On July 19, the North American Junior and Young Rider Endurance Championship took place at the Kentucky Horse Park. The 75 mile, 120km ride had four teams and the USA Southeast was able to persevere for the Team Gold Medal.
Gold: Cassandra Roberts, Viktory Banner, USA Southeast
Silver: Emma Webb, Vagas, Canada
Bronze: Helen deBeer, DCL Mooi Penny, USA Southeast
4.McCamey Kimber, Rohara Royal, USA Central/Mountain
5.Jessica Yavis, Jahlad, Canada
6.*Michael Bishop, TEF Sunflash, USA Northeast – BEST CONDITIONED
7.Taylor White, Hoover The Mover, USA Southeast
8.Forest Green, LR Amana Tabi, USA Northeast Combined
9.Maria Muzzio, Khlil Asam, USA Northeast Combined
10.Hunter Green, DJB Braveheara, USA Northeast Combined
11.Jaylene Janzen, Sakic, Canada
Team Gold medalists, USA Southeast: Cassandra Roberts, Helen deBeer, and Taylor White (Waltenberry)with a team time of 23:47:03.
Leading the Gold medal-winning team for the USA Southeast was Cassandra Roberts (16, Bronson, FL) on Viktory Banner (Going Steady AH by Wiking x Night Enchantress), also the winner of the Individual Gold medal in the time of 6:19:31.
This was the first time that Roberts had ridden Viktory Banner in competition. She got the ride on him after her mare was injured. “I’ve ridden him a little in training, but that’s all,” she said. “I expected to go fast! He had a lot of experience before I started riding him. He’s an amazing horse. It was pretty exciting. It makes me feel pretty good to win two Gold medals.”
The Individual Bronze medalist, Team USA Southeast. Heleen deBeer (19, Atlanta, GA) and DCL Mooi Penny finished in 8:19:22. Although she was born in South Africa, deBeer has lived in the United States for 12 years. She has been riding DCL Mooi Penny for two years.
“Penny is a very sensitive, loving mare to her riders. She is a delicate mare with a lot of staying power and fantastic heart rate recoveries,” deBeer said.
They were joined by Taylor White (15, Camden, SC) on Hoover the Mover with a time of 9:08:10. Other team members were Katie Baldino with Reminisonce +/ and Mallory Capps (19, Atlanta, GA) with Masterpiece Vlad.
Capps said of the experience, “Riding for a team is definitely a good experience. Everyone is very supportive and you have a great crew. Everybody, including myself and Katie, as soon as we got pulled, we hopped in and supported our team because we wanted to see our team get a Gold medal. It’s a team sport and that’s what endurance is really about. We helped Northeast and Canada (too). It doesn’t matter what team you’re on. It’s like one big family.”
The USA Southeast Chef d’Equipe, Ann Stuart, was excited to see more riders compete in Endurance at NAJYRC this year. “I really appreciated it because a lot of us are getting older. We were looking around a few years ago wondering who was going to come up and ride in endurance races. We have an incredible squad. We filled in gaps in other teams. We’re lucky in Southeast to have so many riders; I’m really encouraged about that. They had great attitudes,” she said.
Silver Medal Team Canada:
Emma Webb (19, Flesherton, ON, CAN) from Team Canada was a double Silver medalist with Vagas. She led the team with a time of 7:29:40. Jessica Yavis (17, Winfield, AB, CAN) and Jahlad (8:33:11) and Jaylene Janzen (20, Edmonton, AB, CAN) on Sakic (9:42:51) helped their team finish second with a total team time of 25:45:42.
Webb was a part of the Gold medal-winning team at last year’s NAJYRC. This year, she was on a new horse, Vagas, who is owned by her neighbor and was borrowed for the competition. “I’ve ridden him more than just at this competition,” she acknowledged. “He’s an eight-year-old Arabian off the track. I’ve been riding him a bit this summer, but this is the second time I’ve actually competed on him. He’s a fun pony. We had a good time.”
It was not all a smooth ride for Webb, however. She explained, “It was stressful, but we made it around. He lost the same shoe twice. The shoe has been put on four times in the last 10 days, so there wasn’t much foot left by the time we were done. But with his shoe on, he was sound and he passed the vet checks.”
Webb has aspirations to make Canada’s team for next year’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy, France. It is a big goal for a young rider. “Maybe we’ll make it to WEG next year, it may be on my own horse,” she remarked. “There are only so many people that have horses that are at that level (in Canada) and want to go to WEG. It is a really big commitment.”
Bronze Team Medal USA Northeast:
The Bronze Team medal went to USA Northeast Combined with a team total time of 26:49:48. Michael Bishop (16, Raleigh, NC) and TEF Sunflash had a time of 8:33:14 to lead them, while Forest Green (16, Star Tannery, VA) and LR Amana Tabi finished in 9:08:15. Just behind him was Maria Muzzio (15, Fairfax, VA) on Khlil Asam in 9:08:19, and a split second behind was Hunter Green (15, Star Tannery, VA) and DJB Braveheart, who finished in 9:08:20. Sydney Sumrall (16, Atlanta, GA) and DCL Mooi Koedoe were also part of the team.
Bishop’s horse, TEF Sunflash, won the Best Conditioned Horse Award. “Flash is a very high energy, strong horse. He loves to go and he hardly ever stops really. He drinks well and he’s very fit. He’s done three 75-mile races since December.”
They have only been paired together since the beginning of May. “We had to figure everything out at the Biltmore Endurance Ride, which was our qualifying ride for Young Riders,” he said. “The Best Conditioned Horse Award was great to get, but the Team medal was a big honor.”
The NAJYRC, this year run July 17-21, is the premier equestrian competition in North America for junior and young riders, age 14-21. Young equestrians come from the United States, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean Islands to vie for team and individual FEI medals in the three Olympic equestrian disciplines of show jumping, dressage, eventing and the FEI World Equestrian Games disciplines of reining and endurance.
There are a number of awards that recognize important contributions and accomplishment throughout the course of the competition and endurance riders won two top honors over all disciplines.
The Captain Andrew B. de Szinay Memorial Sportsmanship Trophy, to be awarded annually to the Young Rider who best personifies the high standards and virtues of integrity, sportsmanship, honor, courage, team spirit, good temper and unselfishness. Athletes are nominated by Chefs d’Equipe and Cassandra Roberts won this award.
The HorsePower Trophy, given to the horse that stands out from their peers at the FEI NAJYR Championships and is presented annually by Brad Ettleman of HorsePower, Inc.. This award recognizes an outstanding horse, from any of the championship disciplines, that best demonstrates determination, courage, class, heart and the ability to move athletes and spectators alike throughout the competition. This award was won by DJB Braveheart.
Congratulations to all of the riders, and bravo as well for the tremendous support from families, friends, and others of the riding community.
The competitions are run under rules of the FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale), the international governing body for equestrian sport, and is the only FEI championship held annually on this continent.