Adults and Young Riders Join Up in Area I’s Unique Team Challenge

Kate Rakowski and Ciderhouse Jack. Photo by Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto. Kate Rakowski and Ciderhouse Jack. Photo by Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto.

Area 1 and the young and the rest of us? You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a slip of the tongue at the gathering of eventers this past weekend at GMHA’s September Horse Trials. Was the hubbub really about the world of daytime TV soap operas? In fact, the gaggle of excited chatter was about the inaugural Young Rider and Adult Rider Team Challenge taking place: The Young and The Rest of Us Team Challenge!

A competition that was born from a conversation last December at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention in Washington, DC. As Area 1’s Young Rider Coordinator, I put the idea to Suzanne Adams, Area 1’s Adult Rider Program Coordinator, that we should create a team challenge that combines our Young Riders and Adult Riders — a competition mixer if you will.

Mix in some young and fearless youngsters and some old(er) and fearless experienced campaigners and we could connect our two “communities” of riders in a creative and engaging way. We agreed that to be engaging, accessible and growing as an eventing community we should create opportunities to come together, work together and play together as a united team of people.

Madlen Fields and Ballynoe Bruce. Photo by Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto.

Madlen Fields and Ballynoe Bruce. Photo by Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto.

This team challenge allowed families, instructors and students to be on a team. Sons and daughters, sisters and friends, and barn teams came together. Strangers and new-to-the-area riders also found a place on a team, and there was excitement in our Area 1 community as they gathered at GMHA.

Twenty-five teams and 188 riders lined up to compete for the prizes and fun on offer. Teammates collaborated over names, and we saw the creation of some hilarious teams unfold, such as the “Old Hipsters and New Sisters.”

As opportunity had conveniently created a convergence of adults and juniors in the same place, Area 1 hosted another of the USEA’s town hall meetings to connect to the grass roots constituents of the USEA. Today’s generation of experienced competitors shared ideas while tomorrow’s younger generation keenly listening in.

Ava Wehde and Butts Leonie. Photo by Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto.

Ava Wehde and Butts Leonie. Photo by Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto.

Together we are working to create an even stronger eventing community, one that is informed and plugged into our sport with its challenges, opportunities and future direction affecting everyone — the young and the rest of us!

Huge congratulations to all who participated; it was a close, close competition! First place with a combined score of 98.3 was the JH Eventing Team with Kate Rakowski, Siena Fam, Julia Parker and Katerina Garcia-Chope, just a hair’s breadth and 0.3 points ahead of the runners up, the Wehde Team.

There’s word on the grapevine about next year already, so bring on the teams, the chatter and the fun for an even bigger and better Young and the Rest of Us Team Challenge II! Sincere thanks to Suzanne, for not only humoring my idea but for the hours of work that followed to make it a reality in Area 1. Also many thanks to Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto for the photos of the first and second place teams.

[GMHA September Horse Trials Final Scores]

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