Equestrian Vaulters Dazzle Crowds at the 2009 Adequan FEI North American Junior/Young Rider Championships Presented by Gotham North


Lexington, KY. July 27, 2009. Spectators were treated to a spectacular display of harmony between athlete and rider with a one day equestrian vaulting demonstration competition during the 2009 Adequan FEI North American Junior/Young Rider Championship Presented by Gotham North. Top Equestrian Vaulters from the US and Canada competed for honors with their Freestyle and Technical routines in the Van Lennep Indoor Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. This marks the first time that Equestrian Vaulting was included in the Championships.

Megan Benjamin, 2006 World Equestrian Games Women’s Individual World Champion, vaulted her way to victory in the CVI** Women’s event with a flawless technical test together with her equine partner Sonny Boy, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood, owned and lunged by Emma Garrod Seely. She solidified her lead with stunning artistry and powerful gymnastics moves in the freestyle test. She is coached by Emma Garrod Seely, and is a member of the Mt. Eden Vaulting Club in Saratoga, Calif.

“I’m excited that vaulting is a part of Young Riders this year; it was an honor to win the inaugural presentation of our sport at such a prestigious show,” Megan Benjamin said. “During the past five days I’ve been in equestrian heaven, and I am in awe of all the young talent across the disciplines.”

The CVI** Men’s event title went to Patrick Stevens vaulting with Caspar lunged by Julie Divita. Patrick’s display of strength and harmony with his horse, a nine-year-old Hanoverian, won him high marks from the judges in both his technical and freestyle tests. He is coached by Jennifer Lauzze, and is a member of the Woodside Vaulting Club in Woodside, Calif.

In the CVI* event Yvonne Greenen of Woodside Vaulters and Joey Gadd of Mt. Eden Vaulters each claimed gold in the women’s and men’s classes respectively. Greenen performed with Pepperjack, a 15-year-old Thoroughbred/Percheron, lunged by Julie Divita. She is a member of the Woodside Vaulting Club in Woodside, Calif and is coached by Jennifer Lauzze. Gadd is a member of the Mt. Eden Vaulting Club in Saratoga, Calif. and is coached by Emma Garrod Seely. He vaulted with Sir James, a six-year-old Thoroughbred/Percheron lunged by Olivia Swan.

About Vaulting

Vaulting is both a recreational activity and a competitive discipline where both gymnastic and dance elements are combined and performed to music on a walking, trotting or cantering horse. It requires a harmonious relationship with the horse and outstanding physical condition from the vaulter.

An FEI recognized discipline since 1983, vaulting competitions are held regionally, nationally and worldwide and individuals, pairs and teams all compete in separate events. This variety creates an engaging experience for spectators as they watch athletes of all ages perform breathtaking routines that include artistic mounts and dismounts, shoulder stands and handstands on the horse, carrying or lifting another vaulter, and kneeling and standing exercises.

Vaulting is a unique and growing sport with a rich heritage traced back to the ancient Minoans and later to Roman soldiers. It was featured in the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp as Artistic Riding and has since evolved into the sport it is today. Vaulting is a wonderful way to develop coordination, balance, strength, and creativity while working in harmony with the horse; it is used around the globe as an introduction to the equestrian world and is recognized as a technique for developing strong riders in all disciplines.

About the American Vaulting Association

The American Vaulting Association, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is dedicated to growing vaulting in the United States through educational programs, activities and competitions. This year the AVA celebrated its 40th anniversary; it has hundreds of vaulting clubs around the nation, and hosts dozens of activities and competitions annually.

For more information go to http://www.americanvaulting.org/ www.americanvaulting.org or call the AVA National Office at 323-654-0800.

For vaulting photos of the winners, go to http://www.americanvaulting.org/cvi_pr/ to download.