Articles: Press Release
Katie Johnson Claims Her Second Gold Medal At The 2008 NAJYRC
Jennifer Brannigan Leads The Way In The Cci Two Star
Beth Gold 508-498-0242 or email@example.com
Parker, CO - August 2, 2008- Competition continued today at the CN North American
Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) at The Colorado Horse Park Presented
by Gotham North. In young rider dressage, Katie Johnson impressed judges and spectators
with a 69.05% to claim the gold medal in the young rider individual test. Johnson
was also on the gold medal winning Region VII team on Thursday. Jennifer Brannigan
held on to her lead in the CCI** division after turning in a clear round over David
O'Connor's cross- country course.
After adding an individual gold medal to her team gold in the young rider dressage
division, an emotional Katie Johnson couldn't hold back tears of joy. "It hasn't
sunk in yet," she said. "I came here hoping to be in the top ten." The El Cajon,
California resident said she was in a state of disbelief because she has only been
partnered with her horse for three months. Johnson leased Millenium, a 14-year-old
Dutch gelding by Inspekteur, with the intent of qualifying for NAJYRC, a goal that
eluded her last year. Johnson has nothing but praise for her partner, who is owned
by Pam Schachter. "I love him. He works so hard," Johnson said. "He's so honest.
He went out there today and tried his gosh darned hardest."
Although Johnson also enjoys snowboarding and wakeboarding, she's committed to her
riding career. "This is what I want to do," she said. Johnson trains with her mother
Elizabeth Johnson, as well as Debbie McDonald.
Another Region VII team gold medalist earned the individual silver. Brianna Dutton,
Tracy, California, received a 68.45% from the judging panel: Michael Poulin, Joaquin
Orth, Janet Foy, Marian Cunningham and Lorraine Stubbs.
"It's surreal," she said of her second medal aboard Tibet, an 8-year-old Dutch gelding
by Idocus. With her trainer Nadine Pestana's help, Dutton has brought Tibet from
first level to young riders in two short years. "He really likes working," she
said of the flashy gelding that she describes as a goof with a big personality.
When Dutton's not riding, she is a biology major at St. Mary's College in California
and hopes to become a chiropractor.
Finishing with a 67.9% and the bronze medal, Chelsea Pederson has thoroughly enjoyed
her NAJYRC debut. "I'm so glad I got to come and be a part of it," the 20-year-old
Gig Harbor, Washington resident said. She has been partnered with her nine-year-old
Hungarian Warmblood, H.S. With Honors, by H.S. Wistar, for four years. "We've got
such a great bond going," she said. With trainer Erin Jorgensen Pederson works a
lot on basics, but she also includes time outside the arena and trail rides.
Although all three individual medalists were first time NAJYRC competitors, they
have found the other riders and other disciplines very welcoming and fun to be
around. "It's so great to be here with people as focused as you," Dutton said. "It's
the best show I've ever been to."
Jennifer Brannigan and her mount Cooper led the CCI** after the dressage phase.
They held on to their lead with a clear round cross-country today. "I handle pressure
really well. I just go out and ride hard," Brannigan said. "This horse always steps
up to the plate. He is awesome for a seven year old. I feel so lucky to ride him
and so thankful to my mom and my grandfather for giving me the opportunity to have
Jennifer is not feeling the pressure going into the stadium-jumping portion of the
competition either. "My horse has only had two rails in his career and they were
both my fault. He is a lovely horse that tries in every phase," she explained.
Brannigan cites her work with Mike Winter for really helping bring Cooper along.
"Working with Mike has helped a ton. The horse has really flourished with Mike's
help." Brannigan rides for Area VI, currently in the lead for the team gold.
Karen Shull moved from fifth place to second place in the CCI** after the cross-country.
Karen, 19, rode Just My Style for Area I, IV & V and put her thirteen years
of experience in the saddle to use on the cross-country course. "Going into cross-country
I just thought I would try to give my horse the best ride I could," said Shull.
This is her first year competing in the championships but she has groomed twice
before at NAJYRC. "I'm having a lot of fun."
In the CCI* competition, Jessa Lux and her team, Area IV, are hoping to continue
their lead tomorrow in the stadium-jumping phase. "The pressure is definitely on,
more so for my team than for me. I would love to put in a good ride for them and
win the team gold," she said. Lux was tied for first with Benita Strini from Area
II after the dressage. Lux continued, "My coach, Jonathan Holling really helped
me get the test I needed." She is now solidly in first place after the cross-country.
