July 28, 2011 -- Dressage riders struggled not only with first-day jitters but also crippling heat as Team competition got underway? Wednesday at the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) in Lexington, KY.? In the Young Rider division, the U.S. Region 5 team persevered for gold, while the Canadian British Columbia/Quebec team earned the silver medal and U.S. Region 8 took bronze.? For Juniors, the U.S. Region 1 team topped all challengers, despite being at a disadvantage by having only three team members and therefore no drop score.? The silver medal went to U.S. Region 5, and the bronze was again claimed by U.S. Region 8.
As the NAJYRC competitors performed in the Rolex Stadium today, spectators were greeted with an unusual site for an international championship - the riders were coatless.
With forecasted high temperatures of 95 and 98 degrees (and heat indexes well over 100) for the next two days, competition officials agreed to take the extraordinary measure of banning coats for today's Team Test and tomorrow's Individual competition.? While reportedly not unprecedented, the move was definitely unusual for an event of this caliber.? "The show officials and chef d'equipes felt that due to the heat and for the safety of the riders, it was necessary to not just make coats optional, but to ban them altogether," explained Elisabeth Williams, the FEI Chief Dressage Steward for NAJYRC.? "However, for photos, we are asking riders to wear their coats for awards ceremonies."
"I'm happy about this decision," said Maggie Charbonnet, a member of the Region 7 Junior Team.? "The humidity is very difficult for us to adjust to."? However, some competitors had mixed feelings about the ruling, including Region 6 Junior Team member Brooke Bayley.? "I guess it's a good idea to ban coats, but at the same time I am a little bit disappointed," Bayley said.? "I feel like at this level I should be wearing it."? Teammate Sadie Lahey agreed.? "It just doesn't feel like an international championship without wearing our coats, but we do have special team shirts that we'll wear now instead."? As the day progressed and temperatures rose, many riders also chose to don "cooling vests" to help cope with the day's oppressive conditions.
Concern for horse welfare was paramount throughout the day's competition.? All competitors were under intense supervision by stewards to watch for any signs of heat stress; veterinary teams and an equine ambulance were on hand; ice buckets and water trough stations were at the ready to sponge off sweaty mounts; and a tent with large cooling units was set up near the arena for additional relief.? "We're taking all the precautions we can," said Williams.? "But we're counting on the riders to know their horses and use good judgment in considering the conditions."? Veterinarians stationed at the competition arena reported they had not seen any indication of horses in distress as they finished their tests.? "Coming from a dry area of the country, we all feel the effects of the heat and humidity here," noted Aylin Corapcioglu, a member of the gold medal-winning Young Rider team from Region 5.? "But our horses are all very fit, so we feel it but work through it."
The evening concluded with opening ceremonies and the grand entry of NAJYRC teams from all disciplines.? Individual competition resumes Thursday at 7am ET.? Competition information, including schedules, live scoring, and results are available at www.youngriders.org.
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July?26, 2011 -- Move-in day at the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) is an exercise in semi-organized chaos.? Convoys of horse vans roll through the picturesque entrance to the Kentucky Horse Park, and license plates from around the United States and Canada adorn vehicles parked haphazardly in the horse stabling area.? Stable attendants direct trailers to appropriate horse barns, horses whinny with excitement and welcome, Junior and Young Rider competitors unload armload after armload of dressage and horse equipment, and the show offices hum with activity as final preparations are made for one of the continent's premier dressage championships.?| Read More
July 27, 2011 -- Dressage Juniors and Dressage Young Riders got their first experience today as to what it will feel like to compete in the jaw-dropping Rolex Stadium during this week's Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) in Lexington, KY.? Riders were understandably impressed by the expanse and atmosphere of the arena, including Region 7 Young Rider Kelli Newton, who couldn't help but smile after schooling her mount Luciano.? "I was here to watch the World Equestrian Games last year, and all I could think as we walked down the ramp into the stadium was that this was the same place that Steffen Peters and all the other amazing horses and riders from around the world competed last fall."?|Read More
July 30, 2011 --?Another full day of intense dressage competition concluded Thursday as Juniors and Young Riders vied for Individual dressage medals at the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) in Lexington, KY.? In the Young Rider division of dressage, Isabelle Leibler rode Watson 108?(Region 8 ) to the gold medal, as Brandi Roenick and Pretty Lady (Region 5) claimed silver and Chase Hickok with Palermo (Region 1) earned bronze.? For Juniors, Region 6's Sadie Lahey and Up To Date P earned gold, with the silver medal being awarded to Sarah Loewen with Ricardo (Canada-Manitoba) and Monica Houweling and Stentano (Canada-West) receiving bronze in dressage.?| Read More
August 1, 2011 -- As storm clouds cleared and the setting sun spotlighted freestyle dressage competitors on the final day of the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) in Lexington, it was also the sunset of a brilliant horse's career.? Twenty-year-old Jonkara, beloved partner of Mackinzie Pooley from Coto de Caza, CA, confidently cantered into the Rolex Stadium for her final performance.? And fittingly, a gutsy test earned Pooley and her fiesty black Oldenburg mare the Young Rider Freestyle Bronze Medal with a score of 70.004%. |?Read More