By Tori Bilas
Children’s and Pre-Junior competitors took to the podium for the first time during team competition on Thursday at the Gotham North FEI North American Youth Championships for Jumping, presented by USHJA. Canada took the top spot on the first podium of the day, claiming gold in the Children’s Team Competition for teammates Taylor Wood, Livia Martin, Tristan Tobin, and Mathilde Candele. In the Pre-Junior division, Zone 7 claimed the top honors with Campbell Brown (Fayetteville, Ark.), Ava Le (Flower Mound, Texas), Avery Griffin (Austin, Texas), and Kaylee Rayner (Houston, Texas) accepting their gold medals. Junior and Young Riders competed in their respective First Qualifier classes later in the day, where it was Della White (USA Zone 10 – Newport Beach, Calif.) and Tanner Korotkin (USA Zone 4 – Wellington, Fla.) who claimed top honors, respectively.
Gotham North FEI NAYC Children’s Team Competition, presented by USHJA
First in the ring for Team Competition Thursday morning, the Children’s division welcomed each rider from all five teams competing over a track designed by Brazil’s Anderson Lima. Four teams tied on a fault-free score coming into the day, which narrowed to just two tied teams on a zero score after all riders had jumped once. The USA’s Zone 2 sat in a tie with Canada after round one, which held through as the teams jumped yet again, leading to a tie at the top for the gold medal.
As riders took to the gold medal jump-off, Canadian riders brought their A-game, piloting to three clear-round efforts and securing the gold medal. Zone 2 took the silver medal, with a small but mighty team of three riders, Tarin Kiely (Rumson, N.J.), Emma Brody (New York, N.Y.), and Rylynn Conway (Fair Haven, N.J.).
“I got him at the beginning of January,” Candele said of her mount, Disco de Pleville, who she rode to the quickest jump-off time of any competitor. “We’ve been trying to figure each other out. We started in the low juniors at WEF and from there we’ve just tried to get sturdy on him because he’s my first horse. He was so good. We’ve been working on our jump-offs recently, so he was turning amazing, and he was going forward right away.”
At the conclusion of round two, Zone 10 and Zone 4 both sat on four faults, forcing another jump-off between the two teams to determine who would take the bronze and who would just narrowly miss the podium. Ultimately, Zone 10 produced the faster jump-off and secured the bronze for team members Shylee Elimelech (Calabasas, Calif.), Chloe Kuang (Las Vegas, Nev.), Scarlett Wallis (Watsonville, Calif.), and Lilah Nakatani (Temecula, Calif.).
“It’s been an amazing experience at this horse show,” commented silver medalist Kiely. “It’s my first time here and everyone is just so nice and I’m really thankful for all of the sponsors that make this possible for us.”
It’s been amazing,” Brody said of her silver medal-winning team experience. “I really enjoyed it. Even though we’re a smaller team, we all know each other now and we’ve enjoyed getting to know each other.”
Children’s competitors now gear up for Saturday’s Children’s Individual Final, where athletes will contend for individual spots atop the podium.
NAYC Pre-Junior Team Competition, presented by USHJA
Returning for the second year to Traverse City and to the North American Youth Jumping Championships, the Pre-Junior category welcomed five teams, all representing zones across the United States. Coming in on a total of only 5.79 penalties, Zone 7 held the lead before the day’s competition got underway. Team members Campbell Brown, Ava Le, Avery Griffin, and Kaylee Rayner had excellent outings on day one. With one rail down and one time fault for a total of five faults to add to their score in round one, they came back for round two on 10.79 penalties, sitting in a prime position but very vulnerable as they were within just one rail of losing their spot atop the podium.
The combined team from Zones 1/3/6, consisting of Campbell L. Hudkins (Zone 1 – Farmington, Conn.), Taylor Landstrom (Zone 6 – Excelsior, Minn.), Riley McKesson (Zone 3 – Lake Lure, N.C.), and Addy Wingate (Zone 3 – Maclean, Va.) claimed the lead after round one. They recorded a zero-fault score to their existing penalties of 7.04 on the lowest score after the first round of jumping. The lead changed hands, however, as the team recorded 4 faults in round two and Zone 7 kept a clear sheet, putting the two teams neck-and-neck but edging Zone 7 into the gold medal position. Zones 1/3/6 took the silver medal and Zone 10, consisting of Emmeline Adamick (San Francisco, Calif.), Amanda Paul (Menlo Park, Calif.), Cameron Trimino (Newport Beach, Calif.), and Leila Diab (San Francisco, Calif.), took bronze after recording four faults in the second round of team jumping.
