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The show jumping discipline of the 2014 Adequen/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships concluded in a unique fashion. After five rounds over three days, sixteen-year-old Lucas Porter and Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Phineas moved up from second to first today, clinching the Gold. A few hours later, twenty-year-old Wilton Porter aboard Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Diamonte Darco repeated the feat. Also jumping into first from the second position on this final day, Wilton secured double Gold for the Porter family.
Gold Medal Brothers. Photo Credit: Equestrisol.
Hailing from Texas, both brothers fared well here last year, placing in the top ten in their divisions – Wilton rode Radio City to 4th while in the NAJC Lucas and Phineas earned 6th.
Both brothers also experienced a wet tradition. Post each victory gallop there was no escaping the group of Mexican riders who, without hesitation, scooped up the Gold Medal recipient, headed for the open water jump and threw them in. As a result, Lucas and Wilton not only earned the top calls of the day, they both literally attended the press conference soaked in blue.
Lucas came into the first round of the individuals .65 faults behind leader Lucy Deslauriers. After Deslauriers had one rail in round one, and Lucas was clean, he knew he could ‘afford’ a time fault in round two but not a rail. Skillfully and carefully riding his second round, he picked up one time fault overall.
Lucas Porter and Phineas. Photo Credit: Equestrisol.
Wilton came into the second round just over one point behind Michael Hughes. Like his younger brother, he also rode careful and clean over the jumps, scoring one time fault. Even though the gap had grown, if Hughes had a rail Wilton would win. Unfortunately for Hughes that rail came down in the combination, securing Gold for Wilton.
Celebrating will be split as Wilton and trainer John Roche boarded a plane for Europe this afternoon where Wilton and Paloubet will represent the United States in the Nations Cup at Bratislava. Lucas will stay and compete here in the states. We won’t see the Porters at NAJYRC for a couple of years, until Lucas is old enough for the Young Rider division.
When asked about the double Gold Medal sweep, Wilton remarked, “It’s a dream come true, definitely. We’ve been so lucky over the years with supportive parents and great trainers. John is both a trainer and a close friend.”
More Medal Stories
With an overall score of four faults and an Individual Silver Medal fifteen-year-old Lucy Deslauriers and Hester had a fine finish. This was her first, and likely not her last, time at NAJC. About her one rail in today’s first round, she said, “I was nervous and I got anxious towards the end. I kept my calm in round two.”
Lucy Deslaurier and Sophie Simpson. Photo Credit: Equestrisol.
NAJC Bronze Medalist Sophie Simpson has come a long way in one year. She rode her chestnut mare Why Not here last year and didn’t make it to the Individual round. This week’s experience was especially rewarding because the pair was consistent throughout the competition. Finishing sixth after Thursday, Simpson was the anchor rider during the Team competition on Friday, and had only one rail. Today Sophie and her mare were in perfect synch and had no faults at all. Simpson explained, if there is one thing you can count on with this mare, it is that she is different every time she’s in the ring.
Sophie Simpson walking the course. Photo Credit: Equestrisol.
“I’m always on it with her. That’s improved my riding so much. In learning to ride this one horse I’ve ridden 1,000 different types. Every round is something different.” Simpson went on to compliment Why Not, “She gave me everything. She tried so hard for me this week. I couldn’t be happier.”
Sophie Simpson and Why Not. Photo Credit: Equestrisol.
Michael Hughes walked away with Silver in the NAJYRC and the Show Jumping Style Award. Aboard Luxina, the eighteen-year-old was leading coming into today, after jumping two clean rounds on Friday. Magnanimous, Hughes was happy with his mare.
Also off to Europe, for the first time, was Bronze Medalist Victoria Colvin. After having an unusually sticky round on Thursday, but much improved on Friday, sixteen-year-old Colvin was sitting in the seventh spot coming in to the final today. Dropping only one rail in round one, Colvin rose to the challenge and moved up several spots.
Victoria Colvin and Chanel B2. Photo Credit: Equestrisol.
Notably the three horses that earned medals in the Young Rider division were all mares. Hughes feels that “when mares are good they try harder, they have more heart.”
Also of note was the weather. Aside from some misty mornings, the weather was nice, if not a touch cool. Also all riders complimented Steve Stephens on his superior course designing skills.
And another memorable NAJYRC wraps up, offering a group of talented young riders solid miles for their show jumping future.
NAJYRC Medalists. Photo Credit: Equestrisol.