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.
As record heat and humidity has enveloped most of the country in a stranglehold for the last week, little change is expected for Kentucky in the days to come, requiring all athletes to try to adapt to the challenging conditions. Ensuring the welfare of both horses and riders will be foremost on everyone's minds. "The heat is bad enough, but the humidity here is the killer," noted Tracey Hill, chef d'equipe for the Region 7 teams. "Our riders won't be warming up their horses for as long as usual, and will incorporate lots of walk breaks. We will also have buckets of ice water and rubbing alcohol to wipe down the horses, and cold towels and plenty of Gatorade for the riders." Hill also noted that while at home, several riders have been purposely training their horses in the heat of the day to simulate the expected NAJYRC conditions.
Greeting competitors this year is a new stabling complex devoted exclusively to NAJYRC competitors. Located in three gigantic tents directly across Nina Bonnie Boulevard from the Rolex Stadium where the majority of competition will be contested, the location is exceedingly convenient. In previous years, horses were housed in permanent Kentucky Horse Park barns an exhausting distance away from the stadium. "It's really nice to be this close to the stadium this year," said Stephanie Early, a Junior competitor returning to Kentucky for her second NAJYRC. "And even though it's temporary stabling, the open tent structure makes it so much cooler for the horses. Last year, the permanent stalls we were in had asphalt floors which just seemed to absorb and radiate the heat." A downside, however, is the portable stall design. With walls made of "solid" panels only halfway up each side, adjoining horses are free to socialize (and fight) through the open bars forming the top half of each stall. Squealing, kicking, and pawing resonated throughout the maze of stalls as horses became acquainted with their new surroundings and neighbors.
Tuesday morning will begin official scheduled schooling sessions for all teams in the Rolex Stadium, as well as the veterinary inspection beginning at 3:30pm ET.
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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