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McKee Wins Young Rider Freestyle at NAJYRC

Lexington, VA—August 5, 2006 – Saturday afternoon’s dressage competition featured the second round of the individual competition for Juniors at the CN North American Junior and Young Riders’ Championship. Winning the individual Junior Dressage championship was Hannah Holland Shook of Charlotte, NC, with a score of 69.6% on Cape Town. Shook was also a member of the gold medal winning Region I team on Thursday.

“My horse was 100% for me today,” said Shook. “He is so willing to work for me – he’s the man!”

While some riders find a big mover’s trot hard to sit, Shook said that Cape Town is easier to ride when he pumps himself up in the competition arena. “He gets this huge trot and it’s so much fun to sit,” she said. “He’s easier to ride then – he listens to my every move.”

Shook has only had Cape Town for five months; previously he was an advanced level event horse and won the Radnor CCI** with former Young Rider eventing standout Clark Montgomery.

On Saturday night the dressage arenas were rocking and rolling as the top fifteen placing individuals performed their musical freestyle tests. With music ranging from dance and rock to Classical and Spanish themes, these artistic compositions attracted spectators from all three disciplines represented at the NAJYRC, and had much of the crowd tapping their toes and dancing in their seats at various moments.

It was by and large a joyous affair, but one dark moment in the festivities occurred when this week’s team and individual gold medalist Pia Fortmuller of Canada decided to scratch her mare from the freestyle only ten minutes before their scheduled ride. Blinking back tears of disappointment behind her brave smile, Fortmuller said that Donagna felt a little off in the warm-up area and she attributed it to an old injury that may be recurring. She said that she values her horse more than the one ride and in the mare’s best interest, decided to withdraw from the competition.

Fortmuller’s withdrawal left the door open for the succeeding competitors to strut their stuff, and with the stresses of the team and individual tests behind them, they seemed to relax and enjoy their final ride of the week.

The top placing, for which medals will be awarded in Sunday’s final awards ceremony, went to Bobbie McKee of Cave Creek, AZ riding Jamalone. Second place went to Californian Amanda Harlan riding Liberte and third place went to Caroline Roffman on Bulgari 5.

McKee, who earned the individual silver medal yesterday, rode to a compilation from The Sound of Music that was put together by her horse’s owner, Sue Leutwyer on a personal computer, said that she chose her music because “It’s fun and light and twinkly like his feet.” She earned a score of 71.1 from the panel of judges.

McKee has been borrowing Jamalone for the past year from Rick and Sue Leutwyer, but now that she has met her goal of riding in the Young Rider Championship, it is time to return the gelding to his owners.

“It’ll be hard, I’ve gotten so attached to him,” she said. “It took a while in the beginning to win his heart – he’s been doing this for so long, he’d kind of turned into a machine. I just loved him a lot and we became good partners. But I know that if I could get this far, I can go farther – I just have to work for it.”

McKee is not waiting for good fortune to fall into her lap; she is working for her trainer Kim Yacobucci at Horseshoe Springs stables riding horses from training to fourth level and attending night classes at a community college to get her business degree in order to start her own training business. Meanwhile, she said that she has saved her money so that she can purchase a young horse of her own.

Grateful for the opportunity to make the trip East, McKee said that she would like to thank her veterinarians, the Pages, her coach, Kathleen Raine who helped her during the championships, her parents and all of Region V for their assistance and support.

For complete results go to http://www.youngriders.org

This special report is a preview provided by PhelpsSports.com. Look for the debut of this new equestrian news website during the World Equestrian Games in August. Visit http://www.PhelpsSports.com for more information.


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