September 2019 - North American Youth Championships
Written by CRM
Saturday, 31 August 2019 18:45
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Local jumping and dressage pairs make their cross-country trips to international championships worthwhile.


It all came down to the last round, but the Canadian team clinched victory in the USHJA North American Young Rider Show Jumping Team Championship at the Adequan® FEI North American Youth Championships, presented by Gotham North, at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY on August 2.  The Championships were held July 30-August 4 and included both dressage and jumping. (The eventing counterpart was staged during The Event at Rebecca Farm in late July. See story, this issue.)

The USHJA Zone 10 team of Natalie Dean, 20, of Palo Alto, riding Marigold Sporhorses LLC and her own Don’s Diamant, an 11-year-old KWPN stallion; Emma Catherine Reichow, 17, from Menlo Park, on her own Forever Alve, a 9-year-old KWPN mare; Cate Tomlinson, 18, of Palo Alto, riding her own Hawai van Paemel, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare; and Alessandra Volpi, 19, of Woodside, and her own Foster, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, earned the silver with 22.49 faults.

Earlier that same day, Mexico won the USHJA North American Junior Rider Show Jumping Team Championship, while the USHJA Zone 4/10 team earned gold medals in the USHJA North American Children’s Rider Show Jumping Team Championship.

Natalie Dean and Don’s Diamant excelled throughout the long week of high stakes Young Rider courses, including a bronze medal finish in the individual final. As one of the top two U.S. riders on the podium, Natalie will be considered for the opportunity to qualify for the U.S. Jumping Youth Team for the FEI Youth Nations Cup Final. The individual was won by Sophie Gochman, New York, of Zone 2. Reserve went to Canada’s Sam Walker.

Zone 10’s Emma Catherine Reichow and Forever Alve were 4th and Alessandra Volpi and Foster were 6th. Ty Simpson stayed in the ribbons with a 12th place finish with Quality Iris.

In the Junior team division, Clea Caddell, Parker Cliff and Amelia Enzminger finished 7th.

Chef d’Equipe Alison Burt-Jacobs (USDF Region 7), is presented The Albers Award, named in honor of long time Region 1 Chef d’Equipe, supporter, and good friend, Patsy Albers, who best demonstrates the same level of dedication, enthusiasm and team spirit that Patsy has shown throughout the years.

Childrens: Two West Coast riders from Zone 10 in their first NAYC appearance joined the Zone 4 pair to earn gold in this division. Sahana Ganesan, 14, from Portola Valley, rode her own Chachas Fire to scores of 1 and 5 faults. “It’s amazing to be able to compete with all the competitors here, even though we’re from different parts of the continent,” Ganesan said. “Everyone here is so nice. It’s such an honor to get to compete with riders of this caliber at our age. It was so easy becoming a team because everyone here is so welcoming. It’s an opportunity to learn how to ride under pressure and to meet lots of new people in the industry.”

William MacLean, 14, traveled from Reno, NV, for the NAYC with his own Poli Loli L, a 12-year-old Polish Warmblood mare, and turned in scores of 12 and 4 in the two rounds for the team result. “I think we had two really good rounds. The second round was an improvement from the first round, which was really important to me,” said MacLean. “I’ve had Poli Loli for a year. The person who rode her before me was doing the 1.35m on her and she took me from the 1.10m all the way to the 1.30m and 1.35m. Before I had her, I really only did the hunters and the [equitation], so she’s been awesome at bringing me in to the jumper world.”

The riders from opposite coasts didn’t know they’d be joining forces until just before the NAYC competition began, but they enjoyed the opportunity to get to know each other. “I liked that we were from two different parts [of the country] because I’ve never been able to compete with Will and Sahana, and now I have two new friends,” said Zone 4 rider Mia Albelo, 14, from Miami, FL “If I go to California, I have two friends there! We really bonded and it was a super cool experience.” The combined team’s fourth member was Chapin Cheska, of Wellington, FL.

USHJA Zone 2 earned the silver rung on the winners podium and Canada was bronze.


