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Region I Wins Junior Team Dressage Championship at NAYR

Lexington, VA—August 3, 2006 - The US Region I team of only three riders today had the honor of winning the first-ever junior dressage championship held in conjunction with the CN North American Young Riders championships at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, VA. On a total score of 195.6 the just edged out the Canadian team that finished second on 195.05. USA Region 8 placed third with 191.95. Thirty horses, forming eight teams were ridden for the panel of judges.

The Region I team would have had four members, but Bonnie Eferd’s horse Mebal Laureate came up lame a few days ago and is still waiting on a diagnosis. So Eferd cheered her teammates on and accompanied them in the victory gallop in an American flag decked golf cart. “She was our cheerleader,” claimed the other girls enthusiastically.

Riders include Hannah Holland Shook of Charlotte, NC on Cape Town; Anna Stovall of Charlottestown, VA on Ambitious; and Julie E. McKean of Camden, ME on Stravinsky.

Chef d’Equipe Linda Spear said, “I was very pleased with the team – I’m elated! Especially after we lost one of our good riders.”

Holland-Shook is still riding high after winning the USEF National Junior Dressage Team Championship in Pebble Beach, CA only two weeks ago. She said that she has been so excited that she hasn’t felt tired yet in spite of the travel, heavy training schedule and hot weather. Cape Town is a former advanced level event horse that won the Radnor three-day event during his career with Clark Montgomery. Holland-Shook has had the Dutch gelding for only five months but their partnership has developed quickly.

McKean also competed in Pebble Beach, placing sixth overall. She has had her imported Danish gelding for a year and a half and said that he was very green at the time but has blossomed with instruction from Colombian dressage trainer Cesar Parra. “He used to freak out in the middle of his test but today he tried his hardest for me,” she said.

Stovall, who has had her Trakehner gelding for three years, explained that the 17.1hh horse can be difficult to ride tactfully – he used to bolt with her in the warm-up area – but said that she was pleased with her ride today. Stovall added, “Riding here as a junior really helps us prepare to compete in the Young Rider’s someday. The whole thing helps us know what to expect.”

Team Canada included Jessica Rhinelander of St. John’s, Newfoundland, riding Allende; Amy Jager of Breslau, ON riding Jive; Danielle McKinnon of Porters Lake, Nova Scotia riding Noma Tender and Breanne Willoughby-Brown of Uxbridge, Ontario riding Espar.

Relaxing in the stables after their rides, the team agreed that the junior championship was a good stepping-stone for them to move up to Young Riders next year. Rhinelander said, “It was hot, but it was also fun and exciting to ride with lots of people watching. The horses were really showing off."

Jager agreed, “It was hot and it was a lot of work, but it was worth it!”

The competition continues on Saturday with the individual tests. The top fifteen individuals will continue to the musical freestyle competition on Sunday.


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