A talented group of up-and-coming athletes represented the Platinum Performance U.S. Teams at the 2017 SVAG Federation Equestra Internationale (FEI) World Reining Championships for Juniors and Young Riders on Aug. 11 and 12. Under the guidance of Chef d’Equipe Jeff Petska, the U.S. combinations put forth determined efforts throughout the championships.The Platinum Performance U.S. Junior Team of Sam Flarida, Emma Lane, and Emilia Reutimann earned the team silver medal, while the Platinum Performance U.S. Young Rider Team of Gabriella Kammerer, Dani Latimer, Cade McCutcheon and Jack Medows had strong performances to finish fourth in their team championship. Six U.S. combinations moved on to the individual championship and gained valuable experience on the international stage.
“Hats off to our first team of juniors and young riders to compete in international competition,” Petska said. “Our Junior team captured silver in a tough field and overcame some adversity on the way to the podium. Emilia, Sam and Emma showed with composure beyond their years and let the world know we are going to be a force for years to come.”
Fifteen-year-old Reutimann and Black Hails Gold (Shine Like Hail x Dun Its Black Gold x Hollywood Dun It) led off for the Platinum Performance U.S. Junior Team in the team championship against five other teams. Reutimann’s 2010 gelding had a great run to score 212. Next in the ring for the U.S. were Flarida and Footwork Revolution (Einsteins Revolution x DS Fancy Footwork x Hollywood Dun It). Fourteen-year-old Flarida and Katsy Leeman’s 2010 stallion delivered a solid performance to score 211.5. Last to go for the U.S. were 14-year-old Lane and Gunner Gump (Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner] x Little Patrasha Gump x Little Gump). Not fazed by the pressure of having no drop score, Lane and Bundy Lane’s 2008 gelding laid down an impressive run to score 215.5. The three-person team’s scores tallied to 639.0 to earn the team a silver medal. Italy won gold with a score of 645.0 and France received bronze with a score of 634.5.
In the young rider team championship, Latimer and Fancy Sailor Oak led off for the Platinum Performance U.S. Young Rider Team against five other teams. In her first competition with Angelucci Quarter Horses’ 2006 gelding, 16-year-old Latimer rode well to score 209.5. Sixteen-year-old Kammerer was up next with her own Gunners Star (Doc Gunsmoke x Montana Docs Sis x Doc O’Lena) and put forth a good effort with the 2009 Paint gelding, earning a score of 211.5. Seventeen-year-old McCutcheon wowed the judges with his run on Tim and Colleen McQuay’s Yellow Jersey (Wimpys Little Step x Ms Clara Melody x Mr Melody Jac).
He and the 2004 stallion laid down a solid performance for a score of 216.5. Unfortunately, 20-year-old Medows and Wimpys Show Stopper (Wimpys Little Step x Pinesail x Topsail Cody), his own 2006 gelding, went off pattern, resulting in a score of zero. However, the team’s scores were high enough to finish in a respectable fourth place with a score of 637.5. Germany won gold with a score of 655.0, Italy took silver with a score of 648.5, and Belgium earned bronze with a score of 644.0.
“Our young riders were primed and ready but were plagued by more than their share of bad luck. Dani, Gabriella, Cade and Jack’s preparation and execution were outstanding, but things didn’t come together as we hoped,” Petska explained. “Sometimes we learn more about ourselves in defeat than in victory. I leave inspired by the horsemanship, class and maturity of this group of juniors and young riders. The future of reining is in very capable hands! It was an honor to be here with the fine people that make up the USEF family.”
In the individual championship, four U.S. combinations finished in the top 10. Reutimann and Black Hails Gold earned a score of 213.5 to tie for sixth place as the top U.S. finishers in the junior individual championship. Flarida and Footwork Revolution were not far behind in 10th place with a score of 212. In the young rider championship, Kammerer and Gunners Star had a fantastic run to receive a score of 217.5 and finish in sixth place. McCutcheon and Yellow Jersey had a slight bobble in their first spin but recovered well to score 215 and finish in ninth place.