July 24, 2009
Team USA-North Central Secures Reining Gold
By Brad Ettleman
Lexington, KY-Don’t let the “Free Hugs” sign pasted on the front of the team golf cart for the Reining Team USA-North Central fool you, this team came to the SmartPakT FEI North American Young Rider Reining Championships to win – and win big they did.
Securing the Team Gold in a very strong field, Team USA- North Central edged their rivals out for the top podium position.
Team USA – North Central is comprised of: Ian Barnard riding Got It Dun (208.0); Alex Bauwens riding Heza Bigtime Bingo (213.0); Lyndsey Jordan riding Bueno King Dude (211.0); and McKenzie Lantz riding Royalee Rowdy (213.0).
With team points totaling 637.0, Team USA- North Central bested silver medal Team USA – Southeast/South Central by only three points. With a ground jury of three judges, this thin margin had both of the teams as well as coaches and spectators holding their breath right up to the last two horses.
“All of our team members are strong. We knew we had a chance for the medals podium, but to win the gold medal is a real treat,” said Ian Barnard, Team USA – North Central member. I know I speak for all of my teammates when I say this entire experience has been terrific. To be at the NAJYRC and compete among all of these terrific athletes and horses in varied disciplines is steeped in history and so much bigger than anything I’ve ever done.”
The Silver-medal Team USA – Southeast/South Central consisted of: Maggie Jo Gratny riding Roo Fifty Two (214.5); Will Letner riding A Genuine Diamond (207.0); Jonathan Timberlake riding Ruf Maid Chic (208.0); and Laura Sumrall riding Whiz Bang Boom (208.5).
Rounding out the medals podium was the formidable Team Canada – Alberta: Sage Sapergia riding Shiners Q Chex (0); Morgan Girlitz riding Hickory Ginin Peppy (202.5); Nancy Pratch riding Mega Pay (202.0); and Amanda Antifaev riding Whats Up Doc Cody (214.0).
An unfortunate over-spin from Welcome Competition champion Sage Sapergia opened the door for the other teams, yet the strength of this Canada-Alberta Team secured their position on the medal podium, and allowed them to put the zero score behind them as the team drop-score.
Combined individual scores not only determine the outcome of this competition but are also used to qualify riders for Sunday afternoon’s Individual Competition. A seeded final, the order of starters will be in opposite order of the scores from this round; so the high-score rider from today’s Team Competition Maggie Jo Gratny of Team USA- Southeast/ South Central, gains the advantage of being final draw on Sunday.
With the quality of talent and sportsmanship presented at this year’s SmartPakT North American Young Rider Reining Championship, it is still anyone’s game as each individual athlete seeks to gain podium position at the end of Sunday’s Individual Final.
For more information about the 2009 Adequan FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships, visit http://www.youngriders.org/ .