Californians Take the THIS National Children's Medal Finals and the North American Amateur Equitation Championships
Mon Oct 03, 2011
Pilar Flournoy, 14, from Topanga, California, made her first trip east to Capital Challenge a worthwhile one, as she laid down two solids rounds to win the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Children’s Medal Finals.
Riding Reika, a ten-year-old Hanoverian mare, Flournoy didn’t let the pressure get to her as she returned for the second round just behind the leading rider, Destry Spielberg who led the first round with an 86.90. When Spielberg came in tight to the first jump and posted a 77.4 in her final round Flournoy took the lead and the blue.
Flournoy said, “I tried to channel my nerves into focus. That tends to work for me.” Her trainer, Mark Bone of Huntover, agreed that Flournoy doesn’t tend to show her nerves. Flournoy enjoyed the courses designed by Kenny Krome, but knew she had to watch out for a number of the bending lines. She explained, “Reika has a really strong left drift, so on the left bending lines I wanted to make sure she didn’t fall in and make them too easy. We wanted to work on her straightness and being flowing without being too out of control. She has a very big stride.”
The trip east is very involved for the west coast contingent. Not only did the horses fly in on a red eye on Monday morning, but they needed to get accustomed to the hay, grain and the colder weather. Flournoy also had to adjust to the east coast, but her mom had a hand in helping.
“My mom made me switch over to east coast time last week,” she said laughing. “I’ve been waking up at 4am for the last week while I was home. I was very productive during the day,” she added with a smile.
A second Californian to dominate the Show Place Arena was Adrienne Dixon. Dixon, of Hillsborough, California, piloted Conor Perrin’s Nat King Cole to top honors in the North American Amateur Equitation Championships. Dixon came into this year’s class with determination after finishing second in 2010. She said, “I think I came here with a little more motivation than a lot of the other riders.”
Dixon made sure there was no question about her domination as she finished the first round with the high score of an 86 and then returned to secure the win posting an 87.80 on the board. The only one to come close to Dixon’s two-round total was Samantha Senft who rode Lord Loxley to a final score of 165.75.
Dixon, 22, had never ridden Nat King Cole before coming to Capital Challenge, but the seven-year-old gelding was just what Dixon needed to finish first. She said, “He made me rise to the occasion. I knew I was on one that could do it, so it gave me the confidence that I could do it.”
Dixon’s trainer, Nick Haness, said of the new mount, “He is a very nice horse to ride. He is brave and scopey. The only thing he’s lacking is experience. He has a huge stride and is very adjustable, but he is only seven years old. She did a great job handling him.”
In the two-round class there was only one place on course that Dixon had reservations about. She said, “I was a little worried in the first course about the six (stride) to the two (stride). I knew I could get the six but then the two was really tight. It really helped watching the first two classes. I really got to watch to see who did it well and how they did it well.”