USHJA Zone 2 Adds to Gold Medal Tally in USHJA North American Young Rider Show Jumping Team Championship at the Adequan®/FEI North American Youth Championships

USHJA Zone 2 Young Riders team. Credit: Jump Media/USHJA

North Salem, N.Y.- August 3, 2018– Teams from Canada and the United States claimed gold in the Children’s, Junior and Young Rider Team Finals of the North American Youth Show Jumping Championships, presented by USHJA, at the Adequan®/FEI North American Youth Championships, presented by Gotham North, held at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY, on August 3.

The Zone 2 Young Riders team scored a remarkable victory in the USHJA North American Young Rider Show Jumping Team Championship, finishing more than 20 points ahead of the Zone 10 team in silver and the Mexican bronze-medal team. This was the 11th time Zone 2 has claimed Young Rider team gold. In doing so, they secured the United States a spot in the inaugural FEI Youth Nations Cup Final, which will be held in Opglabbeek, Belgium, from September 6-9.

“To win a gold medal for this team is definitely incredible because we had such great team spirit and have grown up together,” said Madison Goetzmann (18, Skaneateles, NY), who jumped two clean rounds on her own Prestigious, an 11-year-old Westfalian gelding, in the Team Final. “It’s such an amazing experience just being here and being able to add this medal to our and Zone 2’s list of accomplishments. And we really owe this gold medal to Ralph Caristo, who has been the most incredible chef for so many years for Zone 2. We’re all grateful for it.”

A new format this year for the Junior and Young Rider divisions at NAYC meant that scores from the Individual Qualifying round carried forward into today’s two-round Team Final. The Zone 2 team had a slim lead heading into the Team Final. “We all had a good day yesterday, so we came into today on top, but not with too much wiggle room. We all had a great first round, and in the second round they all really took the pressure off me,” said Katherine Strauss (New York City, NY), who rode Katherine Strauss LLC’s 13-year-old KWPN gelding, All In to a clear first round and 16 faults in Round 2.

“I’m so fortunate to have the ride on him,” Strauss, 19, said. “He’s taken me from just getting started in the junior jumpers to jumping some bigger grand prixs. He’s really proven himself at the U25 level. He’s won at Spruce Meadows, Europe, anywhere he goes. He’s a bit of a blood horse, but that’s good for championships like this where we ask our horses to jump a lot of rounds.”

Samantha Cohen, 17, (New York City) jumped to scores of zero and four faults to help Zone 2 to gold. “She’s been more than I could ever imagine,” she said of Carmen, her 11-year-old KWPN mare. “I started in the junior jumpers with her and we’ve slowly worked our way up to jump some bigger classes. She’s always right there for me and she has the biggest heart and always tries for me. She’s really a horse of a lifetime.”

Ailish Cunniffe, 21, also earned gold last year with the Zone 2 NAYC effort riding Baloucento, Elm Rock LLC’s 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding. “Being on Zone 2 is an honor and I’m lucky to be with these girls; they’re some of my best friends,” she said. “It means so much to me to not only be able to compete against them, because we do that every week, but also to compete with them on a team; it’s an amazing experience.”

Young Rider teams top the podium. Credit: Jump Media/USHJA

While Zone 2’s dominance made the gold medal theirs, there was a heated battle in Round 2 for the silver, and Zone 10 prevailed. “I feel like Zone 10 has kind of been the underdogs, and we all really rode our hardest today and we deserved this silver medal,” said Ransome Rombauer, 19 (Saint Helena, Calif.), who rode her own Emorkus Re, a nine-year-old KWPN gelding.

Joining Rombauer for the silver were Hannah Loly, 16 and from Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., on her own 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare, Ayma de la Demi Lune; Hayden Zadel, 18 and from Los Gatos, Calif., riding HHZ LLC’s Triskel der Kerliven, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding; and Natalie Dean, 19 and from Palo Alto, Calif., on her own 13-year-old Oldenburg mare Chacco’s Goldy.

