North American Young Riders' Championships July 26-31

About 200 young equestrians, ages 16-21, will compete in the North American Young Riders' Championships at the Virginia Horse Center, July 26-31.
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About 200 young equestrians, ages 16-21, will compete in the North American Young Riders' Championships at the Virginia Horse Center, July 26-31.

July 20, 2005 -- Young equestrians from across North America will get a taste of what it's like to compete in the Olympic Games when they compete in the North American Young Riders' Championships (NAYRC) at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Va., July 26-31.

This will mark the first appearance in the mid-Atlantic region for the NAYRC, the premier equestrian competition in North America for young riders, ages 16-21. About 200 riders will come from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands to vie for team and individual championships in show jumping, dressage, and eventing. The NAYRC is an official USA Junior Olympic-Equestrian event.

For many competitors, the NAYRC is their first experience riding on a team, as well as their first time competing under the rules of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body for equestrian sport.

July 26 is the official start of this year's NAYRC with veterinary inspections of all horses and opening day briefings. For all three disciplines, the actual mounted competitions begin on July 27. Show jumpers will compete in warm-up rounds, eventers will begin their dressage phase and dressage riders will begin their team championship.

Show jumping competition continues July 28 with qualifying rounds that lead up to the Nations' Cup-style competition on July 29 that determines the team medals. Individual qualifying rounds are on July 30. July 31 marks the completion of show jumping with competitors riding for individual medals in the championship rounds.

Dressage finishes the team championship rides on July 28 and then moves on to the individual aspects of competition. On July 29, individual tests will be ridden followed by the consolation ride on July 30. Those qualifying to advance to the musical freestyle will do these rides on July 31. The results of the freestyle determine the individual medals.

The eventing competition includes dressage tests on July 28-29, followed by endurance and cross country on July 30. All eventing competitors then ride in the final show jumping phase on July 21 when both team and individual medals are awarded. The eventing competition will be a CCI**, open to riders ages 16-21, that will be run under the Olympic format. A CH-J* Championship for junior riders, ages 14-18, will also be run under the Olympic format. In addition, there will be a CCI* J/Y for riders ages 14-21, run under the traditional format with all four phases on endurance day.

The NAYRC began in 1974 as an eventing challenge between the United States and Canada. A dressage championship was added in 1981, and show jumping debuted in 1982. The first complete NAYRC was held in British Columbia, Canada, in 1982.

For more information on the 2005 NAYRC, visit www.youngriders.org. Admission is $10 per day or $25 for a five-day pass. Dressage Today and Practical Horseman are silver medal sponsors of the event.