How to win the Adequan/FEI North American Youth Championships, or any competition, for that matter, 100% success rate guaranteed: Take the early lead and never let it go.
It’s a no-fail strategy, and it worked like a charm for Area II here at Rebecca Farm. The team — Tayler Stewart with Ideal Contini, Alexa Lapp with Cambalda, Ryan Keefe with Flintstar, and Olivia Dutton with Mr. Medicott — led from “pillar to post,” to borrow a turn of phrase from announcer John Kyle, taking the early dressage lead and pulling further ahead with each subsequent phase.
Alexandra Baugh and Ballingowan Pizazz employed the same strategy to win individual gold, finishing on their dressage score of 30.8. The pair was on the silver medal winning Area I, IV & VIII mix team. Alexandra also finished 6th on her second mount, Mr. Candyman.
Heading into show jumping with nothing to lose but a gold medal is a hot seat to be sitting in, for sure, but Alexandra says she leaned into the strength of her relationship with “Mango.”
“Mango is my strongest jumper, he’s taught me so much, and over the last three years I feel like we’ve grown so much together,” she says. “We’re finally getting a partnership where we rely on each other and know what each other is thinking. So I think going in was a bit more peaceful than stressful.”
The Area II team is close-knit crew, and you get the feeling that this championship experience has bonded them together for life. Try not to cry while watching their emotional team press conference, in which they talk camaraderie, equine best friends and dreams that really do come true:
Tissues, please. Go Area II. Go Eventing.
NAYC CICOY2* Final Team Top Three:
- Area II (111.2): Tayler Stewart & Ideal Contini, Alexa Lapp & Cambalda, Ryan Keefe & Flintstar, Olivia Dutton & Mr. Medicott
- Area I, IV & VIII (130.2): Alexandra Baugh & Ballingowan Pizazz, Heather Jane Morris & Jos UFO De Quidam, Katie Lichten & RF Luminati, Greta Schwickert & Charles Owen
- Area VI (134.8): Mallory Hogan & Clarissa Purisima, Madison Temkin & Dr. Hart, Kaley Sapper & Tuscan Sun, Lisa Takada & Wishbone
NAYC CICOY2* Final Individual Top 10:
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