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Riders set out on the CH-Y** course bright and early on the second to last day at the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. The challenging course, designed by David O’Connor and built by Aaron Rust, made a big impression on the leaderboard, with only one double clear round.
Moving from second to first place with a beautifully ridden cross-country round is 17-year-old Rowdie Adams from Greenville, Texas. She and her 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, No Money Down, maintained their score of 50.9 with the only faultless round of the day in the CH-Y**. Though time seemed to be an issue for other riders on the course, causing countless time penalties and many refusals, Adams did not push Boxer particularly hard for the coveted time.
“He’s actually a really, really, really fast horse,” Adams said. “And he has quite an uphill canter and gallop. Most horses gallop with their head down and then you have to pick them back up for the jump. He’s always up like that, so I don’t have to slow down that much for tables because he’s already up in front and I can just sort of pick a step and just keep rolling.”
18-year-old Caroline Martin from Miami Beach, Florida, originally in first place after dressage, switched places with Adams this morning after adding just two time penalties to her dressage score of 50.2. Martin and Quantum Solace, her 8-year-old Argentinian Sport Horse gelding, now sit in silver medal contention with a 52.2. Though she added a couple of points onto her score due to the demanding time expectation, Martin is still satisfied with her ride and her horse’s performance.
“I was the first person out on course today at 8:00, and it’s hard being first because you don’t know what to expect,” Martin said. “I was quite pleased with my horse though. He’s a very, very honest horse. All the questions that were presented - he answered them, even if I didn’t ride it correctly he still could get over each fence and I was really proud of him for that.”
Maintaining her grasp on third place is 17-year-old Jenny Caras from Marietta, Georgia with her 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Fernhill Stowaway. Caras and “Bodie” put in a nicely ridden round free of jumping faults, but unfortunately added 12.7 time penalties to their dressage score of 52.0, due to a miscommunication with the course crossing guard at the entrance of a field. Coming out of the head of the lake at fence 22, Caras galloped onto the fandango at 23, until she misinterpreted the crossing guard’s hand motions to oncoming traffic. The pair went down an incorrect path, but almost immediately corrected the error, still ending the day with a 63.6.
“I did not make time, but I was up on all of my minute markers, and then I had a miscommunication with the crossing guard,” Caras said. “I thought he was telling me to turn left and apparently he was not. That’s how I got my time penalties and I think I would’ve been pretty close to it, if not under it. But it’s part of the sport, so I you’ve got to put a smile on and be happy you have a sound horse at the end of the day.”
The Area III CH-Y** team continues to dominate the Championships, with two of its riders in the top three places. Other cross-country rides from Area III today included from Mary Atkins Hunt and Nuance, who added no jumping and just 10.0 time penalties to end the day with a 63.7. Unfortunately Matilda Segal and Guinness X were eliminated on course, but both came home safe and sound. Segal and Guinness won bronze in the 2012 NAJYRC*, but Matilda reported that she and Guinness are still green at the two star level, so this championship course was a challenge.
Tomorrow the 2013 NAJYRC will be concluded with the CH-Y** show jumping. Juniors and Young Riders will ride in the Rolex stadium, battling for placings on Richard Jeffries’ show jumping course.