The Mexican team was the first to medal in the Young Rider division at NAYC since 2008, when they claimed silver. Jumping for Mexico were: Carlos Hank Guerreiro, 18, on Tracy Priest’s Market Irminka, a 12-year-old AES mare; Jose Madariaga Gonzalez Ulloa, 19, who rode Jose Madariaga’s 10-year-old KWPN gelding Davidoff; Alfonso Guttierez Diaz, 21, on the 14-year-old Selle Francais stallion Quick Ardent; and Juan Pablo Gaspar Albanez, 20, riding the 13-year-old Selle Francais stallion River Dance Semilly.

The USHJA Zone 5 team scored a dramatic victory in the USHJA North American Junior Rider Show Jumping Team Championship, finishing well ahead of the Canadian and Mexico West teams that took silver and bronze. The Zone 5 team finished with just 17.88 penalties after the first day’s speed round and the two rounds of the Team Final, while Mexico West took silver with 28.73 and Canada had 34.54 for bronze.

Alexandra Pielet (Highland Park, Ill.) joined forces with Charlise Casas (Chicago, Ill.), Paige Matthies (Lake Leelanau, Mich.), and Emma Kurtz (Hudson, Ohio) for the gold. Pielet and Casas had both competed on a Junior team at NAYC last year, but this was the first NAYC experience for both Kurtz and Matthies. “I’ve had my horse for three years, so I know her very well,” said Pielet, who rode Co-Pielet LLC’s Helene VE, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, to two clear rounds in the Team Final.

Zone 5 wins team gold in the Junior Team Championships. Credit: Jump Media/USHJA

“It’s huge for us to have won gold because none of us has won gold before,” Pielet, 17, said. “I think our team spirit was really strong. We [decorated] all our helmets together, we were cheering everyone on, we walked the courses together and we just wanted each and every one of us to have success, knowing it’s a team event. We all know each other so well because we do the equitation and hunters together.”

Kurtz, 18, has spent most of her time in the hunter and equitation rings and just recently started to focus on jumpers. “Being on this team was a newer goal of mine,” she said. “It was absolutely incredible this week to be able to ride with these three girls and have such a great result.” Kurtz had one rail in Round 1 and then a clear second round aboard Chagrin Saddlery LLC’s Pippi, a nine-year-old Hanoverian mare.

“I’ve known all these girls for years, and they’re my good friends, so to be able to win a gold medal with them is really special,” said Casas, 17, who had rounds of four and eight faults with Always Faithful Quine LLC’s Rembrandt Blue, a 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding.

Matthies, 17, has only been riding Dirkie Z, a 13-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Barbara Smith, for a few months. “I was not expecting him to be as good as he was in the two rounds,” she said. “We had one down in the first round and were clear in the second round and I was very happy with that. I’m very proud of him.”

Junior teams take the podium after great competition. Credit: Jump Media/USHJA

Claiming the silver with a total score of 28.73 was the Mexico West team with Martina Franco Stephan, 16, riding Edith Stephan de Franco’s 14-year-old KWPN gelding Puertas So What, Claudette Villa Issa Campos, 18, riding her own 10-year-old AAFE mare La Jovena Cassandra, Mateo De la Mora Ramiro, 16, riding SCEA De Plagne et Elevage de La’s Qat Kid, a 14-year-old Selle Francais gelding, and Maya Ines Denis Chambon, 14, on Maria Fernanda Hegewisch Orozco’s Carlos V LS la Silla, a nine-year-old SLS gelding.

The Canandian team took bronze with Anya Bereznicki, 15 (Calgary, Alberta), riding her own 10-year-old Holsteiner mare Diazella, Madison Hildermann, 16 (Calgary), on her own 11-year-old mare Charly, Austin Krawitt, 15 (Calgary), riding the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding High Jack, and Sam Walker, 16 (Caledon, Ontario), riding MarBill Hill Farm’s Coralissa, an eight-year-old Holsteiner mare, with a total score of 34.54.

In the USHJA North American Children’s Rider Show Jumping Team Championship, the Canadian team finished with zero faults to their name to take gold over USHJA Zone 3/4/5/7, who claimed silver with 12 faults, and the Mexican team that took bronze with 20 faults.

