August 2, 2007

Canadian Dressage Teams Finish Fourth & Fifth at 2007 North American Junior and Young Riders’ Championships

Canada’s two Young Riders’ Dressage Teams finished in fourth and fifth place in the Team Competition on August 1 at the 2007 CN North American Junior and Young Riders’ Championships (NAJYRC), being held July 31 – August 5 in Lexington, USA.

Finishing with a Team total score of 200.445, just .043 points off the bronze medal, was the Canada Coast to Coast Team, made up of Alexandra Duncan of West Vancouver, BC, Nova Scotia natives Brittany Fraser of New Glasgow and Danielle McKinnon of Halifax, and Julie Watchorn of Schomberg, ON.

Duncan led the team with the highest score of 67.778%, partnered with her 12-year-old Holsteiner mare Elektra.

“I was really happy with my performance. Elektra got a little hot, but overall I’m happy,” said Duncan, who also rode Elektra at the 2006 NAJYRC’s, helping the Canadian Team win Gold. “As a team, everyone did a great job. We were really consistent and everyone did their best.”

Fraser contributed a score of 66.400% to the Team Total, riding Furio, her 11-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, while McKinnon rode to a score of 66.267% aboard her 16-year-old Polish Warmblood gelding Noma Tender. Watchorn scored 65.467% with her 11-year-old Hannoverian gelding Dobble Tyme.

“I am very proud of all the girls. They did a fabulous job and a lot of them had personal best scores,” commented Chef D’equipe Tina Busse-Irwin. “All the girls were extremely poised and professional and represented their country amazingly. We should be very proud of them.”

The Young Riders’ Ontario Team had a Team total score of 198.666%, which included the combined scores of Amy Jager of Breslau, Cecile Von Martels of Ridgetown, Andrea Wetzel of Sharon and Leah Wilson of Orangeville.

Jager, who moved up to the Young Riders’ division this year, after helping the Canadian Junior Team to a Silver Medal in 2006, scored 66.533% with her 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Jive.

“Jive was awesome, he loves competing and we achieved one of our personal bests,” commented Jager. “Overall it has been a great team atmosphere, and everyone is so supportive of each other.”

Wilson rode Westside Lady, a 12-year-old Hannoverian mare owned by Susan Platz to a score of 66.400%, with Wetzel not far behind, scoring  65.733%  aboard Barbara Holden-Sinclair’s 17-year-old Oldenburg gelding Widu Witulo.  Von Martels  and Downtown, her 11-year-old Westphalian gelding, scored 64.933%.

The USA Region 7 Team took Gold, with USA Region 2 earning Silver and USA Region 3 receiving Bronze.

The Team Championship also acted as the first leg of the Individual competition, with the Individual Championship taking place Friday, August 3.

“It is very competitive this year, but we have talented riders and horses, who have a good shot of being in the top three, individually,” commented Busse-Irwin, adding “The scores are all very close. It’s really going to come down to the wire in the individual.”

Duncan is currently the highest placed Canadian in the Individual standings. Sitting in fifth place, she is within striking distance for an Individual Medal.

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 features competitors from the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Argentina.


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