Although the Ontario Show Jumping Team placed fifth overall in Friday’s Championship competition, Kelley Small of Kanata, ON, is in fourth position heading into Sunday’s Individual Final. In the two-round Team competition, Small, 20, was the lead-off rider for Ontario and was only the third athlete to challenge the tough test set by course designer Michel Vaillancourt of Schomberg, ON. With eight faults in the first round and only the final fence falling in the second round, Small moved into fourth position overall in the individual standings riding Calibur, a 10-year-old grey Holsteiner gelding.
“Michel has been building very technical and very big courses which require scope and extreme carefulness,” noted Ontario Team chef d’equipe Beth Underhill, a 1992 Canadian Olympian. “Our team really worked well together and gave their best effort and Kelley is a top contender for a medal on Sunday. In the Team competition, she was strong under pressure, rode very accurately and the horse jumped superbly, particularly in the second round. Only two riders managed to produce clear rounds, so that gives you an idea of how tough it was.”
Kim Farlinger, 20, of Annan, ON, is in 16th position overall riding Del Destino, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, while Alex Rohling, 20, of Cumberland, ON, is in 23rd position with Secret Identity, a nine-year-old Hannoverian mare. All three riders will advance to Sunday’s Individual competition while Chris Cullen, 20, of Toronto, ON, will contest Saturday’s Farewell Competition with his developing mount, the eight-year-old mare Cezanne Z.
In total, 40 horse-rider combinations including representatives from Canada, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the United States are competing in the Championship division.
Silver Lining for Ontario Team in Junior/Young Rider Division
In the CSI J/Y* division, Ontario captured a Team Silver Medal. Asta Torokvei of Toronto, ON, led the way with scores of six faults in the first round and five faults in the second round. Lead-off rider Mark Leyton, 16, of Stittsville, ON, was consistent with two eight-fault efforts while anchor Alex Moynan, 19, of Russell, ON, turned in scores of 16 and 9 faults. Nicole Denouden of Richmond Hill, ON, provided the drop scores of 17 and 26 faults, not bad considering that seven of the 22 starters were unable to complete the course.
“What I think is remarkable is that Asta, who unfortunately had a stop in Wednesday’s competition, came back to give us our best score today,” praised Underhill, who is assisted at the North American Young Riders’ Championship by Team Manager, Sally Sainsbury. “Then Mark Leyton and Alex Moynan really clinched our Silver Medal performance. All of the team members are new to this level of competition, and all four will advance to Saturday’s Individual Final which is an outstanding achievement.”
The four Ontario Team members are currently sitting in the top 12 individually and will carry their cumulative scores forward to Saturday’s Individual Final. Leyton remains in fifth place with Nairobi, his nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, while Moynan also maintained his eighth place standing with Jalapeno, his nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding. Torokvei jumped up the leader board from 21st following Thursday’s opening round to tenth position after her impressive performance riding Beninger, her 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding. Denouden, 18, also improved her position, moving into 12th place in the standings with her eight-year-old grey Hannoverian gelding, Giotto.
In total, 22 horse-rider combinations representing Canada, the United States, and Venezuela are contesting the Junior/Young Rider division, created to give developing riders an opportunity to experience competition at an international event, but over fences set a lower height. Held concurrently with the Championship division, the Junior/Young Rider competition is considered a ‘stepping stone’ for riders with the ability to compete at future North American Young Riders’ Championship events.
First established in 1974 as an eventing challenge between Canada and the U.S., the current North American Young Riders’ Championship format is considered a ‘mini-Olympics’ for riders aged 16-21 competing in the three Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing and show jumping. Teams and individuals representing several nations’ including Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. are competing at this year’s event.
For full results from the North American Young Riders’ Championship, please visit www.youngriders.org.
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