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Equestrian Canada – Ottawa, ON, Aug. 8, 2019 – Canada’s rising stars gained invaluable international competition experience at the 2019 Adequan/FEI North American Youth Championships (NAYC) presented by Gotham North, picking up a handful of medals in the process.

The maple leaf was represented by 37 athletes from three disciplines at NAYC 2019, starting with the eventing championship, which took place during The Event at Rebecca Farm, held July 24-28 in Kalispell, MT. Dressage and jumping followed from July 30-Aug. 4 at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY.

Keep reading for an overview of Canada’s highlights in each discipline.

Canadian Jumpers Take NAYC by Storm, Led by Gold Medalist Young Riders
As the eldest competitors at NAYC, Canada’s Young Riders brought their experience to bear for a gold medal finish. The Team Competition for all jumping divisions followed the FEI Nations Cup format, with teams completing two rounds over an identical course. The final placings were determined by the lowest number of combined faults from both the Team Competition on Aug. 2, as well as the one-round Individual Qualifier on Aug. 1, and teams of four had the ability to drop one score from each round.

Team Canada, comprised of Dannie Murphy, 19, of Charlottetown, PEI, Sam Walker, 17, of Nobleton, ON, Samantha Starratt, 20, of Calgary, AB, and Mackenzie Wray, 20, of Loretto, ON, maintained their composure to come out on top of an extremely competitive field.

 

L to R: Sam Walker, Dannie Murphy, Mackenzie Wray, Samantha Starratt, Dayton Gorsline
Photo Credit: SEL Photography

The team was led by anchor rider, Walker, who won last year’s team bronze medal as a Junior. Returning to the ring with his NAYC 2018 partner, Coralissa (Com Air x Corrado I), a nine-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by MarBill Hill Farm, Walker accumulated only a single time fault over the three rounds counting towards the Team Competition to help Canada emerge victorious. His teammates, Murphy, Starratt and Wray, contributed their own focused performances for a final team score of 19.25. US Zone 10 followed less than one rail behind on a team total of 22.49 for silver, while US Zone 2 collected bronze on a score of 36.36.

“It was an amazing experience for me; there are not that many people that get to make it on the Canadian team and compete down at Old Salem, so I’m very grateful,” said Walker, who was named Equestrian Canada’s 2018 Equestrian and Junior Equestrian of the Year. “My team was phenomenal this year and we got the team gold, which is the most important to me because this is a team event. I think everybody that came down was a bit nervous, but we handled the pressure really well. We all just look forward to a very bright future; we have some great riders for Canada. I’m very, very proud of my team and my horse, and look forward to maybe competing for Canada next year, as well.”

With his near-perfect score of one, Walker held on to the leading Young Riders armband moving into the Individual Final on Aug. 4, but lost the lead after incurring two rails in the final round. While a total of nine faults over three days and five rounds of competition is no easy feat, this moved Walker and Coralissa into the silver medal spot, while Sophie Gochman and Carola BH of US Zone 2 took over gold on a score of 2.80. US Zone 10’s Natalie Dean and Don’s Diamant placed bronze on 9.36.

 
 

L to R: Walker, Sophie Gochman, Natalie Dean
Photo Credit: SEL Photography

The Children’s division also saw its share of medals for Canada, first with a bronze medal in the Team Competition. Olivia Blaber, a 14-year-old from Ottawa, ON, Joseph Carruthers, a 13-year-old from Millarville, AB, and Olivia Stephenson, a 12-year-old from Calgary, AB, beautifully handled the added pressure that comes without a drop score to secure their spot on the podium.

 
 

L to R: Olivia Stephenson, Joseph Carruthers, Olivia Blaber
Photo Credit: SEL Photography

Stephenson held her faults to two for time over the three rounds of Team Competition riding Chaccana (Chacco Blue x Kannan), Cheree Stephenson’s 12-year-old Oldenburg mare with whom she won the 2018 team and individual gold medals. Stephenson then went on to add a silver medal to the list after two double-clear Individual Final rounds left her score of two untouched. Isaac Parada Urtaza and Tarnot of Mexico rode each round double-clear to capture individual gold on a score of zero, while US Zone 2’s Ella Bikoff and Basidmodo were relegated to bronze after a last-minute rail in the final round brought their final score to five.

