Team Canada Tops Junior Team Dressage at NAJYRC

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Team Canada junior gold medalists Maura O’Sullivan, Zachary Ball, Megan Lane and Alexandra Dvorak.
Team Canada junior gold medalists Maura O’Sullivan, Zachary Ball, Megan Lane and Alexandra Dvorak.

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, July 24–Team Canada claimed the junior dressage gold medal at the USDF/Platinum Performance North American Junior & Young Riders Dressage Championships Thursday.

The team, from Ontario, Canada, consisted of Maura O’Sullivan and Pik Czar, Zachary Ball and Karajan, Megan Lane and Caravella and Alexandra Dvorak and Fling finished with a total of 196.433. Team Ontario had three riders finish in the top 10, with two in the top three individually.

Silver went to USA Region 3 (Southeast). Ellen Wall and Tvauri, Katrin Dagge and Dream of Love, Jessica Deimler and Ragtime V and Lauren Knopp and Rho Dance with a total of 190.594. Bronze was won by U.S. Region 1 (Mid Atlantic) consisting of Melanie Montagano and Ga Deva, Alison Coyle and Bariton, Kaitlin Blythe and Daverden and Nicole DelGiorno and Lamborghini Dane with a score of 189.026.

Dressage is one of four disciplines competing in at the 2009 Adequan FEI North American Junior & Young Riders Championships (NAJYRC) presented by Gotham North.

Canada’s Megan Lane said, “We really worked as a team, and I think that helped to bring it all together.”

“It’s just been a great experience to show here,” said O’Sullivan. “Everybody’s been extremely helpful and nice.”

“The whole facility is amazing,” Dvorak added.

“It’s truly the Junior Olympics,” said Region 3’s Deimler. “We all feel so blessed to be here and to have this opportunity at such a young age.  It’s such a wonderful program.”

“It’s great for us to be here as a team,” Wall said. “We were thinking that we were going to be the team, and it’s great that we’re here together.  We get along so well.  We knew each other before the team and, we work so well together.”

“There’s really nothing like this competition,” DelGiorno said. “Outside of dressage, there are so many disciplines here. It’s the estuary for the future for all equestrian sports.  It’s amazing to be around that talent and see so many beautiful horses.  It’s great to be able to sit down and watch one great horse and rider after another.

Standing first individually is rookie Megan Lane from Ontario, Canada, and her mare, Caravella.  The pair turned in a score of 67.189 per cent.

“The test was great,” Lane said. “She was really, really good.  She was a little bit nervous in the warm up, but she really pulled herself together.  We’ve only been partners for about four months, so I think this far we’ve done pretty well together.”

In second place individually is Nicole DelGiorno on the Danish Warmblood gelding Lamborghini with a score of 66.486 per cent.

“I was really happy with my ride,” she said. “Every once in a while he gets a little lazy, but it was nice to be able to take my leg off and have him be nice and springy. We didn’t know if this season was going to be possible because I didn’t have a horse as of two years ago, and he had an almost career-ending injury. Through careful rehabilitation and training he’s been able to come back and do quite well.”

DelGiorno added that the exciting atmosphere in the main arena at the Kentucky Horse Park suited her horse perfectly.

“He actually does great at shows.  He likes all the attention, the flags and the more people clapping, the better!”

Canada’s Maura O’Sullivan and Pik Czar in their first NAJYR experience were in third on a score of 65.586 per cent.

“It was fantastic!” O’Sullivan said. “He was such a good boy, and I couldn’t be more proud of him. I really didn’t know what to expect going into it. This is really my first big competition. I just did my first CDI about three weeks ago. I’m really glad we’ve turned out to be a competitive pair.”