Uhlir and Holleger Win Dressage Individual Gold Medals at 2013 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North

For Immediate Release
Friday, July 19, 2013

Source: USEF

Lexington, KY - Dressage riders completed their tests for Individual medals today at the 2013 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC). Taking home the Gold medal in the Young Rider division was Ayden Uhlir (Region 6) on Sjapoer. The Gold medalist in the Junior division was Lindsey Holleger (Region 3) riding Friedensfurst. The NAJYRC continues through Sunday, July 21, with team and individual competitions for the FEI sports of Dressage, Jumping, Eventing, Reining, and Endurance.

The judges for the Young Rider Dressage today were: E - Axel Steiner (USA), H - Mercedes Campdera (MEX), C - Bernard Maurel (FRA), M - Jane Ayers (USA), B - Bo Jena (SWE). In the Junior Dressage, the judges were: E - Joan McCartney (CAN), H - Annette Fransen-Iacobaeus (SWE), C - Linda Zang (USA), M - Janet Foy (USA), B - Martin Richenhagen (GER).

With a fantastic score of 71.605%, Ayden Uhlir (18, Kirkland, WA) and Sjapoer handily took the Gold medal in the Young Rider Individual competition. Their judges' scores were E: 73.026%, H: 72.763%, C: 70.658%, M: 70.921%, B: 70.658%. Uhlir rides for Region 6, which includes riders from Alaska, Idaho, West Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Uhlir was also last year's Junior Individual Gold medalist.

Moving up to the Young Rider division this year, Uhlir said she had to focus a lot more than in the juniors. "There was a lot more depth and dedication," she explained. "I had to cut out some stressors in my life and distractions. I really buckled down."

Part of that buckling down included a cross-country move from Texas to Washington to train with Jeremy Steinberg, USEF Dressage National Youth Coach, and Shauntel Bryant. "That definitely helped me a lot more to get adjusted to the new level for Prix St. Georges," she said. "It was quite a journey coming from juniors. It's a lot harder to do these tests, (but) a lot more fun with all the tempi changes everywhere! But I enjoy it and it was well worth it."

Uhlir calls Sjapoer, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding by Contango, her "other half," and said they share personality characteristics. "He's just like me. We're very open and 'How are you?' We're kind of like kites; we're always up in the air. You have to focus us sometimes. We're very social and overall happy," she remarked.

Talking about the changes from Wednesday's Team test to today, she described, "I had to be more aware of where I was and more accurate. I wasn't focused that much in the last test on my accuracy. Today I had to be super on. I wasn't riding for a medal, I was riding for us. It was just a great ride."

The Silver medal went to Jamie Pestana (20, Livermore, CA) and Winzalot, who finished with a score of 68.605%. Their judges' scores were E: 67.895%, H: 68.026%, C: 66.447%, M: 69.342%, B: 71.316%. Pestana rides for Region 7, made up of riders from California, Nevada, and Hawaii.

Pestana's history at the NAJYRC has been up and down with Winzalot, a nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Wolkenstein II. They competed in the Junior division at the NAJYRC for the first time in 2010 when Winzalot was six years old. Pestana said, "I got him as a baby, and we moved up the levels together."

In 2011, Winzalot had colic surgery ten days before NAJYRC, and last year's competition "didn't go as well as we hoped," Pestana said. "This year we were coming to redeem our performance from last year. I'd say I had more expectations and he was more ready to come this year. It's always exciting to do well. When you're working with an animal, you can never expect them to be perfect, so I was so happy with him today."

Devon Wycoff (Region 5, 19, Boulder, CO) and Power Play scored 68.579% for the Bronze medal. Region 5 consists of riders from Arizona, Colorado, East Montana, New Mexico, West Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Their judges' scores were E: 69.079%, H: 67.763%, C: 67.500%, M: 70.395%, B: 68.158%. Wycoff has been riding Power Play, a 16-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Pik Noir, for over two years. Wycoff said that her first experience at NAJYRC was "overwhelming," but that last year was a great learning experience.

"This year after having another year of Prix St. Georges under my belt, it really upped the ante. (I wanted to) have a really great-moving, accurate ride. Coming in, I was hoping to just be thrilled with my ride each time," Wycoff related.

Wycoff said of her test, "I could feel in warm-up he was getting a little tired and he was a little tired in the test. I think the trot work was more solid. The canter work lacked a little bit of energy, but I was happy with his frame overall. Wednesday I didn't really have any mistakes; today we had some more major mistakes, all rider errors. I was a little bit disappointed with myself, but not with him."

Wycoff hopes to move up to the Intermediaire-1 and I-2 next year while aiming toward the 2014 Brentina Cup.

