Area II's 2017 Young Rider CCI* team fought their way through every phase of the North American Junior-Young Riders Championship three-day event to end up with Silver medals after a nail-biting show jumping finish July 19-23, at Rebecca Farms in Kalispell, MT. Area VI (CA-AZ) won, while Canada was third in the international championship held for the first time at the Montana location.
The Area II team consisted of Alexa Gartenberg, riding Patras VR, who finished with a score of 51.5; Ariana Freeman, riding Kristin Carpenter's In A Trance, who ended with a score of 55.7; Mia Braundel, riding Cashmere, who finished with 56.9, and Alexandra Tett riding Hawk's Cay, who finished with 65.0. Our individual rider was Meghan Loughnane on Linford.
The team was in 6th place of seven teams after dressage, and moved up to fourth after cross-country. Together three of the four riders were double clear on the championship cross-country CCI* course, with only one rider having .8 time fault! All horses passed the jog on show jumping morning, and Area II team members brought their game for a hard-fought climb to a podium position. Mia, Alexandra and Ariana all went double clear; Alexa had just one rail, but still finished as the highest team member in 4th. Meghan as an individual was in 2nd after dressage, became the overnight leader after cross-country with a double clear round, and had 2 rails to finish in sixth individually in the North American championship.
In A Trance was honored with the FEI Horsemaster Award, given to the best Young Rider horse. At age 19, he was the oldest "member" of the team! Area II was able to send five horses to the championship this year, and they finished 4th, 6th, 13th, 14th, and 20th, with three of those pairs finishing on their dressage scores. Considering the distance all horses shipped (from Young Rider camp in New Jersey to Montana), the team's finish was excellent. (Both other podium teams shipped from much closer distances.)
Many thanks to Area II's Holly Payne Caravella, and Meg Kepferle; the Area II CCI* team was coached this year by Holly, and Meg Kepferle returned as Chef d'equipe. Holly and Meg also assisted the six Young Rider candidates who attended as grooms for the team, who were afforded the chance to see an international competition from the inside in an effort to create experienced candidates for future teams.
Many thanks to the parents and coaches of the Young Riders, and to those who contributed to the Area II Young Rider team fundraising efforts to get these kids to Montana, and to all supporters of the Young Riders this year.