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2024 USEF Eventing Young Rider Championship Concludes with New Team and Individual Champions Crowned

by Leslie Potter/US Equestrian | Jul 7, 2024, 9:00 PM

Adamstown, Md. – The 2024 USEF Eventing Young Rider Championship came to an exciting close on Sunday, July 7, with new team and individual champions emerging at the CCI1*-Intro, CCI2*-S, and CCI3*-S levels. This year’s championship was hosted by The Maryland International & Horse Trials at Loch Moy Farm, with cross-country courses designed by Ian Stark and Andrew Heffernan.

©Avery Wallace/US Equestrian

CCIJ1*-Intro National Championship

With two double-clear jumping rounds to finish on a dressage score of 31.4, It was Area III’s Catherine Purcell (Gainesville, Fla.) and her own 2013 Thoroughbred mare, Mystic Hazzard, who claimed individual gold for the competitive CCIJ1* National Championship.

“She felt so good. I was a little worried that she would be tired, but she just really helped me out,” said Purcell of her show jumping phase. “I felt her rub a couple of rails, but they didn’t fall down. She was just so good.”

Winning the Young Riders Championship with Mystic Hazzard was a full-circle moment for Purcell.

“I’ve had her for about two years. I sort of knew of her before I got her,” she said. “A girl named Julianne [Elliott] had her before me, and she’s how I learned about Young Riders, so I think it’s just so cool that now I’m on that horse and I’m taking her around here. It means so much to me. Hazzard’s not an easy horse, but she’s the most fantastic horse I’ve ever sat on. I love her so much.”

The formidable team from Area II composed of Claire Allen and Crazy Choice, Berkley Gardner and In Vogue, Leeci Rowsell and Man of Conviction, and Sophia Stolley and BWE Stopping Waves, managed to secure a close win in the team competition, posting a total score of 109.3 ahead of Area III’s second-place score of 115.9. The combined team from Areas IV and V completed the podium with their third-place finish.

“I love the team aspect. We had such great support,” said Rowsell. “Maryland is such a great venue, and I really love being here.”

“There are so many people in the stable, whether they’re a groom or a friend or a parent of someone else, who are going to drop everything and help you if you need help,” said Stolley. “It’s just a really amazing environment to be in, and all the officials have been really lovely this weekend as well. I’ve had so many conversations with volunteers about the smallest things that just make me smile.”

“This team is incredible, and everyone in the Area II barn has been like family,” said Allen. “It’s so nice knowing that everyone is supportive and has your back.”

“Going around cross-country, there were so many times where I would do a jump, and somebody would cheer for me. I’d find out later that it was one of [the other team members’] parents or friends who just knows who I am, and that really boosts you up a lot,” said Gardner. “That’s how it felt the whole weekend. If I started to get sad or tired or something, somebody else would cheer us up.

“Maryland as a venue is always amazing,” she continued. “I come here a lot. I did my first-ever event here, and so it really holds a special place in my heart. Coming back here for Young Riders was really, really special.”

CCIJ1* Team Results

  1. Area II
  2. Area III
  3. Area IV/V

CCIJ1* Individual Results

  1. Catherine Purcell (Gainesville, Fla.) and Mystic Hazzard, her own 2013 Thoroughbred mare
  2. Berkley Gardner (Leesburg, Va.) and In Vogue, her own 2016 Irish Sport Horse mare
  3. Katelyn Smith (Marietta, Ga.) and HSH Henry, her own 2017 Irish Sport Horse gelding
©Avery Wallace/US Equestrian

CCIYJ2*-S National Championship

After starting the weekend in fourth place position after dressage, Audrey Ogan (Fall Creek, Ore.) and Always Cooley, her own 2011 Irish Sport Horse mare, steadily climbed their way to gold-medal position, adding only 3.6 cross-country time penalties and a double-clear jumping round to finish on a 33.7. As champion of the division, Ogan was awarded the Harry T. Peters Trophy.

The individual silver and bronze medals came down to just a tenth of a point, with Chelsea Lowe (Uxbridge, Ont., Can.) and Fernhill Malito Park finishing on 35.3 penalties and Saffron Klotz (Ottawa, Ont., Can.) and Ballingowan Clarity with 35.4.

