August 10, 2006 -- Individual gold medals in dressage, eventing and show jumping were awarded August 6 to highlight a successful conclusion of the 2006 CN North American Junior and Young Riders' Championships (NAJYRC) at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Va.
The NAJYRC is the premier equestrian competition in North America for junior and young riders. Young equestrians come from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands to vie for team and individual medals in the three Olympic equestrian disciplines of show jumping, dressage and eventing. This year marks the first time that fully-recognized championships for junior riders (ages 14-18) are being held along with those for young riders (ages 16-21).
The Area I and Area III team won the team gold in eventing's CCI** for young riders, and Area IV won the team gold in the CCI* for junior riders. Earlier in the week, Canada West and Region 1 won team gold in the young riders and junior dressage competitions, respectively. Zone 1 and the combined team of Zone 2 and Zone 5 won team gold in the young riders and junior show jumping team competitions, respectively.
Pia Fortmuller, a member of the gold medal-winning Canada West dressageteam, also won the individual gold medal in the young riders division. Fortmuller turned in a score of 69.5 percent aboard Donagna. Taking the silver behind Fortmuller was Bobbie McKee of Cave Creek, Ariz., and Region 5, who had a score of 69.4 percent on Jamalone. Region 3's Caroline Roffman of Wellington, Fla., posted a score of 68.1 percent with Bulgari 5 for the individual bronze.
In junior individual dressage Hannah Holland Shook and Julie McKean took the gold and silver medals, respectively. Shook and Cape Town scored a 69.6 percent, and McKean turned in a score of 68.5 percent on Heslegaard's Stravinsky. Amanda Stearns of Royal Palm Beach, Fla., took the bronze with a score of 68 percent riding Mitchell.
In addition to the individual and team dressage awards, a gold medal was awarded to Young Rider Musical Freestyle winner McKee, who had a score of 71.1 percent on Jamalone. The silver medal went to Amanda Harlan of Oakville, Calif., who earned 70.6 percent on Liberte, and bronze went to Roffman with 69.7 percent on Bulgari 5.
The Junior Musical Freestyle competition was close, with only three-tenths of a point separating the top three. McKean won the gold medal on Heslegaard's Stravinsky with a score of 71.4 percent. Shook won the silver medal with a score of 71.35 percent on Cape Town. Earning the bronze medal was Stearns with 71.1 percent on Mitchell.
In eventing, Alexandra Zavoyna of Unionville, Pa., jumped a fault-free show jumping round on Merloch to win the gold medal in the CCI** Young Rider Championship with a final score of 49.2 penalties. Also jumping clear rounds were silver medalist Rebecca Barron of Monticello, Fla., riding Oberon IV to a final score of 51.5, and Jessica DiGenova of Norval, Ontario, who won the bronze medal on Upolu with a score of 52.1.
In the CCI* Junior Individual Championship, gold medal winner Katlyn McMorris of Barrington Hills, Ill., had some breathing room going into show jumping with a 10-point lead. Only one rail down gave her a final penalty score of 44.7 on Clifton Peekachu. This was the second year the pair had competed at NAJYRC. Clear show jumping rounds moved both silver and bronze medalists Jessica Rice and Caitlin Silliman up in the placings. Rice, of Kingsburg, Calif., rode I'm So Brite to finish on 51.7 penalties; Silliman of Paoli, Pa., moved up five places with her horse, Twain, to finish with a score of 53.8.
The individual final for young riders in show jumping was won by Evan Coluccio of Middleburg, Va., aboard Champigny with a total of only 0.80 faults over four days and five rounds of competition. While Coluccio, 18, is a five-time national champion, this was his first time to attend the NAJYRC. The silver medal went to Maggie McAlary of Amherst, N.H., with a total score of 2.69 on Pedro. Natalie Johnson of Greenwich, Ct., was close behind with a score of 2.71 on Crocket 16. McAlary and Johnson were both members of the gold medal young rider show jumping team.
The Show Jumping Junior Individual Championship culminated in two jump-offs before the medals could be awarded. Catie Boone of Lexington, Ky., emerged victorious to win the individual gold medal with a cumulative total of 12 faults over the four days of competition on Naleida.
Nicole Lakin of Reading, Pa., and her mount Alaska also had 12 faults, but were not able to beat Boone's blazing time over Linda Allen's jump-off course. Lakin received the silver medal. Both Boone and Lakin were part of the gold medal-winning team from Zone 2 and Zone 5. Paris Sellon from Los Angeles, Calif., who was a member of the junior silver medal team, won the individual bronze medal with Aurora. Her cumulative score was 13 faults.
For many competitors, the NAJYRC is their first experience riding on a team, as well as their first time competing under the rules of the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the international governing body for equestrian sport. Dressage Today and Practical Horseman were gold medal sponsors of this year's event.