Finally Farm congratulates the Zone 1/9 combined team that claimed the Junior Team Gold Medal at the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships, held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington last month.
Trainer Hardin Towell's student Jennifer Gates, 18, of Medina, Washington, rode Lord Levisto, her 12-year-old Brandenburg gelding, to scores of 0 and 4 faults in the two-round Nations Cup-format team competition.
The combined team of Zone 1/9 also included Sara Nordstrom (17, Medina, Washington) who rode Coningtion to a double-clear performance. With a pair of four-fault rounds, McKayla Langmeier (14, East Granby, Connecticut) finished her first NAJYRC experience with HS Classic Care with 8 faults. Victoria Arute (18, Avon, Connecticut) ran into some trouble in the first round when Aletta’s hackamore bridle broke, and they tallied 17 faults. They improved in the second round, collecting 12 faults.
The team finished on 12 total faults to edge Zone 5 by 1 fault for the top podium spot.
“It was really exciting,” Nordstrom said of Zone 9 being paired with Zone 1. “I know [Arute and Langmeier] have really capable horses, and we came into this competition with just Jennifer [Gates] and I, but to be able to compete in the team competition as a team is really exciting and really fun.”
Of going double clear, Nordstrom said, “It didn’t quite sink in until after I had jumped the last jump each time and it was so, so exciting.”
In the Junior Individual Overall standings, Gates finished fourth and was the highest-placed team member. She and Lord Levisto jumped double-clear on the final day to end their NAJYRC experience on a perfect note.