“I’ve worked a lot this year to improve my show jumping, and my coach, Lynn Symansky, has really done wonders to help us, because this is a tricky phase for my mare,” said Ogan. “I also get a little bit nervous in the show jumping, so as we walked the course, we talked about places where I could take a deep breath and really know where I’m going, so that as I’m riding, I could just ride what I feel. And it was really incredible to go in there and have my horse feel so good because you never know what horse you’re going to have when show jumping’s on the last day, and my mare felt incredible.”

The Area II team of Luciana Hackett and As Good As Cash, Rylie Nelson and Galloway Sunrise, Audrey Ogan and Always Cooley, and Paige Ramsey and MTF Cooley Classic secured team gold ahead of the combined Area I/III/V team. The team members didn’t know each other well prior to being named to the team, but they connected through Instagram and with the help of Chris Donovan and the Area II coordinators.

“Area II did a great job of putting together preparation activities for us,” said Hackett. “We got to cheer each other on leading up to [the championship], and it was really special to see everyone go.”

“I feel like we became really good friends by the end,” added Ramsey.

“They’ve really put a lot of effort into making it a great team experience and having the teams all come together,” said Ogan. “They’ve had so many activities for team building, and it’s such a gorgeous venue and run so well. There are so many volunteers that make the show run. It’s just really special. It’s a hot weekend, but they did a lot to make sure our horses were sound and happy and safe.”

The team members thank their supporters Ogilvy, SmartPak, Tack of the Day, Tredstep, Divine, KL Select, Summerland Brush Company, and Pacific Rim International. 

CCIYJ2*-S Team Results

  1. Area II
  2. Area I/V/III

CCIYJ2* Individual Results

  1. Audrey Ogan (Fall Creek, Ore.) and Always Cooley, her own 2011 Irish Sport Horse mare
  2. Chelsea Lowe (Uxbridge, Ont., Can.) and Fernhill Malito Park, Donna Pledge’s 2017 Irish Sport Horse gelding
  3. Saffron Klotz (Ottawa, Ont., Can.) and Ballingowan Clarity, her own 2015 Irish Sport Horse gelding
©Avery Wallace/US Equestrian

CCIU253*-S National Championship

After jumping from fourth position to top of the leaderboard following the cross-country phase, Canada’s Megane Suave (St. Paul, Que.) and her 2014 Thoroughbred mare, Nuance, held the lead to claim individual gold in the three-star division. Lizzie Hoff (Gig Harbor, Wash.) and her own HSH Limited Edition, a 2015 Irish Sport Horse gelding, had the division’s top dressage score and a double-clear jumping round to hold on to the silver-medal position despite some time penalties on cross-country. As the top-finishing American in the division, Hoff won the John H. Fritz Trophy. Caitlin O’Roark (Centreville, Va.) completed the podium with Shannon O’Roark’s 2012 Dutch Warmblood/Thoroughbred gelding, What the Devil.

“I’m just so proud of her and our partnership this year,” Suave said of Nuance. “It’s our first CCI3*-S and she came out [on cross-country] and gave me all she had. I’m just really proud of her. She’s like my best friend. She’s been my best friend for six years, and it’s really fun to get out here and work with her and to have good results and see the work working.”

Area II made a clean sweep of the team standings, with the team of Maya Clarkson and Clueso, Megan Loughnane and Flamenco Ping, and Caitlin O’Roarke and What the Devil earning team gold ahead of the Area I/IV/VII team.

“It’s been a great experience to be with old teammates and good friends on our team together,” O’Roark said of the team experience. “Our division wasn’t huge, but it was cool how it did get quite competitive. Today I think we were pretty thrilled with our horses’ performance and glad that we could keep it all together.”

“It was my first time doing Young Riders and being on a team, so to be on it with two good friends was pretty awesome,” said Clarkson. “Yesterday wasn’t perfect, but I’m thrilled to have jumped well today and produced a good result for the team.”

“This is my third Young Riders but I make new friends every time and it’s always so fun to be on the team and be supporting my friends and getting to watch them,” said Loughnane.

CCI3* U25 Team Results

  1. Area II
  2. Area I/VII/IV

CCI3* Individual Results

  1. Megane Suave (St. Paul, Que., Can.) and Nuance, her own 2014 Thoroughbred mare
  2. Lizzie Hoff (Gig Harbor, Wash.) and HSH Limited Edition, her own 2015 Irish Sport Horse gelding
  3. Caitlin O’Roark (Centreville, Va.) and What the Devil, Shannon O’Roark’s 2012 Dutch Warmblood/Thoroughbred gelding

Full Results

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