August 2021 - Team USA wins Bronze at CDIO-Y Nations Cup Competition
Written by CRM
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:54
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California Young Riders, Christian Simonson and Katherine Mathews were 2/3rds of Team USA, who won Bronze at the CDIO-Y Nations Cup competition hosted at Future Champions in Hagen, Germany, from June 10-13, 2021.

This result marked the highest finish in program history for the U.S. Young Rider Dressage Team at Future Champions. Ten countries with 25 horse-and-rider combinations competed in the CDIO-Y, which featured talented young athletes from across Europe.


Christian Simonson (Ventura, CA) and Christina Morgan’s nine-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, Zeaball Diawind, had the team’s top score of 72.010%, which was also put the pair in second place individually overall, beating out almost all of the top Young Riders in Europe. Christian and his other mount Hemmingway won Gold in their Young Rider Individual Test with a 71.033% in the CDI-Y at the same show, beating riders from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and more.

Katherine Mathews (San Marcos, CA) contributed to the team’s success when she and Soliëre, her 17-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Peridot Equestrian LLC, secured a 66.667%. They also secured a second Bronze medal spot on the podium individually for their 70.892 ride in the CDIO-Y Young Rider Freestyle Consolation Final.

Chef d’Equipe George Williams was proud of his team’s efforts in their first overseas outing and the first European competition for the Young Rider program in more than two years. After the Team Test on Day one, he said,

“I have been impressed with how this team has taken all the challenges in stride. Today they all rode well, putting their hearts into their rides, with a focus and determination to do their best,” said Williams. “Christian’s ride on Zeaball was beautiful, harmonious, and mistake-free. It was very moving to see our team on the podium, receiving their bronze medal and to think that today was their first time ever competing in Europe. I couldn’t be more thrilled or more proud of them.”

Christian/Zeaball and Katherine/Soliere are ranked number 1 and number 2 respectively on the Young Rider rankings in Region 7 (as well as number 1 and number 5 in the US, respectively, on the Dressage - FEI Dressage World Youth Ranking - Christian is also ranked 2nd on his mount Hemmingway, but he can only take one horse to NAYC), and as a result now get the chance to represent Region 7 at the FEI North American Youth Championships in Traverse City, Michigan on August 9-15th. Rounding out the Region 7 team are top ranked riders Miki Yang with her gelding Donavan, and Erin Nichols on her gelding Handsome Rob. The team leaves California the first week in August for the competition.

Christian was a part of the Gold Medal winning Region 7 NAYC Junior Team in 2017, and also won a Silver in the Junior Individual Test that year. Katherine and Soliere were 6th over at NAYC in 2019, and won the Young Rider National Reserve Championship at the 2020 Festival of Champions at Lamplight, IL.

Christian is from California, but has spent the last few seasons in Florida with his coach, Olympian Adrienne Lyle. In addition to being a top equestrian athlete, he has his pilot’s license, and loves to mountain bike. He is graduating from Laurel Springs School, an online college preparatory high school, he will be attending University of Texas, Austin this fall and will be working towards the Grand Prix as he prepares for the 2022 show season.

Katherine lives on her family farm, Peridot Equestrian Center, in San Marcos, and is trained by 3x Olympic medalist and California rider/trainer Guenter Seidel. Katherine is a rising senior at The Academy at Laurel Springs School. She is also an entrepreneur, having co-founded the luxury sustainable equestrian apparel company, An Capall Equestrian, with her mom, and is an accomplished artist, writer and plays classical guitar.

Team USA, Young Rider Bronze Medalists, Christian Simonson, Katherine Mathews and Melanie Doughty, Future Champions Nations Cup, HagenGermany 2021. Photo: Lukasz Kowalski

Mhristian Simonson and Zeaball Diawind in the CDIO-Y Young Rider Team Test at Future Champions, Hagen, Germany 2021. Photo: Lukasz Kowalski

Katherine Mathews and Soliere in the CDIO-Y Young Rider Team Test at Future Champions Nations Cup, Hagen, Germany 2021. Photo: Lukasz Kowalski

Christian Simonson and Zeaball Diawind, Katherine Mathews and Soliere, and Melanie Doughty and Fascinata during their honor round as Bronze medalists in the CDIO-Y Young RiderTeam Test at Future Champions Nations Cup, Hagen, Germany 2021. Photo: Lukasz Kowalski

Katherine Mathews on the Bronze medal podium for the CDIO-Y Young Rider Freestyle - Consolation Final at Future Champions Nations Cup, Hagen,Germany 2021. Photo: Lukasz Kowalski

Christian Simonson winning Gold in the CDI-Y Young Rider Individual Test, Future Champions Nations Cup, Hagen, Germany 2021. Photo: Jessica Eaves Mathews