The Junior Eventing Championship came to a dramatic conclusion yesterday with Area ll taking both team and individual gold despite a last-minute hiccup. The CH-J 1* winning side of Camilla Grover-Dodge, Morgan Booth, Amanda Beale Clement and Skyler Decker had a commanding lead going into the final Jumping phase and could afford to have five fences down and still take the title until Booth’s ride, Twizzel, was withdrawn after being held for re-inspection on Sunday morning. That changed the picture completely, giving them only a one-fence advantage as the final test got underway, but they held firm to win through ahead of Area V in silver and Area Vlll in bronze.
And Grover-Dodge led the individual rankings from the outset, steering her 19-year-old veteran, Remington, into gold medal spot when finishing on her dressage score of 38.3. Individual silver went to 15-year-old Madelynn Snoozy with Udealer while Shelby Brost and Crimson took the bronze.
Heavy rain on the eve of the cross-country phase made for wet conditions, but the course rode well. Booth can look back on her tour of the track with Twizzel, who enjoyed such a tremendous career with American star Will Coleman in his earlier years, as an experience to remember despite her later disappointment. After finishing the course Booth said she felt like she had been “riding a hurricane!…..it was probably the best cross-country ride of my life, so I was really happy!”
Skyler Decker put the emotion of the team success into perspective. She said that, following Booth’s withdrawal on Sunday morning, “we had a moment, and then we said ‘okay ladies, we have to do this for Morgan. Let’s get it together and go jump some double-clear rounds!” Both she and Grover-Dodge succeeded in doing just that, and with just one mistake from Clement their final score of 148.0 was good enough to clinch it. Area V’s silver medal winning score was 157.4, posted by Margaret Stocker, Caroline Testi, Olivia Alland and Barrett Phillips. Bronze medallists Jackie Lemastus, Emily Hagan, Mary Peabody and Hope Walden from Area Vlll posted 161.9. Grover-Dodge said “I’m so excited. I was just so happy for everyone. Everyone worked so hard, so it’s just the best feeling.”
In the Young Riders CCIYR 2*, Area lll’s Diane Portwood and Cinerescent claimed the top step of the podium ahead of silver medallist Area lll’s Nicole Doolittle with Tops in silver and Area Vlll’s Paige Pence with Class Action in bronze. “I’m so happy with Leila (Cinerescent)”, said Portwood. “I’m super happy with her cross-country, that’s both our best phase. She’s a fantastic cross-country horse.”