Young Riders Team Canada put a gold medal cap on an exciting day of Canadian results at the Adequan/FEI North American Youth Championships (NAYC) presented by Gotham North on Aug. 2, 2019, at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY.

Jumping Young Riders Team Goes for Gold

The Team Competition for all jumping divisions followed the FEI Nations Cup format, with teams completing two rounds over an identical course. The final placings were determined by the lowest number of combined faults from both the Team Competition and the Individual Qualifier on Aug. 1, and teams of four had the ability to drop one team member’s score from each round.

Canada’s Young Riders – Dannie Murphy of Charlottetown, PEI, Sam Walker of Nobleton, ON, Samantha Starratt of Calgary, AB, and Mackenzie Wray of Loretto, ON – decided that their team’s second place position after the Individual Qualifier didn’t quite cut it, so they turned it up a notch for the Team Competition to push into the gold medal seat.

Anchor rider and 2018 Junior team bronze medalist, Walker put on a masterclass in riding under pressure, as just one rail separated Team Canada and US Zone 10 when he entered the ring as the final rider of the day with Coralissa (Com Air x Corrado I), a nine-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by MarBill Hill Farm. With just one time fault in round one and a double-clear round two, the 17-year-old both entered and exited the competition wearing the leading Young Riders armband on a total score of one.

“Winning the gold medal today really meant a lot to me because we’re from a different country; we all traveled down here, gave it our best shot and came out on top ,” said Walker. “Obviously, I was a little bit nervous because I wanted the best for my country and teammates. I went in and said to myself, ‘If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen, but I would really like it to,’ so I gave it my all and my horse gave it her all. I thought she handled both rounds exceptionally, she jumped the water and triple amazing and handled herself with a lot of maturity. We got a lucky rub on the last jump but it stayed in the cup – that’s show jumping. As soon as I crossed the timers, you can’t explain that feeling.”

Murphy, 19, added low-scoring rounds with Martie Murphy’s Isabeau De Laubry (Cardento 933 x Chin Chin), a scopey 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare with whom she’s only partnered since March 2019. The pair rode clear with one time fault in round one and just a rail down at the final jump in round two for a total score of 6.14 in their NAYC debut.

Wray, 20, returned to the ring aboard Makim Holdings Inc.’s 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, LVP (Berlin x Contender), with steely determination after her unlucky elimination in the Individual Qualifier. A single rail at round one’s last fence was the NAYC rookie’s only fault for the Team Competition, contributing to a total score of 35.56 across her three rides.

Starratt, 20, also took her shot at the course with Tonia Anderson’s Akolito (Acodetto I x Polydor) to end on a score of 37.11 with the 11-year-old German Warmblood gelding. The two-time NAYC athlete commented, “Today was a little bit challenging for us, but yesterday was good and we all have bad days, that’s why we have great teammates to share these moments with. I’m so thankful for the great team that I have here, they made this experience very fun, and this could not have been possible without our amazing Chef, Dayton. He has been amazing throughout this whole experience and it’s definitely made me remember it as a positive one.”

Zone 10 kept Canada fighting until the very end, but the Canucks ultimately prevailed on a score of 19.25 for the gold medal, holding the American riders to less than one rail behind on a team total of 22.49 for silver. The bronze medal was awarded to US Zone 2 on a score of 36.36.

“Being the winners was a wonderful way to end the day,” said Jumping Chef D’Équipe, Dayton Gorsline. “Sam did a great job being the anchor rider, but I also want to make sure that everybody recognizes how good a job the girls did to set it up for Sam to be able to be the winners. They’re a great bunch of kids.”

Children’s Team Brings Home the Bronze

While the Canadian Young Riders closed the evening on a gold medal note, the day had initially begun with a bronze medal performance from Children’s Team Canada.

Coming into the Team Competition tied for second with US Zone 3, every score counted for the three teammates: Olivia Blaber of Ottawa, ON, Joseph Carruthers of Millarville, AB, and Olivia Stephenson of Calgary, AB.

The course proved challenging, with only six double-clear performances over 24 rounds of competition. 14-year-old Blaber and her13-year-old Selle Français mare, Serenade de Mai (Gio Granno x Kessel II), were first to go for Canada, posting a final score of 12 to the board. After her rides, she commented with a smile, “Ever since I started working with my horse, Mai, I’ve wanted to come [to NAYC]. It’s given me a lot more confidence and a lot more friends.”

Carruthers was the next team member to tackle the course with Rialto SM (sired by Simply Spruce Meadows), a 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Spruce Meadows LTD. The 13-year-old, who is also new to NAYC competition, ended on a final score of 26.

Stephenson, 12, entered the ring for both rounds with her usual composure, despite the added pressure of the anchor rider position. Riding her infallible partner, Chaccana (Chacco Blue x Kannan), a 12-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Cheree Stephenson, the NAYC 2018 individual and team gold medal winner pulled off clears with just a single time penalty in each round to bring Team Canada’s total score to 40.

“She jumps really, really big sometimes over the jumps, but she tried hard today,” said Stephenson of Chaccana. “The time was tight for us, but she was so amazing. The team experience here is surreal, everyone around us is so happy and I’m so happy for everyone who tried so hard to get us here, and of course my horse, she’s just amazing.”

Gorsline added, “For sure, you’d always like to have a fourth rider for a drop score, so I think the kids felt that and there were some nerves in that first round. But they all came back and were really good in the second round. I was happy with them; it’s a good sign when you improve over time and the kids can go home feeling much more confident.”

