Russell Finishes Fifth at FEI World Endurance Championship for Juniors and Young Riders

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From the USEF Communications Department August 5, 2013, Lexington, KY ~ The U.S. was represented by a strong contingent of young endurance riders on July 27 in Tarbes, France for the FEI World Endurance Championship for Juniors and Young Riders. Kelsey Russell rode Valerie Kanavy’s My Wild Irish Gold to an impressive fifth-place finish. With the 10-year-old Anglo-Arabian mare, Russell (Williston, FL) finished the 120km race with a time of 6:28:47.

Christina Kimery, the other U.S. finisher, and Amy Wallace-Whelan’s Wallace Hill Shade ended up in 41st place with a time of 8:19:30. Having earned her FEI Elite Young Rider status in March of this year, Kimery (Bixby, OK) had a notable performance with the 11-year-old Half-Arabian gelding at her first FEI World Championship.

The remaining U.S. riders were unable to finish the race but made a valiant effort over the World Championship course. Sarah Jack (Nottingham, New Hampshire) and Nicki Meuten’s nine-year-old Arabian gelding FYF Dutch had a fall during the first loop and did not continue after Gate 1. Mustafa Tehrani’s 12-year-old Arabian gelding Chasing The Wind unfortunately lost shoes during the second loop and did not qualify for the third phase, preventing Mary Kathryn Clark (Eatonton, GA) from going on. Katherine Gardener (Coventry, RI) and Pamela Weidel’s AF Big Bucks were unable to continue past Gate 3 when the 14-year-old Arabian gelding did not qualify for the 4th phase.

“We arrived in France with only one important goal- bring home a team medal plus continue our renaissance of becoming once again an endurance group to be reckoned with internationally,” remarked Chef d’Equipe Emmett Ross.” Two unusual events conspired against that goal- but positives were achieved clearly indicating how prepared we were from the first to fifth horse. Kelsey Russell’s fifth place effort on My Wild Irish Gold was the best individual effort since 1998 of any U.S. rider/horses combination in any World Championship. Also the finishing speed of Christina Kimery on Wallace Hill Shade on the final loop was the best of any finishing horse at 26.5 km/h, indicating how prepared and capable our horses were for this Championship event. Finally our road crew and supporters in France were a unified and super cohesive team group. The young riders experienced an incredible journey from the trials to end of the race which they will never forget—meeting other riders from around world and understanding how capable they were compared to them was an enormous experience and augers well for the future.”

Al Jahouri Khalifa Ali Khalif of the United Arab Emirates and Niac Armor won the 120km race with a time of 6:00:34, while France won the team championship with a combined time of 19:44:19.

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