USDF Region 7 sent a small team to the Championships, but they represented the region very well. Katherine Mathews and Soliere finished the Individual Young Riders in 6th place with a 67.088. And joining with three pairs from Region 7, Katherine helped the combined team to a 6th place finish.

On the Junior card, Dennesy Rogers and Chanel were reserve champs in the individual championships with a 70.206%, then they danced to 3rd on the final day’s Freestyle competition with a 71.250.

A top honor went to Region 7 coach Alison Burt-Jacobs, who received the Albers Award, named in honor of the long time Region 1 chef d’equipe, Patty Albers. The quantity and quality of Alison’s commitment to Region 7 young riders is much appreciated by all.

Report excerpted from press releases provided by the USEF, USHJA and USDF.

In Their Own Words

Sahana Ganesan. Photo: SEL Photography

Sahana Ganesan: Member of the Gold Winning Children’sTeam

Attending NAYC this summer was an unforgettable experience for which I will always be grateful. I appreciated the beautiful venue, Old Salem Farm, where the competition was held as well as the opportunity to compete on a team in a championship format. There was so much to learn, including getting the ring time to watching the junior/young riders compete as well as talking to our chef de quips. I enjoyed getting to know my teammates and making friends with other riders in my division. It was really interesting to be able to connect with people who live across the country and share similar experiences. I cannot express enough thanks to my parents, trainers, the sponsors, organizers, my teammates, and, most of all, my horse - Sarah Jane - for making this incredible opportunity possible.

Emma Reichow. Photo: SEL Photography

Emma Reichow: Zone 10 Jumping Young Riders Team Silver, 4th Individually

My experience at NAYC this year was incredible! It is such a privilege to not only represent your zone but also your country at a championship.  NAYC is such an amazing opportunity for juniors and young riders to get the experience riding for a team in a championship format and is a major stepping stone to the next level. This year for me was a dream. In my three years coming to this championship, this was my first time receiving a medal and placing individually. Through my previous experiences, the importance of never giving up and working hard have really prevailed. My teammates and I battled it out to the end in the team competition and finished in silver with less than a rail separating us from the gold. It was so exciting to ride on a team with Natalie, Alex and Cate as we are all very good friends and to finish in silver with them is very memorable! My mare, Forever Alve (Evie) really stepped up to the plate this week and jumped her heart out every day to finish 4th individually. It definitely takes a village and I am so thankful for Evie, my trainers Harley and Olivia Brown, my parents and everyone who helped make this week happen!

Natalie Dean and Don’s Diamant. Photo: SEL Photography

Natalie Dean: Young Riders Team Silver & Individual Bronze

“One of my favorite parts about Young Riders is that we get to compete as a team not just an individual. I moved to the East Coast after Thermal this year and so NAYC was that much more special for me because I was able to compete with my friends from California again. I am so grateful to everyone that helped make this week possible but especially my teammates, Mike Endicott, Ilan Ferder, Butch Thomas, my parents, and of course my horse, Don’s Diamant, who jumped his heart out all week.”

Kate Mathews. Photo: ©

Kate Mathews: Dressage, 6th Individually

It was such a gift to be a part of NAYC. Even just being there, surrounded by such talented young equestrians and to be in such a positive show environment, was amazing. Soli (my stallion) tried his heart out for me in every test, especially for being such a new partnership (I’ve only been training together since February!). I had such an amazing support system as well, in my grandparents, Mel and Mary Ann Eaves, my mom, Jessica Mathews, my groom, Jorge Ramirez, my Chef D’Equipe, Alison Burt-Jacobs, the Region 7 Coordinator, Ann Boehning, my sponsors, my trainer, Guenter Seidel, and George Williams, who helped to coach me at the show. I am also so grateful for Niki Clarke and Verena Sonstenes-Mahin, trainers back at my family’s farm, Peridot Equestrian Center, who are like family to me. Their support and encouragement mean the world to me. I also made amazing friends, within my team and out! This includes Dennesy and her groom, Maggie. I was so proud of my small, but strong team, and am so grateful to them for making my show experience better than I could’ve ever imagined. And while every moment, everyone was on their A-game, I’ve never had more fun showing. I was especially proud of our 6th place in the individual competition! I look forward to qualifying for this amazing show next year.