Team Canada Places Sixth at SVAG FEI Reining World Championships for Young Riders & Juniors

July 17, 2019

Equestrian Canada - Ottawa, ON, July 17, 2019 – Three young Albertan athletes found themselves in Givrins, SUI, from July 9-13, 2019, where they challenged the SVAG FEI World Championship for Young Riders & Juniors, earning sixth place overall.

Despite being the only team competing on borrowed horses, Grand Prairie’s Chalyce Head, Calgary’s Alexandra Hibberd and Carbon’s Delaney Michelson pulled off an impressive result for Team Canada, and had the experience of a lifetime in the process.

 

Team Canada traveled to Givrins, SUI, for the SVAG FEI World Championship for Young Riders & Juniors from July 9-13, 2019.
L to R: Alexandra Hibberd of Calgary, AB, Delaney Michelson of Carbon, AB, team coach Reno Pommier, Chalyce Head of Grand Prairie, AB,
Photo Credit: Clothide Alboud

Head led the charge in the Young Riders Team Competition on July 12, riding pattern #5 on David Roux’s seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion, Whiz For Ever (Topsail Whiz x Jacs Little Pine). They flew through their round to earn a score of 215.00 for an impressive eighth place.

Head’s top-10 placing comes as no surprise, as the 16-year-old has been making her mark on the reining world in North America: she trains with top American coach, Abby Lengel, made the finals at the 2018 National Reining Horse Association Youth Futurity, and was the 2018 National Reining Breeder Classic Youth 14-18 Champion.

 
 

In the Young Riders Team Competition on July 12, Head placed eighth individually with Whiz For Ever to help Canada secure sixth overall.
Photo Credit: Hautmann Photo

“I was told about the World Championships and felt that it would be an amazing opportunity for me, and it would be awesome to represent my country,” said Head. “A lot of amazing riders compete in the World Championship, so I wanted to make sure that my pattern placement was the best it can be so I didn’t give anything away.”

Next for Canada on the Young Riders leaderboard was Hibberd, 20, and Juice Lili Gun (JD Colonel Whiz x Lil Ruf Peppy), a seven-year-old Quarter Horse mare owned by Francoise Haingue. The pair’s score of 204.50 put them in 25th place.

 
 

Hibberd and Juice Lili Gun placed 25th.
Photo Credit: Hautmann Photo

“Being able to compete at a show of this calibre was the best experience of my life,” said Hibberd. “Leasing horses was tricky, as we were the only team not competing on our own horses, but I knew that in the end as long as I had fun and showed my lease horse the best I could, it would be worth it. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to compete alongside with.”

Immediately following Hibberd in the standings was Michelson, who competed just weeks before her 18th birthday. She navigated A Chick In Hollywood (Hollywood Reckless x High Brown Hickory), a 11-year-old Quarter Horse gelding owned by Clothilde Alboud, to 26th place on a final score of 203.50.

 
 

Michelson and A Chick In Hollywood followed in 26th place.
Photo Credit: Hautmann Photo

“Training with and competing alongside the best youth reiners in the world, some of which were professional trainers and World Equestrian Games competitors, was an honour and a pleasure all in itself,” said Michelson. “Another special part of the experience was finally being able to fulfill my dream of showing in the legendary CS Ranch arena. And finally, meeting so many wonderful people from all around the world that also share my passion for reining was amazing. Thank you to Equestrian Canada, Alberta Equestrian Federation, Reining Canada, Reining Alberta, all of our wonderful sponsors, our coach Reno Pommier and our groom Clothilde Alboud, because this experience never would have become possible without all your help!”

The scores of Head, Hibberd and Michelson combined to put Canada on a total team score of 623.00 for sixth place. Team Germany took the gold medal with 646.50, while France and the United States narrowly followed just .50 points behind, each scoring 646.00. France ultimately claimed silver after the tie breaker, and the United States collected bronze.

Head returned to the ring on July 13 for the Young Rider Individual Final, where she and Whiz For Ever placed 17th on a score of 208.00 riding pattern #9. Chade McCutcheon and Smart Little Dunnit of the United States brought home the gold on a score of 227.50, and the silver medal went to Yessie van der Zwan and Walla Whiz N Tari BB of the Netherlands with an even 222.00. Belgium’s Nimroid Vannietvelt and What a Wave was close behind on a score of 221.00 to secure bronze.

“My favourite thing about this sport would be that it is very humbling,” commented Head. “We are riding horses that have a mind of their own and don’t always want to cooperate. Even if you come out of your run super happy and have a great score, there is always something you can learn and make better for the next run. Every horse you ride will be different, so you can keep improving your riding and never stop learning things. That’s what I love most about this sport.”

Equestrian Canada Director of Sport, Jon Garner, concluded, “This was a great opportunity for these young reiners to gain experience in an international championship setting. We are thrilled with their hard work and positive attitudes throughout the competition, and are very proud to have such dedicated athletes representing Canada on the world stage. I hope they have all come away inspired to continue to push themselves forward.”

For more information on the FEI World Championship for Young Riders & Juniors, click here. Full results can be found on the FEI website.