 
 

L to R: Stephenson, Isaac Parada Urtaza, Ella Bikoff
Photo Credit: SEL Photography

Canada also fielded a team in the Junior division, which placed fifth in the Team Competition. Their final score of 41.02 was produced by Emma Bergeron, 18, of Wellington, FL, Jenna Lee Gottschlich, 16, of Edmonton, AB, Carly Stevens, 16, of Foothills, AB, and Sara Tindale, 17, of Campbellville, ON. Gold went to Team Mexico on a score of 20.62, while silver was allotted to US Zone 2 for their score of 26.71. US Zone 5 took home the bronze medal on a final score of 41.02.

Gottschlich was also the top-placing Canadian in the Individual Final, scoring 16.80 for eighth place aboard Evita P (Vingino x Niveau), her 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood. She commented, “I want to thank Equestrian Canada for this amazing experience; it has been an amazing opportunity for both my horse and myself. It’s been amazing to have a team here – you never feel alone when you’re on Team Canada, and you always feel like you’re a family.”

Jumping Chef d’Équipe, Dayton Gorsline, concluded, “For my first time officially in charge, I’m very happy with it all. Even when we didn’t medal, the kids improved throughout the week and their results got better and better. I think if you sat here for three or four days and watched, you’d see the nervousness of riding in a team competition and the process of everyday score accumulation. It’s not just a one-off day, so I think experiences like this are invaluable in this sport because obviously over the years, we are looking for some of these kids to step up to the big time, and what better place to learn than here against their peers? It was really a fun, nice group of people that helped this year, from the parents to the kids to the trainers and grooms. Such a great group made it so much easier.”

Vanessa Creech-Terauds Makes Herself at Home on the Dressage Young Riders Podium
The Young Riders Team Competition featured thrillingly close scores, with Team Ontario/Quebec ultimately earning the silver medal in a historic finish on Aug. 1. Vanessa Creech-Terauds, 19, of Caistor Centre, ON, Sophie Dean-Potter, 21, of Caledon, ON, Julie Barrett, 20, of Cobourg, ON, and 20-year-old Jade Morrissette of Racine, QC, left it all on the centreline while the standings shifted continuously throughout the day’s competition.

Ultimately, all three podium teams sat within one percentage point of each other – US Region 1 in the gold medal position (205.706), Team Ontario/Quebec in silver (205.676), and US Region 3 in bronze (205.088).

 
 

L to R: Julie Barrett, Jade Morrissette, Vanessa Creech-Terauds, Sophie Dean-Potter
Photo Credit: Meg McGuire Photography

Creech-Terauds went on to complete a podium hat trick with her talented chestnut mare, earning silver in the Individual Competition on Aug. 3 (71.029%) and bronze in the Freestyle on Aug. 4 (73.490%). Each day, Creech-Terauds was joined on the podium by back-to-back gold medalist, US Region 2’s Callie Jones, who scored 72.647% with Don Philippo in the Individual, and 74.710% in Freestyle. Kayla Kadlubek and Perfect Step of US Region 1 rounded out the dominant trio with scores of 70.353% for Individual bronze and 73.505% for the Freestyle silver medal.

 
 

Creech-Terauds and Fleur de Lis L
Photo Credit: Meg McGuire Photography

“Up until this year, I’ve taken a different horse to the championships every year, but this was my first time taking the same horse,” said Creech-Terauds, who has collected an impressive total of seven medals over five years of NAYC attendance. “Every year it’s a whole new ball game, a new challenge, but this championship is the best week of the year so I always look forward to it and push myself. I’m very competitive, so that very helps me stay motivated, and this year I really wanted to do well with Fleur in Young Riders because we had done so well in Juniors [earning the Freestyle silver medal at NAYC 2016]. I’m happy to say she exceeded my expectations. I’m so proud of this mare, that really keeps me going and I love her so much.”

In the Junior division, Team Quebec/Nova Scotia earned a respectable fifth place in the Team Competition on July 31. Through the efforts of Ariel Boesener, 17, of Canning, NS, Chloe Vandenplas, 17, of Sherrington, QC, Marilie Roy, 17, of Outremont, QC, and Lily-Rose Lemaire, 15, of Drummondville, QC, they scored 195.424, less than five points off from the podium. US Region 4 collected team gold on a final score of 203.182, and US Region 2’s score of 202.636 earned silver. The bronze medalists were US Region 9 on a combined total of 199.637.