The gold medal went to US Zone 4/10 on a score of seven, while US Zone 2 earned the silver medal with 28.

Juniors Jump to Fifth

In the Junior division, Emma Bergeron of Wellington, FL, Jenna Lee Gottschlich of Edmonton, AB, Carly Stevens of Foothills, AB, and Sara Tindale of Campbellville, ON, came together to hold onto fifth place for Canada on a final score of 53.28.

Gottschlich, 16, maintained her status as top-placing Junior Canadian, limiting her score to 8.80 after her two Team Competition rounds aboard Evita P (Vingino x Niveau), her 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare. Bergeron, 18, followed in the standings navigating Susan van Lammers’ 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion, Dallas (Douglas x Nimmerdor), to a score of 22.30.

Stevens, 16, returned to her second NAYC riding VIP des Majuros (Iolisco de Quinhon*HN x Sarastro), a 10-year-old Anglo-Arab de Croisement gelding owned by Grant & Susan Stevens, to accumulate a score of 28.86. The team performance was rounded out by Tindale, 17, and Djibab van de Linthorst (Iberlina x Amethist), an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Tindale Farms, who produced a score of 27.18.

The top spot on the team podium belonged to Mexico on a gold-worthy score of 20.62, followed by US Zone 2 in the silver position with 26.81. US Zone 5 completed the top three with 41.02 for bronze.

Three Canadians Qualify for Freestyle after Dressage Individual Competition

The Junior Dressage Individual Competition determined which athletes will compete in the upcoming Freestyle Championship on Aug. 4. Making the top 18 and moving forward for Canada were three athletes: Ariel Boesener of Canning, NS, Kathryn Robinson of Edmonton, AB, and Anna Swackhammer of Rockwood, ON.

Boesener, 17, placed 10th riding her 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Winniepuuh (Weltmeyer x Ludendorff), to a score of 65.588%. An incredibly scant margin of 0.029% separated her from the 65.559% earned by Robinson, 15, and Carol Robinson’s Forget-Me-Not (Valdez x Ferro), a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, as well as US Region 4’s Maggie Elsbernd and Zeestar Texel, who tied for 11th place. Also earning a spot in the top 18 was fellow 15-year-old, Swackhammer, who piloted Wrazzmatazz (Jazz x Darwin), a 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Melissa Sinclair, to a final score of 64.765%.

Annelise Klepper and Happy Texas Moonlight of US Region 2 took home the Individual Competition gold on a score of 71.441%, followed by US Region 7’s Dennesy Rogers and Chanel with 70.206% for silver. Bronze went to Isabelle Braden and Dali de la Ferme Rose from US Region 3 on 70.147%.

Next on the Docket

NAYC 2019 excitement continues on Aug. 3 with the Young Riders Individual Competition, as well as the Farewell Competition for jumping athletes who didn’t qualify for the Final on Aug. 4.

For live results from NAYC 2019, click here. More information on NAYC 2019, including the full schedules for dressage and jumping, can be found at

Top 30 Canadian Results – NAYC 2019

Jumping Children’s Team Competition – Team Results

Placing / Team / Score

3rd / Team Canada / 40

Jumping Children’s Competition – Individual Standings (after 3 rounds)

Placing / Athlete / Horse / Owner / Score

5th / Olivia Stephenson / Chaccana / Cheree Stephenson / 2

8th / Olivia Blaber / Serenade de Mai / Olivia Blaber / 12

11th / Joseph Carruthers / Rialto SM / Spruce Meadows LTD / 26

Jumping Junior Team Competition – Team Results

Placing / Team / Score

5th / Team Canada / 53.28

Jumping Junior Competition – Individual Standings (after 3 rounds)

Placing / Athlete / Horse / Owner / Score

*denotes an individual athlete

6th / Jenna Lee Gottschlich / Evita P / Jenna Lee Gottschlich / 8.80

18th / Emma Bergeron / Dallas / Susan van Lammers / 22.30

22nd / Sara Tindale / Djibab van de Linthorst / Tindale Farms / 27.18

24th / Carly Stevens / VIP des Majuros / Grant & Susan Stevens / 28.86

27th / *Charlotte McLaughlin / Dublin / Millar Brooke Farm / 33.69

Jumping Young Riders Team Competition – Team Results

Placing / Team / Score

1st / Team Canada / 19.25

Jumping Young Riders Competition – Individual Standings (after 3 rounds)

Placing / Athlete / Horse / Owner / Score

1st / Sam Walker / Coralissa / MarBill Hill Farm / 1

3rd / Dannie Murphy / Isabeau De Laubry / Martie Murphy / 6.14

14th / Mackenzie Wray / Jewel LVP / Makim Holdings Inc. / 35.56

17th / Samantha Starratt / Akolito / Tonia Anderson / 37.11

Dressage Junior Individual Competition

Placing / Athlete / Horse / Owner / Score

10th / Ariel Boesener / Winnipuuh / Ariel Boesener / 65.588%

11th / Kathryn Robinson / Forget-Me-Not / Carol Robinson / 65.559%

14th / Anna Swackhammer / Wrazzmatazz / Melissa Sinclair / 64.765%

20th / Kiara Williams-Brown / Cluseau / Simone Williams / 62.676%

22nd / Lily-Rose Lemaire / World Lady / Lynda Tétreault / 62.265%

22nd / Logan Iwanoff / Linden Ein / Margaret & Simone Williams / 62.265%

24th / Chloe Vandenplas / Furst Rubilo / Bethanne Murphy / 62.206%

32nd / Marilie Roy / Sam By Guert / Nicolas Guertin / 55.471%