Spain’s Natalia Bacariza Overall Winner of Florida International Youth Dressage Championship of 5 Divisions

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Spain’s Natalia Bacariza, 16, dominated the Junior ranks riding Dhannie Ymas to become Florida International Youth Champion. © 2018

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 18, 2018–Natalia Bacariza, a 16-year-old junior rider from Spain, became the Florida International Youth Dressage Championship overall winner Sunday with the highest average score of the five divisions at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.

In the sixth year of the championship as a centerpiece of the CDI4*, Natalia won all three junior classes with more than 71 per cent  on Yeguada De Ymas’s 11-year-old gelding, Dhannie Ymas, the former ride of her trainer Juan Matute, Jr. and his 2015 Junior European Championships gold medal-winning freestyle partner.

The championships–presented by Terri Kane, Hampton Green Farm, Sarah Davis, U.S. Equestrian Federation Owners’ Dressage Task Force and Dressage 4Kids–featured competition in Under-25, Young Rider, Junior, Children and Pony divisions at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

“I am super happy about winning,” said Natalia who is from Madrid and the daughter of Cristina Danguillecourt and Javier Bacariza, owners of the Yeguada de Ymas.”I’ve wanted this for a very long time and I’m really happy that we finally did it. I’ve been riding Dhannie for three months. He was ridden by Juan before, so he already knows his job, but you still have to ride him and not make any mistakes. Our best test was the individual and I’m very excited about our journey together.”

Mei Mei Newsome, director of Just World International, and Sarah Davis with overall youth champion Natalia Bacariza of Spain and Terri Kane of Diamante Farms. © 2018

The championship wrapped up Natalia’s Wellington season and plans to go to Europe “to improve my riding and continue my career in dressage and hopefully become another big champion.”

Spain’s Rodrigo Encinas Fuentes and Van The Man won the Under-25 division. The duo won only one of the three young rider tests, with Natalie Pai (USA) winning the other two on Unlimited, but the average score of 68.094 per cent edged out Pai’s 67.746 per cent. Rodrigo, also from Madrid, was competing at Global for the first time.

Rodrigo Encinas Fuentes on Van the Man, the winning pair in the Under-25 division of the Florida International Youth Dressage Championships. © 2018

Canada’s Beatrice Boucher riding Delfiano, a 15-year-old gelding Delfiano, averaged 69.415 per cent across three tests to capture the Young Rider division.

“The horse belongs to Camille Bergeron’s father and I wasn’t expecting to compete him at all,” said the 20-year-old Beatrice from Quebec. “But I am so happy we can now do the (North American) young rider championships,” who picked up the ride when Camille did not have enough time for Delfiano as well as her other horses. “I’ve only been riding him for a year but he’s such a puppy dog and always in your pocket–he’s so nice to be around. He’s never negative, he’s always your team mate and he’s so consistent. He’s a real pleasure and he gives his best all the time.”

Beatrice Boucher of Canada and Delfiano won the Young Rider division. ©


The youngest division winner was 13-year-old Tori Belles of Bethel, Pennsylvania riding PJ Rizvi’s pony Prince Z to an average score of 67.498 per cent.

“I’ve been riding him for a month,” said Tori. “He’s been to the European Championships [he was a Dutch team medal winner under Febe van Zwambagt in 2011] and it’s a privilege from PJ Rizvi to show and compete him. He gives you the best feeling ever and supports you–even if you have a little mistake he tries to support you and help you out. I’m hoping to carry on showing him and also go to the Festival of Champions”–the U.S. championships.

The 13-year-old Tori Belles and Prince Z won the Pony division. © 2018

The Children’s title was won by Canadian Lily-Rose Lemaire, 14, and the 18-year-old former broodmare World Lady.

Lily-Rose took up riding three years ago and began the partnership with World Lady six months ago.

“My ride was very good this weekend and I’m so happy,” she said. “My horse was with me and I think it’s my best ride with her. This was my first CDI in Wellington as I had only done national shows before.”

Lily-Rose Lemaire rides World Lady to the Children’s title. © 2018

Terri Kane of Diamante Farms, who sponsors the under-25 division throughout Global and supports the Florida championship said: “This is the future of dressage and if these kids aren’t out there competing, then our sport will die. It’s very important for people in the dressage community to show that we support them and that we care.”

Of the entries from six different nations, she added: “It’s exciting. Just like for our national and international athletes, it’s very important for these athletes to compete against other countries to make themselves better. We had a huge junior group this year, so hopefully they continue riding and go into the u-25 and hopefully a lot of these riders will go on to become professionals and continue to compete after they age out of the u-25.”