“It’s important to get the kids in the team situation, because you never get that experience on your own,” explained David Ziegler, who was Chef d’Équipe of Young Rider Team Ontario/Quebec and both Junior teams for Canada. “It’s easy enough to say you want to go to the Olympics, but it’s nice to have an avenue to get that sort of team experience when you’re looking towards the senior team.”

Boesener went on to be the leading Junior Canadian in the following two competitions. She rode her 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Winniepuuh (Weltmeyer x Ludendorff), to a score of 65.588% for 10th in the Individual Competition on Aug. 2, and earned a personal best score of 70.375% for fifth in the Freestyle on Aug. 4.

Leslie Steele, who was the Chef d’Équipe for Young Rider Team Alberta/Quebec and the Junior individual, concluded, “I think overall the girls did very well and worked well together, and it ran very smoothly. We had some first-time riders and they made it into the ceremonies. They’re all happy, the families and kids have been great to work with, and it’s been fun.”

Top 10 Action from Canadian Eventers
Individual competitor, Tosca Holmes-Smith of Chase, BC, once again found herself in the NAYC top 10 after tackling the Young Riders division with Ali Holmes-Smith’s Tom Riddle, a 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding sired by Towkay. The 19-year-old, who placed ninth at NAYC 2018 and earned individual gold in 2017, climbed her way from 10th after the dressage phase on July 25 to fourth after double-clear cross-country and show jumping rounds over the days following, ending on her dressage score of 35.2 penalty points on July 28.

 
 

Tosca Holmes-Smith and Tom Riddle
Photo Credit: Red Bay Group LLC

“I was absolutely thrilled with how the weekend went,” said Holmes-Smith. “We started the show with a personal best dressage score – with much credit given to Danielle Hirkala, who’s really helped me to figure Tom out on the flat this year. He felt like his usual outstanding self on cross-country and we galloped double-clear around a difficult track. Show jumping has always been a struggle for us together, but Tom really stepped up to the plate and tried his heart out. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone that helped me along the way: my coaches, Nick Holmes-Smith, Danielle, and Sandra Donnelly; my mum for everything she does; my amazing Chef d’Équipe, Maeve Drew; my groom, Naomi Willms; the BCYR program for everything they do for the sport in our province; Rebecca Farm for putting up with all us obnoxious, stressed-out teenagers; and, of course, Tom for teaching me so much over the past four years and being such a steadfast teammate.”

US Area III’s William Kidwell and Tremolo finished on their dressage score of 28.0 penalties for the gold medal, followed by US Area I’s Katie Lichten and Sapphire Blue B taking silver on 31.8 penalty points. Colby Green and Takine De La Barbais of US Area VIII brought home the bronze with 33.1 penalty points.

Canadian team competition returned to NAYC Eventing after taking a hiatus in 2018. Junior Team Ontario/British Columbia, comprised of Elise Hicks, 17, of Trenton, ON, Sierra Hincks, 16, of Roberts Creek, BC, and Olivia Terdik, 18, of Windham Centre, ON, also improved from an initial 10th place standing after dressage to end in sixth on a final score of 152.4 penalties after the final show jumping phase.

 
 

L to R: Elise Hicks, Sierra Hincks, Olivia Terdik
Photo Credit: Red Bay Group LLC

Staking claim to gold was US Area VIII on a team total of 90.6 penalties. US Area II followed in silver with 104.2 penalty points, while US Area IV claimed the bronze title on 109.2 penalties.

Kendal Lehari, who was the Team Ontario/British Columbia Chef d’Équipe alongside Maeve Drew, said. “The girls rode really well in the final phase. They all put in very smooth, rhythmical rounds, were very professional throughout the competition and represented Canada very well. They are great competitors and will be ones to watch in the future. I really enjoyed working with all of the girls and Maeve.”

More information on NAYC can be found at www.youngriders.org, and results for 2019 can be found as follows:

Dressage & Jumping Results
Eventing Results

Learn further details about Canada’s results at NAYC 2019 through EC’s daily wrap ups:

Day 1 – July 26
Day 2 – July 27
Day 3 – July 28
Day 4 – July 31
Day 5 – Aug. 1
Day 6 – Aug. 2
Day 7 – Aug. 3
Day 9 – Aug. 4