BURLINGTON SECURES GOLD IN $100,000 USEF U25 SHOW JUMPING NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
The future stars of U.S. show jumping were tested during three days of tough competition for the 2016 $100,000 USEF U25 Show Jumping National Championship presented by Deeridge Farms, Elm Rock LLC, the Strauss Family, and Kasowitz, Benson, Torres, & Friedman LLP. Following a double-clear performance in Sunday's $30,000 Two Round competition at the CP National Horse Show, Brett Burlington stood atop the podium as the Gold medalist.
Burlington (Coral Gables, Fla.) and Bluf, Alden Burlington's 2006 KWPN gelding, were in excellent form throughout the championship over courses designed by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN). They kicked off Thursday's $15,000 Faults Converted competition by finishing second with no faults and a time of 64.145. The duo had another solid performance in the $20,000 Jump-Off competition on Friday, having a faultless first round and a single rail in the jump-off to finish third. These performances put them in second place in the overall standings heading into Sunday's final competition. Burlington and Bluf's double-clear effort allowed them to pass overnight leaders Hilary McNerney (Lake Forest, Ill.) and Z Acodate DDL, who incurred eight faults in the second round of the final competition.
"I'm really excited. I didn't come into the final expecting to win. I knew my horse Bluf would do his job; I just didn't know if I would be able to hold it together through all those rounds, so I am really pleased with how he went and also really pleased with how I rode," Burlington said. "I knew that even if I jumped clear there was still a chance of Hilary also jumping clear and keeping her place in the Gold position, so today I was surprisingly not as stressed as I expected because I knew the only thing I could possibly do was jump clear. My focus was just on jumping clear so I knew everything else would have to play out however it would."
The 2015 Gold medalist Lucy Deslauriers (New York, N.Y.) climbed from fourth on the overall standings to finish with the Silver medal following the final competition. She and Hester, Lisa Deslauriers' 2005 Belgian Warmblood gelding, had a strong performance in the $15,000 Faults Converted competition with no faults and a time of 64.752 to finish third. They had a four-fault round in the $20,000 Jump-Off competition, but made a comeback in the $30,000 Two Round competition by having one of three double-clear performances, along with Burlington and Mattias Tromp (North Salem, N.Y.), to finish second in the championship.
Abigail McArdle (Wellington, Fla.) and Adamo, Plain Bay Sales' 2005 KWPN gelding, were solid performers throughout the championship and received the Bronze medal. They finished fourth in the $15,000 Faults Converted competition with no faults and a time of 65.261 and were second in the $20,000 Jump-Off competition. McArdle and Adamo nearly went double-clear in the $30,000 Two Round competition, but an unlucky rail at the final fence of the second round put them in a tie for fifth in the class.
McNerney and Z Acodate DDL, her own 2004 Dutch Warmblood mare, won both the $15,000 Faults Converted competition and $20,000 Jump-Off competition and finished fourth in the overall championship.
U.S. Show Jumping Young Rider Chef d'Equipe/Technical Advisor DiAnn Langer shared her excitement over the championship preparing young, up-and-coming talent for the senior ranks, saying, "This division, the U25, has really stepped the whole group up and it has become the bridge it was meant to be."
Article by By Kathleen Landwehr and photo by Shawn McMillen Photography