Kassandra Barteau and GP Raymeister Take Top Honors in FEI Young Rider Freestyle at NAJYRC

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Kassandra Barteau and GP Raymeister. © 2009 Flashpoint Photography
Kassandra Barteau and GP Raymeister. © 2009 Flashpoint Photography

By ERICA LARSON/USEF News

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, July 25–Kassandra Barteau and GP Raymeister won the Young Riders dressage freestyle competition at the USDF/Platinum Performance North American Junior & Young Rider Dressage Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park.

The pair received the highest score thus far in the competition, 73.000 per cent, more than three points ahead of her nearest competitor, Brian Hafner and Lombardo LHF on 69.600 per cent. Kristen Becker and Ramses placed third with 69.600 per cent.

“I was very overwhelmingly happy,” Barteau said of the freestyle choreographed to music from “The Man From Snowy River.”

“My horse finally calmed down and relaxed. Even though it was windy and things were blowing around, he was really focused on me. This was the best he’s felt all weekend. He was totally with me. That was the best Young Riders’ test I’ve ever done. It felt really great.”

Barteau’s mother, Yvonne, choreographed her freestyle and did her music for the test. Barteau has lots of experience with riding to music as both her mother and her husband, Kim, have been performing to music for years.

This is Barteau’s last year of eligibility to compete at the NAJYRC.  In the future, Barteau hopes to continue competing with Ray and her other mounts to move to high performance international competition.

“He was definitely tired, but the wind didn’t phase him at all,” Becker said of her ride on Ramses. “He’s been great all week.”

Becker tailored her freestyle to fit how Ramses’ was feeling, and her choice was rewarded with a great final score.

“There are a couple different ways I can ride it, depending on how he feels,” she said. “I try to highlight his strong points.  I try to challenge both him and me out there.  I don’t want it to be easy. I want to have fun and be challenged.”

Becker has the option of competing at Young Riders for one more year.  She would like to compete at the Brentina Cup if her horse is ready.