Katherine Dinan and Samantha Schaefer Jump to Golds at the USHJA NAJYRC

Gold medalist Young Rider Katherine Dinan. Photo: Sportfot.

Lexington, KY – Young Rider Katherine Dinan piloted the 13-year-old New Zealand Thoroughbred-cross gelding, Vancouver, quickly and carefully around the Rolex Stadium on Sunday to finish with a score of 10.14 – and a Gold medal.

It was the final day of jumping at the USHJA North American Junior and Young Rider Show Jumping Championship at the 2011 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North.

“I was a little nervous going into the first round [today],” said Dinan, from Zone 2. “Coming in on top, there was definitely some pressure. I thought my horse jumped really well today. I had two verticals down in the first round… but he jumped really well in the second round. I was proud that he pulled it together.

“It was definitely challenging with the five classes. He’s the kind of horse that will do two or three classes at a horse show, so I was expecting him to be a little less alert today, but he was really good. I have 100% faith and confidence in him. I know he can jump the world. I’m a very lucky girl.”

Finishing just behind Dinan in Silver-medal position were Zone 4’s Samantha Senft and Early Morning-a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, who amassed a total score of 10.24.

“My horse is not an easy horse,” Senft explained. “Each jump is a huge accomplishment if we get over it clean. I know the first round my horse jumped really, really well, but got a little flat over the vertical I had down. Then she finished up phenomenal. I couldn’t have asked for a better round.”

The Bronze medal was awarded Danielle Korsh and San Diego, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, who represented Zone 10. The pair finished with a score of 16.57.

“My horse was pretty confident today,” Korsh said. “He was jumping really high over the jumps, so we were wasting time in the air, but I thought he was really confident and strong over the jumps.”

Gold medalist Junior rider Samantha Schaefer sails over a water jump. Photo: Sportfot.

Taking home top honors in the Junior class was Zone 3’s Samantha Schaefer and Trezebees, a 15-year-old Belgian-bred mare. Coming into the final day of competition with no faults, the pair dropped one rail in the second round, but jumped fast and clean in the jump-off to take the Gold on a score of 4.

“Of all jumps to have down, it was the first one,” she said after her ride. “Then you’re riding the rest of your round thinking, ‘I can’t have any more.’ I knew I had a little bit of a cushion in that if I had one down I’d have to jump off, but it wasn’t what we planned.”

“The jump-off was nice and short,” she commented. “The first day when I walked the course I thought [the jumps looked] low, but today when I was walking I thought it looked a lot bigger. I was able to ride her smoother because the bigger jumps helped her.”

The intense heat the horses and riders had to deal with wasn’t a big problem for Trezebees, Schaefer said: “My mare has a lot of blood, and the beginning of the week, she was wild. But in hindsight, I’m glad she has that much blood because she was able to last through all the heat, all the days, all the jumping. Today, she felt like she did the first day.”

The Silver medal was awarded to Frances Land and the 11-year-old British Warmblood, Merlin, of Zone 4. The pair carried four faults into today’s competition, but jumped flawlessly all day to finish the championship on 4 faults.

“Merlin has a little bit of a breathing problem in that he gets overheated quickly,” she said. “We were a little tentative and worried about him this week. Between rounds we would sponge him off just to bring his body temperature down, and I was making sure I was walking him enough.

“But I was so proud. He felt super sound, and he handled the heat and the rounds wonderfully. He felt great.”

The Bronze medal was awarded to Hayley Barnhill and Toucan Tango, a 9-year-old Oldenburg, also from Zone 4. The pair came into the day with no rails down, but dropped one in the first round and one in the jump-off to finish the competition with 8 faults.

“It was so exciting to ride two jump-offs,” she said. “Frances and I knew we’d be jumping for Silver and then we found out we’d jump off for Gold. Our horses were amazing… [Toucan Tango] had to jump eight rounds and he was fantastic. I’m really proud of him.”

For more information, please visit www.youngriders.org.

Don’t forget to read blogs, watch video and follow the competition at http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/NAJYRC2011.

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