Canadians Shine at 2021 North American Youth Championships
Ottawa, ON, Aug. 16, 2021 – Canada’s up-and-coming dressage and jumping athletes took a significant step forward in their careers at the North American Youth Championships (NAYC), held Aug. 10-15, 2021, at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival VI in Traverse City, MI.
A smiling Canadian crew traveled to Traverse City, MI, to take on the North American Youth Championships, held Aug. 10-15, 2021.
Photo Credit: Andrew Ryback Photography
15 Canadians rose to the challenge of qualification for and travel to the international championships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Once there, they demonstrated even greater adaptability and resilience, staying focused and ready to perform despite added pressure and schedule changes due to severe weather.
Jumpers Score Two Team and One Individual Medals
The team competition for all jumping divisions was decided by three rounds split over two days, with faults converted to penalties to determine final scores.
The first Canadian medals came in the Team Finals on Aug. 13, in which the Young Riders – Sara Tindale, 19, of Campbellville, ON; Lauren Esdale, 19, of Seagrave, ON; Cassie Gorsline, 19, of Okotoks, AB; and Austin Krawitt, 18, of Okotoks, AB – brought home team bronze.
The Canadian Juniors brought home the silver.
L to R: Hannah Rajotte, Sasha Maniaci, Lea Rucker, Eric Krawitt
Photo Credit: Andrew Ryback Photography
Rucker led the way, limiting her penalties to just 2.46 on her own Evita (Kashmir van het Schutterhof x Wolfgang), one of two 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mares on the team to share the same name. She commented, “I was very happy that my rounds contributed to securing the silver. My horse jumped great and I was so glad to have awesome teammates like mine.”
Junior Team Canada’s final penalty tally of 20.62 earned the silver podium position. Gold was awarded to USA Zone 4 on 10.15, while USA Zone 5/6 claimed bronze on 27.48.
In the Individual Final on Aug. 15, Rucker added just 4 faults to her team competition score of 2.46 to capture bronze with a total of 6.46 penalties.
Lea Rucker of Aurora, ON, and Evita earned individual bronze in the Junior division.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Dayton Gorsline
Individual gold for the Juniors went to Zayna Rizvi and Excellent of the United States on 2.46, while their countrymen Ansgar Holtgers Jr. and Elina were presented with silver on a score of 4.54. Rucker’s teammates Krawitt and Cacus de Cosniere placed 10th, while Maniaci and Evita placed 14th.
Bringing a wealth of previous experience to the inaugural Pre-Junior division was 14-year-old Olivia Stephenson of Calgary, AB, and her 14-year-old Oldenburg mare, Chaccana (Chacco Blue x Kannan), who dominated the Children’s podiums with team and individual gold in 2018 and team bronze and individual silver in 2019. The combined efforts of Stephenson, William Martin, 15, of Vineland, ON, and Quintyn Werner Baeumler, 16, of Campbellville, ON, led to a sixth-place finish for Children’s Team Canada on a final score of 32.48 penalties.
USA Zone 4 claimed the first gold of the division’s history (10.79), while Mexico North took silver (16.09) and USA Zone 10 earned the bronze spot (16.93).
In the individual competition, Martin took fifth place piloting his 10-year-old Zangersheide mare, Alegria Z (Adorado x Hamlet). His score of 4.87 penalties from the first day of team competition was left untouched by clear rounds in the remaining team rounds and an additional two rounds in the Individual Final on Aug 14. Stephenson and Chaccana ended in 19th overall, while Baeumler and Harissa Z placed 20th.
In the Children’s division, the riders from the North put up a hard fight, with each combination executing two clean rounds out of the three. Nyomi Yzerman, 13, of Lacombe County, AB, and Livia Martin, 13, of Manotick, ON, limited their rails to one apiece and Taylor Wood, 12, also from Manotick, added 8 penalties to the score for a final total of 16, earning fourth for Team Canada.
The Children’s gold medal went to USA Zones 8/9/10 on 4 penalties. A jump-off decided the silver medal for Mexico South and bronze for Mexico North, who had sat tied on totals of 8.
Yzerman was the top-placed individual Canadian in the Children’s Final aboard WH Coconut, the 13-year-old Canadian Warmblood mare that she co-owns with Anges van den Tweel. She executed two faultless rounds to win Aug. 14’s Children’s Final competition. Combined with her scores from the three rounds of Team competition, this landed Yzerman in a four-way tie for sixth place with a final score of 4. Martin and Coradi finished in 13th as an individual, while Wood followed close behind in 14th with Clementine RS.
“It was a great group,” said Jumping Chef d’Équipe, Dayton Gorsline. “They were all there for each other, all ages hung out and watched one another.”
Anna Swackhammer Holds Down the Fort in Young Riders Dressage
Anna Swackhammer of Rockwood, ON, and Wrazzmatazz (Jazz x Darwin) were the sole Canadian flagbearers in dressage at NAYC 2021, competing in the Young Riders division. 17-year-old Swackhammer and the 18-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Melissa Sinclair competed at the 2018 and 2019 NAYC as Juniors, collecting a 2018 team bronze medal along the way.
Canada unfortunately did not appear in the Young Riders Team Competition as Camille Carier Bergeron of Mascouche, QC, and Brooke Mancusi of Chambly, QC, withdrew their horses, Sound of Silence 4 and Grand Amour, prior to the start of competition due to injury.
Dressage Chef d’Équipe, Denielle Gallagher, commented, “It’s a lot of pressure for a single rider who sadly lost her teammate before the competition. All eyes were on her and Anna showed everyone she is a serious player who is in it to win it.”
For 2021, Swackhammer and Wrazzmatazz kicked things off on August 12 with a score of 64.794% for 16th place in the Team test. Moving forward to the Individual test on Aug. 14, a score of 67.206% bumped them all the way up to seventh for a top-10 finish in the individual rankings. Swackhammer’s last challenge came in the Freestyle Championship on Aug. 15. There, she and Wrazzmatazz placed 13th after posting a score of 67.695%.
Anna Swackhammer of Rockwood, ON and Wrazzmatazz made the maple leaf proud with top-15 Individual and Freestyle finishes in the Young Riders rankings.
Photo Credit: Andrew Ryback Photograph
“Wrazzmatazz felt very good coming into the Freestyle, where the choreography and music I put together myself worked very well,” said Swackhammer. “Overall, I am extremely pleased with our performances this week and I had a fantastic time representing Canada. A big thank you to my family, friends, coach Ute Busse, and Chef d’Équipe extraordinaire, Denielle.”
EC would like to thank the JC Anderson Legacy Fund (ANDJ3) at Calgary Foundation and Tipperary for their generous support of Canada’s NextGen athletes at NAYC 2021.
Further information on and full results from NAYC 2021 can be found here for dressage and here for jumping. Information on the upcoming Adequan/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge, which will replace the eventing portion of NAYC for 2021, can be found here.