Post Cards from Young Riders #2

Team Day! Team day is always exciting and really stressful. I am sure the two round competitions for both the Junior and Young Rider competitors is stressful for the riders, the coaches, the Chefs (team captains) and the parents. Team day is also stressful for the officials.Team Day! Team day is always exciting and really stressful. I am sure the two round competitions for both the Junior and Young Rider competitors is stressful for the riders, the coaches, the Chefs (team captains) and the parents. Team day is also stressful for the officials.

Story originally posted by Staff


Team Day! Team day is always exciting and really stressful. I am sure the two round competitions for both the Junior and Young Rider competitors is stressful for the riders, the coaches, the Chefs (team captains) and the parents. Team day is also stressful for the officials.

Because we are sharing the brand new stadium with both dressage and eventing, our competitions start in the afternoon. Yesterday we finished at about 8:00 p.m. and then eventing took to the stadium to begin their dressage tests. Today we started with the Junior teams at 3:00 and we won’t finish the Young Rider team competition until about midnight.

The Zone 10 Juniors rode the first round like they wanted to win. Zone 10 led off the entire team competition, and Samantha Harrison was first to go for her team and gave them confidence by once again easily cantering around the course with no faults. Taylor Siebel went in the second rotation and she also posted a zero score for Zone 10. Alec Lawler rode in the third rotation and he gathered eight faults which became the team’s drop score for the first round. Richard Neal rode anchor, and like Lucy Davis did last year he rode with ice in his veins. Neal was smooth and efficient and made the course look easy while leaving all the rails in the cups. Zone 10 headed into the second round in the lead carrying zero, but Zone 2 was right behind them with 12 faults. While that may seem like a huge lead, fortunes can change quickly in a Nation’s Cup competition. Both Chefs d’Equipe, Ralph Caristo (Zone 2) and Butch Thomas (Zone 10) knew they had to rally their teams. Thomas couldn’t let his riders get overly confident and Caristo needed his riders to rally and put the pressure on Zone 10. With 29 faults Ontario (Canada) was in third and Mexico rounded out the top four with 40 faults. While the majority of the Junior riders did not have significant difficulties with yesterday’s course, today was just the opposite. Out of two rounds of almost 40 riders each, there were only 15 clear rounds and another 14 were eliminated during the two round competition.

The second round saw a change of fortune. Of the nine teams that started the competition, only four finished. Again, Samantha Harris showed why Butch Thomas put her in the lead off position. She logged another clear round for her team. Unfortunately both Siebel and Lawler had twelve faults, one of which served as the drop score.

In the meantime, Ralph Caristo’s Zone 2 team showed why they should never be underestimated. Kate Dinan and Jacqueline Lubrano both added nothing to Zone 2’s score, and their third rider, Jazz Mace become the drop score after incurring 20 faults. With only rider left for each team, suddenly it was mathematically possible for the two zones to tie for the gold. Ricky "Ice" Neal posted a solid, clear performance and Zone 10 finished on its score of 12. The pressure was on. In order to stay in contention for the gold medal, Kaitlin Campbell had to be clean and she was. The jump off was on.

In a championship all four riders of each team had to jump off, just like in the Olympics. Dinan was first for Zone 2 and she had four faults. Harrison returned and jumped another clear round. Then eight more faults accrued to Zone 2 by Lubrano. Siebel added just four to Zone 10’s jump off score, and when Mace added another eight to Zone 2’s jump off total, Alec Lawler could make it or break it for Zone 10. As long as he stayed under eight faults he could assure the team of a gold medal and spare Neal the need to jump another round. Will Simpson was in a similar position at the 2008 Olympics. He had been the drop score over the two rounds, but when the USA jumped off for the gold Simpson had the chance to end the jump off with his round and he did just that. Perhaps inspired by his fellow Californian, Lawler dug deep and only dropped one rail and ended the jump off while securing the gold medal for Zone 10.

