Showdown at Dressage at Devon For Young Rider World Cup Final Hopefuls
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KENNETH J. BRADDICK
DEVON, Pennsylvania, Sept. 18–The two most successful Young Riders in the United States this year–Kassandra Barteau and Caroline Roffman–will compete head-to-head in what may be the most nail-biting competition at Dressage at Devon Sept. 22-27.
Both riders at age 21 are in their last year at Young Riders and are separated by only one-half of one percentage point in the rankings entering the final competition that will determine which of them will earn the single place for the United States at the Young Rider World Cup Final in Frankfurt, Germany Dec. 17-20.
Kassandra Barteau of Maple Park, Illinois, and GP Raymeister owned by Gina Frantz are at the top of the Young Rider rankings on 73.375 per cent, an average of their top two scores obtained at a CDI-1* and the North American Young Rider Championships, both in Lexington, Kentucky.
Caroline Roffman of Wellington, Florida and Bulgari 5 are ranked second with 72.9 per cent, obtained at the WEF Dressage Classic CDI-W in Wellington and the NEDA Fall Festival CDI-W in Saugerties, New York.
The determining contest will be the FEI Young Rider Freestyle before a panel of five judges in Devon’s Dixon Oval at 8 a.m. US ET (noon GMT) on Sunday, Sept. 27.
For Kasssie and Raymeister it has been a long climb through the levels. For Caroline and Bulgari it has been a two-year recovery from what she feared would be a competition-ending injury to Bulgari.
Both are winners of the Fiona Baan “Pursuit of Excellence” Memorial Trophy, perhaps the most prestigious award for young riders; Caroline won it in 2006 and Kassie this year.
And both say they will root for whoever represents the United States in the Frankfurt final.
“I’m happy and excited about the competition. This is really great,” said Barteau who was the 2009 North American Young Rider champion on Raymeister, a 10-year-old Holsteiner stallion.
“I’m very happy with the horse and how he’s been working so well this year.
“We’ll do the best we can.”
Caroline said said she is “just happy to be back in the show ring as we never thought we would have this chance again” after Bulgari was out of work for two years with an injury.
“I’m happy to have my horse back.”
Since recovering, she has competed the 15-year-old Hanoverian three times, twice during this year’s Florida winter circuit and earlier this month at Saugerties, New York.
“For two of us to be fighting for the right to be in the World Cup Final with scores above 72 per cent, I think it’s exciting for dressage in our country,” she said.
“Kassie is an incredibly talented rider with teriffic horses and if she is the one to represent the United States she will do a great job.”