On paper, Region 4 likely would not have been the team picked to win the dressage Junior team gold medal at the FEI North American Youth Championships on Thursday.
Lexie Kment, Kylee Kment and Ella Fruchterman were each competing at the NAYC for the first time, and, as a team of three, they lacked the advantage of a drop score that the four-person teams benefitted from.
Off paper however, it quickly became apparent that Region 4 was a top contender, even before they ultimately rode to the team gold medal and led the victory gallop in Traverse City, MI.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet!” said Kylee, 17, of the gold medal win. “I’m just so proud of all of us.”
Kylee, of Palmyra, NE, notably earned the highest score of the day, a 69.606%, aboard Honor, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by her grandmother and her mother, Jamie Kment.
“He honestly was so good!” said Kylee of the horse that she has ridden for the past year and a half. “He worked really hard. Probably the one thing I was really proud of him for is that he stayed collected and supple, which is always good.”
For the Kments, the gold medal win was a family affair, with Kylee’s sister, Lexie, joining her atop the podium.
“It’s amazing; I’ve always dreamed of when you have that flag flying and the anthem playing for you,” said Lexie, 15, who rode to a score of 67.394% aboard Montagny von der Heide.
“I think one of the really great things about our test today was our medium trots,” continued Lexie. “Those felt really good. I just want to say thank you so much to Laureen Van Norman for letting me ride her special horse.”
For Fruchterman, her canter tour was a highlight of her 65.667%-scoring test with Holts Le’Mans.
“After [Holts Le’Mans] got a little hot in our walk tour, we came back to me to canter, and we had a really clean canter tour,” said Fruchterman, who made the trip to Michigan from Minnesota. “The nerves settled, and he was right with me. I was just really proud of him.”
All told, the Region 4 team would finish on a score of 202.667% for the win.
The silver medal went to Region 7 team, composed of Nicole Ellsworth and Rower Be, Josephine Hinnemann and Breanna, Lily-Rose Bacon and Warm Night and Ellanor Boehning and Banderas SK. Earning the bronze medal for USA Region 3 were Elaine Grubbs and Enebro XIV, Misha Cohen and Fuerstenglanz and Kat Fuqua and Dreamgirl.