February 1, 2014--Friday's competition concluded with the $10,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Team Event, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, held in the International Arena at The Stadium at PBIEC (home of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival) in the evening. The class was held in a Nations Cup format over two rounds of competition. With nine teams competing, labeled Team A through Team I, Team F was the winner.
Team F, made up of Kalvin Dobbs and Treesdale Farms' Winde, Gabriela Mershad and Mershad Stables LLC's Udonna, Hayley Barnhill and Cara Cheska's Zephire, and Abigail McArdle aboard David McArdle's Cosma 20, finished on a total of four faults after the two rounds of competition. The team Chef d'Equipe was Abigail Blankenship.
After the first round, each team dropped their highest score. In the second round, all nine teams returned in order of highest to lowest total faults with three riders each. The winner was determined by the lowest total of each team's top three riders from each round.
Dobbs and Winde jumped clear in round one and finished with four faults in round two. Mershard had four jumping faults and one time fault in round one to be the drop score in round one and did not return for round two. Barnhill and McArdle both jumped double clear rounds to help their team to victory.
McArdle (19), of Wellington, FL, was the anchor rider for her team and had the pressure of putting in a second clear round to clinch the victory for her team as the last to go. McArdle definitely felt the weight on her shoulders, but was confident in her experience.
"Obviously I had to be clean, but we have done this before," McArdle stated. "We have been team members before where I have been anchor and I have been in this position. It was a great feeling to go in and be able to lay it down and be clean to win."
McArdle has had great success with her mount Cosma 20, an 11-year-old Hanoverian mare (Couleur Rubin x Stakkato), and really wanted to go clean for her team.
"Even though I know her back and forth and obviously she is an incredible, once in a lifetime sort of horse, I still get nervous and want to do well," McArdle admitted. "It's the same pressure every round, whether it's this or a speed class, or anything. I feel the same pressure and I want to jump clean and do well. I never assume that I know her, and she's going to jump clean. We go in and ride to jump clean."
Barnhill (20), from Collierville, TN, had a different experience with her mount, Zephire, an 11-year-old KWPN mare. Although they have not known each other quite as long, the pair also put in two great clear rounds.
"This is a new horse for me," Barnhill noted. "I got her at the end of the year last year. She has never shown under the lights or done anything like this before, so we didn't really know how she was going to be and she was fantastic. She could not have jumped any better, so I was really excited."
Dobbs (18), from Carmel, IN, has a more experienced horse in Winde, his 11-year-old KWPN mare by Numero Uno x No Limit. The pair has done plenty of night classes, and this is their third year competing in the Artisan Farms young rider series.
"She usually picks up under the lights and it is definitely a lot different because it is more uncommon for us to show under the lights, but she is fun and it's no big deal for her," Dobbs said. "I was a bit nervous just because everything was cancelled yesterday, and I haven't been here for a week and a half. Winde just jumped for the first time this morning since the last young rider grand prix, but we knew how to properly prepare her. It was nice that the course was fair. I thought it was a good course and set us up for a successful class. It ended up being a really fun, good young riders grand prix."
Mershad (18), from New Albany, OH, showed in the first round with Udonna, her 13-year-old KPWN mare by Madison x Cavalier. Although she did not get to return for the second round, Mershad enjoyed the team experience and appreciated the camaraderie with her teammates.
"I think it is awesome. It teaches you how Nations Cup works, which is a big part of it when you go to senior riding," Mershad detailed. "It really teaches young riders how it is going to be - how to work with a team and the pressure to be on a team and the support that you need to give each other."
Showing in the beautiful arena at The Stadium at PBIEC also gave the riders a chance to compete in a different environment from the rings at the main show grounds. Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms noted that the main goal of the series is to give riders different experiences, and the night's class did exactly that.
"Part of what we're trying to do is give them exposure to different things," Zielger stated. "This particular ring feels like Europe to me. It feels like Vienna, it feels like Cannes, it feels like a stop on the Global Champions Tour. This is magnificent. If they're looking for that exposure, this is it."
The riders agreed, also saying that they felt like they were riding in a European arena.
"I loved showing here," McArdle stated. "I thought this was really cool with the stadium on one side and the tent on the other side. It gave a very arena, international sort of feel. There were so many people here tonight, so I thought it was a great experience. It was really fun. You feel better going in the ring when you have more people supporting you."
Barnhill added, "I have never shown over here before, so this was a new experience for me and I thought it was great. It was a good experience for all of us, and the horses to get to do something different."
Behind the winning team, Team H finished second on a six fault total under the guidance of Chef d'Equipe John Roche. The team was made of up of Lorcan Gallagher and Spy Coast Farm LLC's O'Splendido, Lucas Porter and Sleepy P Ranch LLC's Patriot, Chloe Reid and Chloe D. Reid LLC's Athena, and Wilton Porter aboard Sleepy P Ranch LLC's Radio City. Chloe Reid and Athena were the only other pair to jump double clear in the competition with Barnhill and McArdle. Team H also earned the Best Team Spirit Award.
Team A, coached by Chef d'Equipe Michelle Grubb, placed third with 15 faults in total. The team was made up of Hayley Waters and Dana Waters' No Doubt, Ali Wolff and John C. Wolff's Caya, Adrienne Sternlicht and Hathaway, and Alexander Zetterman aboard Springfield Showjumpers' Zidane.
Final Results: $10,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Team Event
1 Kalvin Dobbs, Winde: 0, 4
Gabriela Mersha, Udonna: 5, ns
Hayley Barnhill, Zephire: 0, 0
Abigail McArdle, Cosma 20: 0, 0
Team F: 0+4=4
2 Lorcan Gallagher, O'Splendido: 4, 0
Lucas Porter, Patriot: 1, 1
Chloe Reid, Athena: 0, 0
Wilton Porter, Radio City: 5, ns
Team H: 5+1=6
3 Hayley Waters, No Doubt: 0, 1
Ali Wolff, Caya: 0, 4
Adrienne Sternlicht, Hathaway: 5, 5
Alexander Zetterman, Zidane: 8, ns
Team A: 5+10=15
4 Elizabeth Patz, Cleopatra 194: 1, 8
Jennifer Goddard, Campbell VDL: 0, 1
Alison Cooney, Toluca LS: 8, 1
Team G: 9+10=19
5 Christina Firestone, Arwen: 1, 4
Virginia Ingram, Urban: 10, ns
Alma Bjorklund, Untouchable: 4, 4
Sophie Simpson, Why Not: 5, 4,
Team C: 10+12=22
6 Nicole Bellissimo, VDL Bellefleur: 13, ns
Maria Costa, Azermie: 13, 5
Robert Jornayvaz IV, MCB Maya: 0, 8
Jordan Macpherson, Aanwinst: 0, 4
Team D: 13+17=30
7 Victoria Press, Cayenne 140: 8, 0
Katherine Strauss, Chellando Z: 12, ns
Megan MacPherson, Tinky Winky: 8, 17
Emily Short, Grand Finale 3E: 8, 4
Team I: 24+21=45
8 Nicole Walker, Blue Loyd: 0, 1
Riley Newsome, Sunny Face G: 8, 13
Brittni Raflowitz, Punchy Dorcel: 12, 13
Team E: 20+27=47
9 Lillie Keenan, Zaza: 4, 4
Mattias Tromp, Casey: 0, 4
Charlotte Jacobs, Kachina: elim, ns
Victoria Colvin, Don Juan: 0, elim
Team B: 4+45=49