Jessa and her mount Car Tanga, who is by Highland's King and out of Gypsy Glen,
are competing in their first NAJYRC. "It is an amazing experience. It feels like
I am in the big leagues. It is crazy to be around all these amazing riders, horses
Marissa Wolfe and The Maestro moved from third to second place after the one star
cross-country phase. The pair's first experience at NAJYRC has been well worth the
effort. "I'm overwhelmed, it is so much fun. I am making friends with people I would
never have met if I hadn't come here." Wolfe put in many hours to prepare for the
heat of Colorado. She explained her strategy: "I started training about three months
ago. We galloped twice a week and had a dressage and jumping lesson twice a week.
My horse only got one day off and we would ride at 1:00 or 2:00 [in the afternoon]
so it would be the hottest time of the day. Where I live [in Canada] it doesn't
get that hot, so we wanted to prepare for the heat." Hannah Ross and Fantasia are
tied with Wolfe for second place.
Course builder Greg Schlappi, who has built courses at Rubicon Horse Trials in Virginia
and at previous North American Young Rider Championships at Tempel Farm in Illinois,
was very pleased with the course and the riders. "It was lovely," he said. "I was
surprised at how nice the field of horses were. This field was the best I've ever
seen at the NAJYRC. They really handled the course well." Schlappi also praised
the officials, like Anne-Mette Binder, that have traveled from around the world.
"They are a real class act," Schlappi said.
Canadians claimed the top four positions in the 1.4-meter young rider farewell,
with two riders advancing to the jump-off. Both posted double clear rounds, but
it was Alberta's Brie Etcheverry with Capitan who claimed first place by finishing
more than two seconds faster than British Columbia's Jean-Nicholas Goyette.
In the 1.3-meter junior farewell México's Miguel Angel Iglesias jumped a double
clear to take home the blue ribbon.
Team USA and Team Canada enjoyed a schooling day with the individual medal finals
being scheduled for Sunday.
The North American Junior and Young Rider Championships are the premier equestrian
event in North America for riders age 14-21. Run in a format similar to the Olympic
Games, the Championships feature riders competing for team and individual medals
in the three Olympic disciplines of show jumping, dressage and eventing, as well
as the western discipline of reining, which was added to the schedule this year.
Additional sponsors of the 2008 CN North American Junior and Young Rider Championships
at the Colorado Horse Park Presented By Gotham North include: Howard and Martha
Simpson, Robert and Deborah Bennett, A Bit of Tack, Absorbine, American Horse Trials
Foundation, Arista Equestrian, Arcadia Equine Rehabilitation, Ariat, Centurion Systems,
Collecting Gaits Farm, Colorado Hunter/Jumper Association, County Saddlery, CWD,
Dressage Today, Devoucoux, EMO Agency, Eponashoe, Equifit, Equine Canada, Equisure,
F.I.T.S, Great American Insurance Company, GumBits, Inc., Gus Hoof Dressing, Harmony
Sporthorses, High Prairie International Polo Club, Hodges Badge Company, Horse.dk,
Horses Unlimited, Langer Equestrian Group, Indiana Dressage Society, Iron Spring
Farm, Littleton Equine Medical Center, McElvain Family, Mosaic Foundation, Moxie
Equestrian, North arolina Dressage and Combined Training Association, Northern Ohio
Dressage Association, Palm Beach Equine Medical Centers, Practical Horseman, Purina
Mills, Rebecca Farm, Rider's Closet, Sandstone America Ranch, Serenity Farm, Somewhere
Farms, Spy Coast Farm, Starr Vaughn Equestrian, Inc., Tennessee Valley Dressage
& CT Association, Thatcher Family, The Clothes Horse, Tredennick Family, United
States Dressage Federation/Platinum Performance, United States Eventing Association,
United States Equestrian Federation, United States Hunter/Jumper Association, Vet-Stem,
Inc., WaterJumpsUSA.com, Zone 8 Jumpers.
Further information on the 2008 CN North American Junior and Young Rider Championships
at the Colorado Horse Park, Presented by Gotham North is available on line at www.youngriders.org.