For complete team scores:

Annie Laurie Cook is riding as the alternate for the Zone 10 Junior team, and she posted two more clear rounds today. Three Zone 10 riders, Cook, Harrison, and Neal are all tied for first in the Junior Overall Individual Standings with two rounds to go on Sunday. Kaitlin Campbell (Zone 2) is the fourth rider tied for first. Lawler and Siebel are tied for 10th with twelve faults. For complete scores:

After the awards, victory gallop, and then the course walk, the Young Riders took to the course. Riders who listed experience at 1.35 and 1.40 meters (High Junior and Amateur Owner Jumpers) really struggled. To successfully negotiate the Young Rider courses riders need to be proficient in medium level grand prix events. Clear rounds were hard to come by. Heck, four fault rounds were hard to come by.

Out of 11 teams, Zone 10 had an enviable draw of eighth in the order. Saer Coulter led off and posted 13 faults. Early in the class this seemed like a high total, but it turned out to be a very credible score. The Mexico North team, usually competitive for a medal started to fall apart when their first rider was eliminated. However, Zone 2 was not the least bit rattled and Carolyn Curcio posted a five fault score. Adrienne Dixon was next for Zone and she got off to a good start, but started to unravel toward the end of the course and finished with 29 faults (the drop score). Zone 2 countered with one of the night’s few clear rounds (Chelsea Moss).

In the third rotation Paris Sellon only dropped two rails, but it was too little too late. Zone 2’s Alexandra Thornton only had one rail, and then it was time for the final rotation. Karl Cook was Zone 10’s hope for staying in medal contention, but 20 dropped Zone 10 into fifth overall. Zone 2 continued its march of dominance when Jessica Springsteen accrued just one time fault, and Zone 2 finished in first carrying a score of five. In second after the first round was Zone 5 (25), Zone 4 (37) in third, Mexico South (39) in fourth, and Zone 10 (41) in fifth.

Riding as the alternate, Lucy Davis posted a beautiful four fault round after only dipping a toe in the tub (water jump).

Although Zone 10’s hopes for a medal looked grim, things can change in a team competition. The individuals led off, and Davis only had a rail for four faults. This puts her in good stead for the Overall Young Rider Individual standings and easily qualified her for Sunday’s competition. As the teams got underway, Zone 10 got off to a good start when Coulter only had a rail and a time fault (5 total), but Zone 2 looked shaky as Curcio was eliminated. However, since a team’s three best scores count it was not the end of the world for Zone 2. In the second rotation, fortunes flip-flopped for the two teams.

Zone 2 posted a 12 fault score with Moss and Dixon had trouble getting around. In the meantime, Zone 5 had been putting in some solid rounds and were in medal contention. Zone 2 looked solid for the gold and Zone 10 was hoping to get a medal. When Jennifer Waxman (Zone 5) posted her second clear round and was the only rider to do so all night, Zone 5 was assured of a medal. Sellon’s strong four fault performance edged Zone 10 into the medal range. In the end, Zone 2 could not be dislodged and convincingly captured the gold (34 points), Zone 5 was silver (48 points) and Zone 10 was bronze (67 points). Complete team results are on the LEG website at:

In the individual standings, class leader Nicholas Dello Joio withdrew when his horse wasn’t quite right, and Jennifer Waxman’s solid riding put her into the lead. However, less than four points behind her is Lucy Davis (Zone 10), followed by Paris Sellon (Zone 10), and Joelle Froese (British Columbia) rounds out the top four. The two other Zone 10 riders, Saer Coulter and Karl Cook are in 11th and 23rd respectively. Of note, is that if Davis had been on the team then Zone 10 would have finished one rail behind Zone 2. However, hind sight is always 20/20. Individual standings:

Tomorrow are the Farewell classes for the riders who did not qualify for the Individual Championships and then on Sunday Zone 10 has more chance at medals with our individual riders.