2008 North American Junior/Young Riders Championships Return to Colorado

Tue, 02/05/2008 - 00:00
American Dressage News

The 2008 North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) at the Colorado Horse Park Presented by Gotham North are set to return, July 29-August 3, 2008. This year the championships will be adding the western riding division of reining to the schedule.

The Championships already feature the three Olympic equestrian disciplines of show jumping, dressage and eventing. The addition of reining paves the way for the biggest and best Championships ever when the NAJYRC returns to the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, CO for the first time since 2000.

The North American Junior and Young Rider Championships is the premier equestrian event in North America for riders, age 14-21. Many young equestrians travel from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean Islands for a chance to compete for team and individual championships. The NAJYRC operates under the rules of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body for equestrian sport and the only FEI championship held in this country.

"We are excited to expand the Championships schedule to include reining at this year's NAJYRC," said Larry Langer, who serves as NAJYRC event director. "It's very satisfying for us to know that in addition to the juniors and young riders who are able to compete in the three Olympic disciplines, North America's best young reiners will now also have an opportunity to experience what it's like to compete in an international event under FEI rules."

The NAJYRC is the continuation of an annual competition that began in 1974 as an eventing challenge between Canada and the United States. In the years since its inception, it has grown considerably with the addition of a Dressage Championship in 1981 and the Show Jumping Championship in 1982. The first complete Championships with all three Olympic disciplines was held in British Columbia, Canada in 1982. In 2006, a championship division for juniors was added to the schedule and now, with a fourth discipline joining the world-class line-up, the Championships have reached a whole new level of significance.

Dressage is primarily about the balance and harmony between horse and rider. Careful attention to detail and seamless transitions are a top priority. Competitors perform a standard test, demonstrating obedience, ability, and precision. Each movement is judged subjectively and scored separately.

Show jumping tests horse and rider team over a course of fences and other obstacles. The objective is to make it over the course with as few faults as possible. Going over the designated time allowed, knocking down rails, as well as any refusals or falls, accumulates faults or results in elimination. Show jumping has been referred to as having the excitement of horse racing mixed with the daring of downhill slalom skiing.

Eventing combines dressage, show jumping and cross country to give each horse-and-rider combination a cumulative score over the course of three days. Eventing begins with the dressage test, with cross-country following, and then ends with show jumping, testing the endurance and ability of both horse and rider. The cross-country element consists of a timed ride over an outdoor course, jumping over natural or natural looking obstacles. The rider must ride the same horse for all three phases of the competition.

Reining is designed to show the athletic ability of ranch type horses in the confines of a show arena. Riders are required to run one of 10 approved patterns which include seven or eight compulsory maneuvers based on movements a cattle horse would adopt while working.

In addition to the championship competition in dressage, show jumping, eventing and reining, this year's CN North American Junior and Young Rider Championships at the Colorado Horse Park will also feature demonstrations of the FEI discipline of vaulting.

Photos copyrighted: Mary Phelps/Phelpsphotos.com

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Pia Fortmuller, 2006 North American Young Riders Champion
Eurodressage at the 2000 North American Young Riders' Championships