Ocala, Fla. – Feb. 17, 2018 – The Grand Prix Ring at HITS Post Time Farm hosted the CSIJCH Ocala team competitions on Saturday, where children’s and junior athletes competed in a traditional Nations Cup format, going head-to-head in two rounds of competition over a course designed by Brazil’s Marina Azevedo.
In the Children’s Nations Cup competition, three teams competed for top honors and went down to the wire in a jump-off to determine the winning team after each incurred a cumulative score of 4 faults following both rounds of competition.
The mixed Americas team, who did not have the ability to drop any scores with only three athletes, consisted of two U.S. horse-and-rider combinations, Ansgar Holtgers and Hookjipa XXX and Emma Callanan and Q-Two, and Puerto Rican athlete Natalie Pedley and True Blue Mate. Yet they did not let their disadvantage keep them out of the race as they took home the win alongside Chef d’Équipe DiAnn Langer. Pedley and True Blue Mate were chosen to represent the Americas team in the jump-off and jumped clear over the course as the final entry of the tiebreaking round in 37.88 seconds to secure her team the top position on the podium.
Taking home the bronze in the Children’s Nations Cup competition was the Stars and Stripes USA team, also led by Langer. Callanan and Cocu, Holtgers and Queretaro, Genevieve Munson and Cassonetti and Alexa Leong and Hertogin Ter Drie Leien made up the team, with Holtgers and Queretaro collecting 8 faults in the jump-off in 51.68 seconds.
In the Junior Nations Cup, with only three junior American athletes, the Stars and Stripes team once again did not have the advantage of utilizing a drop score, making each round count in the two-round competition. Guided by Chef d’Équipe Langer and made up of Kyle Perkovich and Sovereign, Carolina Villanueva and Zabel D and Faith Davis and Da Vinci, the team picked up 12 faults in the first round and 16 faults in the second round for a total of 28 faults and silver medal honors.
“It has been a fantastic weekend and fantastic for these riders’ learning curves,” said Langer. “It’s been very educational. It became an FEI international team competition for children’s and junior riders, which I was very excited about. We had the mixed team with Puerto Rico and two Americans — that was fun. Our riders really get on these teams in order to experience at this level, early in their careers, how to manage their horses, how to handle their nerves and how to make it work for the whole team. It’s a process that doesn’t just happen. The younger that we can provide this type of competition for our riders, the more experienced and better prepared they are 10–15 years from now.”
To read more about the athlete/horse combinations who represented the U.S. in the children’s and junior team competitions, click here.
The USET Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international and high performance horses and athletes in partnership with US Equestrian.