Heinrichs and Noyes Win Kur Gold at 2008 North American Junior/Young Riders Championships

Sun, 08/03/2008 - 18:00
2008 North American Junior/Young Riders Championships
Morgan Heinrichs and Orlando win junior freestyle gold at the 2008 North American Junior Riders Championships :: Photo © Mary Phelps

Junior Rider Morgan Heinrichs and young rider Laura Noyes won Freestyle Gold on the final day of competition at the 2008 North American Junior and Young Riders Championships at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, CO, on 3 August 2008.

Junior Kur Gold for Heinrichs

In the junior dressage freestyle Morgan Heinrichs and Orlando impressed the judges with their upbeat composition of Swedish music by Rocky Mountain Recorders and relaxed, accurate riding to win on a score of 71.9%.

This is the 16-year-old's first year competing at the NAJYRC and she was rather surprised at her freestyle victory. "I was hopeful, but I didn't really imagine this happening." Part of the reason she was surprised is that she has only been riding Orlando, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding sired by Rohdiamant, since February.

"We really started bonding through the whole qualifying process. Our first couple of shows weren't that good. So, I'm really happy with how much we've improved together," said Heinrichs, who trains with Jenny Baldwin. "We're still getting to know each other and I didn't really imagine that they could get here. So, I'm really proud of him. Overall, today he felt really good. He was really energetic and excited."

Her strategy going into the freestyle competition was simply "not to get nervous but to just have fun."

McKenzie Jenkins and her Tsarina Bint RII, a 12-year-old Polish Arabian/Thoroughbred mare, claimed silver with 70.9%, riding to music from the movie The Thomas Crowne Affair, choreographed by Marlene Whitaker.

Jenkins said, “I am really excited. I love my freestyle! I just try not to get nervous before I go in the ring. I think the canter work was the best; the flying changes are my favorite part.”

Mackinzie Pooley and Jonkara earned 69.45% to win the bronze medal.

"I'm really excited," Pooley said of her bronze medal. She said that over the past year, she and her mare have "focused on making things more consistent and working together better as a team." When asked her feeling about attending this year's NAJYRC, Pooley said she most loved having the chance to mingle with riders in the other disciplines and she highly recommends the NAJYRC for junior riders. "It's an awesome program and it really helps you move to the next level in your riding."

Young Rider Kur gold for Noyes

Laura Noyes had a couple of days of tense, nervous tests from Syncro, but today the 14-year-old Trakehner by Enrico Caruso settled into his job and performed beautifully to win the Young Riders Musical Freestyle Championship with an outstanding 74.75%. Noyes also competed in the NAYRC in 2006 and that same year took Syncro to the Young Riders World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany, but did not compete because he had a slight injury.

Laura Noyes
"Today he was relaxed in the atmosphere," said Noyes. She rode to music from "Peanuts" compiled by Ruth Hogan-Poulsen. "The test was steady, and he was very consistent. The past two days he's been fresh and tense." While her horse got better, Noyes said that she suffered from the high temperatures and high altitude in Colorado. "Every day I felt worse," she said. Noyes is a student of George Williams and bought her horse when she and he were both competing at First level.

Having already claimed individual medals yesterday, Brianna Dutton and Chelsea Pederson returned to the top three today. Dutton took silver (71.9 percent) riding Tibet followed by Chelsea Pederson on H.S. With Honors (70.5 percent) taking home the bronze.

"This was the first time in his trot work I've felt him stay steady," said Dutton. "As for the second silver medal, I wasn't expecting this at all!"

Pederson commented, "The freestyle is the most nerve-wracking test. I just changed it, so I'm not 100% sure all the time. It's based around the canter music, which is from Aladdin. The trot music is upbeat and fun, which matches his personality."

Photos © Mary Phelps

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