While Area II was sitting in gold medal contention overnight, it was Area V who came out on top of the team leaderboard in the 2018 Adequan/FEI North American Youth Championships (NAYC) CCIJ1* division. The scores were so tight that just one rail down would shuffle the whole team standings. The Area V team riders came to win, and they were the only team that managed to all put in double clear rounds over Chris Barnard’s CCIJ1* show jumping course today. The Area V team composed of McKinsey Wickman, Georgia Phillips, and Georgia Dillard all left the rails in the cups today to claim their team gold medals, finishing on a combined team score of 105.2, more than 10 points better than the silver medal team.
“We unfortunately had one team member who didn’t get past the first jog, so we only had a team of three starting in dressage, so we had even more pressure on us this week by not having a drop score,” stated Area V team coach Will Faudree. “I’ve actually struggled my entire career with show jumping, and now I’m at the point where I feel good in the show jumping phase, so to see these girls go in and ride exactly how we walked [the course] – for them to do that at their age is really exciting. I’m just ecstatic with the way they rode and with their composure all week.”
Georgia Phillips and her 7-year-old Thoroughbred mare Menue Rendevous were first in the arena for Area V today, and secured the first double clear round that the team needed. “My ride was great today. It was my second show jumping course after a big cross-country at a one-star event, so we’ve been working on her fitness so that we could aim for a double clear show jumping round, and that’s what we did.”
“Just go ride exactly how Georgia [Phillips] rode it, because she rode awesome,” is the advice coach Faudree gave to the next rider up, Georgia Dillard. Dillard and her own 7-year-old KWPN gelding Galileo WP (Ustinov x Alexia) were sitting in fourth place heading into show jumping, and she knew she needed to jump clean for her team. “Will [Faudree] told me to ride forward, confidently, and get to get [Galileo WP] to the jump and he’ll jump it – and it worked out,” said Dillard.
Dillard ended the weekend on her dressage score of a 33.1 to also secure the individual bronze medal. “My ride was awesome! Show jumping is always the phase I get most nervous for, but he did everything I asked of him, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m so proud of these girls on my team, and I hope we can come back year with a one-star and a two-star team.”
Last in the arena in the CCIJ1* was overnight individual leader and Area V team rider, McKinsey Wickman. “I’m over the moon ecstatic with my horse and the way he acted all weekend. He was just a star,” Wickman said of her own 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Dassett Profile (Crosstown Dancer x Edergole Ellen).
McKinsey Wickman and Dassett Profile secure individual and team gold medals for Area V. USEA/Leslie Mintz photo.
The pair put in a beautiful double clear round to seal the gold medal for Area V, and to secure their own individual gold medal as well, finishing the weekend impressively on their dressage score of 28.6. “Before I went in the arena, Will told me to not let those thoughts that all of us riders tend to get, and to let those stressful thoughts build up in a bubble and float away. He told me to just ride and do what we did in our course walk. I have to give a big thanks to Will [Faudree] and Tayler [Owen], my trainer at home Rebecca Brown, my parents, and especially my horse. He is my biggest supporter.”
The combined team of Area IV and VII ended the weekend on a 116.1, a full 10.9 points behind the Area V gold medal team. The overnight leading team Area II took several rails down, adding 15.1 points to their overnight score, but still managing to secure a podium standing with team bronze medals.
Haley Carspecken and Center Stage. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.
While Area V team riders McKinsey Wickman and Georgia Dillard secured their own individual gold and bronze medals respectively, Area II team rider Haley Carspecken finished the weekend on a 33.0 to claim the individual silver medal with her own 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding Center Stage. Carspecken and Center Stage took one rail down, but as many other riders had jumping penalties as well, the pair still managed to secure an individual podium position.
“I was watching all the rounds before me, and there were tons of rails coming down, so I was getting pretty nervous. We had an unlucky rail, but all my lines rode well, so I’m really happy with him,” Carspecken said. “I’m proud of myself that I was able to make a team and do this well. I’ve had a lot of upsets with a couple previous horses, so it’s really incredible to finally be here [at NAYC].”
It takes a village to get to NAYC, and each of the medal winning riders wanted to thank their families, their coaches, Area coordinators, the Broussard family, and everyone else involved in helping them get not only to the championships, but also on to the podium. A great deal of hard work goes into this type of weekend.
“To stand on a podium representing your country is an experience you can’t buy,” stated Faudree. “It doesn’t just happen – you have to work really hard. It’ll set you up for success throughout your entire life, because you were part of a team that had to work hard and fight to get the end result.”
All NAYC scores are available here.
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