“Winning a gold medal for Canada is an amazing feeling,” said Charlotte McLaughlin, 14 and from Ottawa, Ontario. “I feel so proud of myself, my horse and my teammates as well. It’s a huge opportunity, especially since we’re all so young.” McLaughlin jumped two clean rounds aboard her Bronan, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding, to help Canada clinch the gold.

Joining McLaughlin in the gold-medal effort were: Stella Chernoff, 13 (Calgary) riding Paul and Alfons Peeters’ Filia van de Bisschop, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare; Eric Krawitt, 13 (Calgary), riding A.E.S. Equestrian Inc.’s Wellington, a nine-year-old KWPN gelding; and Olivia Stephenson, 11 (Calgary), on Tomboy Farms’ Chaccana, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare.

Children’s teams take the podium. Credit: Jump Media/USHJA

Mia Albelo (Miami, Fla.) and Genevieve Munson (Rogers, Ark.) also turned in two clear rounds during the Team Final to help their Zone 3/4/5/7 combined team earn silver. They joined forces with Madelyn Cardelli (Chicago, Ill.) and Addison Reed (Richmond, Va.) for the medal.

“We had all sort of known about one another, but it was good for us all to meet each other, because we’re all from different areas,” said Munson. “There was never really a doubt that we were going to get on the podium together.”

Munson, 14, who won the individual gold at U.S. Equestrian Pony Jumper Championships (Ky.) in 2014, rode Kathy Chiaf’s Stillwater, a 14-year-old warmblood gelding, at NAYC. “My horse started today just a little bit tired, but he went in the ring and really woke up and helped me out over the one jump I didn’t ride as well as I should have,” she said. “He was there for me, as he was all day for me. In the second class, he really tried hard for me.”

Albelo, 13, who currently also sits second in the individual children’s standings, rode her own Cassandra Dreams, a 12-year-old Holsteiner mare, through a dicey moment in Round 2 to record her second clear round. “She really saved me to one oxer. She’s just perfect,” she said. “For me, winning the silver is a great experience. I got to meet a bunch of very talented riders and make a lot of friends. And I feel like this really sets us up for the future.

“Competing on a team like this definitely helps people who have the goal to go on and be on teams when they’re older, like for the Olympics or the World Equestrian Games. It’s a great steppingstone for that,” Albelo continued.

Reed, 14, piloted Gail Thompson’s Cassandro Z, a 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding, for Zone 3/4/5/7. “He’s really cold-blooded, but he was really good. He was lazy, as normal, but he tried very hard for me,” she said.

Cardelli, 14, had one rail in each round of the Team Final with her own Chasinta, a 13-year-old Holsteiner mare. “She was really good today-she just goes right around and does what you tell her to do most of the time. She’s very fun. Both the rails I had today were my fault, but that’s okay because she just goes right around,” she said.

The Mexico team claiming the bronze medal included Julia Gaspar Albanez, 14, on Felipe Gaspar’s 12-year-old gelding Sueco de la Nutria; Camila Saad Vega, 14, on Juan Carlos Gomez Franco’s Doncella Granith Chief, a 10-year-old mare; Ana Leggoreta Hernandez, 13, on Hara Santa Rosa’s Santa Rosa G Camille; and Santiago Menduet Davila, 13, on Susana Davila Pasillas’ six-year-old CCDM mare Santa Rosa Yakarta.

Special thanks to our Chefs d’Equipe Gianna Aycock, Ralph Caristo, Chris Cawley, Rob Gage, Kim Land, Michael Endicott, Sandra Ruiz and Alex Warriner who are leading teams at the Championships.

Competition continues through Sunday. Riders who will not be moving on to the Individual Finals will be able to participate in the Farewell Competition on Saturday, August 4. On Sunday, August 5, the Individual Finals will be held for Children’s, Junior Riders and Young Riders, respectively.

USEF Network is live streaming the Championships at For more information about the FEI North American Youth Championships visit