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Jennifer Gates Captures $100,000 USEF Under 25 National Championship

Jennifer Gates and Alex
Earlier in the day, the Alltech Arena saw jumper competition and the final round of the $100,000 USEF Under 25 National Championship. Twenty-two riders challenged Michel Vaillancourt's test with four rounds spread across three competitions, which began on Thursday. Based on the FEI World Cup format, penalties continued to transfer over from each prior round. Eighteen riders returned Sunday for two rounds of competition in which Jennifer Gates and her mount Alex claimed the overall championship with only 4 faults acquired throughout all three phases.

Upon claiming Friday's blue ribbon in the $20,000 jump-off competition, Gates led the way as the only rider to enter Sunday's competition with no starting faults. Returning in reverse order, Gates entered the ring last and rode Evergate Stables LLC's 13-year-old Westphalian gelding to another fault-free first round, but had one unfortunate rail down in the second round to finish with an overall total of 4 faults. Taking over the ride from Audrey Coulter just this summer, Gates has already ridden Alex internationally and most recently claimed the $25,000 U.S. Open Hollow Creek Farm U25 Grand Prix at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show in September.

On top of winning the prized ASPCA Maclay National Championship, Madison Goetzmann and her own Prestigious finished just behind Gates with 6 total faults for the reserve championship after capturing the win in Thursday's $15,000 faults converted speed competition. Goetzmann and her 10-year-old Westphalian mount also share a fairly new partnership, pairing up at the beginning of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival.

Repeating her 2016 third place finish was Abigail McArdle, this year aboard Plain Bay Sales' Chuck Berry 8. McArdle and the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding finished the last round with 4 faults for a final total of 9 faults.

Left to right on the podium: Madison Goetzmann, Jennifer Gates and Abigail McArdle.
FROM THE WINNER'S CIRCLE

Jennifer Gates - $100,000 USEF Under 25 National Championship winner

On the U25 series:
"The U25 classes have added a lot of depth to my learning. It's an incredible format. It gives us young riders the opportunity to jump really hard tracks and put us under a little pressure in similar formats to World Cup classes. It's been a priority of mine to try and compete in as many U25 events as possible. Winning this here is a huge honor and I can't thank USEF enough for sponsoring such an amazing championship for us."

On Alex:
"My trainer, Hardin [Towell], had seen [Alex] four years ago when I was jumping the 1.20m. He liked him, but I wasn't ready for a horse of that caliber yet. I have watched him with Audrey [Coulter] and this summer she was kind enough to let me try him. I am grateful for the opportunity to have him."
Madison Goetzmann - Second place

On competing in the ASPCA Maclay National Championship and U25 championship in the same day:
"I really have my trainers, John and Beezie Madden, to thank for [preparing me today]. They're always telling me to slow things down, take a second to breathe and think about smoothness around the courses. When I woke up this morning, my main focus was the U25 and I wanted to successfully complete those courses before switching my focus to the Maclay. It really hasn't been too stressful. My trainers have helped me a lot through that."

Abigail McArdle - Third place

On the U25 series:
"I absolutely love [this championship]. I can't say enough good things about it. It's a great in-between division - between not being a junior or an amateur but trying to step up to being a professional. It's a great division. I think it's super competitive and I'm just happy to be here."

DiAnn Langer - U.S. Show Jumping Young Rider chef d'équipe

On Sunday's U25 results at the 2017 CP National Horse Show:
"These are three incredible athletes. They are fantastic at what they do and courageous, committed and disciplined. It has been an incredible journey to watch their careers progress. They have been on teams and have taken part in all of the educational programs that we have given to enhance their experience. I couldn't be more proud of what they showed us today."
 
RESULTS

$100,000 USEF Under 25 National Championship (overall ranking):
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Total Faults
1. Alex / Jennifer Gates / Evergate Stables LLC / 4
2. Prestigious / Madison Goetzmann / Madison Goetzmann / 6
3. Chuck Berry 8 / Abigail McArdle / Plain Bay Sales / 9 
4. Great White / Daisy Farish / Daisy Farish / 9
5. Quite Dark 2 / Haley Gassel / Westwind Equine Training Center / 12
6. Huckleberry / Coco Fath / Hillside Farm LLC / 12
7. Gentille / Kaely Tomeu / Siboney Ranch / 12
8. Iliano Van D'Abelendreef / McKayla Langmeier / Linda Langmeier / 17
9. Waliba VDL / Mackenzie Drazan / Mackenzie Drazan / 19
10. Julio Vh Elzenhout / Giavanna Rinaldi / Blue Chip Bloodstock / 21
11. Clockwise Of Greenhill Z / Uma O'Neill / Uma O'Neill / 23
12. Haylie Van De Groenendijk / Kelli Cruciotti / Serenity Farm / 26