Team USA Thrills With Come-From-Behind Victory in CSIOCh* Children’s Nations Cup
After the first round of the $3,750 CSIOCh* Children’s Nations Cup, Team USA was farthest from victory. Sitting in third and last place, they accumulated 12 faults, two rails behind Canada and Mexico.
The young team of Hunter Champey (14), Katherine Pugliese (13), Dakota Champey (14), and Caroline Mawhinney (13) demonstrated poise far beyond their years in rallying for victory. The quartet rose up the standings to tie things up with both Canada and Mexico after posting a 0 score in Round Two, which led to a three-way jump-off to determine the final placings. The red, white and blue continued to deliver, again posting a 0 score in the short course—and doing so in a faster time than Mexico to secure the win.
“This is where future potential really comes through,” said Chef d’Equipe DiAnn Langer. “They were able to take what happened in that first round, fix it, come back, and improve on it, and that’s what I love to see. It’s really a great pleasure to work with all of them.”
Team USA’s cumulative jump-off time was 112.46 seconds, while Mexico’s time was 116.47 seconds. Canada finished with a 114.20-second time but posted a 12-fault total in the jump-off to finish third.
“It’s always difficult when you’re down after the first round,” Mawhinney said. “I knew I had an amazing team behind me, so I just kept on going. I knew I could do it. I made little mistakes in the first round that led to rails, but I knew they were easily fixable, so I could come back and get a clear round.”
It was a jubilant scene for the young Americans, who celebrated atop the podium with a (non-alcoholic) champagne spray.
“We’ve been dreaming about champagne showers, and it just lit up our worlds when it came out!” Dakota Champey said. “It was a dream lived.”
USA Dominates CSIOJ* Junior Nations Cup
Team USA completed a sweep of the youth Nations Cup competitions at Thunderbird Show Park with a dominant win in the CSIOJ* Nations Cup.
Consisting of Amelie Louise Bittar (16), Maggie Kehring (16), Hannah Loly (17), and Emma Callanan (15), the U.S. contingent had two rails in hand heading into the second round and extended their lead, finishing on an 8-fault total. Mexico finished second on 16 faults, and Canada was third on a 25-fault total.
“We’re very fortunate that Emma and Maggie did the Children’s [Nations Cup] here last year,” said Chef d’Equipe DiAnn Langer. “They’ve all done a team experience in the past—whether it’s the North American Youth Championships or the Zone Jumper Team Championships.”
Loly, a two-time North American Youth Championships veteran, recently returned to the saddle following ACL surgery. Showing no signs of rust, the teen produced a double-clear performance with her longtime mount Ayma de la Demi Lune, clinching the win for her team after three rotations in the second round. That meant Callanan was not required to a jump a second time.
“I’ve been to [the North American Youth Championships] twice and did [Prix de States at] Harrisburg one time, and I’ve had this same mare “Maya” and taken her to all of those events,” Loly said. “I think the fact that I’ve been on so many teams with her and I’ve had that experience with her [helped] me to be successful here, even with limited time to recover.”
Langer stressed the importance of youth Nations Cup events to develop young riders to someday be contributors at the senior level.
“It gives them the entry through the door,” she said. “They’re able to network with all the senior riders and staff. It allows us to keep an eye on them and check in with them throughout the year and keep pushing them up and forward. I feel, and I think Canada and Mexico feel, that the earlier we can start this process, the greater our future looks.
“I’m so pleased that we’re here and that they have this Nations Cup for us. There are so few of them in the country and in North America. This is really a special, special thing.”
Running concurrent five- and two-star competitions, the Odlum Brown BC Open features four days of international competition, highlighted by the $400,000 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Canada.
The main event gets underway Sunday, June 2, at 2:00pm PT. Tickets start as low as CA $5.00 and can be purchased at tbird.ca. All the action from the Fort Grand Prix Ring will also be streamed live on tbird TV. Those in Canada can watch Sunday’s Nations Cup competition there, while the international broadcast will stream exclusively on FEI TV.
For more information, visit Thunderbird Show Park’s website at tbird.ca.