As the final rider to go for Zones 1/3/6, the pressure was on for Wingate as she piloted Calci Gamba to a clear round. “It was a lot of pressure going in last,” she remarked. “I wanted to make my team happy and get the silver medal. I collected myself, took a few deep breaths, and thought, ‘I need to trust my horse.’ And we were clear, so it was amazing.”
“It’s definitely stressful to go in first because if you make an error you rely on your team for the rest of the round,” Brown commented about being the leadoff rider for Zone 7. “And when I had the one down in the first class I was disappointed with my riding. In the second class though it really pays off when you help the team. It feels so good.”
In the end, with no teams tied on penalties and faults combined, no jump-off was needed to decide which podium spots were designated to each team.
After winning Wednesday’s Pre-Junior First Individual Qualifier coupled with her fault-free finish Thursday afternoon, Diab currently sits in the leading position heading into Saturday’s Pre-Junior Final. “I was really nervous going in for the first round because starting on zero we have everything to lose,” she remarked. “But once I started going around, I got into the swing of things and got so much more comfortable and at ease. And [Quind] is a really great horse. I’m really quite proud of him.”
Competition during the Gotham North FEI North American Youth Jumping Championship, presented by USHJA, will continue Friday, August 12, as Junior and Young Rider Team riders compete for top honors in their respective Team Competitions.
Korotkin and White Top Young Rider and Junior Qualifiers at Gotham North FEI North American Youth Championships for Jumping, presented by USHJA
Nearly 70 junior and young rider athletes competed for the first time during the 2022 Gotham North FEI North American Youth Championships for Jumping, presented by USHJA, Thursday afternoon to take top honors in the first qualifiers and set their respective teams up for success. Over Anderson Lima’s (BRA) track, Tanner Korotkin (USA Zone 4) came nearly last in the order in the $10,000 Young Rider First Competition and sped into the lead aboard Ideal. Earlier in the day, Della White (USA Zone 10) captured the win in the $5,000 Junior First Competition aboard Giggs as one of the first pairs on course and were too quick to be caught.
Fresh off his 21st birthday, Korotkin carried strategy into his winning round, knowing the leader at the time, Sam Walker of Canada, set a very fast time to beat. “There are a lot of good riders here,” Korotkin commented. “I know I have a very competitive horse, but I didn’t want to be too far behind some of the top ones because I knew they could easily go the rest of the way without touching a fence. Once I saw Sam go in, I knew he was the main one I was looking out for, so I decided to put the wheels on a little bit more than I was planning to, and I got lucky in a few spots.”
Though he came out lucky as the winner today, Korotkin admitted, “There’s a lot more jumping to be done this week so [Walker] could easily overtake me.”
After acquiring the ride aboard Ideal from his trainer Shane Sweetnam (IRL), Korotkin has won up to the CSI5* level with the 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, owned by Castlewood Farm, Inc. and Sandalwood Farms. “Win or lose, there are always things to improve upon, and he’s very good about teaching me,” Korotkin continued.
Heading into Team Competition for the $40,000 Young Rider Team Final, Zone 5/7 holds the lead on a total of 5.68 penalties.
On the Junior side, White secured the top score by speeding through a track of Lima’s with similar elements. As the ninth pair in the order, she piloted her own 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion to the fastest time of the day, leaving the rest of the competitors to catch her, which no one ultimately did.
“It took a lot [to get here],” White commented on qualifying for NAYC. “The trials are very competitive and I was very lucky to make it because there are a lot of good riders.”
Both Korotkin and White now sit on zero penalties as they prepare for day two of NAYC competition. White and her Zone 10 teammates hold down the lead for the Junior division on 6.04 penalties prior to the $35,000 Junior Team Final on Friday.