Lucy Deslauriers and Hester have formed an unmatched partnership during the 2015 season. After winning the North American Young Rider Show Jumping individual gold medal in July, they went on to win the USEF Junior Jumper Championship just a few weeks ago. Now they have capped off their incredible year with a dominating performance to win the USEF U25 National Championship at the CP National Horse Show.
"We have a really strong partnership that I think has only gotten stronger as we've gone on to work together," smiled Deslauriers after her victory. "Through each championship I try to focus on one goal at a time and not let the results get to me. I think it's really important to keep my mind on track, jump one round at a time and go one day at a time. I think that's what helps us work as a team so well."
After two rounds of competition held Wednesday and Thursday, 26 riders returned to the Kentucky Horse Park to compete in the $30,000 Championship, presented by The Porter Family, The Jacobs Family, The Jobs Family and The Keenan Family. They completed one show jumping round before the top 12 advanced to the final round.
Deslauriers had already captured one leg of the event on Thursday, and that put her in the lead with no faults going into Sunday's competition. Hester was once again faultless over the first round track, putting on the pressure as the last to go at the end of the night. The duo proved why they have had such a successful partnership during the year, making light work of the second track that many riders struggled with. They crossed the finish line without error, completing the entire competition without fault and earning the $35,000 USEF U25 National Championship.
"It was a really great week," expressed Deslauriers. "My horse jumped incredible in all the rounds. In the first round, I didn't ride my best, so I really tried to put in strong efforts the rest of the week. He really helped me out there. I think that this division is a great way to step up from the junior ranks before stepping into the grand prix. I think it's a great thing that the National Horse Show has supported and the sponsors have supported. I'm really honored to pull out this win."
"Hester was already in the family when I started riding him," continued Deslauriers. "As soon as we gathered our partnership together and got going, we started to focus on goals and came to the realization that he would be great at this championship format. We got very lucky with him."
Deslauriers trains with her father, Olympian Mario Deslauriers, as well as her mother, Lisa Deslauriers. "As a father and a mother, we're very proud of Lucy," remarked Mario. "She's come a very long way. Last year we were close at a few championships. This year we thought we'd regroup a little and maybe not try to win the first day but climb our way back in the championship and keep Hester a little more under control. She did a great job. We're very proud of her, and hopefully we'll win lots more!"
Lucy will be back at the Kentucky Horse Park early tomorrow as one of the finalists in the 2015 ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Horsemanship Championship. She believes that equitation finals and show jumping championships are both key parts of young riders' development.
"They're all very important," stated Lucy. "I think equitation is definitely the foundation for the jumpers, so without it I don't think I would have been able to come up with these results with Hester. Balancing both is very important, and both are very important to me and where I go with my riding career."
The only other clear trip in the very final round of competition belonged to Katherine Strauss and All In, winners of Wednesday's speed competition. The pair had one rail in the first round Saturday night, which was combined with the two faults they had coming into the night. They were prepared to fight for a top spot in the final round though, and a clear round had them finish on just six faults to take home the silver medal.
"I had a really great first day," said Strauss. "My horse jumped amazingly. In the second round I had a little bit of an error, so coming into today I was a little bit behind and just knew I'd have to ride my best and keep working to climb back up the ranks. My horse jumped incredibly all week."
Catherine Tyree entered the final two rounds of competition with just one fault. An uncharacteristic stop by Enjoy Louis in Sunday's first round was costly, adding five more faults to their total. Tyree was not ready to give up though, and despite incurring four faults at a plank fence as well as a time fault, her total would be just 11 faults for the week and earn her the bronze medal.
"My horse also jumped incredibly all week," commented Tyree. "He never put a foot wrong. Everything that happened was a little bit rider error, and today I made a mistake that was not his fault at all. I just thought in the first round I'd try to be as fast as possible because I knew at the end the time fault would be what would come down to it. I was lucky to have a horse that was so game and with me throughout the entire competition."
U.S. Show Jumping Young Rider Chef d'Equipe DiAnn Langer concluded, "These are three outstanding athletes here with us tonight, and they are our future. I think that we can all be proud of the talent that is rising up in the United States. We just have to make sure we keep providing them with the right opportunities to further their careers and then be successful in representing the United States in the future. I have no doubt that we are going to be very successful."
Source: Press release by Phelps Media Group
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