Lexington, Ky. - The 2014 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC) will play host to 216 young athletes from Canada, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, and the United States across four disciplines. The riders have converged upon the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., for the competition running July 15-20. The NAJYRC festivities kicked off with the Golf Cart Parade to neighboring Spy Coast Farm, followed by the Opening Ceremonies and Exhibitor Party.
Four disciplines (a total of seven championships for Juniors and Young Riders) will take part in the only FEI Championship held annually in North America. The NAJYRC is the premier equestrian competition in North America for juniors and young riders, ages 14-21. This year, young equestrians have come to vie for Team and Individual FEI medals in the three Olympic equestrian disciplines of jumping, dressage, eventing and the FEI World Equestrian Games disciplines of endurance. Unfortunately, due to insufficient entries, the North American Junior and Young Riders' Reining Championship was cancelled, but is anticipated to return in 2015.
This year is an exciting one for the NAJYRC, as 2014 marks its 40th anniversary. The Championships began in 1974 as an eventing challenge between the United States and Canada. A dressage championship was added in 1981, and jumping was added in 1982. The first complete Young Riders championship was held in British Columbia, Canada, in 1982. The Championships were expanded to officially include a championship division for juniors in 2006. The discipline of reining was added to the official schedule in 2008; endurance joined the championship for the first time in 2011. At the NAJYRC, athletes learn valuable information about international rules and regulations that will serve them well when they represent their country at senior-level events.
Returning individual medalists from the 2013 NAJYRC include:
Bebe Davis - Junior Freestyle Bronze medalist
Naima Moreira Laliberte - Junior Individual and Freestyle Silver medalist
Devon Wycoff - Young Rider Team and Individual Bronze medalist
Cassandra Roberts - Individual Gold medalist
Nicole Doolittle - Junior Individual Gold medalist
Eugenio Garza Perez - Junior Individual Gold medalist
The NAJYRC begins Thursday morning at 9am with the Junior and Young Rider Team Tests to open the competition in the USDF/Platinum Performance North American Junior and Young Riders' Dressage Championship. There are 74 riders who hope that their teams will claim a medal in the afternoon and hear their national anthem played, if they should end up atop the podium. On Friday, the Individual Tests are held, with the riders returning Saturday for their Freestyle Tests.
A total of 61 eventing competitors will begin their quest for a medal on Thursday morning, with the CCI1* riders performing their dressage test in the morning, followed by the CCI2* riders in the afternoon. The heart of the USEA North American Junior and Young Riders' Eventing Championship, the cross country phase, will take place Saturday across the rolling bluegrass landscape of the Kentucky Horse Park. The championship will culminate on Sunday with riders tackling the show jumping phase in the Rolex Arena.
The USHJA North American Junior and Young Riders' Show Jumping Championship will begin Thursday morning with 67 riders participating in the first individual qualifier. Competition continues Friday with two rounds for the team finals to determine the Team medalists. The riders will return Sunday morning to determine who claims Individual honors.
A field of 14 riders is set to race in the North American Young Riders' Endurance Championship on Friday morning. The competitors will set out at 6:30am across a 120 kilometer CEI4* course in hopes of finishing strongly and claiming Team and Individual medals.
Stay connected with all the action at the 2014 NAJYRC at http://usefconnect.com/najyrc.
To learn more about the Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North visit: http://youngriders.org/.
USEF Network presented by SmartPak will live stream the entirety of events taking place July 18-20 in Rolex Stadium. Visit www.usefnetwork.com to find out more and watch!
NAJYRC showcases the best young rider and junior horse/rider combinations in dressage, eventing, jumping, reining, and endurance. Young equestrians from across the continent will descend on the Kentucky Horse Park to vie for FEI medals at these Championships.
For sponsorship information visit www.youngriders.org/Sponsors.aspx.