Holleger Reaches Goal with Junior Individual Gold Medal

In the junior division, it was a close contest for the top two medals. Lindsey Holleger (17, Whigham, GA) and Friedensfurst won the Gold medal with a 70.974% after receiving judges' scores of: E: 68.026%, H: 70.658%, C: 71.447%, M: 71.842%, B: 72.895%. Holleger rides for Region 3, which includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Holleger and Freidensfurst were part of the final group to compete. While that added some pressure, Holleger said, "You always want to do your best when you go in the ring."

Holleger has been riding Friedensfurst, an 11-year-old Trakehner gelding by Donaufurst, for almost four years and they came up levels together. "I'm really proud of that because we've come a really long way," she said. "I love him to death. He's so special and he tries his heart out for me every time I go in the ring."

They were just out of the medals in the Individual competition at last year's NAJYRC in fourth place. "Last year, I got really nervous and he took me around the ring. This year I was more prepared to go in the ring," she recalled.

Holleger said that the NAJYRC was a "huge goal." She said of winning a Gold medal, "It's like a dream come true. I'm still on cloud nine right now. It's really, really amazing. I'm happy and proud of my horse."

Naima Moreira Laliberte (16, Outremont, QC, CAN) and Windbreaker 3 received 70.105% for the Silver. They scored from E: 70.000%, H: 70.789%, C: 70.526%, M: 69.605%, and B: 69.605%. Laliberte rides for Team Canada Quebec.

This was a significant accomplishment, as Laliberte has only been riding Windbreaker 3, a 12-year-old Westphalian gelding by Windspiel As, for three months and this was their third show together. She is leasing him, and he will return to his owners in Germany now. "I wish I could have him for a little longer," she said with a smile.

While she doesn't know him extremely well, Laliberte noted, "He's huge at 17.3 hands. He's a good mover and I think he knows his job. He's super sweet in the barn and a good trooper. I love him, really."

Laliberte said she had to focus on her own performance with a long day of competition. "I was trying not to think of this girl or this score, just watch my teammates. I just tried to chill during the day until the ride," she explained.

Rison Naness (Region 7, 16, Burbank, CA) and Venezia won the Bronze medal with a 68.921%. They scored E: 69.211%, H: 69.737%, C: 69.079%, M: 67.763%, B: 68.816%.

Naness and her 15-year-old Hanoverian mare by White Star had "solid rides" both Wednesday and today, she said. "She really couldn't have been any better today," Naness said. "She's taken me through the entire thing. She is the sweetest mare and she tries her heart out. I couldn't be happier."

She added, "It's such a huge honor to be here."

The riders thanked Adequan, Gotham North, USEF, USDF, and Platinum Performance for their sponshorship and support of NAJYRC.

Eventing CCI2* Riders Complete Dressage Phase

Following their Dressage tests this morning, Area III jumped into the lead for Team standings for the Eventing CCI2*. With strong performances by Caroline Martin and Quantum Solace (50.2 penalties) and Jennifer Caras on Fernhill Stowaway (52.0 penalties), they are on a team total of 155.9. Joining Martin and Caras on the team are Mary Atkins Hunt and Nuance (53.7 penalties) and Matilda Segal with Guinness X (68.1 penalties).

Area V is in second place with 162.6 penalties, and Area VII, VIII & IX are in third on 173.3 penalties.

Individually, Martin and Quantum Solace are in first place and Caras and Fernhill Stowaway are in third. Second place is Rowdie Adams (Area V) on No Money Down with 50.9 penalties.

Tomorrow's schedule is full of NAJYRC action. Kicking it off at 7:30 am is the Jumping Individual Junior Final in the Rolex Stadium, followed by the Jumping Individual Young Rider Final. Eventers will tackle cross country starting at 8 am. The Reining Individual Final will be held in the Alltech Arena at 9:30 am. Team and Individual medals will be awarded tomorrow at 1:30 pm in the Alltech Arena for the Endurance riders after their race today, and in the Rolex Stadium, Dressage riders will complete their Freestyle tests starting with Juniors, then Young Riders.

For full results or to learn more about the Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North, please visit www.youngriders.org.

Don't forget, USEF Network prsented by SmartPak will live stream the entirety of Saturday's events from the Rolex Stadium during NAJYRC as well as the Individual Reining from the Alltech Arena. Visit www.usefnetwork.com to find out more and watch!

NAJYRC showcases the best young rider and junior horse/rider combinations in dressage, eventing, jumping, reining, and endurance. Young equestrians from across the continent will descend on the Kentucky Horse Park to vie for FEI medals at these Championships.

For sponsorship information visit www.youngriders.org/Sponsors.aspx.

Founded in 1973, the United States Dressage Federation is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to education, recognition of achievement, and promotion of dressage. For more information about USDF membership or programs, visit www.usdf.org, email usdressage@usdf.org, or call (859) 971-2277.