalist, paired with her 12-year-old Holsteiner mare Elektra. Having scored 67.778% to help the Canada Coast to Coast team take fourth place earlier in the week, Duncan was standing in fifth place heading into the Individual Final, where she scored 68.800% for the Silver Medal.

“This year Elektra was more relaxed. I felt I could push her in the ring,” explained Duncan, who was also awarded the Pursuit of Excellence Fiona Baan Memorial Trophy for achieving the highest percentage average score from the Young Riders’ Team and Individual classes. “I was delighted to win an individual medal. It was a great achievement for Elektra and I as the competition was tough.”

Duncan closed out the 2007 NAJYRC on a high note, taking Gold in the Young Riders’ Freestyle competition. Her performance to a mix of world fusion and Middle Eastern music, choreographed by Karen Robinson of Applause Dressage earned her a score of 72.950%.

“It was an exhilarating feeling to share the experience with my team mates Julie and Leah,” said Duncan. “Before the freestyle at sound check, Leah had said, ‘okay Alex, you can have the gold, I want the silver,’ and I said 'okay lets go for it.' It was fun to have it turn out with that happening.”

Jade Deter of Kemptville, ON also finished at the top of the podium, and made history when she became the first Canadian rider to win three gold medals at the Championships. Riding her 10-year-old Westphalian gelding Mastermind, Deter led the Junior Dressage Team to a Gold Medal finish on a score of 69.750%, before scoring 69.550% to take the Individual Final. She continued her winning streak, and added another Gold Medal to her growing collection in the Junior Dressage Freestyle, where she rode Mastermind to score 73.400%.

“The individual went really well. My horse was just as consistent as he was in the Team competition, and if anything he felt even steadier and we had no mistakes. I was so happy and excited to win gold,” stated Deter, explaining that it has been her goal to compete at NAJYRC since she bought Mastermind in October of 2006. “I was also thrilled with the Freestyle. My music is slow to match how steady Mastermind is, and it all flows together really well.”

Other Canadians in the Individual Final standings included Leah Wilson of Orangeville, ON, who scored 67.550% with Susan Platz’s 12-year-old Hannoverian mare Westside Lady in the Young Riders’ division to finish in fifth place. Wilson was also a member of the Ontario Young Riders’ Team, who earned a fifth place finish. Junior Rider Jaimie Holland of Caledon, ON finished eighth individually on a score of 65.550%, partnered with her nine-year-old Westphalian mare Fleurina.

In addition, Duncan’s team mates helped Canada dominate the Young Riders’ Freestyle, with Wilson scored 70.900% with Westside Lady to take Silver, while Julie Watchorn of Schomberg, ON rode her 11-year-old Hannoverian gelding Dobble Tyme to a score of 70.200% for Bronze.

Exclusively for Junior riders, aged 14 – 18, and Young Riders, 16-21, the NAJYRC gives up and coming riders the opportunity to experience representing their country as a team, and prepares them for future international competition. Featuring the three Olympic disciplines of Dressage, Eventing and Show Jumping, the 2007 NAJYRC hosted competitors from the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Argentina.

“The Championships were really fun, and I learned so much,” commented Deter. “The Team support was great, everyone pitched in to help each other, and it was a really good experience.”


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